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Will You Keep Me Forever

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            After six months of interviews, a public trail and testimony, Morrie had been convicted of two counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault and two counts of rape and was sentenced to fifty years in prison. Koichi had returned to work for DCR as the assistant of marketing research, and after voicing interest, Taka was promoted to assistant manager of the HBG, in charge of hiring new staff and coordinating special events. Aki was also promoted to the position of lead shift supervisor in charge of training new hires, and Uta had returned to work. The owner of the HBG had also hired security personnel that were present during all operating hours. The owner was taking no chances with his employee’s safety.

            Arriving at home, Taka was exhausted from a twelve-hour shift. “I’m so tired, I just want to go to bed.”

            “At least eat something. There is udon, some leftover pizza or I can make you something of your choice.” Sato leaned over the couch where Taka had collapsed, kissing him on the forehead.  “Udon, please.” Taka mumbled.

            “Before I leave, we need to stock up on some decent food. I doubt you’ll want to cook much, if you continue with this schedule.” Sato heard a muffled reply. “I don’t want you eating only konbini food!”

            “Yes, Okaason, I promise to eat healthy meals and stay away from sweets.” Sato threw a kitchen towel at Taka’s head.

            “Do you know how long the tour is yet? Are we talking weeks or months?” Sato shook his head. “So far, we are at four weeks, but I’m expecting eight weeks. Koichi will give you the dates and other info sometime in the next two weeks.”

            Sitting together eating, Taka’s mind was flooded with different emotions, which all came to the surface any time the tour was mentioned.

            “Eight weeks?” Taka whined, “Time is going to drag!”

            “You know, it’s not like it’s eight weeks of parties. Think about the short tour that you went on, only five hundred times more stressful. Bus travel, hotels, shitty food, nobody speaking the language…it’s brutal.” Sato knew Taka was upset that Koichi was going.

            “Believe me, Koichi isn’t going to have much fun either, Tatsu is an absolute bear when we tour internationally.”

            Taka felt like saying something, but figured it would make things worse.

            “Besides, you’re working such long hours right now, you’ll be too tired to miss me.” Taka made a rude noise. “We will have a nice long vacation when we get back, maybe a week at the onsen in the mountains?” Finishing his udon, Taka kissed Sato and went to bed.

            He was lying on a tatami, in a large house. He could hear people talking, but not what they were saying. Sitting up, he looks around in a room that was bathed in a hue of dusty orange. What the fuck? He hears a door slide open. Oh fuck…please no…I’ll be good, I don’t want to go back, please Master, no more.

            His Master slaps him back down on the tatami. “Shut your mouth, you worthless piece of shit. Taka cowered on the floor, not knowing what to do. He wants to cry, call out for help but he knows better. His Master drags him by the hair, he just realized he’s naked. “Where…” that earned him another slap. He’s shoved against a wall, his face smashed into by his Master’s hand. His hands are tied, his arms are being pulled over his head, his bound hands placed over a hook. He starts to whimper, he’s scared, this is going to hurt…I know it. He can’t see who’s behind him, or how many. Someone reaches around and grabs his dick, mashing it in their hand. “Feels good, right boy?” Tears start to fall, he says nothing.

            He doesn’t know how long he was used and abused in every way possible. He’s past crying, past caring, he wants to die. Soft warm hands are there, on his back, lingering over the welt covered skin. He hears soft sounds of pity, “You poor boy, what have they done?” He feels lips on the back of his neck, gentle whispering kisses. The warm hands tenderly rubbing his chest, ghosting over the raw flesh of his bleeding nipples. He moans, pain and pleasure mixed. A naked body, warm flesh pressed against his pain. “I won’t hurt you, lovely boy, no…never.” A warm hand is wrapped around his wounded cock, rubbing it gently, carefully. “This has been ignored, your pleasure was of no consequence to them, was it?” His cock growing hot, straining against the other’s hand. He moaned, starting to move his hips, his cock needed the friction, the release. He tries to turn his head, who is touching me? I can’t see him.

            “My lovely boy, you were made for me, no one else shall ever touch you again. I will take you from here, I am your new Master, you only need say that one word and you are mine, I will keep you forever.” As Taka tries to speak the word, the warm hand starts to move quickly, spreading the pre-cum, using it to help his cock glide into orgasm. He’s trying, I want to say it, help me please! He’s trying, I want to be yours. He cums hard, leaning into it, but the hand is pulling away. No! Stop! I want to… “My lovely boy, you had your chance, now you’re once again, a worthless piece of shit.

            “NO! Wait!” Taka sat up in bed, breathing hard, looking around at his bedroom and realizing it was nothing more than a fairy tale nightmare, and the tears start to fall. Taka also realized that he had indeed, orgasmed from the dream. Moving slowly, as not to wake Sato, Taka gets out of bed and goes into the bathroom to clean up and change into fresh sleep pants. Trying not to think of the dream, Taka slides back into bed with Sato, feeling abandoned and alone.

            “Morning babe, breakfast before I leave for the studio?” Taka walked to Sato, and wrapped his arms around his waist, burying his face in Sato’s neck. “What’s wrong?” Taka nuzzled Sato’s neck harder,

            “Bad dream about my past…hold me.” Without hesitation or question, Sato did just that. He knew Taka’s past was painful, but why a dream about it now? What would trigger those memories?

            “You haven’t had any of those in a long time, weird for one just to pop up. Maybe working too much?” Sato rubbed Taka’s back, “Maybe”

            “Let me make you something to eat before I go.” They sat together, like any other normal couple, eating breakfast, but there was a hint of something else, just under the surface. Sato got ready, kissed his boy and left for the studio, leaving Taka “Now what?”

~~

 

            “Sorry Taka, I have a shit ton of work piled up, projects I have to get done before we leave.”

            Taka knew Koichi was going to be busy, but at least he had made the effort. Standing in his kitchen, he felt like he had nothing. No friends that were exclusively his, at least none that were not connected to the industry. He couldn’t count his employees either, so what exactly did he have?

            Taka moped around the flat, playing video games, looking up random things on the computer, just burning time. When Sato came home, Taka again ordered Sato to hold him. What the hell is going on with him?

            “Can we please go out to eat? I want to go to the restaurant, I need a steak!” Sato chuckled, “Okay, since I’m going to be gone, and I know you would never go alone, let’s go.

            Taka needed this, he needed to be somewhere else other than cooped up at work or home. They took a table in the middle of the dining room, instead of their usual table near the wall. Looking around, Taka saw a few people he knew, but nobody he was very friendly with. Waiting for their dinner, the conversation was light, mostly about the tour, what cities they knew for sure they were playing. Taka talked about the new hires at the HBG, Uta’s return and how he hoped the long twelve-hour shifts were temporary. Two drinks in and their dinner arrived, Taka tearing into his steak.

            Relaxing after the meal, Taka see’s Kyo and Die enter the dining room. Shit, not good. Seeing the couple, Kyo and Die approached the table.

            “So, you’re leaving for your US tour soon, how long will you guys be gone?” Kyo was interested in what cities Mucc would be playing.  “Not sure, four weeks that been scheduled so far, but nothing more. Taka could feel Die looking at him, but he made sure not to look at the other man. “I hear you’re the new manager over at the HBG, Taka-kun, how’s that working for you?”

            Taka snorted, “Money’s great, twelve-hour shifts suck. We’re hiring new people, and Uta’s come back.” At the mention of Uta, Kyo seemed more interested. “Is he…well, I mean, does he seem okay now? He’s so tiny, I thought a lot about him, if you know…how he was doing.” Kyo interested in Uta was surprising.

            “Tiny? He’s taller than you!” sniped Die. “Maybe, but he’s like a delicate sort of tiny…like if you hugged him too hard, he’d shatter.” Taka assured Kyo that Uta was fine physically, “He only works the day shifts, and only makes the drinks. He is still apprehensive in talk to strangers, you should come by some time, I’m sure he’d like that.”

            Die started to complain that he was starving and dragged Kyo off to their table. “Kyo and Uta? I don’t know about that, Taka. Kyo might break him.” Sato was smiling, obviously teasing Taka. “No, I think Kyo would protect Uta with his life. His spikey is all show, he’s a very sweet guy.” Sato almost choked “Sweet? Kyo? Are we talking about the same man?” Taka rolled his eyes.

            Sato excused himself, and went to the bathroom, leaving an opening for Die. As soon as Sato was out of sight, Die approached Taka.

            “Do you work tomorrow, Taka-kun? Kyo and I would like to come and visit Uta, and well, you too of course.” Taka nodded, “Yes, we’ll both be there.” Just as Sato walked back to their table, he had heard Die saying they would see Taka the next day, nodding to Sato as he walked away.

            “What was that about?” Sato was always wary of Die and his intentions towards Taka.

            “He was asking if Uta and I would be at work tomorrow. Kyo thinks Uta will be too shy to talk to him alone.” Sato bought the half-truth, knowing that Uta was indeed, very shy.

            “Don’t let Kyo scare him, that’s the last thing Uta needs.” The couple lingered awhile longer, having a fancy chocolate dessert and more conversation about the tour. The ride home was in a comfortable silence. Walking into the flat, a fully grown, seriously obnoxious Eddy was demanding food.

            “You’re so pushy Eddy, shit.” Sato was feeding Eddy, and Taka had already gone to the bedroom. It was only a matter of about ten minutes, when Sato joined Taka, his lover was snoring softly. Kissing his boy Sato pulled up the blanket, and pulling Taka into his arms. Softly whimpering, Taka snuggled into Sato’s chest.

 

~~

            He was cold, so very cold and shaking. Looking around the room, he sees a closet. “Maybe there’s a blanket.” Opening the closet door, he is pushed in from behind by cold hands. He slams into a wall, the door slides shut behind him. Now it’s dark, he can see light under the door, but it’s not the door he came in through. He hears voices, laughing, someone is crying. He walks to the door, sliding it open just enough to see. There are a lot of men surrounding a table. Old fat naked me, with ugly erections. What’s on the table? He can’t tell, there’s food, but there’s something else, what is it?

            He opens his eyes again. OH GOD NO! Please…no! he’s lying on a table, strapped down, the old fat men, with their stiff cocks, are looking at him. He looks at his body, he’s covered in food! Nantaimori! God please…no more, not again! Master, please… Someone has my cock in their mouth. Please, don’t touch me. An old man with no face is trying to put his cock in my mouth. He’s gagging on the stiff cock, he can’t breathe. HELP ME PLEASE!

            Warm hands on his chest, sliding down his body, grasping his cock, it’s quiet. No more ugly, old men. He feels a warm soft mouth, licking his body. The mouth is kissing him, it’s soft, it’s safe. “My lovely boy, you should just say the word, I will keep you from harm.” The warm mouth is now sucking his cock, it feels so good, it’s so luscious and warm, my body feels so warm. “Lovely boy, just say the word and I will keep you forever.

 

            Opening his eyes, he feels the warm tears falling. Who is he? It feels so real. Taka reaches for Sato, but the bed is cold and empty. Looking at the clock, 11:02am, Taka realizes that Sato is already at the studio. It’s a relief that he’s gone, Taka’s not sure how he would explain the tears, when he can’t explain the dreams. But the man, he feels familiar, but who it is…Taka doesn’t know.

Chapter Text

 

            “Text me when you get to work, I love you.”

 

            Something felt off with Taka, but Sato couldn’t pin point the cause.  “Problem?” Tatsu saw the look on Sato’s face. “Mmm…, I’m not sure, really. Taka has been…um, like distant. Shit, that’s not the right word, but he’s like out of sorts.” This was an automatic red flag for Tatsu, considering Taka’s past. “Maybe it’s the tour? You know…Koichi’s going and he’s not. That’s kind of a big deal.” Sato had thought that it may be the cause, but knowing Taka would be busy with work, he wouldn’t have time to be bored. “Maybe.”

 

             Taka had to learn to tune everything out while at work. He had been extremely flattered when the owner of the HBG approached him with the opportunity for a management position, giving him more self- confidence, at least at work.

            “We have three new people, and Uta of course. I only really know the one, Mao, I interviewed him, but the boss hired the other two, Miku and Kanon. So, two full shifts and one for rotation. I haven’t met the other two guys, so I’m not sure what to expect.”

            As Taka and Aki started to open the HBG, Taka remembered what Kyo had asked. “Aki…Um, so I went to dinner last night with Sato, and Kyo and Die were there…” he was nervous, but why? Why is this bothering me? “Kyo and Die as in Diru?”

            “Well, yah, but here’s the issue, they both may be coming here later.” Taka was being careful.  “Oh, okay, I’ll let you know when they show up.” Aki had never met either of the men.

            “Kyo at least, won’t be coming to see me…he’s interested in Uta.” But Die is still interested in me.

            “Oh wow! But…isn’t Kyo kinda scary, will he be okay around Uta?” Aki was being a little protective of Uta.

            “He really isn’t that scary… wait, yah I guess he can be scary. I just want to give Uta the heads up before Kyo gets here.” Taka didn’t mind seeing Kyo, he liked the spikey man, but seeing Die, that was always a conflict of emotions.

~~

            “I don’t want you to freak out, Uta. But you may have a visitor at some point today.” Taka was trying to be upbeat as possible. “A visitor?” Uta was already blushing.

            “Yep. It’s Kyo, I ran into him last night at dinner. He said he wanted to come by to see how you were doing, now that you were back to work.” Taka waited for Uta’s response, but got one he wasn’t expecting.

            “Kyo? Really?” Uta was smiling, “wow, I didn’t realize he even knew who I was.”

            “He definitely knows who you are. He turned a bit red when I was talking about you.” teased Taka. This made Taka smile, the young man had suffered greatly, both physically and emotionally as a result of Morrie’s attack, the rape being the most traumatic. Now hearing that Kyo wanted to see him, left Uta feeling better than he had in months.

            “Do I look okay, Taka? I can’t do anything about the uniform, but my hair? Shit! I should have done a little makeup today!” Taka’s heart soared, to hear Uta worrying about looking cute for Kyo.

            “Uta, you’re already cute, don’t worry, Kyo is not that shallow, he cares about how you feel, you can dress up for your first date.” Taka was smiling at his young friend.

            “First date? Wait, he wants to date me? Oh shit!” Uta paled.

            “Woah! Sorry, wrong choice of words! I don’t know that for sure! But then again it wouldn’t surprise me.” Taka patted Uta and on the shoulder, “Go back to work.”

           

            Taka had paperwork to complete in the office, while Aki and Uta prepped for the evening shift. Taka was going to train Mao for one shift, before turning the training over to Aki. Mao would be the first new hire, for both Taka and Aki, and both wanted everything to go smoothly.

            It was a few hours later, when Uta poked his head into the office. “Um…Kyo’s here, can I go on my break please?” Smiling, Taka waved him off.

 

Kyo & Uta

            Kyo was sitting at a table when Uta walked up.

            “Hi, um…” Uta was nervous, this was Kyo!

            “Hi, I hope you don’t mind me coming here to see you…do you?” Kyo was trying to be cool and calm, but was feeling like a high school boy.

            “No, not at all, I was a bit surprised when Taka told me, I didn’t know that you even knew me, I mean…” Uta was blushing.

            Well, I’ve know who you are for a quite a while, even before…you know.” Shit, this is harder than I thought. “I’ve just never spoken to you directly. So, how are you? Well, I, um…You know what I mean!”  Fuck, he’s so cute!

            “Great actually, all healed up, everything is good, even better today!” This caused Kyo to pause.

            “Why today? Because…”

            “A lot of reasons. Working with Taka and Aki again, meeting a new employee, and yah, you being here.”

            His eyes are so bright, thought Kyo.

            “You have no idea how happy I am, that you’re healed and better….and that…shit! That you’re happy to see me.” Now it was Kyo’s turn to feel awkward.

            Uta’s break was over, and instead of waiting to be asked, Uta wrote his phone number on Kyo’s arm, in pen. “Call me, I want to talk to you again, soon!” Uta went back to work, leaving a slightly stunned Kyo, with his mouth hanging open.

            Uta was wearing a very bright smile when he returned, his eyes were shining as well.

            “Well, how was it? Kyo didn’t scare you, did he?” Taka wanted to hear it from Uta first…just in case something had not gone well.

            “I gave Kyo my phone number.” Uta was blushing a bright pink. “Told him to call me.”

            “Wait.” Taka stopped cold, “YOU gave Kyo YOUR number?” Uta nodded.

            “Yep, wrote it on his arm…in pen. Why? You seem surprised.”

            “Well, that’s a pretty ballsy move for you, that’s why! But I’m glad you did…I hope he calls you tonight.” Taka then waved Uta back to work.

            Please let this work out for him, I want to see him happy.

 

By 10pm, Taka was exhausted. The new employee Mao, had done well on his first night, mastering the counter and was very chatting with the customers, especially the young ladies, who would comment about how super cute he was. By 10, Taka had sent Mao home and had started to close the HBG. Just as he was cleaning off the drink counter, a voice spoke his name, causing him to shiver…it was Die.

            “Hello, Taka-kun, can I still get a drink before you close?”

            The sound of Die’s voice sent twinges of heat straight to his dick. “Um…sure Die.” Taka was shaking inside and Die made sure to make contact with Taka’s hand when he paid for the drink. Taka had to work hard not to pull his hand away.

            Die knew he was torturing Taka. “Can I offer you a ride home tonight, Taka-kun?” Die purred. Taka looked at Die, a heated flushing showing in his face, “Um, no thanks Die, Sato is picking me up tonight, maybe some other time.” Taka’s dick was getting hard, he felt hot, the way Die looked at him, Taka knew that look, and he wanted it. “Thank you for the drink, Taka-kun, I’ll be seeing you soon.” Die gave Taka a look, that said I want to fuck you into the wall.

            Taka couldn’t lower the metal covers on the counters fast enough. Locking the back door, Taka hurried into the office, slamming and locking the door. He slid his pants down and started fisting his cock. In minutes, Taka had peaked, “Shi...Mmm…Die!” he moaned. He hit is orgasm, his seed spilling over his fist.  Leaning against the door, he fought with his emotions, “What the fuck am I doing?” As he cleaned himself up, he got the text from Sato,

                                    “Hey sexy, I’m here! Hurry up!

            Once Sato and Taka arrived at the flat, Taka immediately went to shower, not just to rid himself of the work grime, but to try to wash away the guilt. When he was finished, he saw that Sato was already in bed. Taka crawled in beside him, spooning against Sato’s back, breathing in his scent. He needed to erase his guilt, he started to slowly grind his hips against Sato’s ass, making himself hard again. But there was no response from his lover, other than a soft snore. Tears started falling, random negative thoughts flooded his mind. He doesn’t love me anymore, he’s tired of me, he has someone else. As his eyes grew heavy, the thoughts grew deep.

 

~~

            Die was on his knees, grabbing at Taka’s crotch, trying to get inside his pants. Taka’s arms were above his head, he can’t move them. “How much for a drink, Taka-kun?” Die has Taka’s dick in his mouth, he’s moaning, “You can have it for free.” Taka turns his head, Sato is standing with his arm around a faceless young man with blue black hair. “I don’t want it anymore Die, you can have it. He’s a worthless piece of shit anyways. Why would I want to keep that?” Sato kisses the boy he’s hugging, walking away laughing. Die is laughing as he sucks Taka’s dick, “I don’t want to keep you either, I just want to fuck you, then I’ll throw you away, just like the others.”

            Die’s mouth feels so good, hot sucking, Taka cums. Worthless piece of shit. He’s stilling hanging, nobody to save him. Warm hands start to caress him, tenderly stroking his body, warm wet on this cock. “My lovely boy, why do you do this to yourself, when I will love you and keep you forever? Just say the word, and I will take you away.” What’s the word? I forgot the word, Please, tell me! I want you to keep me forever! Take me home please…I want to be your lovely boy! Please! Please!

            “Please!” Taka sits up in bed, “Taka? What’s wrong?” Sato is startled awake by Taka’s shouting. “Please…” Taka is crying, “Baby, what is it?” Taka appears to still be asleep, so Sato lies Taka down, drawing the blanket up and holds his boy. The remainder of the night, Taka is restless, small whimpering cries that hurt Sato. He holds his boy, whispering soothing sounds as he tries to protect Taka from whatever is haunting the boy he loves.

 

“Taka, are you sure? That’s at least two nights that I know of. Are you sure you don’t want to talk to Koichi’s therapist?” Taka looked like hell the next morning and Sato was growing concerned.

            “No, I think it’s just stress, once I get all of the new employees trained, I won’t be doing twelve-hour shifts. I’m fine, please don’t worry too much.” Taka hugged Sato, kissing his worried partner.

            “Okay, but if this continues to be a problem, after all the training is done, you’re going to the doctor!” Sato hugged and kissed Taka and left for the studio, leaving Taka with a few hours until he had to be at work.

 

            The Mucc tour has been confirmed. 6 weeks, will be leaving in 3 weeks. Just wanted to let you know, see you tonight.

 

~~

            Taka wasn’t happy about the length of the upcoming Mucc tour. “Babe, six weeks is better than eight weeks, right?” Sato was trying to reason with Taka, who was sulking on the couch being childish.

            “Why can’t I go? Koichi’s going! Why can’t you just pay for me?” If he leaves, it’s not going to be good, I can’t be by myself.

            “Taka, if we weren’t going to America, you probably would be coming. You have work, you’re a manger now, with new people that need training. You really can’t just run off.”  Sato was confused by Taka’s attitude. “I’ve already explained, most of the actual tour is boring travel. Koichi will be working, it’s not going to be a traveling party by any stretch.”

            “Fine! Guess I’ll just stay here and work.” Taka got up and stomped out of the room. “What the hell was that all about?” Sato turned back to his computer.

            Taka pretended to be asleep when Sato came to bed that night, and he didn’t respond when Sato kissed him. As he lay in the dark, his mind churning in confusion, he knew that leaving him alone was dangerous. He was scared…he was having the dreams every night, the voice, the warm hands, the wet mouth, he was the lovely boy. The voice said he wanted Taka…the word…he had to find the word, but would he remember it in his dream? As sleep claimed him, he prayed for a dream free slumber, away from the voice.

           

            “I need to do some shopping; would you like to come with me? I need help finding some travel clothes.” Sato wanted to spend as much time with Taka as he could, before leaving on tour. “Sure, can we get Genki Sushi for lunch?” Taka needed the distraction, a day of shopping and lunch sounded perfect.

            “Genki Sushi?” Sato smiled, they had eaten at Genki on their first date. “Okay, let’s go, shopping first!” Sato wanted to treat this outing as a date, to draw away from the effects of the recent dreams that had been occurring. There was something, something black, lurking behind his lover, but as hard as he tried, he could never truly see it. It was a small black mass, that was trying to swallow Taka. It felt like the past, Sato sensed it, and it was trying very hard to take Taka away from him.

 

            “Oh God no! Not those! I’d be embarrassed to be seen with you!” Taka was rolling his eyes, Sato thought he looked good.

            “Pfft! You’re so fashionable, what should I be wearing? You pick something.” Taka sighed, “Okay, wait here.” He ran off, leaving Sato standing in the dressing room. Taka retuned with an armful of clothes. When Sato walked out of the dressing room, he started to say something, looking at Taka he stopped. “Pet? What’s wrong?” he kneeled down in front of Taka. “Taka, why are you crying?”

            “What? Oh…um…I’m sorry.” Wiping his eyes, “I just had a pretty serious flashback…” Sato was confused.  “Uh…when I took Koichi shopping for clothes for the second live, you know, when I um, kissed him in the dressing room.” Sato was holding Taka’s hand. He remembered that night all too well.

            “Fuck this. Let’s go get lunch. I can do this later.” Sato changed and the two men left the store.

            Sitting at Genki Sushi, Sato tried to lighten the mood. “Do you remember what we did, when we were here on our date?” Taka shook his head, “No, why?” Sato reached in his pocket and pulled out one of Miya’s guitar picks. As the conveyor belt of food went by, Sato dropped the pick on an empty plate, Taka covering his mouth, laughing. They waited…hearing laughter from the cooks, Taka and Sato hi-fived each other and laughed.

            “Remember the waitress? No sense of humor at all.”

As they were leaving, one of the kitchen staff, came out and stopped Sato. “Thanks for the pick! I’m a huge fan and try to go to all of your lives! Arigato!” Sato signed an autograph and they went on their way.

            “That was fun!” Sato had his arm around Taka’s waist. “Do you want to do something else, or go home?” Taka stopped, “Can we go home, please?” Taka had a sly smile, “Um…yes we can” Sato pulled Taka into a brief heated kiss.         

            Sato drove a little faster than he should have, but considering Taka’s mood had been running hot and cold lately, he didn’t want to miss out on the chance to make love to his boy. Pulling into the driveway, Sato leaned over and cupped Taka’s face, kissing him, “Now…I want you now!” Taka whined. Racing up the stairs, Sato opened the door, as soon as they were in, he slammed it shut. Pushing Taka against the wall, grinding against him “Fuck…I need this…I need you! You’re so fucking sexy right now.” Sato aggressively kissed Taka, biting his lower lip, moaning. Sato grabbed Taka by the wrist, dragging him through the flat, into the bedroom, flinging him on the bed. Taka looked at Sato, licking his lips, he started to rub his crotch.

            “Do not touch yourself.” Sato growled. Taka stopped immediately. Sato stripped, standing in front of Taka, slowly stroking his half hard cock, never taking his eyes off Taka.      

            “Please…” whispered Taka. “You want me to touch you?” Taka nodded.

            “Strip for me slowly.” Sato commanded in a low sexy voice. Taka stood on the bed, knowing exactly how Sato liked him to strip. The shirt first, Taka slid his hand under his shirt, rubbing a nipple, followed by the other hand, pushing the shirt higher. He runs his hand over his navel, never looking away from Sato, pure sex shinning in his eyes.

            Sato is standing in front of Taka, his cock hard. Suddenly he stops, grabbing Taka “Fuck, I can’t play…I need you now!” Pushing Taka down, and straddling him, Sato quickly unbuttons Taka’s pants, almost ripping then off. Taka was breathing hard, he couldn’t remember the last time they had not played before sex.

            “Fuck! I just…Fuck!” Grabbing lube from the night table, Sato lubes up Taka’s add and his own cock. Sato placed the tip at the entrance, and pushed. No prep, no foreplay, just fuck. Taka moaned, it was tight, it hurt, but this is what he needed…now! Fast and hard, “Just fuck me please!” Sato didn’t hesitate, he just started moving.

            “Baby…fuck…I need…” Sato was begging his boy, “Please…Taka!” It was almost a drunken fumble fuck, both panting, moving not for the other, but moving for their own pleasure, their own release. Sato was slamming into Taka at a frantic, frenzied pace, moaning and gasping. Taka was raising his hips at every stroke, hand pumping his own cock, racing toward orgasm.

            There were no cries of passion, no utterances of love, just a few short words of need and the sounds of the physical act. Even at climax, nothing was said, it was just over. Sato rolled off of Taka, still breathing hard. After a few minutes he got up to get a wet cloth, cleaning them both, then throwing it back into the bathroom. Sato pulled the blanket up, pulls Taka into his arms and is lost to sleep in seconds.

            Taka is wide awake, in a state of what can only be described as shock. What was that? What the hell just happened?

Chapter Text

“Get out of my bed! Get out of my house! Get out of my life!” He’s being pushed. Sato is pushing him. Why? What have I done? Please tell me! It’s cold, winter? Snow? Wait! I need a jacket! Please give me a jacket.

            “Get out of my house, Get out of my life. The door slams and locks. Wait! Why? You said you’d keep me forever!

            “Taka, you lied to him. Koichi sitting on the bed. You lied to Sato. You love me, you told me you loved me”. Koichi gets up and opens the door. Get out of my life. But Kou! You said we’d always be there for each other. No matter what! The door slams and locks.

            “Oh, my lovely boy, come here. It’s warm. His hands are on Taka’s bare skin, warm hands. Petting his hair, rubbing his back, he feels safe.

            They lied to you Taka, they never really loved you, not the way I love you. Perfect love, that’s what we have my lovely boy, so sweet, so tender, So easy!

            So Easy? What?

            All it takes is a few kind words, warm hands and a wet mouth. It’s so easy. You will love me, you will obey me and in return, I will keep you forever. I will not share you with anyone, I just need you to say the word. The word that will bind you to me forever. If you will not say the word, you are nothing but a

                                            Worthless Piece of Shit.

~~

            Another morning of waking up, feeling hung over. Taka felt drained, the dreams are now a nightly occurrence, all with the same outcome. Sliding his hand over, the bed was cold, another morning he missed with Sato. “Might as well get used to it.” Taka knew that a six- week tour, meant fifty or more days of going to bed and waking up alone. Knowing that another twelve- hour day at the HBG was in front of him. Taka got up and started his morning routine. Entering the bathroom, he found a note from Sato,

                        “Sorry I missed you, I’ll see you when you get home, love you.”

            Taka smiled, he loved how Sato always left him notes, whenever they didn’t see each other. Sato being on tour, meant no more cute notes for six weeks. “It’s going to suck.”

           

            “So, did Kyo call you, Uta?” Uta and Taka were opening the HBG together. “Yah, he did.” Uta was blushing a deep red. “We talked for almost an hour last night.”

            “Damn! I don’t I’ve spoken to Kyo for that long the entire time I’ve known him.” Taka was surprised.

            “Kyo’s interesting. He’s not scary, at least not to me. He’s sweet and funny, I like him.” Uta’s eyes were bright when he talked about Kyo.

            The two men went through the opening routine, chatting about Kyo, until Miku, one of the hires showed up. Taka was surprised on Miku’s appearance, total VK!

            “Hi, what do you want me to start with?” Taka immediately liked the energetic young man. “Well, let’s see.” Taka wanted to take advantage of Miku’s personality. “I’ll put you on the register while Uta and I make drinks.”

            Miku was bright and sharp and within an hour, Taka was able to leave the counter. Miku and Uta were a good fit, Miku learning everything quickly.

 

            The day went buy quicker than normal for Taka, his mind totally focused on work and nothing else. Miku was already making drinks as well as running the counter, only asking for help when it got busy. Sending Uta home, Taka waited for the other new hire, Kanon, to arrive. Taka had not met this new hire and was hoping for another good fit.

            Taka was in the office when Kanon arrived. The young man knocked on the door, “Hi, come on in, give me one second.” Taka was just finishing up an order. “Hi, I’m Tak…” the color drained from Taka’s face, his mouth hanging open. “Um…hi, I’m Taka.” He couldn’t believe who he was looking at.

            “Hello, I’m Kanon, nice to meet you, Taka.” Kannon said quietly. The young man standing before Taka…had black and blue hair, the same as the boy in his dreams. “Oh! Hey, sorry, let’s get you up front.” Taka tried not to stare, tried hard not to scream. Introducing Kanon to Miku, who took an instant liking to Kanon, the two appeared to work together well. Leaving the two young men, Taka returned to his office, trying to piece together the connections that were impossible.

            It had been another brutal twelve-hour shift, and Taka was dead tired, all he could manage to do was change into sleep pants and curl up against Sato, with nothing else to think of but sleep.

 

~~

 

            Taka woke to the sound of Sato, on the phone. Padding into the living room, Taka curled up on the couch, next to his lover. “I’ll call you back later.” Taka was leaning against Sato, needed to be held. “I’m sorry I wasn’t awake when you got home last night. Rough night?” Sato had pulled Taka into his arms.

            “Two of the new hires stared yesterday, Miku, I don’t even need to train, he picked up everything fast, and Kanon, he’s a little quieter, but he’ll be fine by the weekend.” Taka did not mention the dream and Kanon.

            “How do you feel about going out to dinner tonight with Koichi and Tatsu? I know you don’t work and it’s been awhile since we’ve all gone out together.” Taka sat up quickly, “Yes! Where would we go?” Sato handed Taka the phone, “It’s up to you and Koichi, you two choose.” Taka dialed.

            “Kou! So where do you want to go? Hmm, that’s okay, but let’s do something different. Oh! Wow! I’ve never eaten there before, okay. See you in a while.”

            “Well, where are we going?” Sato smiled, loving how excited Taka was. “Mos Burger, in Shinjuku!” Taka had heard of the American style restaurant, but had never eaten there.

            “Hmm, burgers? Sounds good to me!” Sato had wanted to go someplace other than the restaurant, a place where more often than not, you ran into someone you knew, sometimes with some negative results.

            Taka was excited, maybe a little too much. He had not seen Koichi in weeks, due to his current schedule at the HBG, and Koichi’s work for DCR. “Kou!” Taka hugged his best friend tightly, as they met at the restaurant. “I’ve missed you!” whispered Taka, “I’ve missed you too.” Koichi replied. Taka and Koichi were sitting next to each other, talking about the new hires at the HBG, Tatsu and Sato were discussing the upcoming tour.

            “So, six weeks instead of eight? How many lives is that?” Sato wanted specifics for Taka. Koichi took out his phone, “um, 18 lives…” Taka groaned, “You’re going to be too tired to even call me!” he slumped back into the booth. “Pet, I will text you every day, call when I can, video chat when I can.” Sato felt bad about leaving Taka behind, but it couldn’t be helped. Dinner had arrived for the group, and another round of beer, and the talk of the tour disappeared.

            “Gods! These are amazing!” Taka was chowing down. “Are the burgers always this good in America?” Tatsu muffled, “Only In N Out Burgers, and those are only in California.”

            The group was enjoying another beer, when Sato nudged Tatsu, “Well, should we?” teased Tatsu. “We could make them wait…torture them, demand sex first?” Sato smirked.

            “Wait for what? What are you two hiding from us?” Koichi narrowed his eyes at Tatsu.

            “We know how hard you both have been working lately,” started Tatsu.   

            “And I feel rotten that I have to leave you.” Sato smiled sadly.

            “Close your eyes…no peeking.” Tatsu and Sato both put envelopes in front of their boys.

            “Okay, go ahead.” Taka and Koichi opened their envelopes.

                                                “OH MY GOD!”

                                                “BUCK TICK!”      

            The two friends squealed like girls. “Where? I don’t remember hearing about anything coming up for them.” Koichi was surprised, he normally knew ahead of the general public, when concerts were going to be announced. Taka was speechless.

            “Acchan called me, Buck Tick is doing a small benefit concert, for a private charity. He asked if we would contribute and come to the show.” Explained Tatsu “So we gave them a contribution, and got tickets. It’s a good cause, and just a little gift for you and Taka.”

            Taka and Koichi looked at each other and started to fan boy over Buck Tick, making Tatsu and Sato roll their eyes.

            “There’s a pre-show reception and an after party, unless you’re not interested,” Sato teased. Taka threw a French fry at Sato, “Of course we’re interested!”  The next twenty minutes was consumed by Taka and Koichi’s discussion on what to wear.

            “Has to be fancy, it’s a benefit.” Taka was already picturing what he would wear.

            “Shopping trip!” Koichi laughed.

            “Oh, dear god, please…I don’t want to go shopping, just pick something out for me, please.” Groaned Tatsu.

            The two couples finally called it a night, and left for home. Sato noticed Taka seemed quiet. “Taka, talk to me…what’s wrong?” Taka hesitated.

            “Um, I hope, that um, Sakurai-san,” How do I say this? “I’m worried he might flirt with me, like he’s done in the past.” Sato nodded. “He knows we’re engaged now, he hasn’t done anything since Tatsu spoke with him.” Stopping at a light, Sato leaned over to kiss Taka, “He knows that you belong to me, he knows you love me. Acchan has enough class to respect that.”

            Taka was quiet the rest of the drive. Arriving at home, they locked up the flat and went to bed. Taka spooned Sato, wanting to be as close as he could, breathing in his lover’s scent, hoping to calm his over active mind.

 

~~

 

            Arriving at the venue, Taka was relieved to see more of the music industry types, than the upscale fashion crowd. Moving into the venue, Tatsu and Sato, holding their boy’s hands, mingled with the crowd.

            “Tatsu, Sato! I’m so pleased you came.” Sakurai had spotted the couples and greeted them. “Acchan, of course we came, Koichi and Taka would have killed us if we didn’t.” Tatsu had his hand on Sakurai’s shoulder. “Koichi, Taka, so glad you could come. So far, so good.

            “Sato, do you have a date yet for the wedding?” Sato waved his hand, “We don’t have anything pinned down yet.” Taka’s grip on Sato’s hand tightened.

            “Maybe that’s what you need to do, Sato-san. Pin Taka-kun down!” Sato laughed, squeezing Taka’s hand. Taka is embarrassed, but his cock twitches at the thought of Sakurai pinning him down.

            “Enjoy the show!” Sakurai moves towards the state.

            “Babe, are you okay?” Sato feels Taka shaking a bit. “Yes, I’m fine. I know he’s just being Sakurai.” Taka smiles for Sato, then leans in for a quick kiss.

            Koichi noticed the exchange between Sato and Sakurai, and the effect it had on Taka. That was weird.

            Tatsu and Sato lead their lovers closer to the stage, just as the lights go down. Without even breathing, Taka gazes upon the man that torments his soul. The opening bass riff for Dress starts. Thankfully Taka has dropped Sato’s hand, as he starts to tremble. Sakurai is staring at Taka, he’s sure of it. Taka looks away, glancing at the others, looking back at the stage, Sakurai is still staring. Taka can’t breathe, he feels light headed, blood pounding in his ears. Side glances at Sato, he’s starting at the stage. Koichi and Tatsu are holding each other. He chances it, looking back up, the dark gaze of Sakurai is there, it never changed.

            Please…stop. Don’t look at me…I don’t want you.

            The song is over, the band slides right into the next song, Sakurai is no longer staring at Taka, he doesn’t need to, he achieved what he had set out to do, he captured the heart, leaving a bloody trail of damage that was to follow. Sakurai didn’t care, he was never denied.

            Taka regained his composure by the end of the concert, somewhat able to enjoy the other songs. “Having fun?” Taka faked it for Sato. “Yes! Sakurai is amazing!” Sato was relieved to see Taka was no longer worried. There was to be a small after party, for a select group of attendees, mostly people who made large donations to the charity, with some industry people including the two couples.

            The after part was moved to the large backstage area, in a reception room. Food and drink were laid out on tables, and there were plenty of places to sit and chat. Sato and Tatsu had brought drinks for Taka and Koichi. Taka felt slightly more out of place than usual, as now that Koichi worked for DCR, he had met more of the industry people, so it was much easier for him to jump into a conversation.

            Standing next to Sato, Taka was jolted when Sakurai touched his shoulder, “Did you enjoy the show?” Sato shook hands with Sakurai, “Acchan, amazing as always! I was surprised when you opened with Dress, not usually an opening song for you.” The second Taka heard the word ‘Dress’, his breath caught.          

            “We like to change the set list.” Sakurai had his hand on Taka’s lower back, “You never want to predictable.” Sakurai removes his hand, Taka feels the spot burning.

            “Acchan!” Tatsu and Koichi return from the bar, Koichi has brought a drink for Taka. “Are you okay? You look a little flushed.” Koichi whispered to Taka. “It’s a little warm in here, I’m good though, thanks.”

            “Is Tatsu behaving himself? There are stories I could tell!” Bending down a little to talk to Koichi, Sakurai leans on Taka’s arm, giving it a light squeeze. “I’m sure there are plenty of stories out there, I’d love to hear some, maybe after we get back from tour?” Koichi was smiling not noticing Taka.

            “You’re going on tour with Mucc?” Sakurai seemed surprised. “Acchan, Koichi works for DCR now, he’s in marketing.” Tatsu said with more than a little pride.

            “Taka-kun, will you be joining Sato on tour?” Sakurai already knew the answer. Taka was shaking inside. “No, I’m the manager of the High Ball Garden at Tokyo Tower, so I have to stay home this time.” Taka knew, he had just sealed his fate.
            “Oh, that’s too bad, but I’m sure you’ll be busy.” Sakurai talked with the group awhile longer, and then excused himself and as he moved away, his hand firmly brushed against Taka’s ass, causing Taka to jump ever so slightly, the touch sending small shocks straight to his cock.

            As the party went on, Sato was speaking to other guests that Taka didn’t know, Tatsu and Koichi were at a table with someone, talking tour dates.
            “I’ll be right back, I want to get another drink.” Taka whispered in Sato’s ear. “Okay, I’ll be right here.” Taka walked to the bar, got his drink and started back towards Sato. Sato’s now speaking with Toll, not really ignoring Taka, but not speaking to him.

            “It’s a shame you can’t go with Sato,” A voice purrs in Taka’s ear. A hand is on Taka’s ass, and then it’s gone again. Taka’s ass is buzzing with heat from the touch. Taka see’s Sato is still talking to Toll, Koichi and Tatsu are with Hide and Yutaka. Taka goes to the bar, gets another drink, as he turns, Sakurai is right there in front of him, wearing a wicked grin.

            “What will you do with your time, Taka-kun?” Taka can’t move, he doesn’t want to move. Then it’s there, for a brief few seconds, there is pressure, heat and the white noise in his ears. Sakurai brushes his hand against Taka’s crotch, a long slow stroke across his cloth covered cock, a burning trail left behind.

            Taka steps back, “Um…I…” He turns and walks away. What the fuck? He’s in the bathroom, sliding his pants down, his cock throbbing painfully. Wrapping a hand around the ridged length, he starts stroking. It takes but a minute to flood his fist. Taka has hot tears streaming down his face. What am I doing? He cleans hand with toilet paper, as he opens the stall door, he is shoved backwards.

            “Did I do this to you, Taka-kun?” Sakurai takes Taka’s arms, holding them down. “Do not move.” Taka freezes, Sakurai pulls Taka to him. “Oh, such a lovely boy, you are beautifully delicious.”

            “Lov…lovely boy?” Taka is stunned. Sakurai leans in, flicking his tongue across Taka’s lips, Taka moans, letting Sakurai’s tongue in, leaning hard into the kiss. Sakurai’s hand is now reaching down the front of Taka’s pants, stroking, kneading.

            “Oh, my lovely boy, you feel so hot, I want you Taka, for my very own.” Sakurai how has Taka locked into a full embrace, ravaging his mouth, hand wrapped around Taka’s heat, Taka is close to just saying….

            “No! I can’t! I love Sato! Please, leave me alone!” Taka pushes Sakurai away and leaves the bathroom. I need to find Sato, I need to love him more, I can’t…

            Making sure everything is in place, Taka returns to Sato’s side, “Hey, where were you?” Sato slides his arm around Taka’s waist. “Bathroom, the beer is going right through me tonight!” Taka then kissed Sato on the check.

            For the rest of the evening, Taka is glued to Sato, never leaving his side. When it came time to leave, the two couples said their good byes and thank you’s to Sakurai and the charity committee members.  Sakurai showed no emotion towards Taka, as Taka said nothing to him.

            In what Taka felt was a need to purge his sin, he enticed Sato into a beautiful scene, putting what he felt was his guilt, into pleasure for his lover.

            “Babe, that was amazing, you’re so fucking beautiful, I’m so lucky to have you” Sato had his beautiful boy in his arms, Taka holding on as to keep everything else out.

           

~~

            “I won’t be able to call much, but I’ll try to text you as much as I can. Remember, depending on where you are in America, the time difference is about sixteen hours between there and home.” Sato and Taka were lying in bed, enjoying some major pillow talk. Sato was attempting to reassure Taka, who was beginning to become anxious.

            “That much of a time difference? So, you maybe will be calling in the middle of the night here?” Taka had not realized the vast time difference.  “If I call, and you’re asleep, I’ll leave you a voice mail, but I think texting will be easier.” Taka was becoming more anxious with every day as the departure date loomed. Sato sit up on his elbow, leaning in to kiss Taka.

            “You’re going to be so busy with work. Six weeks will fly by quickly.” Kissing Taka on the nose, Sato got out of bed, heading for a shower. “Might fly by for you…” muttered Taka. Since the Sakurai incident, Taka had put forth a greater effort into his physical relationship with Sato, enticing his lover daily, sometimes more than just once a day, anything to help erase any feelings that may surface towards Sakurai Atsushi. Thankfully, Sakurai had made no efforts in contacting Taka, but he had the knowledge that soon, Taka would be alone for six weeks.

            “Are you sure? March of next year?” Sato had been pleasantly surprised when Taka wanted to set a date for their wedding. “Yes, I’m sure! We could do it even earlier, but right now, I think March, when the cherry blossoms have bloomed would be perfect.” Taka wanted this, marriage to Sato would keep him safe, safe from Die and most importantly, safe from Sakurai.

            “Pet, that’s perfect! And we can always change the date if we want, I’d love to get married sooner, but March is fine with me.” Sato pulled Taka into a warm, safe embrace, kissing his boy properly. They spent the rest of that day in bed, making love and planning a wedding.

            The next morning, Taka tearfully said good-bye to Sato. Fuck, I hope I can do this!

 

 

          

Chapter Text

“Hi, Miku? It’s Taka, can you come in an hour early please? Yah, it’s been crazy here. Yes? Oh good! Thank you Miku.”

 

            Taka hated calling anyone in early, but the HBG had been slammed since they opened at noon. A sunny Saturday, the cherry blossoms in bloom, had brought both tourists and locals out and about. “Hey guys, Miku is coming in an hour early, we should be okay until then, with me up here.” Taka had stepped into help at the counter, making drinks, cleaning the patio area and speaking with customers. Sato had only been gone for two days, and Taka felt confident that everything would go well, as long as he kept busy. But tonight, he wasn’t closing the HBG, Aki and Kanon were the nights closing crew. With just Eddy for company, he didn’t want to think about being alone.

            Miku had arrived and took over from Taka at the counter, giving Taka time to work in the office.

            “Hey Pet, just a quick I love you before Bed. Hope everything is good, I love you.”

            The text bolstered Taka’s confidence on being able to handle six weeks alone. Per the norm for Taka, a bump was just ahead.

~~

            A pattern had emerged for Taka, a self -destructive cycle, in which loneliness and alcohol made for dangerous bedfellows. With Sato not able to text at times when Taka could respond, no real- time texts, depression sunk Taka lower than he had been in years. The negative thoughts had returned; Sato is fucking groupies, he’s too busy to text, Sato is having too much fun, Sato wanted to get away from Taka. These thoughts haunted Taka whenever he was alone. As a distraction, Taka would work long hours and drink when he got home. His drinking seemed to be increasing every day, to the point of waking up hung over. Aki was the first to notice, he had experienced a drunk, hung over Taka in the past. Finally, after the third hangover, he got the courage to speak.

            “Taka? Is there anything I can do to help? I can talk to the boss if you need some time off.” Aki was concerned enough to go to the boss.

            “Aki, thanks. I appreciate it. It won’t be an issue. I promise.” Taka blew it off. Aki didn’t believe Taka, but granted him his privacy.

            Taka went home that night, thinking about what Aki had asked. Am I really this pathetic? “Yes, I really am this pathetic.” Grabbing another beer, he laughed. “Why don’t people ever see it? I do.”

            Sitting on the couch, beer in hand, Taka grabs his lap top, his hand over riding his brain and typing in ‘Buck Tick’. “Why do you want me? You can have anyone…why me?” Finishing his beer, he grabs two more. More videos, difference version of the same damned Sakurai. Taka is drunk and angry. Back to the fridge for his…how many have I had? Not enough!

            Vision after vision, the constant voice, the erotic moves, the haunting eyes, Sakurai Atsushi. Taka’s cock twitches, growing harder with every video. Taka sheds his pants, rubbing his increasing length through his boxers. “Fuck…mmm…” He feels Sakurai’s lips on his, the heat of his hand shoved down the front of his pants. The words that night;

                                    “I want you Taka, for my very own.”

            Taka’s hand moves quickly over his cock, “Yes…Acchan…” he whispers. Closing his eye’s, he can see, and feel Sakurai in front of him. “I want you…please Acchan…I’m your lovely boy.” Moaning, Taka’s fantasy pushes him over the edge, cumming in his hand. Looking down, a tear falls on his cum covered hand. “Why am I doing this? I have Sato! Why?” Taka puts his head back and sobs, “I am a worthless piece of shit! He was right, nobody really wants me. They all just feel sorry for me. They’ll all leave me in the end.” Still crying, Taka cleans himself up and crawls into bed. Eddy, sensing something is wrong, tries to fit under Taka’s chin, but is happy just being near his boy.

 

~~

            The next morning, the sound of an incoming text message, wakes Taka.

            “Hi, just getting ready for sound check, I hope I didn’t wake you up.”

 

            Do I text back? Maybe I should.

            “HI! How’s the tour going? I miss you so much!”

            Have to make sure I sound…

            “Tour is going great, crowds have been amazing, I miss you too

            Now what? Sato fixed that question.

            “My turn! I’ll text you soon, I love you!”

 

Taka sighed, “I love you too.” Laying back down, he felt a heaviness in his chest. Guilt? Sorrow? Longing? Taka wasn’t sure. Checking the time, he had two hours before work. He contemplated rolling over and going back to sleep, that was until Eddy jumped on the bed and sat on Taka’s chest. “Really Eddy? Fine. I’ll get up.” Pushing Eddy off, Taka rose to start his day.

 

            Aki was waiting for Taka, “Aki, you’re early. Everything okay?” Opening the back door, they went in. “Yah, I just caught an early train.” Aki did catch an early train, he wanted to see if Taka was hung over before they opened.

            “Great! Let’s open up.” Well, he seems good, should I ask?

            “You must have spoken to Sato, I can always tell. Your smile is brighter.” Aki tried to sound upbeat and positive.  “Yep, I final caught a text at the right time. They were doing sound checks.” Taka felt better, in spite of everything from the night before.

            The two men chatted as they readied to open. Mao was the mid shift and Kanon was the closer. Everything went smoothly the entire day, which left Taka in one of the best moods he’d had since Sato left on tour. Before leaving for the day, he reminded everyone that the next day, he was not working.

            Taka was feeling confident. His job was going well, he had been able to talk to Sato, albeit by text and only a few words. Stopping on the way home, Taka bought a nice steak and all the extra’s, stopping on the way to the check out, he grabbed more beer.

            “Tadaima, Eddy” Stepping out of his shoes, Taka goes to the kitchen and drops off the bags, making sure to put the meat in the fridge away from Eddy.

            Five more weeks, Taka said to himself after he stepped out of the shower. “We can do this, right Eddy?” The cat was sitting on the bathroom counter. “Let’s go eat!” Pulling on a pair of sleep pants, Taka kept up a one- sided conversation with Eddy, as he prepared dinner.

            “Medium rare, Eddy? I agree, it’s healthier than cooking it to death. Wine or beer? Um, wine with dinner, beer for dessert?” With the tv on, Taka felt less alone, he needed the noise to kill the hole where Sato should be.

            “Idatkimiasu” It wasn’t until half way through his meal, that Taka started to falter. There was no Sato, no comfort zone sitting across from him. Staring at the empty seat, Taka found the tears that were lurking. He kept eating, bite to bite, his mind racing through the time line of his and Sato’s relationship. The first time Sato kissed him, the problems with Koichi, their first Christmas, the first time Sato said “I love you.” And the terrifying events with Morrie.

            Taka dropped his fork, burying his face in his hands. Raising his head, he couldn’t see clearly, his tears blurring his vision and his heart. Leaning back in his chair, he sobbed, “Why do you have to be gone? I need you so much right now! Sato, I’m scared!” pushing away from the table, Taka mechanically cleans his kitchen, still sobbing.

            Standing in his kitchen, Taka feels lost, staring at the counter, waiting for Sato to put his arms around his waist. “He’s not here,” he sighs. Deciding that drinking until he passes out, is the solution to numbing the pain of loneliness. One after another, Taka finishes the beer within an hour. Starting on the wine, Taka drinks it straight from the bottle, ashamed that this is the way he copes with his problems.

            Eddy jumps into Taka’s lap, putting a foot on his boy’s chest. “Okay Ed, I’m done, let’s go to bed.” Weaving down the hall to the bedroom, Taka climbs into bed. Although Eddy is full grown, he attempts to cuddle under Taka’s chin, as if he were still small. Taka pulls Eddy in, as the darkness closes around them both.

 

~~

            Sitting in the office of the HBG, Taka felt more tired than he had in months. It was only the second week of the Mucc tour, which left Taka with an entire month yet, to battle with his depression and loneliness. With the dangerous drinking until he passed out, Taka was not looking forward to his weekend.

            “Aki, I’m leaving, if anything serious comes up, give me a call.” Taka left, leaving a worried Aki behind. Aki hated seeing Taka so miserable, coming to work hung over and looking unhealthy. Taka was his boss, but also a friend, and Aki felt hopeless on how to help Taka.

 

~~

            “Now what?” Taka had finished cleaning the flat, but was now faced with the difficult evening hours of being alone. Grabbing his laptop, Taka spent an hour looking at different sites and videos. “Hmm,” A site for a nightclub popped up. “Fetish Club”. Opening the page, Taka scrolled through the pictures, a short description on what music they played and the location was close by. “Better than sitting at home alone.”

                        Based on the pictures, Taka’s choice of clothes was subtle in design. Black skinnies, long black tank top, and a black leather jacket that Sato had bought him for Christmas. A little makeup and his hair, half tied back. Who am I dressing for? Walking to the station, he ignored his feelings of guilt, by that Sato was surrounded by people every day. Why should be alone?

            Arriving at the club, Taka was a little anxious, it had been years since he’d been to a club alone. Buying a drink, Taka found a nice spot against a wall, where he could observe the crowd. The dance floor was crowded and it seemed the DJ preferred dark gothic music. Taka had to giggle when a Mucc song was played, if they only knew who was there.

            Taka noticed that the atmosphere was changing, people were staring openly at him, both men and women. Maybe their regulars? A rather tall woman, with raven hair, stood in front of him. “You’re being allowed out? On your own?” she asked Taka. “Excuse me?” Taka hand clue to what she meant. “Where is your owner? Unless…” She moved closer to Taka, reaching out, she put a long black finger nail under Taka’s chin, lifting it slightly. “Hmm…I’ll definitely watch you tonight, you are my type, very fresh.”  The woman walked away. That was weird, why did she assume

            Waiting for his drink, someone behind him leaned over his shoulder, Taka moved to make room for the person. “Do Not Move.” A man was speaking. Suddenly, there was a hand on his ass, rubbing and massaging. Taka froze, “Um…” was all he could say, until the man started to reach around Taka, going for his crotch. “No!” Taka growled, pushing the many away. “Boy, you wear no collar, what did you expect?” The man walked away.  No Collar?

            Taka got another drink and resumed his place against the wall. Now he realized that people were looking at him as they walked by, leering at him, some even licking their lips, as they looked at him. The woman with the raven hair, approached him again.

            “Boy, I’d like to speak to you further.” She handed Taka a card. “If you’re interested in a contract, call me. She turned and walked away. Looking at the card, he didn’t notice another person had stopped and was looking at him, until he heard his name, “Taka?” He looked up into the eyes of Sakurai Atsushi.

            “What the HELL are you doing at this club?” Sakurai was pissed, “ANSWER ME!” he growled.

            “None of your business,” snapped Taka.

            “Oh, it IS my business.” Grabbing Taka by the forearm, Sakurai drags Taka out of the club, walking them to his car. “GET IN!” he snarls. Taka does as he is told.”

            “Answer me…Why are you at this club?” Taka says nothing, just stares out the window.

            “This club is not for virgins, Taka.” Sakurai’s voice was still tense, but no longer angry. Taka still says nothing, not looking at Sakurai. Why the hell is Taka at the Fetish?

            “FINE! If you won’t talk to me here, I’m taking you somewhere you will.” Sakurai starts his car and they drive off.

~~

            Pulling into a private home, Sakurai parks his car. Taka makes no move to leave the car. Sakurai has the passenger door open. “If this is the way you want to behave, we’re doing it this way.” Dragging Taka out of the car, Sakurai first slaps Taka, then picking him up, he throws the boy over his shoulder and enters his house. Throwing Taka down on a couch, Taka immediately tries to stand. Sakurai slaps Taka again.

            “Why the fuck are you slapping me?” Angry tears lurk behind Taka’s eyes.

            “You are behaving like a brat.” Sakurai snapped. Taka tries to leave, Sakurai blocks the door, pushing Taka to the floor. “STAY!’ he points to Taka, who says nothing.

            “You love Sato, yet you seem willing to throw it all way, why?” Taka says nothing. Sakurai pulls Taka up by his collar, shoves him onto a couch.

            “Sit! Don’t move!”

            “Why do you even care? I’ve pushed you away, why are you even bothering?” Sakurai slaps Taka again.

            “Why are you hitting me?”

            “Do not speak until I tell you.” Taka sits with is arms crossed. “Good” Sakurai begins to explain that the Fetish Club is not for virgins or beginners, Taka had no business being there.

            “I’m not…” Sakurai slaps him again. “Do NOT speak.”

            “You are a virgin, a beginner. You are playing a dangerous game.” Sakurai explains the lifestyle and why Taka is a virgin. “You need to stop this, go home and marry Sato, as soon as you can.” Taka’s tears are burning his eyes.

            “How may tines have I slapped you?” Sakurai looks at Taka’s beautiful face, marred by tears.

            “Four” whispers Taka

            “That is four times you disobeyed a direct command. Has Sato ever slapped you?” Taka shook his head.

            “You two are playing, you’re not serious about this. I was wrong to touch you, kiss you or flirt with you. If I thought you were serious about me, serious enough for me to collar you, things might be different.”

            “I’ve already been collard, I know the life of the scene.” Taka mumbled. This surprised Sakurai

            “Explain yourself.”

            Taka gave Sakurai the condensed version of his past. As he listened, Sakurai felt nothing but sorrow for what Taka had gone through, his anger abated and disappeared.

            “Taka-kun, that’s not the norm for us, we do not treat our loves like that.” Sakurai sat quietly for a while, fighting some internal demons, of his own.

            “Are you prepared to be collared again? Do you have, or will you have a contract with Sato.” Taka couldn’t look at Sakurai, he had no answer to his questions.

            “You are engaged to be married, is that what you truly desire?” Sakurai was doubtful.

            “I want someone who will keep me forever, not to throw me away if I do something wrong. But now I have done something wrong and he will throw me away, just like the others.” Taka had his head in his hands.

            This boy, how I want him, he needs to be saved from himself.

            “I will do one last thing before I take you home.” Kneeling down in front of Taka, Sakurai searched the beautiful boys face. Cupping Taka’s face, with both hands, Sakurai’s thumbs running alone the beautiful high cheek bones, Sakurai leaned in to kiss Taka. The kiss was not hurried, nor frenzied, it was soft, smooth and sensual, a kiss that Taka would never forget.

            “If you ever decide you want to come to me, to live with me, to be collared and contracted, just remember that kiss. I do not mistreat my loves, collared or not. I do not share them randomly, I do not throw them away. I treasure them, love them and take precious care of them.  Would I love to take you away from Sato? Do I believe you’d be happier with me? Could I fall in love with you? Yes. But. I would never steal you away, or force you to come with me. You would come to me of your own desire. After tonight, I will no longer flirt, tease, touch or kiss you, again.”

            Taka looked up at Sakurai, “Will you do those things to me now…before you take me home, please?”

            Deep within himself, Sakurai knew he should say no, but this beautiful pale boy was asking. Taking Taka by the hand, Sakurai led him to his bedroom. Lying Taka down on the bed, Sakurai stretched out next to the boy. “I will not make love to you.” Taka nodded.

            Sakurai leaned over to kiss Taka, the same long beautiful kiss as before, but this time he slid his hand under Taka’s shirt. He ran his hand over Taka’s stomach, teasing his navel, sweeping his hand over Taka’s nipples, all the while never breaking the kiss. Taka mewled in Sakurai’s mouth, a sharp intake of breath as a nipple was pinched.

            “You tempt me so, I want to throw out all of my own ethics just to keep you.” Sakurai breathed on Taka’s soft lips.

            “Make no mistake, my lovely boy, I do want you, I’ve wanted you for my very own from the moment I set eyes upon you.” The kisses have dazed Taka.

            “But, you belong to Sato, you are engaged, what we are doing right now is wrong, but I find it impossible to keep from touching you.” Sakurai gently took a small nub in his mouth, rolling it with his tongue, biting gently, just enough to pull a low moan from the boy.

            “I…I want you. I don’t want to leave, I…please…touch me, I can’t” Sakurai started to kiss Taka again, he didn’t want to hear those words, if he did, if Taka said the key word, Sakurai would not refuse.

            Sliding his hand, down across Taka’s stomach, fingering his navel, running his fingertips just under the waist band of Taka’s pants, the heat…

            Taka had his hand in Sakurai’s silky black hair, moaning at his touch. Taka arched his hips, his body moving with heated instinct. Sakurai could not stop himself, it upset him that he has such little control over his emotions and desires, what Taka’s essence could make him do.

            “Please…please, you have to touch me, if you don’t…” Renewing the kissing, Sakurai unbuttoned Taka’s pants, sliding his hand down to fondle Taka’s rigid cock. Taka gasped the moment Sakurai’s hand made contact with his flesh, pushing his hips into the touch.

            “Oh, my lovely boy, you are so deliciously erotic. I love the feel, it fits so nicely in my hand. What am I saying? This is wrong! Sato will never forgive me…fuck I want this boy!

            Taka was moving against Sakurai, mewling tiny sounds of pure pleasure, letting the moment take them both. They didn’t want to think of anything other than what was happening at this moment, how they felt in each other’s hand.

            Taka had shoved his pants off, leaving him naked and hard, Sakurai moaned at the sight of the plane lean body. Stroking Taka’s cock, rubbing his thumb over the head, using the pre-cum to make it shine. Sakurai knew this was dangerous territory, temptation close to over ruling him. Sakurai unbuttoned his pants, guiding Taka’s hand to work is own stiff member.

            “Do not cum until I tell you, that is an order, not a request.” Taka whined Sakurai knew he wasn’t playing fair, but this was a test. “You must make me cum first, then perhaps, we’ll see to your needs.” Taka moved, wanting to take Sakurai in his mouth, but Sakurai pulled him up, “No, my lovely boy, not that way.” Another kiss to make the boy moan.

            “Ah, that’s it my lovely…harder now pretty…mmm, good…. yessss” Pumping his cock into Taka’s fist, the white noise buzzing in his ears, and the hot release, Sakurai’s vision blurred with the orgasm.

            After a few deep breaths, he looked at Taka…

            “Please…it hurts…let me cum, please!” Sakurai smiled, “Of course my lovely, you obeyed me perfectly.” It took all of five strong strokes, before Taka came hard, spilling his seed into Sakurai’s hand.

            Reaching for a towel on the bedside table, Sakurai gently cleaned them. Taka had his eyes closed, but Sakurai knew he was not sleeping.

            “Taka-kun, that was wonderful, thank you.” Taka rolled into Sakurai’s chest, making a small noise. With a sigh, Sakurai puts his arms around the slender boy, kissing the top if his head.

            “What are we to do, my lovely? Do we say good-bye and keep our secret to ourselves? Or do we take the plunge, knowing that there will be causalities?” Sakurai looked down, Taka had fallen asleep. Rearranging blankets, Sakurai covered them both, leaning back to turn of the light, he sighed. “Will things be clear, in the early light of day? Or will we still be shrouded in darkness.” He got no answer.

~~

            It had been two weeks since Taka spent the night with Sakurai. The morning after, Sakurai repeated what he had said, with the intent on solidifying his position. Taka had let Sakurai kiss him, when he had been driven home. “Think it over carefully, if I do not hear from you, I will assume the answer is no. From that point on, I will no longer contact you. That is my promise.” Taka had spent the rest of his weekend in bed, only rising to eat and feed Eddy.

            Sato had only sent one text the entire weekend;

            “Hi Pet, sorry for no texts, everything is going well, just tired and I miss you.

            The text caused Taka to cry, the entire weekend was a long battle with his feelings, with Sato and Sakurai on opposing sides.

           

            “Sato’s coming home in two weeks, right Taka?” Uta was trying to draw a conversation out of Taka. The staff of the HBG, including the owner, were becoming more concerned with Taka’s behavior and mental stability, with each passing day. Taka had recently been coming to work, hung over, or in one instance, still drunk. He would not open up to anyone, with the owner confronting him and expressing major concerns about his ability to be an effective manager, he thought of the entire crew as an extended part of his family, and as such, was in a fatherly mode when speaking to Taka. Encouraging Taka to take time off, in order to sort through his troubles, the owner guaranteed Taka would have a job waiting for him, when he was ready to come back to work. Taka finally agreed to take a week of vacation time, promising to come back in a more stable frame of mind.

~~

            “Hmm…one bedroom, one bathroom, near a station, umm…twenty minutes on the train for work.” Taka was looking at flats, coming to the conclusion during his week off of work, that he needed to move out of Sato’s flat, the sooner the better. There were nine days until the end of the Mucc tour, and he wanted to be in his new flat before Sato came home. He had told no one of his decision, he didn’t need help moving, as he was only taking clothes and a few other items. Most of the flats he was checking out were fully furnished, all he would need would be a new bed.

            “Yus, this is the one, Eddy.” Taka had thought about taking Eddy, and bringing him back when Sato got home, but chose to come to the flat every day to feed the cat. Taka did not want anyone to know where he lived, he was starting over, severing ties with everyone. Of course, he had to inform the owner of the HBG, but his information would be confidential.

 

            I’m better off alone, I’ve done too much damage, hurting too many people. I’m tired. If I live alone, nobody can hurt me.

            For Taka, it was that realization, that cleared his head. It started with Koichi, and it was ending with Sakurai. He no longer wanted to be tied to anyone, he was happier alone. He could drink and not have people judge him, without the stress, he really didn’t need to drink, everything will be better. This is what he told himself, it’s going to be so much better.

            Three days later, Taka was sitting on the couch in his new flat, enjoying a beer and a ramen bowl, in front of the tv. It was a quiet neighborhood, with little traffic noise, and a very small garden so he could enjoy relaxing outside. “Hmm, maybe I’ll get a kitten soon.” Taka admitted to himself that he missed Eddy terribly, although he saw him every day. “It’s not the same Ed, you’re not sleeping with me.”

            Leaving Sato’s flat for the last time, Taka looked back only once, then shut the door. He had left a note, with the key, sitting on the bed.

            “I had to leave, it’s better for all involved, better for you to forget me. I’m sorry I hurt so many of you. Please live happy lives.

                                                T.

 

            Taka felt a sense of relief, however cliché that was, he would no longer have to watch Koichi with Tatsu, no Sakurai, no Sato. Taka had thought about finding a new job, so he wouldn’t be faced with music people coming by, no Die to torment him. This is why he needed a new start.

 

Chapter Text

Taka needed to inform his crew at the HBG about his new life. He called a morning meeting, the day Mucc was coming home.

            “I have something to tell you all, I want you to listen carefully. I have moved into my own flat, I do not want any of you to engage in any extra conversation with regular customers. Uta, I know you and Kyo are close, but this is not a topic that concerns him.” Uta swallowed, nodding at Taka. “This is an extremely personal issue, that I will not go into detail about. My cell phone number is still the same. I just want you to please respect my privacy.”

            Aki and Uta were the first shift, so the others when home. Taka had gone into the office and closed the door. “What the fuck, Aki?” Uta was stunned.

            “This is bad, I don’t like the feeling I’m getting.” Aki was shaking his head.

            “Isn’t Sato coming home today? I mean, does he even know that Taka moved out?” Aki shook his head, he knew Sato loved Taka, so what happened?

            “I don’t know, Uta. But we’d better be prepared for anything.”

~~

            Taka knew Sato’s flight got in later that night, so he left work early enough to grab some groceries and beer at the store, he also grabbed a bottle of vodka. Once he was home, he made himself a nice dinner, had a few beers and turned on the tv. He purposely muted his phone, and left it in his backpack. Out of sight out of mind. He felt comfortable, surprisingly clam, although four beers may have helped. He giggled to himself, “Five beers may make me feel even more comfortable.” Getting up from the couch, Taka picked up his fifth beer. That last beer was the kicker, just enough to put Taka asleep.

~~

            “Tadaima Pet!” Eddy strolled into the genkan, chirping at Sato, “Hello fat boy! I missed you!” Shrugging off his jacket, Sato walked into the living room, “Taka? Hmm, must be at work.” Eddy was screaming for food and Sato obliged him.

            The flat seemed different somehow, but what? Dragging his suitcase into the bedroom, he stopped in front of the bed, reaching down to pick up a piece of paper,

                        “I had to leave, it’s better for all involved, better for you to forget me. I’m sorry I hurt so many of you. Please live happy lives.

  1. T.

            Sato started to shake. Running to the closet, one side was empty, into the bathroom, one side of the cabinet, empty. “Taka!” Sato called, “Nonono!” He looked for Taka’s laptop, it was gone. His books, gone. Everything was gone. “Phone…phone!” Sato was panicking. Dialing Taka’s number, it went straight to voicemail. “TAKA! WHERE ARE YOU! PLEASE PICK UP! PET PLEASE!” He dialed again. “TAKA! WHERE ARE YOU! WHY?” screaming into the phone.

            Sato slumped to the floor, shaking. Where was his boy? His pet? Why did he leave me? Where?

            Getting up, Sato walked to the bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed, head in his hands, leaning over he curled into a ball and cried himself to sleep.

~~

            “Oh fuck! What the hell?” Taka felt like someone had beaten him with a kendo stick. “Never fall asleep on this couch again.” Getting up, Taka spent a few moments stretching his long lean frame. “Hmm, no hangover! Bonus morning!” He went and used the bathroom, liking that there was no elbowing to get to the sink as it was at Sato’s. Walking into the kitchen, he starts pulling out pans. “Hmm, omelet for breakfast!” Grabbing all the ingredients, Taka was humming, and generally loving being on his own. He felt happier than he had in weeks. “Nobody to worry about, just me!”

            Cleaning the kitchen after breakfast, he thinks about checking his phone. “Nah!” It’s just going to be people yelling at me.” Taka opts for a shower.

            Taka’s flat is farther away from Sato’s, so he really isn’t worried too much about running into anyone, when he has to go into town for shopping. Needed some basic household items, Taka walked to the shops. Taka enjoyed a nice lunch at an udon hut, with two beers of course. He checks the time on his phone, also noticing that the light was blinking for messages. “Pfft, like I’m going to listen to you yell at me?” He erases the messages without listening to them, then gathers his shopping bags and heads for home. In a repeat performance of the previous night, dinner, beer, pass out, although this time, he makes it his bed.

 

~~

 

            “Hi, this is Sato, is Taka working today? No? Okay. Thanks.”  Aki shakes his head, as he hung up.

            “Tatsu, um…sorry to call…but Taka’s gone, he moved out. No, I don’t know and his phone goes right to voice mail. I uh, I don’t know what to do. No! You need to relax, I’ll handle this.

 

 

            “He what?” Koichi was not hearing this.

            “Sato said he moved out, was already gone when he got home last night.” Tatsu didn’t know what to think. “Why? Did Sato do or say something? He seemed fine on tour.”

            “I know he was upset that he didn’t get to talk to Taka much, but…” Koichi was at a loss for words.  Tatsu’s phone buzzed.

            “Hey, no. Yah that’s what he said. I didn’t, did you notice? Yah, weird. Okay.”

            “That was Miya, Sato called Shinya, but they’ve been in the studio a lot since we’ve been gone.” Tatsu was confused and concerned. “Kou, call Taka and leave him a voice mail, maybe he’ll pick up.” Kou nodded.

            “Taka, it’s Kou, what’s going on? Please Taka, call me or text me, something so I know you’re okay.”

            “I’m going to call Aki, maybe he knows.

~~

            “He just moved out? Without any reason?” Aki had come to see Koichi and Tatsu.

            “He said it was an extremely personal matter and not to talk about it to the regular customers, oh and he warned Uta, because he and Kyo are kinda dating.”

            This raised Tatsu’s eyebrows, “Uta and Kyo? Seriously?”  Koichi glared at Tatsu, “Sorry.” “Did he give an address?” Aki shook his head, “Not even to the boss.” This was beyond bizarre, Koichi asked Aki a few more questions, then the young man left.

            “Extremely personal, what the hell does that mean?” Tatsu and Koichi were lying in bed, discussing Taka. “I don’t know, what could have happened to Taka that was personal that he wouldn’t tell Sato?” Koichi turned and cuddled up to his husband. “Hold me, please” Tatsu wrapped his arms around his tiny lover, kissing the top of his head. “I’m sorry baby, that you’re having to deal with this. I know you’re tired, I am too. Promise me that tomorrow we can have pajama day? We can still work on the Taka thing, but we both need some rest, okay?” Koichi’s response was a tiny snorting snore. Pulling the blanket up, Tatsu called for Teo, “Teo, bed time.” Teo jumped and found his spot. Tatsu worried about his little family, Taka was part of the family, but his first priority was to Koichi and always would be.

 

            “Yes sir, I understand. As his friends we are all very worried about him. Thank you.”

            “Well, does he know anything?” Tatsu had made Koichi keep his promise, they were having pajama day, but it didn’t keep Koichi from trying to find Taka.

            “I guess Taka has been coming to work really hung over, and at one point, he even showed up mostly drunk, and was sent home by the boss.” Tatsu whistled, “Alcohol and Taka have never been a good combo, we’ve all been witnesses to that.”  Koichi fell back into the pillows, wondering if Taka could be saved, hell if he could even be found.

 

~~Vodka

            “Fuck! Can’t you people stop? Leave me alone already!” Taka deletes seventeen messages from his phone, eight of those were from Sato, begging him to call or text. “Fine!” picking up his phone, he texts Sato, just two words. “Please stop” hitting send, he waits, anticipating a response. Fifteen minutes pass, no response. Taka starts to breathe easier.

More Vodka

            Leaning back on his couch, he replays the events of the night he spent with Sakurai, and how he felt about Sakurai’s request, to be formally collared, with a contract. The tenderness Sakurai had shown, but also the dominance with slapping Taka four times, “I did deserve that.” He muttered.

More Vodka

            Sakurai’s kisses, he had never been kissed like that, not even Sato’s best kiss could compare, but was it because it was Sakurai? No, it was the kiss, the tongue play, the biting, everything. Taka could only remember one other kiss that was as sweet as Sakurai’s. Koichi.

More Vodka

“Kou…why?” He couldn’t think of Koichi without crying, he missed his best friend, but it was better that he didn’t see Taka like this, he would be so disappointed. Taka closed his eyes, he could still see Koichi stretched out naked, under him, licking Kou’s tattoo, the first caress of their kiss.

More Vodka

            Taka can’t stop the tears, not with a tissue, or a towel, not while thinking of Koichi. “Why Kou? We would be happy, you and me. But you had to pick Tatsu, and now you’re the adorable Kou, loved by all and I’m still that worthless piece of shit, that everyone throws away.”

More Vodka

            “There’s no more vodka, I drank it all. Fuck, I’m fucking pathetic.” Taka tries to get off the couch and falls to his knees, instead of trying to get up, he just crawls to his room. Pulling himself up on the bed, he sees his cell phone still on the bed. This is your fault Kou. He dials.

                                    “TAKA! Where are you? Please Tell me!”

                        “Why didn’t you just pick me? None of this would have happened if you would have just loved me!”

                                    “Taka please…tell me where you are, we can talk, Okay?”

            “I’m a worthless piece of shit now. No Sato, No Kou, No Sakurai, no Die, just me”

                                    “Taka please, Taka please! Tell me…Taka! Taka?”

 

            There was no Taka, just a tone, and the sobbing of two heartbroken friends.

                                                One alone in his misery

                                                One alone is his guilt.

 

~~

 

            Tatsu woke with a headache, the morning brightness blinding him. He pulled Koichi in closer, still trying to relieve him of some of the pain from last night’s call with Taka. Koichi moaned in his sleep, he had such a restless night, Tatsu didn’t want to let go, not quite yet. Last night’s drunk dial by Taka, had so badly affected Koichi, he was inconsolable for over an hour, crying tears of guilt, of what ifs, and tears of how to fix Taka.

            Koichi had snapped at Tatsu, when he tried to tell Kou, “It’s not your job to fix Taka.”

Koichi snarled at Tatsu, “Who’s fucking job, is it? He can’t do it alone! SO, WHO’S LEFT TO FUCKING HELP? ME! HE’S MY BEST FRIEND! YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND!”

            At that point, Koichi ran to the bedroom and slammed the door. Tatsu sat alone, in the living room for two hours, with nothing but blank thoughts with sparks of anger and sadness.

            Around 1am, he slipped into the bedroom to check on Kou, finding him curled up with one of Tatsu’s sweat shirts. Carefully sliding into bed, Tatsu spooned Kou, wrapping his arms around him. Throughout the night, Koichi cried out for Taka, and for Tatsu as well. All Tatsu could do is whisper soothing words and hold his lover close.

            Slipping out bed, Tatsu went to the kitchen to start tea, and feed Teo. “What do we do now, Teo?”

 

~~

            Sato had his head in his hands, trying so very hard not to break down.

            “I’m sorry Sato, I tried to get him to tell me where he was. But I’m not even sure he heard me, he was so drunk.” Koichi was crying again.

            Looking up at his friends, Sato smiled, “Kou-kun, it’s not your fault, you tried. He’s in a bad spot, I don’t know why though.” The couple stayed a while longer, Kou letting Sato know that if Taka called again, he would still try to find him.

            “You didn’t tell Sato that Taka brought up Sakurai and Die.” Koichi had his knees drawn up. “Nope, we don’t want a ballistic Sato going after them, if there is truly no reason. Taka was so drunk, I understand what he said about me, we all know that.” The drive home was silent after that.  

            Sato had avoided going to the HBG, he didn’t want to make trouble for the owner, or Taka. He had sat across the street, watching for Taka, but only catching a glimpse of him. He thought about following Taka home, but since he rode the train, there was no easy way to stay hidden. So, Sato waited, patiently, at home with Eddy. Wait for a phone call, or a knock at the door. He waited for his beautiful tall pale boy, “Pet why? Please just call me please” Sato begged every night, lying in the dark.

            “I have to go to the studio for a while, want to come” Tatsu was getting his bag.

            “No, I still have post tour stuff to work on.” Kissing Kou, Tatsu was out the door. Koichi waited about five minutes before grabbing his phone.

            “Hello Detective Aoyama. Yes, the tour went well, thank you. Do you have some times to see me today? Your place or mine? Okay, I’ll see you then.”

            “I was surprised to hear from you, Koichi. Pleasantly surprised, what can I do for you?” “I need to find Taka.” Koichi explained the situation to Aoyama, including the drunk dial.

            “He left Sato?” Aoyama was shocked, Koichi gave him as much info as he could. “I know the owner of the HBG knows the address, but he wouldn’t give it to me.” Aoyama could see how desperate Koichi was. “I’m going to ask you a question, Koichi. Are you in fear for Taka’s life?” As Aoyama was asking, he was nodding his head.

            “U…Yes, I am in fear for Taka’s life.” He giggled.  “I had to make that official, for a ‘welfare check’.” Aoyama got up from his chair, “You’ll hear from me within the next hour, will that work?” Aoyama had become very fond of Koichi and all of his friends. They had spent 18 long months together, during the Morrie attacks, and he would do anything he could help, for these people.

~~

            Koichi stood in front of Taka’s new flat, trying to have the courage to knock on the door. It had taken Detective Aoyama less than an hour to obtain Taka’s new address. While on the train, Koichi went over in his head, what he was going to say to Taka, if he even answered his door. Aoyama had told Koichi that Taka was not scheduled to work, leaving Koichi to take a chance. He had left a note for Tatsu, he knew that Tatsu would have joined him, but Koichi didn’t need an angry Tatsu to deal with as well.

            Stepping up to the door, Koichi knocked, holding his breath. Taka opened the door, and started at his best friend. “Oh look, the adorable Kou, come to visit his pathetic ex bestie. Did your husband threaten someone to get my address?” Taka walked away, leaving the door open. Koichi could smell the alcohol on Taka’s breath. “Come on in, Koichi, Want a beer? It’s what? Past 2pm, early bird happy hour!” Koichi was stunned, Taka’s appearance was startling to be exact. “Taka? Are…I mean, what’s going on?” Koichi stepped into the genkan, Taka moved into the kitchen. “It’s my day off, just hanging out, watching movies, drinking beer. Would you like to stay for dinner?” Taka paused. “Pfft! Of course not! The adorable Kou has to run home to his husband,” he snarled.

             That pissed Koichi off. “What the fuck? What the hell is wrong with you Taka? Why are you doing this to everyone?”

            “I’m not doing anything to anyone. I’m alone, by myself. I can’t hurt anyone, and I don’t get hurt! It’s nobody’s business what I do anymore.” He was laughing.

            “So, Sato doesn’t matter? I don’t matter?” Koichi is angerly shouting now.

            “No! Sato doesn’t matter, neither do you! You made your choice! Go live your perfect rock start life and leave me the fuck alone!” Tata sputtered, his anger flaring.

            “Sato doesn’t matter? Sato saved your ass from self-destruction Taka! He saved you! And now you’re treating him like shit!”

            “Don’t you DARE throw that in my face! You have NO idea what my life was before I met any of you! I can do just fine on my own! Without Sato, or you or Sakurai! I need NO ONE!” Taka gets up and goes to get another beer.

            “Sakurai? What does he have to do with any of this? He doesn’t want you? What the hell?” Koichi knows there’s something just hiding under the surface.

            “None of your damned business, Kou!” Taka stands in front of Koichi. “You have no right to have any say in how I live, you made your choice, when you decided that fucking Tatsu was more important than I was.”

                                             Koichi slapped Taka hard.          

            “Heh, Sakurai slaps me hard than that. Just leave Kou, fuck off and mind your own damned business. I don’t need anyone, especially not you.”

            Taka turned and went down the hall to his bedroom, slamming the door. Koichi stood in the living room, not understanding what just happened. “Fuck off?” Walking back to the bedroom, Koichi had a final message; “You owe Sato and explanation at the very least Taka, He loves you, if you don’t love him anymore, you need to tell him, so he can move on.” Koichi turned and walked out the flat.

            Koichi arrived home before Tatsu, who found Kou in bed crying, he also found the note. Judging by Koichi’s crying, seeing Taka did not go well. Tatsu decided just to get in bed with Kou. Pulling him in to a tight embrace, saying nothing.

           

 

Chapter Text

Over the next few weeks, Taka stayed closed up in his flat, except to leave for work. His self-destructive habits had started to take their toll, physically and mentally, with alcohol being the catalyst. He had lost 5kg, and on his already lean frame, it was noticeable. Surprisingly, Taka held his life together well enough to fully function at work.

            “I’ve hired a new guy, to help out for the summer.” Taka had implemented a weekly staff meeting, partially in an effort to show he was coping, with his personal life not getting in the way of business.

            “His name is Kei, and he will start tonight with Aki and Mao.” Uta raised his hand, “Um…does Kei have long, almost white hair?”

            “Yes, you know him? Oh, and you don’t have to raise your hand, Uta.” Taka smiled at the somewhat shy young man.

            “We went to the same high school, he’s quiet, but not as quiet as me,” Uta was blushing.

            “Hopefully, that will make him feel a little more comfortable. We need to get him up to speed in two weeks. The boss has decided to host a DCR private party, and everyone will work that night. We will be closed until the time of the party.  Aki and Uta looked at each other. Taka spoke about some other issues, then excused everyone.

            “U, Taka, can we talk to you please?” Uta and Aki went to the office, Taka knew what was coming.

            “How do we deal, um…what do we if people…shit!” Aki didn’t want to anger Taka.

            “Sato?” Aki nodded. “I’ll be too busy with office stuff, keeping the supplies stocked and handling cash, to worry about that. If he asks for me, you can tell him you’ll take a message.” Taka knew that it would be difficult facing Sato.

            “If it gets uncomfortable, I will handle it.” But how am I going to handle it?

 

            For the first night in weeks, Taka didn’t get drunk when he got home from work. Lying on his bed, thinking about what Aki and Uta were worried about. “That’s not their problem, it’s mine.” Groaning, he rolled over, putting the pillow over his head and tried to keep his mind from turning.

           

            “A party? At the HBG? Oh shit…that’s going to be interesting, yah, thanks for the heads up.”

           

            “Tadaima, Kou!” Stepping out of his shoes, Tatsu was home from the studio. “In here!” Koichi was checking work email. Tatsu leaned over to kiss his boy. “Hey, um…we need to talk.” Tatsu spun him around in his chair. “Yes, we do.” Tatsu cocked his head, “Um. It’s about a DCR event.”

            “At the HBG, yep, I already know, heard about it at the studio, and yes, Sato knows as well.” The whole idea troubled Tatsu, how was Sato going to handle seeing Taka?

            “I want to try to talk to Taka, at least text him, what do you think?” Koichi wanted help, but…

            “I dunno Kou, Taka told you to fuck off, not sure he’d be open to talk about Sato.” Koichi groaned and put his head down on his desk. DAMN IT TAKA! “Okay, I won’t say anything, but…I hate this!” Tatsu bent down and kiss the nape of Koichi’s neck, “I’m sorry Kou, I know it’s rough. We may have to let all this go.” Teo suddenly appeared, and jumped up on Koichi’s desk, biting Kou’s ear gently. “Alright, you devil! I’ll feed you.”

 

            His finger hovered over the send button, he wasn’t sure if he was ready for this, could he really talk to him without breaking down and causing a scene?

                                                            SEND

 

~~

            “Hey, fat boy, time for breakfast.” Sato was trying to have a normal daily routine, it helped him cope with the loneliness and stillness of the flat. The evenings were the hardest, watching tv alone, every program, somehow reminding him of what was missing. Sato tried to venture out the HBG, but he couldn’t bring himself to cross that street he had finally accepted that Taka was gone, for reasons he still didn’t know, and that he was destined to remain single.

 

                   Could you come to the HBG, tomorrow night at around 6pm, please?

 

            Sato jumped up off the couch, spilling Eddy and his beer onto the floor. He reread the text at least twelve times before sending a brief answer of “I’ll be there.” Then he started shaking on the inside, “He wants to see him!” He began pacing, thoughts flying. Does he want to come home? Does he still love me? Or is the final meeting? He quickly sent a text to Tatsu.

            “He wants to see me tomorrow night at the HBG

            Now he couldn’t sit still, “What is he going to tell me?” Sato had roughly twenty-seven hours to wait, until he saw Taka. “Fuck! It’s going to take forever!”

 

~~

            “Really? I wasn’t expecting that.” Koichi was surprised, but wasn’t betting on a positive outcome. “Good or bad Kou, at least something will be resolved, I’m going to guess it’s because of the party. I’m sure Taka doesn’t want to make a scene.” Tatsu was not optimistic, but at least maybe Sato will find some peace.

~~

            Taka sat in one of the quieter areas of the HBG patio, waiting for Sato. His hands were clammy, his stomach was in knots and he could really use a drink. Shit, I’m scared! He’s going to be mad and yell at me! He see’s Sato walking towards him. He’s kind of smiling.

 

            “Hi, um…thanks for coming. Ho…how’s Eddy?” Taka really missed the little turd.

            “Of course, I would come. Eddy’s good, just has gotten super fat, he misses you.”

            “I’d like to explain myself, to help you understand why I left. Please let me finish first.”

            Sato took a deep breath, “Alright, go ahead.”

            “I’m better off alone. I’ve done nothing but hurt people and I’m tired. If I’m alone, I can’t hurt anyone, and nobody can hurt me. While you have loved me, treated me well, my heart has fought with my head. I was easily tempted, I was controlled…my emotions…and I couldn’t stand the thought of betraying you.”  Taka stopped, trying to calm himself again. “I have felt, at times, obligated to stay with you because you’ve saved me from myself, like I had to love you, but I can’t love anyone, I don’t know how. You, Koichi, you both deserve better than I can give. Thank you for trying, but I can’t do this anymore.”

            Taka waited for the anger and yelling to begin. There was nothing. No yelling, no anger, just an extreme sadness coming from Sato. Looking at Sato, Taka saw the devastation, clearly showing on the other man’s face.

            “I will tell you, that you are wrong, but you need to find that reason yourself.” Sato was trying to keep from breaking down. “I don’t understand, but I will respect and honor your choice. I love you, beyond anything I could ever imagine, and you will always have my friendship if you choose it. If you are ever in any sort of trouble, of any kind, you can always call me. I’m sorry I couldn’t make you happy.”

            The two men looked at each other, then Sato got up and just walked away. Taka went back to the office of the HBG, locked the door and broke down. Uta and Mao were working, they could hear Taka sobbing. “Take a break Uta, you look like you need one.” Mao could see Uta starting to tear up. The remainder of the night was quiet, with a definite gloom surrounding the HBG.

            “He’s done with me, said he couldn’t love anyone, he doesn’t know how. He wants to be alone, I told him I’d always be here for him, if he needs me.” Both Tatsu and Koichi had tears in their eyes. The pain for everyone involved was deep. They were all mourning the loss of a loved one.

 

            Taka sent Mao and Uta home early, just so they wouldn’t be uncomfortable facing him. He had stayed in the office for the rest of the shift, after Sato had left. He was guilt ridden, crying over the pain he had cause Sato, so much pain. The death of a relationship always had unwilling casualties; Koichi, Tatsu, and others in the industry, all people he now would never see.

            Taka had held his emotions in control on the train home, but as he opened the door to his new flat, he had closed the door to his past. Not bothering to change, Taka curled up in a ball on his bed. I had to do it, I had to break away, it’s for the best.  But the future was dimly lit, there was a jagged path leading to Sakurai, but Taka was unsure if he would travel that path.

 

~~

 

            A new normal emerged, but with some remnants of the past; Sato had called out for Taka for breakfast more than a few times, Koichi had started to dial Taka’s phone number and Taka was still resorting to alcohol to numb the pain of loneliness.

            There was another new normal; Kyo was dating Uta, which nobody really thought was normal, but it was working for the opposites. Kyo frequently came to see Uta at the HBG, showing up for his breaks, sometime with Die in tow. Kei was one of the first to notice how totally different Uta and Kyo were.

            “Isn’t he scary? I mean, he looks terrifying, at least to me.” Kei didn’t understand Uta’s apparent attraction to the small very spike man. “No! He’s not scary at all. He’s sweet and kind, he’s a poet, he writes beautifully…his lyrics all reflect that. He cares a great deal for his friends.” Uta often found himself defending Kyo and their unique relationship.

            Kei was able to view this odd pairing when Kyo arrived for Uta’s break. “Hi, um…is Uta available?” Kyo asked quietly. “Let me get him…” Kei was surprised by Kyo’s demeanor. “Uta, Kyo’s here.” Uta told Kei he was going on break and went out the back door. Returning to the counter, Kei saw the couple, embracing, foreheads together, whispering and exchanging kisses.

            Returning from his break, Uta was flushed and smiling. “I would have never believed that Kyo was like that!” Kei told Uta “You guys are so cute together!”

 

            “The DCR party is tomorrow night. I have a schedule for what each of you will be doing throughout the night. We need to make sure the patio is kept clean, you each will rotate, I don’t want you bored.

            Taka was feeling an extreme amount of anxiety for the upcoming party. This will be the first time he will be facing industry people he knew, since breaking up with Sato. He had tried to come up with answers to any possible questions he may encounter, but nerves would probably spoil that. Since the HBG would be closed until the party, it gave Taka some time to prepare. Remaining professional was at the top of the list, he would not let his emotions get in the way, at least that was the plan. He was fairly certain he would not speak to Sato, Koichi or Tatsu, but Shinya, Kai, Ruki and Kyo, those four worried him. He had decided not to drink the night before, but all bets were off after the party and he made sure he was stocked up with plenty of alcohol.

            “Aki, Uta and Mao, you will be the first group up front at the counters. Kanon, can you please stay on the patio, just making sure there’s never a huge mess? Miku and Kei, back up for both the front of if Kanon needs help. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the office or helping to stock items. Any questions?” Silence.

            “Okay, open the covers, have a good time with this please!” Taka had noticed people starting to arrive, but he didn’t want to see Sato or Koichi, so he went into the office, hoping to miss their arrival.

           

            “If I see him, what should I do? Say hi, or ignore him?” Both Sato and Koichi had the same concern, what was the right way to deal with seeing Taka.

            “I think you both respond to him, only if he approaches you first. Be civil, polite and go from there. I would not suggest you seek him out.” Tatsu was trying to be the voice of reason, but it was a difficult task. Koichi had been out of sorts since the day he went to see Taka.

            “Well, I guess that makes sense, I don’t want to upset Taka either.” Sato was nervous, he had not seen Taka since they night they talked. “Yah, I don’t need any drama either.” Koichi was still pissed off from their least meeting. “Let’s go and enjoy ourselves, at least try to.”

 

            The line at the counter was deep, enough so that Taka had to help with making drinks. He could see the customers, but thankfully he didn’t have to speak to any directly. There were a few people that said hi; Ryo from Girugamesh and most surprisingly, Shinya and Kai, which shocked Taka. “Hello Taka-kun, looks like you’ll be busy most of the night.” Shinya genuinely liked Taka and he felt sad for everyone involved and at least wanted to be kind to Taka, and Kai felt the same. Taka appreciated the kind words. At least they don’t hate me.

            “You’re a better person than I am, Shinya. I don’t know if I could be civil enough to talk to him.” Koichi had seen Shinya talking to Taka. “Kou-kun, we’re all sad about what has happened, including Taka, just remember that.” Shinya walked away, going to the Diru table. Koichi’s ears were hot from the gentle scolding from Shinya.

            “What was that Kou?” Tatsu had heard Koichi mutter under his breath. “Nothing you need to know about!” snapped Koichi, who continued to be in a shitty mood in general. He still couldn’t believe that Taka left Sato for no apparent real reason, thus ditching their friendship as well. The drunk dial had also weighed heavy, what was he talking about with Sakurai and Die? How were they involved with Taka and Sato’s separation?

            “Kou, can I get you something? Would you like a drink?” Tatsu knew Koichi would never go to the counter. “Yes please, two drinks.” Maybe I’ll be in a better mood. Walking to the counter, Tatsu wondered how this would play out.

            “Hi Taka, can I get two High Balls please?” Tatsu tried to sound as neutral as possible. “Sure Tatsu” Taka was just doing his job, nothing more. He handed Tatsu the drinks, Tatsu said thanks, and walked away. No drama. No scene.

            “I’m going to the office, call me if it gets busy again.” Aki had seen Tatsu talking with Taka and knew Taka needed that break. Sitting in the office, Taka felt tired and worn out, he couldn’t wait for the event to be over, when he could go home and drink himself stupid. There was a knock on the door, it was Mao.

            “How’s it going? Everything okay?” Mao liked Taka, and had become close to his manager. “Yah, just a little tired. Were you just at the patio?”

            “No? Problem?”

            “Well, I’m guessing it’s a thing…a Ruki Rampage?”

            Taka groaned, “Yes it’s a thing, who’s Ruki after now?”                   

            “Kanon” Mao was laughing, “Ruki saw him, and well, he went up to Kanon and um…hugged him in a real familiar way, like hands on Kanon’s ass.”

            “Fuck! I didn’t plan on Ruki tonight. Where’s Kanon now?” I don’t want to have to go out there. “At the counter, he switched with Aki.” Mao was still giggling. “Can you send him back here please, Mao?” Shit, a Ruki Rampage, didn’t plan for that.

            “Um…yes Taka?” Kanon seemed undisturbed. “I heard that Ruki got a little fresh, do I need to talk to Kai?” Taka dreaded that.

            “No, it’s fine, Ruki’s drunk, that’s all. All he did was grab my ass and give it a squeeze.” Kanon had a total straight face, no smile, no anger.

            “Uh, you’re okay with Ruki grabbing you?” Taka was surprised.

            “Taka, it’s Ruki, Gazette Ruki, if he wants to grab my ass, who am I to refuse? If he wanted to more naughty things, well…I wouldn’t stop him, but I would wait until we closed. I don’t do naughty on company time.”

            Taka stared at Kanon, not knowing what to say. “Uh, okay then, back to work, uh thanks.”

                       

            The DCR party had ended around 1am, with very few guests lingering. It was tour season, many of the attendees had rehearsal the next morning. Aki and Uta cleaned the HBG, while the others deshamblized the patio. Taka was in the office doing paperwork and the cash drawers. At 1:40, Taka excused the crew, assuring them he would be leaving soon.

            Taka was bundling the paperwork, when someone knocked on the door. “Who?” Taka opened the door slightly, “Hello Taka-kun, I’ve been waiting all night to see you!” Pushing on the door, was Die, a very, very drunk Die.

            “What do you want Die? I’m busy” Taka started to shake. Die put his hand on Taka’s chest, pushing him back into the office, once inside he closed the door. “What do you think I want, Taka-kun? What have I always wanted, hmm?” Die pushed Taka against some filing cabinets. “I heard about your break up with Sato-san, that’s too bad…for him.” Die’s face was close, his voice purring softly, his hand was running down Taka’s side, sliding behind him and pulling Taka close.

            “Um...Die, please…don’t. Just because I’m not with Sato doesn’t mean…” Die leaned in, licking Taka’s ear, “Doesn’t mean what, Taka-kun?” Die has pushed up against Taka, his hand on Taka’s ass, Die bites Taka’s ear, drawing a low moan from the boy.

            “Oh…I’m making you moan, how lovely you sound. Here, let’s make you moan a little more.” Die starts a slow grind against Taka’s hips, his hand pulling Taka close, the other hand sliding up his shirt, finding a hard nub.

            “Die, please, don…” Taka’s shaking, his arms slowly wrap around die’s waist, his forehead against Die’s shoulder. Die reaches up and tips Taka’s chin towards him, licking his lips. “Taka-kun, I’ve waited for you, now you’re here free of Sato, now we can play without guilt. Here, here let me taste you. Die slid his tongue over Taka’s lips, probing for an opening. Taka moans, letting him engage in a seductive wicked dance. Die dropped his hand, brushing it across Taka’s hard cloth covered cock. Taka hissed, “fuck, Die…please.” Die grasped the growing length, teasing the head, stroking and caressing. “Ah, Taka-kun, such a lovely boy, I want…” at the sound of the words, lovely boy, Taka stopped dead, pushing Die away, “NO!”

            “What do you mean, no? I’m not playing around Taka, you can’t keep teasing me like this! You don’t have your precious guardian to save you anymore!” growled Die.

            “You’re right, I’m not with Sato anymore, BUT, that doesn’t mean I’ll skip right over to you either! Get the fuck out Daisuke, leave me the fuck alone! I don’t want you!” Taka was pissed. At Die and at himself. Die started laughing as he walked to the door, his hand on the knob, “You say you don’t want me? How is it, that I can make you moan my name? I’m done playing nice…next time, and there will be a next time, I will not be put off, you WILL say yes.” Die walked out.

            Taka sat down, throwing his head back with his eyes closed. “What the hell?” Taka finished closing the HBG, called a cab and went home. He was so tired, he almost fell asleep in the cab, just barely awake when they pulled up to his flat. Taka went straight to the bedroom, changing into sleep pants, he crawls into bed. Before he closes his eyes, he picks up his phone,

                        “Can I see you tomorrow, please? I want to talk about our situation.”

                                                            SEND

 

Chapter Text

A restless night, sporadic nightmares, mixed with erotic dreams, Taka felt like he not slept at all. He was still waiting for a reply to his text, sent late the night before. On par for Taka, negative thoughts filled his mind. Maybe he really doesn’t want me? A reply to his text did not come until late afternoon.

                                    “Of course, shall I come to you?”

            He was waiting, hoping that he still was wanted, even as damaged goods. The doorbell rang, he had arrived.

            He was shocked of course, at Taka’s physical state, the last time he’d seen Taka, he was much healthier, not so much now. Standing in the genkan, neither man knew who should make the first move. Sakurai gave Taka a sad little smile, and opened his arms. Taka hesitated for a brief moment, then walked into the warm embrace that welcomed him. The two stood in the genkan, both men wanting different sides to the same coin.

            “Are you afraid of Die? Do you believe he would or could hurt you?” Taka had told Sakurai about the incident from the night before. “I don’t think he would hurt me, he’s Die from Diru, it would ruin his career, but I do think he’ll be angry as hell, if I turn him down again.”

            “That won’t happen. Now, what about Sato? Where does that stand?” Taka heaved a great sigh and told Sakurai everything. Taka leaned his head back on the couch, eyes closed.

            “What is it that you want, Taka? Do you want to be with me? Think hard about this before you answer.” Lifting his head up, he looks at Sakurai, he wants to be with him, but…

            “I um…I want a contract, but not yet, can we um…this sounds stupid, but could we date for a while? I want to know you better, I didn’t know my first master, even though I thought I did he lied to me, he hurt me. I want to really know you, before I sign, is that okay?”

            Sakurai smiled, leaning over, he cupped Taka’s face and kissed him. “Of course, my lovely. It’s always better to know you’re loves before a contract is signed.” He kissed Taka again. “I do have only one requirement.” Sitting back, with a definite serious look. “I will not make love to you until you are wearing my collar. That is only fair for the both of us.” Now it was Taka’s turn to lean in and kiss Sakurai, “I accept”

            For the next three hours, Taka and Sakurai talked, Taka telling him the full story of his past, including everything he went through with Koichi. Sakurai was horrified and rightly so, with Taka’s previous master. “I personally know not a sing person that would ever subject their loves to that kind of treatment.”

            “I didn’t know any better, especially when he treated me so well in the beginning.” This hurt Sakurai deeply, embracing Taka and promising him that he would never subject him to any treatment or punishment as what he had experienced in the past.

           

            “I need to leave, work calls my name.” Sakurai would much rather have spent the day with Taka. “When can I see you again?” Taka thought he sounded desperate.

            “Would you like for me to pick you up tomorrow and we can have dinner at my house? I seem to remember a promised dinner and a discussion about Dress.”

            Taka blushed, “Um…I’d like that, could you come around 6:30? It’s my short day at work.” Sakurai hugged Taka and kissed him. “I will be here promptly at 6:30.” Once Taka closed the door, he felt almost giddy, not believing that he would belong to Sakurai soon. Taka spent the remainder of the evening worrying about what he would wear…he had no proper clothing. He had settled on black skinnies and a black dress shirt. He laid the clothes out, hoping they would be okay. Lying in bed, his thoughts were all of Sakurai, he quickly fell asleep, having zero dreams for the first time in forever.

 

~~

 

            Sakurai arrived at exactly 6:30, seeing Taka, his heart lurched. “You didn’t need to dress for me Taka-kun, but thank you.” He kissed Taka gently. They talked about Taka’s day at work, and other random topics on the way to Sakurai’s home. Although Taka had been to the home previously, he had been a bit distracted at the time.

            Walking into the genkan, which by the way, was bigger than Taka’s bedroom, Taka started to look around, pictures of Sakurai with actors, actresses and others. As he was walking around, Sakurai was sitting on the couch, smiling. Taka stopped in front of a particular picture. “That was five years ago, at some festival. It was the first time I was able to watch them live, and they were amazing. He has the ability to capture every emotion in a single song.” Taka didn’t move, Sakurai sensed Taka needed some support. He got up and walked to Taka, and wrapped his arms around the pale beautiful boy. He could see tears, Taka sighed and turned towards the older man, burying his face into Sakurai’s chest.

            “I’m sorry…” he mumbled. “You don’t need to apologize. The death of a long- term relationship is worth crying over.” Sakurai reached down and lifted Taka’s chin. “My lovely boy, I hope never to make you cry.” Running his fingers over Taka’s cheek bones, wiping the tears away, he kissed his lovely boy.

            “Come, let’s eat, I promised you dinner!” Leading Taka to a large dining room, a beautiful dark teak wood table, was the only ornamentation that was needed for that space. Taka was about to say something, but decided against it, he was going to learn to accept his new situation, he deserved it.

            “This is beautiful, um…” Looking at Sakurai, he was unsure how the man wanted to be addressed. “Sakurai-san, what do I call you? Sir? Master?”

            This boy, He’s so perfectly fresh.

            “I allow my loves to call me Acchan, unless it’s a special occasion, then I am referred to as Sir. Tonight, Acchan is fine.” Taka looked down before saying “Yes Acchan.” The sound of his name, spoken by this lovely boy…Acchan’s heart beat a little quicker.

            “And what about you, Taka-kun, what shall I call you?” Taka’s head jerked up. He’s asking me what I want to be called? “Um, anything you want, except for Pet, please.” Acchan knew that was the name Sato had used, he never liked it, his loves were not pets.

“There is only one name I believe I can ever call you, besides Taka-kun, of course. I have always thought of you, from the moment I first laid eyes on you. I thought to myself that night, ‘What a lovely boy’, a name that I could only use to describe you, Taka.”

            “You first saw me at the party, after the Mucc live…” Acchan held up his hand.  “No, Taka-kun, I saw you weeks before that.” Taka was confused, trying hard to remember when he had first seen Sakurai, but could come up with nothing.

            “It was at the restaurant. You and Sato were having dinner with Koichi and Tatsu, I was there with a lady friend. I saw you sneaking a look at me, and you caught my breath. The night of the live, I purposely went, because I had hoped you would be there and Sato would introduce you, and that I could speak to you. My wish was granted of course. Since that night, when Sato spoke your name, you have consumed my thoughts, challenged both my self-control and my ethics. I do regret flirting with you and putting my hands on you, but my lovely, you have crept into my soul. I have never wanted a love, to collar like I have wanted you. This may seem cliché or corny, but it’s the truth.”

            Acchan sat back in his chair, drinking his wine, watching Taka who was stunned at Acchan’s confession. “What was it…um, I mean what was it that you saw? You just don’t look at a person and want to keep them without having ever spoken to them.” Taka was staring at his plate, pushing food around with is fork.

Sakurai laughed quietly. “No, that is not normal at all. Perhaps I could sense something, a quiet buried unhappiness. You didn’t have the light in your eyes that night, but you did have the light, if only for a brief moment, the night of the charity event.” This caused Sakurai to pause for a moment.

            “Answer me honestly, lovely. Did you leave Sato to be with me? Did any of my actions, physical or emotional, play a part in your leaving Sato? Think before you speak, please.”

            Taka cocked his head, looking at his plate again. After several moments he looks at Sakurai, “In a manner of speaking, yes, but probably not how you may think.” Taka looked back down at his plate. “I couldn’t love Sato the right way, because I don’t love myself.”

            “Have you ever been truly happy, Taka? When was the last time you thought ‘It could be never any better than this’”? Taka didn’t even have to think, “Koichi, before Tatsu, when we were best friends. Even though I loved him, I was happy enough to have him as a best friend instead of a lover. It was enough.”

                        Rejection is at the base of all his troubles.

            “But when Koichi didn’t want me, and Sato saving me, I haven’t been happy in long time.”

                        Sato saving him didn’t make him happy?

            “Then Die started flirting with me, at first, I thought he was joking, apparently he wasn’t. then you…well, started flirting with me. I tried so hard to love Sato!”

                        And I got in your way, tempting you.

            “Can I tell you something, and promise me you won’t laugh?” Taka had to tell Acchan…

            “Of course, and no, I won’t laugh.”

            “I um, started having nightmares, right after Morrie’s trial, probably from stress. They all started with my old master letting others abuse me, physically and sexually. But in all my dreams, someone with a soft voice and warm hands, would rescue me. He always called me ‘lovely boy’.” That caught Sakurai’s attention. “Go on.”

            “He would promise to keep me, treat me well and love me, but he’d always tell me I had to say the ‘word’, but I didn’t the word, and then he would just throw me away.”

            “Lovely boy?” Taka nodded. “Shall I call you something else?” It was a very strange coincident, for certain. “No, I like it.” Whispered Taka.

            “Do you have any idea what the word is?” Taka shook his head. “I believe you will, when the time is right, but don’t worry about it for the present.”

            The rest of the evening was spent talking about everything other than music. Taka met Acchan’s cats, which made him miss Eddy even more.  “I really wanted to take him with me, but he belongs to Sato. I miss having a cat, I was thinking of adopting a kitten, but I work so much, it wouldn’t be fair.”

            As the evening wore down, Acchan knew he needed to take Taka home, but he was so tempted to have his lovely boy spend the night. “Let me take you home, it’s getting late.” Parked in front of Taka’s flat, Sakurai kissed Taka, “You are my lovely boy, I will keep you forever.”

 

~~

 

            “Any questions?” Taka had just concluded his weekly meeting at the HBG. It was a busy summer season, with the usual ups and downs. Ruki had stopped by to see Kanon, but nobody was sure where that was going, not even Kanon. “It’s Ruki being Ruki, I never know what to expect.” Uta and Kyo were very close, with Kyo visiting often, usually leaving Uta flushed. “He’s a great kisser.” He defended Kyo to Aki, who still didn’t understand the attraction. Taka was happier than he’d been in years, but kept the reason to himself. Sakurai had not said anything about going public with their relationship and Taka understood. Anyone dating Sakurai Atsushi, would be scrutinized thoroughly.

           

It was a Sunday, late in August, that Taka had decided it was time. He felt he knew Acchan well enough, felt safe enough in the knowledge that Acchan would treat him with respect and care, not hurting him, and most importantly, keep him forever. He wanted to surprise Acchan, letting him know that he was ready to sign the contract. Going into the city, Taka stopped at a flower shop. He selected a large bouquet of dark red roses and Black Bat orchids. When presented with a card to sign, Taka hesitated. What should I say, that he will understand?  Then the ‘word’ flashed in his mind, the only word;

                                                            Master

          Taka shivered as he wrote the single word on the card. He paid for the flowers, gave the address for the delivery and went home to wait.

            Trying to keep busy while waiting for some kind of response from Acchan, Taka mostly just paced, moving random objects around in the flat, and clock watching. When he just couldn’t sit still, he decided just to take a long hot bath, to try to calm his nerves.

            Dropping a handful of lavender salts and some oils, Taka sunk down in the tub, breathing deeply. He had a momentary flashback to the bath he had with Sato, that night after the live, by ironically, he wasn’t bothered by the image, he smiled at the memory. Leaning his head back, he thought of Acchan and how their first night would play out.

            Once the water had cooled, Taka got out and grabbed a towel, walking into the bedroom, he picks up his phone; a text from Sakurai.

                                    “Be ready in one hour

 

            Taka dressed nicely, in all black, with a deep red tie, matching the flowers he had sent. He was a tiny bit nervous, mostly on what would happen after he signed the contract.

           

            Opening the door, Sakurai stared at Taka, then embraced his lovely boy, kissing him passionately. “I have dinner waiting for us, come, let’s go home.” Taka was blushing, Acchan noticed and smiled. “Lovely, is everything okay?” Taka nodded, not trusting his voice not to crack. “You’re so quiet, highly unlike you.” Taka nodded again, “I’m…nervous I guess, that’s all.” Acchan reached over and held Taka’s hand.

            Waking into Acchan’s house, the flowers he sent on the large teak dining table, looked beautiful. “I love the Black Bat orchids, they are stunning against the roses”. Acchan led Taka to the table, holding his chair, stopping for a quick kiss. “I’ll get us dinner.” Taka though this would be Acchan’s last time serving him anything.

            Although both men tried not to eat quickly, dinner was a bit rushed. Clearing the dishes, Acchan got a folder and a box, pulling out the contract.

            “Look this over carefully, there are different items listed, different conditions and a section for you to include your desires. Please pick a safe word, which cannot be changed randomly, both of us need to agree on.” The couple spent the next hour going through the contract, with a small laugh at Taka’s choice of a safe word. “Dress? Are you sure, Lovely?” Taka nodded, “It has been my favorite song forever.” When they had gone through every item, Sakurai handed Taka a pen, and watched his Lovely Boy sign his life over to him, and as he signed his promise to care for Taka, there were a hint of tears being shed, by both.

            Sliding the gift box towards Taka, Sakurai’s eyes were bright. “Open it Taka-kun.” Lifting the lid, Taka gasped, inside was an exquisite narrow black leather collar, with the letters S.A. stamped in dark blue. There was no tag, no ring, just a simple but beautiful piece of leather jewelry. “It’s beautiful! Put in on for me, please.” Acchan got up, placing the collar around Taka’s neck, and snapping it in place.

            Sakurai looks at Taka, “You are now mine. I will always treat you with respect. You will not be made to do things against your will. I will never abuse you, emotionally, sexually or physically, outside our agreements. No one, and I am dead serious about this, No One will be allowed to touch you without my consent and yours. The contract can only be nullified if both parties are in agreement.”

            Sakurai draws Taka into his arms, “My lovely boy, you are finally mine, which means I can finally make love to you. Tonight, there will be no scene, no toys, no restraints. Tonight, is for exploring each other. I want to know your sweet spots, where I can touch you that will make you moan my name. In return, I will guide you, let you discover what pleases me, tonight is about equal pleasures.

            Taka had not spoken after Acchan had placed the collar around his neck, but he now felt that he needed to ask. “Master, what should I do about work? I will do as you want me to, do I keep my collar on always?” Sakurai thought for a moment. “I leave that to your discretion. Some will understand the symbolism, others will not. If you choose to wear it, then we will deal with the consequences as they appear. It is your choice, Taka-kun.” Sakurai embraced Taka. “Now, is not the time for formalities, now is the time for just us.”

            Sakurai took Taka’s hand in his, “Come with me.” Leading Taka to his bedroom, Taka was shaking with anticipation. Sakurai sat on the large bed, pulling Taka to stand between his legs. “Since that very first time I saw you, I have fantasied what it would be like to make love to you. Since that night, I have had no loves. I did that because I would only have thought of you, which would not have been fair to the other person. Tonight, I finally have you standing in front of me, my fantasy has been fulfilled.”

            Tears, fighting to fall, Taka quivering, “It’s hard for me to believe that.” He whispered. “I’m nobody special.” Sakurai sighed, “I will teach you how to love yourself. You are special, to me. I promise to prove that, each day.” Sakurai stood, reaching up to cradle Taka’s face, he delivered a kiss that focused only on Taka’s pleasure. Taka’s knees started to shake. Sakurai turned and laid Taka on the bed, gazing down at his lovely boy, “You are an intoxicating love, and I will be drunk on your essence every day.”

            Sliding his hand up Taka’s shirt, feeling the warm skin and the stuttered breaths, Acchan started to explore. Taka had remained quiet, overwhelmed with everything. He tried to see only Acchan, his new master, not Sakurai Atsushi, international musician, adored by millions. Closing his eyes, Taka lost himself in the physical sensations of Acchan’s hands on his body. Sakurai starts to undress Taka, pulling his shirt off, kissing his neck, small soft bites on his throat.

            Taka can’t help but make small sounds, murmuring Acchan’s name, his breath catching when Acchan slid his hand into Taka’s pants. “Acchan…please, I need you to touch me, please!” mewled Taka.

            Sakurai removed Taka’s pants, “So perfect, my pale lovely boy. Your hair against your skin is breath taking!” Sakurai stands, stripping, his eyes never leaving Taka. At the sight of his naked master, Taka moaned “Acchan…” Lying next to his boy, he draws Taka into his arms. “Tonight, there will be passion, exploring, tasting and ecstasy. Tomorrow night will be training, discipline and limits. I will treasure every night, and we will reconnect as we are tonight, with passion. In my home, there is no room for resentment, no room for egos, no room for anger or hate. If any one of those appear, we will need to revisit our contract. Taka nodded, “Yes, Acchan.” The two exchanged another heated kiss, spending the rest of the night, exploring their new life.

 

            “Lovely, are you awake enough for breakfast, or would you like to sleep longer?” It was already just after 10am. The couple spent their first night together, not sleeping until the wee hours of the morning. Sakurai was an early riser, his normal routine had him going by 7am. But, even Sakurai was not looking forward to leaving his bed, not with his lovely boy still in it.

            “Mmph…I have to work today; would you call me out sick?” Taka didn’t want to leave Acchan’s bed, ever. “No lovely, I will not. You are a responsible adult. Get your ass out of bed.” Taka thought about saying something snarky, but remembered today was the official start. “Yes, sir.” Taka got up. “This is yours to use when you stay with me.” Sakurai handed Taka a warm bathrobe. “Thank you, Sir…uh Acchan. Would you like tea or coffee?” Taka was trying to get into a routine. It had been several years since he had last worn a collar.

            “Coffee would be nice, thank you.” Acchan was quick to notice the change in Taka’s general personality, even after one night. “Taka-kun, what will you do about the collar today?” Taka stopped dead. “Um, I’m not sure yet, I never want to take it off, but I know that’s not always going to be practical. If you order me, I won’t remove it, except to shower.” Taka would love for Acchan to order him to leave the collar on, always.

            “I cannot give you that order. When you are away from me, it is your choice to wear it or not.” Acchan was not that cruel of a master. His loves always had the right to choose. “I would like to you give you something else to think about…” It was early in their relationship, but Sakurai wanted this. “Will you come and live with me?” Taka was floored with the question. Live with Acchan? He said nothing at first. “Could I please think about it? I um, I don’t want to rush things.”  “Of course, Lovely, I understand.” Sakurai was disappointed, but was willing to let the matter drop…for now.

            Taka was taken home, Sakurai kissing him senseless yet again. “Would you please call me, when you get home tonight?” Taka didn’t want to leave the car, but finally had no choice. “It will be late, but of course, I will call.” With a last kiss, Taka went to start his day, not knowing how it would turn out.

 

~~

 

            Taka still wasn’t sure if he should wear the collar. What if Sato sees me? Yah right, like he’ll ever come to the HBG now.  In the shower, his neck already felt strange without the narrow choker. Maybe not today. I’ll look to see who’s working tomorrow, then decide.

            “Hi Taka! How was your weekend? We were slammed yesterday, which was weird for a Sunday.” Mao was speaking in a rushed sort of manner, puzzling Taka. “Mao, are you okay? Did you drink too much coffee?” Mao blushed. “Well, it’s kind of cute! Ruki came to see Kanon yesterday.” Oh, now this could be interesting. “And Kyo was here to see Uta.” Taka groaned. “Oh, god no.” Mao was giggling. “So Kyo and Uta are on the patio, near the fountain. And Ruki came to the counter asking for Kanon. They start to walk towards the back wall, when Ruki sees Kyo.”

            Taka does not like where this is going. “Ruki Rampage?” he asked Mao. “Um, not really. Ruki asked Kyo if Uta was his boyfriend, and he said yes. Ruki then looks at Uta.” Mao can barely speak at this point. “And I SWEART TO GOD! Ruki looked at Uta and asked him. “So, what’s it like riding that monster cock? I’m so jealous!” Taka face palmed, groaning.

            “Is Uta okay? I mean he’s kind of shy.” Mao had to sit down, “Uta’s fine. You can tell he’s been around Kyo enough, because his answer was, ‘It’s fucking amazing! You should try it sometime!’” Taka looked at Mao, “UTA? SAID THAT?” Now Taka was laughing. “Poor Kanon and Kyo!” Mao was shaking his head, “No! That’s not even the best part! After Uta said that, he and Ruki went over under the tower and started talking. By the time the breaks were over, Uta and Ruki had exchanged phone numbers. Kanon came back in and Kyo just left! But everything with Uta and Kyo are good. Kyo actually thought it was funny. Kanon, not so much.” Taka just shook his head, he could totally see Ruki asking that kind of a question, the man had no filter.

            The rest of the day was fairly quiet. Summer was on its way out, taking the tourist with it. Operating hours would decrease, security guards would still be there for the employees for the winter months as well. The owner was taking no chances with his employee’s safety.

            Taka called Sakurai when he got home, talking to Acchan for an hour. Plans were made for Taka’s next day off. “Um, I’m going to wear my collar tomorrow, if that’s acceptable with you.” Taka wanted to make certain of Acchan’s wishes. “Lovely, that’s fine. Remember it’s your choice.” Taka’s sleep that night was restless, worrying about what, if anything, would be said.

 

 

            The opening crew was Aki, Uta and Taka, with Kanon closing. Arriving early, Taka was still debating on wearing the collar, when Aki came in. “Hi Aki, all set up, just need to raise the covers.” Aki saw the collar, but said nothing. He knew what it meant, but who had collared Taka? Uta arrived a short time after and Aki was able to get to him before Taka.

            “Uta, listen, don’t say anything about that choker Taka has on, okay? When Kyo comes in, ask him.” Uta was confused, but went along with it.

            As it worked out, when Kyo came to see Uta, he had Die with him, Kyo saw Taka, and the collar he was wearing. Die had not seen Taka, and was making his way towards the counter, when Kyo grabbed him by the arm, shaking his head. Uta went on his break, oblivious to the potential drama. However, when he returned from break, Uta looked pale and kept his distance from Taka. The atmosphere at the HBG changed that day, because of secrets being kept.

                        “Hey, um, no, everything is not fine. I was just at the HBG with Uta.

                        I don’t think you know this, but Taka’s been collared.”

 

            He slammed his phone shut, then threw it against the wall. Who? Who would Taka let collar him? Why? As he sat on the couch, burning tears flowing, only one name came to mind, Sakurai.

 

            “He’s what? Are you sure?” Tatsu didn’t want to believe what Sato had just said. “I’m sure, Kyo saw him at the HBG, yesterday.” Sato looked haggard. He was experiencing a mixture of emotions, anger, sorry, betrayal. “Who do you think it is?... Wait, never mind, I know. Sakurai. Right?” Sato nods, “I blew off everything that Taka had told me, that Sakurai said or did. I never took any of it seriously, I should have.” Guilt was another heavy emotion clouding Sato’s thinking. “What are you going to do? Confront Taka or Sakurai?” Tatsu was torn. His professional admiration for Sakurai was conflicting with this new information.

            “No, I’m going home. I’m tired, Taka isn’t with me, he is no longer mine, so what’s the point of more drama? It’s up to you if you want to tell Koichi or the others.” Sato got up, walking to the door. Tatsu stopped him. “Sato-kun, I’m so sorry!” He hugged his friend and Sato left.

                                                “Sakurai, Tatsu, please call me.

            He paced around his flat, swearing. What the fuck? Really Acchan?

            “Is it true? Have you collared Taka? A contract as well. No, it’s none of my business, but Taka is still important to us, and Sato as well. I don’t think this will just go away Sakurai, just be ready for the fall out.”

            Sakurai put his phone down. So, it’s started already. Two days into it and there are already casualties.

 

            “Kou, I need to talk to you, please just listen.” Tatsu and Koichi were lying in bed. “What’s wrong?” Tatsu sat up. “Kou, Taka has signed a contract and has been collared by Sakurai.” Koichi was confused. “What exactly does that mean? Is Taka his slave?” Tatsu loved how innocent Koichi could be. “Not his slave, his submissive. Slave is a dirty word, and yes, Sato knows. Kyo saw Taka at work, he was wearing the collar.” Koichi was quiet for a minute, then his eyes grew wide. “OH MY GOD! Taka was right! I’ve seen Sakurai leering at Tata, saying weird things, I’ve even seen him lick his lips after talking to Taka!” Koichi threw his arm over his eyes, “And I just blew it off.”

            Tatsu gathered Koichi in his arms, “We all did, Sato said as much too. I called Sakurai and confronted him and he said yes…they have a contract.” Koichi sighed. “Well, that’s it then, Taka has left our lives. I had hoped that he would come back to Sato, but now? I’ll probably never see him again, unless I go to the HBG.” Hugging Koichi a little tighter, both men had a troubled night of restless sleep.

Chapter Text

“We know that there would be some grumbling when our arrangement became known.” Sakurai and Taka were eating dinner. Sakurai had just told Taka about his phone conversation with Tatsu. “Well, I’m sure it was Kyo that told Sato, he knows what the collar represents.” Taka was playing with his food, his appetite gone. “I should just leave, all I do is ruin everything.” He muttered quietly.

            “Taka, I do not want you to leave.” Sakurai is stepping lightly. “Would you like to cancel our contract?” Taka’s head snaps up, “But…you said! You promised to keep me!” Taka pushed away from the table. “You said you would keep me forever!” Taka yelled.

            IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN A WEEK AND YOU’RE THROWING ME AWAY? YOU FUCKING LIED! YOU’RE NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE!” Taka tore off his collar and threw it at Sakurai.

            “FINE! HERE’S YOUR DAMN COLLAR! FUCK YOU! DON’T FUCKING CALL ME EVER! ASSHOLE! I FUCKING HATE YOU!”

            Taka tore through the house, throwing open the front door, never looking back. Sitting at the table, his head in his hands, Sakurai couldn’t think straight. Do I go after him and cause a scene? Do I wait until he contacts me? My lovely boy

           

            I just need to get home! Where? Shit! I need to get home!

           

            Taka’s thoughts were scrambled, he could only focus on getting home; he fucking lied to me! He threw me away…in less than a week! Why? Am I that unlovable? I must be, nobody wants me.

            Taka found the train station, and waited on the platform. His phone buzzed in his pocket, he didn’t want to look at it. It would be full of lies. Just as the train pulled in, Taka threw his phone onto the tracks. Now nobody can lie to me anymore.

            The train car was almost empty, which Taka was thankful for, he could hide behind his hair, so people couldn’t see he was in tears. He made all those promises, he took me out on dates, but someone found out and WHAM! He throws me away. I’m just another mark in his fucking book. Walking to his flat, he just muttered under his breath; first master, Koichi, Sato, Die, Sakurai. Who’s next

            Opening his door, he stood looking inside. There’s nothing here for me, no love, no friendship, nothing. So why am I here? Where else do I Have to go? Home with my parents? Oh hell no.

            Walking through the door, he stops again. Would anyone notice if I was gone? Would anyone really care? Probably not. Do I want to die? Maybe, might be better than being alone forever. How? Alcohol? Don’t know where to get any drugs. I like vodka

            Taka locks his door, closes and locks all the windows. Walking into the bedroom, he strips down to his boxers. Looking in the mirror he sees the love bites from Sakurai. He snorts, “Fucking love bites? Really? FUCKING LIAR!” Taka picks up a soap dish and throws it at the mirror, shattering it. Walking in the glass, a nasty gash opens up on the bottom of a foot, Taka doesn’t notice he’s bleeding heavily. Leaving a bloody trail, Taka crawls into bed. Why? Why can’t I ever be happy? I’ve told everyone, why bother? I’m a worthless piece of shit.

 

~~

            Sakurai closes his phone. Taka’s phone must be turned off. Should I go see him? No, probably not for a few days. Lovely boy, have I now damaged your further? Perhaps I should have spoken more gently. What am I to do?

 

~~

            It’s been two days since Taka bolted from Sakurai’s house. He had only gotten out of bed to use the bathroom. No food. No water. I don’t care, nobody else does. Nobody will miss me. Sakurai probably has someone else. Fuck you. Taka put the pillow over his head and fell asleep.

 

~~

            He ate a rice cake, and had some water. Not bothering to look, he didn’t know what day it was. He didn’t care, he was hoping to die in his sleep.

 

~~

            “No, I haven’t talked to Taka, he made his choice to be with Sakurai, I won’t be able to change that.”

~~

            No more rice cakes, oh well. Water is good enough.

 

~~

            “His phone is still off? This doesn’t feel right.”

~~

            “Why would he call me? Or for that matter, why would I call him?”

~~

            “How long? 8 days? Maybe he went home to his parents? Okay, I’ll ask him.”

~~

            “Sakurai, Tatsu. Is Taka with you? He hasn’t show up at work for over a week. Wait…what? When? FUCK! No! Stay away for now! I’ll call you.”

             Koichi looked pale, “Sakurai said they had a fight and Taka ran out. That was 8 days ago. Sakurai said Taka’s phone has been turned off.” Koichi felt sick to his stomach. “We need to call Sato.”

 

~~

            “Hey, if you can, come by the flat please.”

            Tatsu was dreading Sato’s visit, but it was the only option.

 

~~

            “How long ago?” Tatsu explained his call to Sakurai. “I don’t like this” Sato had a bad gut feeling. “Should we check on him?” Koichi was scared, he didn’t want another huge fight. “Um, I could call someone I know, who might do a welfare check.” This surprised both Tatsu and Sato. “I called Detective Aoyama a while back, he got Taka’s address for me. He might go check on Taka if I ask.”

 

~~

            Detective Aoyama banged on Taka’s front door. “TAKA! It’s Aoyama, open the door please!” After five minutes of banging on the door, Aoyama had a police officers, punch the lock on the door. “

            “Taka?” The flat was quiet. “Taka, it’s Aoyama…” Going to the back of the flat, into the bedroom, Aoyama found Taka in bed.

            “OH! Taka NO!...shit!” Reaching out, Aoyama felt for a pulse, he hesitated. “FUCK! CALL AN AMBULANCE!” Aoyama tried to wake Taka, but the boy was unconscious. “Taka…hey wake up kid! Come on! Hang in there, come on!” Scooping Taka up, Aoyama carried him to the living room, putting him gently on the couch. The boy looked dead, he might be, unless they can get to the hospital quick enough. “FUCK, WHERE ARE THEY!”

            The ambulance arrives, Aoyama picks Taka up, not waiting for a stretcher. “GO!” He shouts at the driver. “FUCK! Damn it Taka! Don’t fucking die on me!”

 

~~

 

            “Thank you, Detective, I will.”

           

            “We should have our wing at the hospital. Shit, we have our own room.” Sato, Koichi and Tatsu were on their way to the hospital. Aoyama didn’t say much, other than Taka was in very bad shape.

            Arriving at the hospital, they didn’t even check in, they knew exactly where to go. “Hello, gentlemen, sorry to have to see you here, yet again.” Aoyama looked a little worse for wear. He had the others sit down with him.

            “We had to break into Taka’s flat, I found him in his bed, and honestly, I thought he was dead.” Both Koichi and Sato gasped.

            “I checked for a pulse and found it, but it was slow, his body was already starting to cool. I screamed for an ambulance and wrapped a blanket around him. We got him here within 15 minutes of finding him. Tell me, what the hell is going on?” Tatsu explained everything, even the contract. Aoyama was surprised that this included Sakurai. “That’s another story for a different day.” Sato was sitting with Koichi, as Tatsu walked into the hall.

            “It’s Tatsu, we found Taka, but we’re not sure if he’s going to make it. NO! You will NOT come here! I will call the police if you show up, Sakurai! Stay away! I will email you Taka’s condition.

 

            Tatsu motioned for Sato. “Come with me.” Sato steps out of the room. “We need to talk to the administration. I just spoke to Sakurai, I told him not to see Taka. I just want to make sure that he doesn’t show up and try to see him.”

            “Koichi, what the hell is going on with Taka? I don’t understand why he broke up with Sato, I don’t understand any of this.” Aoyama had feelings for Taka, feelings that he never acted on, or voiced. Some may have picked up on that, when Taka was attacked by Morrie. Aoyama was upset at the time, some thinking too upset. But Aoyama never said a word, would never speak it to anyone.

            Aoyama was distressed, he cared for this very tight knit group of musicians and their partners and friends. “We’re not even sure, we came home from tour and Taka had moved out.” Koichi told Aoyama all that he knew, but there were no clear answers.

            Sato and Tatsu arrived back at the room, the same time as the doctor, who looked weary. Having everyone sit, he began. “Taka is not out of danger yet. He is severely dehydrated; his kidneys have started to fail. He has a badly infected laceration to a foot, that still had shards of glass embedded. He has some liver damage, that looks to be alcohol related. He is on a ventilator right now. He’s a very sick young man.”

            Sato was shaking, his face ashen in color. The doctor continued, “Some of the damage to his organs has been going on for some time. Whatever Taka was doing, he’s paying for it now.” Before the doctor left, he had agreed to let Koichi and Sato to see Taka in the ICU. Both Sato and Koichi had déjà vu, walking into ICU, as it had become too frequent for everyone. Peeking into the darkened room, Koichi had to muffle a cry, grabbing Sato’s arm. “Taka!” his cry was soft, but heart wrenching. Sato was close to breaking down, “Pet…oh baby, why? Why would you do this to yourself?”

            Staring at their friend, hooked up to so many machines and monitors, IV lines crisscrossing his body, Taka was deathly pale, all of this was just too much for Koichi, who collapsed onto the floor, crying pitifully. Sato leaned down and scooped Koichi up, leaving Taka’s room.

            Koichi had his arms around Sato’s neck, sobbing into his shoulder. Walking into the waiting room, Tatsu jumped out of his chair, rushing over to Sato. “Kou! Koichi, baby!” Taking Koichi frim Sato, he sat on the couch. Looking up at Sato, “What happened?” Sato sat down, his head hanging, “I think he’s just overwhelmed, it was pretty intense. Taka is hooked up to so many machines.” Tatsu was still trying to calm Kou, but his tiny husband had his arms locked around Tatsu’s neck.

            “I’m going back up, I’ll take a cab home.” Walking over to Koichi, Sato kissed the top of Koichi’s head. “I’ll take care of him, Kou. I promise.” And he walked away. Tatsu carried Koichi to the car, and hoped that Kou would sleep. Once they were home, Tatsu put Koichi to bed, locking up the flat, and grabbing Teo, he got into bed, pulling Koichi close.

 

Chapter Text

“Why are you stomping around like a toddler having a tantrum?” Koichi was trying to calm his peeved husband. “I need to know how much of this is Sakurai’s fault! What did he say or do to make Taka fall off the deep end! I need to talk to Sakurai!” Koichi got up, grabbed Tatsu by the arm and spun him around. “NO! You will NOT talk to Sakurai! That part of this is not our business. We need to focus on Taka and Sato! Leave Sakurai out of this until Taka is out of danger.”

            The fierceness of Koichi’s stance shocked Tatsu, “Kou…” Koichi’s face softened, reaching up he kissed Tatsu. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you, but seriously? I don’t give a rats FUCK about Sakurai Atsushi right now. He can FUCK THE FUCK OFF!” Tatsu snorted, “fuck the fuck off? Is that even a thing?” Koichi pouted, “Are you making fun of me?” Tatsu swooped in and kissed Koichi, long and hard, just enough that Koichi started making little whining sounds. “Um…we have plans, so don’t start this right now please.”

                       

            There was a light tap on the glass door in Taka’s ICU room. Peeking in, Tatsu and Koichi were startled. Sato had obviously spent the night with Taka, sleeping in a chair next to the bed. Tiptoeing around the bed, Koichi reached through the IV lines and monitors to hold Taka’s hand. Tatsu, who had not seen Taka when he was brought in, was stunned at his appearance. The boy truly looked like he had died, he was so pasty and pale.

            “Does he look the same as last night?” Tatsu was looking at the monitors. “His color might be a tiny bit better, but he hasn’t changed much.” Although the two were whispering, Sato woke. “Hey guys.” Sato looked like hell. “Not much change, I guess. He was quiet all night though.” Sato sounded as if his heart was already broken, as if he held little hope for Taka’s recovery. “Do you want to take a break? Koichi will sit with Taka, right Kou?” Koichi just waved them off.

            Walking to the cafeteria, Sato felt like lead weights were attached to his shoes. The overwhelming emotions finally surfaced. He stopped, looked up at Tatsu, “Is this my fault? What did I do to drive him away? Did I not love him enough? Tatsu, did I kill him?”

            Tatsu grabbed Sato by the arm and led him to a quiet alcove, and pushed him against the wall, getting in his face. “I NEVER want to hear you say that again! Taka is NOT dead, NO you did not drive him away! Taka has had problems even before he met Koichi. You know that! You’ve done nothing wrong Sato! You’ve loved him probably more than he’s ever been loved before! Taka has his own demons that he needs to fight, and once he’s out of here, you can offer him help, but he needs to accept it.”

            Sato slid down the wall, he was just so tired. “Tatsu, what if he doesn’t…make it? Then what?” Tatsu didn’t have an answer.

 

            Koichi stood next to Taka’s bed, gazing at his…his what? Best friend? They had not spoken in months. No, he IS my best friend…still, we’ve just hit a pothole, a huge gaping pothole, named Saku…wait. Is Taka here because of Sakurai? “We won’t know that until you wake up, Taka”. He held Taka’s hand, “Taka, it’s Kou, hey you need to wake up, I have to tell you about Teo, he really misses Eddy. Teo is still small, he’s going to be a tiny cat.” Koichi leaned in, whispering in Taka’s ear. “Aki told me about what Ruki asked Uta, about Kyo’s…you know. I’ve neve…” Koichi stopped, “Taka?” Leaning down to whisper in Taka’s ear, “Taka, do it again!” He waited, Taka squeezed his hand…again. Just a tiny bit of pressure, but he had squeezed Kou’s hand. “Taka! I’ll be right back!”

            Koichi ran to the nurse’s station, “Um…Taka squeezed my hand!” The nurses all turned, “Are you sure?” the head nurse asked. “I asked him to do it again, and he did!” She smiled, “I’ll call his doctor.”  Koichi ran back to Taka’s room. He took his phone out, texting Tatsu, “Get up here, now!”

            The doctor was examining Taka, as Sato and Tatsu arrived. “Kou! What’s wrong?” hissed Tatsu. “Sshh!” Koichi looked at the doctor.  “Taka, can you squeeze my hand?” the doctor waited, nothing. Koichi stepped up the bed, “Taka, squeeze my hand, I want to tell you about Ruki and Kyo.” Everyone watched, Taka squeeze Koichi’s hand.

 

~~

 

            The doctor was speaking to the group in the hall. “This is better than I had hoped for this early in his recovery. Taka is at least trying to swim up through the medications and is responding. It’s obvious too early to make a prediction, but it’s an improvement.” Sato started to tear up in relief, hugging Koichi. “Maybe he’ll be okay?” Koichi nodded, too choked up to risk answering without crying.

            Going back to Taka’s room, Koichi went to hold his friends hand, leaning down, whispering in his ear again, “Taka, wake up please. I need to talk to you. It’s important.” Koichi felt a tiny soft squeeze in his hand. “I have to leave Taka, we’re taking care of Eddy. Sato’s here with you, I’ll be back tomorrow, I love you Taka.”  Koichi gave Sato a hug, and left for home with Tatsu.

            “Hey Pet…uh, Taka, it’s Sato, hey I’m going to stay with you until you wake up.” Sato held Taka’s hand, pressing it to his chest. “Taka, you need to wake up. There’s a lot of people worried about you. You’re scaring me, you need to wake up, so I can tell you…I love you Taka.” As Sato was sliding Taka’s hand under the blanket, Taka suddenly squeezed Sato’s hand tightly. Looking at Taka, Sato swore he was trying to open his eyes. “Taka? I’m still here.” Taka’s eyelids fluttered, only opening a tiny bit. “Hey, I’m so glad to see you!”

            Taka blinked, still holding Sato’s hand tightly, he opened his eyes a little more. Sato pushed the call button and a nurse was there in a few seconds. “He’s trying to open his eyes! he’s squeezing my hand tighter than before.” The nurse checked the monitors. “I’ll call his doctor.” She said as she walked out of the room. Looking at Taka, Sato notices a tiny tear forming in the corner of one eye. “Taka, do you want me to stay?” A gentle squeeze was all Sato needed.

 

Taka had become more aware throughout the night, opening his eyes and answering questions by squeezing Sato’s hand. “Kou and Tatsu are on their way, I’m not leaving you, okay? I promise, I’ll never leave you again.”

            “He’s doing well, I’m happy with his progress. Taka, we’re going to take your breathing tube out.” The doctor had asked for privacy, so Sato stepped out of the room.

            “You can come back in, we’re done.” Sato went directly to Taka’s bedside, reaching out for his hand. “He should not try to speak yet, so please, do not encourage him.” The doctor winked at Taka. Koichi and Tatsu walked right in behind Sato. “Hey, Taka I brought Kou to see you!” “Kou…” Taka croaked, “Ta…su”. Taka was mostly coherent, most of the morning. Although he did not ask why he was in hospital.

            “Kou…” Sato gave Taka more ice chips. “Hey Taka, you’re so much better!” Tatsu was relieved, he had thought about the devastation that would have occurred, had Taka died. Koichi was standing next to Taka’s bed. “Taka, I love you! Please don’t scare me like this ever again! He nodded his head “Okay.”

            Tatsu and Koichi stayed for a while, until Taka fell asleep. Tatsu had brought Sato’s backpack, with all the necessities. Tatsu hugged his friend, “Looks like he’ll be just fine, and you being here, well I think you’re the reason he’s doing so well, so quickly. Call if anything changes.” Tatsu took Kou’s hand and they walked out. “Sa…to,” Sato moved to Taka’s bedside. “What do you need? Ice chips? Pain meds?” Taka shook his head. “No…you.”

            “What? What do you need me to do?” Taka shook his head, “want…you.” Sato eyes went wide. “You, you want me?” Taka slowly nodded. “Stay.” Sato leaned in and kissed Taka on the forehead. “I’m not going anywhere, I promise.” Clasping Taka’s hand, Sato moved his chair as close to the bed as he could, without knocking over any of the equipment. He squeezed Taka’s hand and got one back.

           

~~

            “What do you think about moving out of ICU today, into a regular room?” Three days had passed since Taka had woke fully and had the breathing tube removed. “Really? So, no beeping machines all night?” Taka was eager to leave the hospital and this was just one step closer. “I’ll get everything moving along.” Taka thanked the doctor. Laying back, Taka closed his eyes. As he dozed, he could hear the sounds of the hospital; announcements made over the PA, calling for doctors, and the one that always made him smile, no matter how shitty he felt, the playing of a lullaby when a baby was born.

            Taka was struggling internally, feeling guilty about dragging people into his problems, he still wished he would have just died in his sleep. Sato had told him that Aoyama had found him, that Koichi had called the detective. Taka tried not to think of Sakurai, knowing that if the man showed up at the hospital, he’d face Sato, Koichi and Tatsu’s wrath. He didn’t want to see him, Sakurai made it clear, he didn’t want Taka. All of these thoughts were constantly shifting through his mind, any time he was alone and had no distractions.

            He was scared, the thought of his first night, alone in a single room, terrified him. He thought about asking for sleeping medication, but wasn’t sure the doctor would approve. There was a light knock on the door, “Hi Taka! I heard you’re being moved today!” if there was any bright spot to all that had happened, it was the renewal of his friendship with Koichi.

            “Yep, I’m busting out of ICU. Where’s Tatsu?” “He’s at the studio, today. I played hooky, there’s not that much going on right now. Hey! I saw Aki and Uta the other night. They say Hi, hope you’re feeling better, and Aki said he hopes you come back, he hates being the Assistant Manager!” They both laughed, Aki was not manager material. “Um, Uta wanted me to ask you if Kyo could visit, he didn’t give a reason, just to ask you. Shinya and Kai as well.” Taka could understand Shinya and Kai wanting to visit, but Kyo?  “Sure, I’d like to see everyone, and um…well apologize for being such an asshole.”

            “I don’t believe that anyone thinks you’re an asshole, Taka. Except for Shinya and Kai, you don’t know the others very well. They don’t know the full story, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that now.”  Taka hesitated, “Tell Uta I’d like to see Kyo, even if he’s a little abrasive.” Another knock on the door, this time for two nurses that unhooked all the machines, and wheeled Taka down to his new room, with Koichi following.

            Koichi shot a quick text to Sato, giving him the room number. The two friends visited for another hour, but Koichi wanted to be home before Tatsu. “He’s still all clingy!” Koichi hugged Taka and left, leaving Taka feeling vulnerable.

            Taka had a rough first night in his new room. Every sound he had heard clearly while in ICU, now sounded muffled and far away. He could barely hear the lullabies for the babies being born, which upset him, although he didn’t understand why. Finally, he had turned on the tv, just for the noise, falling asleep sometime after 3am, which made the 7am doctor visit a little harsh.

            “Good morning, Taka. How are you feeling.” The doctor noticed Taka was a bit pale. “I didn’t sleep very well, it’s too quiet in here. I um…was a bit scared.” Raising an eyebrow, the doctor made a note. “Have you thought about taking to a therapist? What you’ve been through, will have some emotional after effects.” Taka had not though of a therapist, but he knew that Koichi had liked his, Dr. Maeta. “Could I pick a therapist?” he asked.” Dr. Maeta? He is who I would recommend, since he has ties to the music community.” The doctor ordered some sleep medication, telling Taka that sleep does speed healing.

            Taka spent the remainder of the morning, flipping through tv channels, snoozing and having gross hospital food, generally just being bored. With no phone, to text anyone, he started to become a little anxious. He groaned when he finally remembered what happened to his phone. Fuck that was stupid.

            It was Sato who finally rescued Taka from the eternal hell of boredom. “Can I come in?” Sato peeked in the door. “YES! PLEASE!” Sato grinned, a stutter in his heart. “That bad? You must be feeling better if you’re bored.” Leaning back in the pillows, “You have no idea!” The men stared at each other. When Sato reached in his pocket and pulled out his phone. “Pictures of Eddy. Fat bag that he is!” Sato sat on the side of Taka’s bed, laughing at how fat and lazy Eddy had become. “I miss him.” Taka said sadly. “I think he misses you. He would walk around the flat and cry at night.” Sato sat back in the chair.

            There was an awkward silence. Sato took a chance, “What are you going to do when you leave here? When you’re discharged.” Taka shook his head, shrugged his shoulders. “Will you go back to Saku…” “NO!” Taka shouted before Sato could finish. “I’m sorry, it’s not my business.” More awkward silence. Sato wanted to ask… “Taka, if you need a place to stay, I have a spare room. WAIT!” Taka started to say something. “I’m not asking for you to come back, I am offering you a place to stay until you get back on your feet.”

            Taka was looking away from Sato. “Thanks.”  He muttered. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have a job, I can’t pay rent, I’ll probably just go home, to my parents until they kick me out.” Sato leaned over and took Taka’s hand. “You can stay with me, as a friend, nothing more.” Taka shook his head, “I couldn’t, why would you let me move in? After what I’ve done? No, Sato, I won’t do that to you or me. Thanks for offering.”

            Sato let go of Taka’s hand. I’m tired, I think I’m going to nap. Thanks for showing me the pictures.” Taka turned on his side, away from Sato, hiding his tears. “Call me if you need to, Taka. I’m sorry too.”  Looking back, Sato could see Taka’s shoulders quivering, and it broke his heart.

 

~~

 

            “Go home? You mean to his parents? Woah, that’s drastic, his parents are like mine.” Koichi and Tatsu had taken Sato to Ojisan’s Ramen hut, he had gone to their house straight from the hospital. “Well, me offering him a room didn’t fly either” Sato was at a loss on what else to do. “I started to say Sakurai’s name, and he shouted me down before I could finish.” Tatsu looked at Kou, who nodded. “I’ve spoken to Sakurai, he told me what happened.”  Tatsu told the story, which left Sato burning. “Fuck! Of course, he ran! I don’t know if Taka had told him about his past, but shit, Taka thought he was being thrown away again.” Sato was fuming, barely able to restrain himself, but had he been home, he would have gone ballistic.

            Sato went on to explain Taka’s past, but an abbreviated version. After he was finished he saw two reactions on his friends faces, anger and sadness, and a combined understanding of what had fueled man, if not all of Taka’s relationship problems.

            “Fuck, I threw him away when I rejected him, that’s what he thought!” Koichi was horrified. Sato nodded, “He probably felt we were rejecting him when we went on tour, and you came with us. He was left alone and Taka probably saw that as us throwing him away.” Tatsu was becoming angrier with Sakurai by the minute.

            “How long until Taka’s released? Do you know? We need to come up with something. He can’t go home to his parents. He can’t be alone, he might…” Koichi couldn’t say it. “Kou, we can’t help him if he won’t accept it.” Tatsu put his hand on Koichi’s shoulder.

            “STOP!”  Koichi shrugged Tatsu’s hand off his shoulder. “I will not lose Taka! I will pay for a flat for him to live in…I’ll…move in with him, he can’t be alone! He can’t go back to Sakurai! I’ll go live with Taka!” Hot burning tears were streaming down Koichi’s cheeks, he got up and walked out of the restaurant, leaving Tatsu in stunned silence.

            He wiped the tears away with a sleeve, as he walked to the train station. Waiting for the next train, Koichi replayed what Tatsu had said, over and over. “I’ll be damned if I let Taka go home to his parents.” Muttering under his breath. Getting off the train, Koichi hurried to the hospital. His phone buzzed in his pocket. “Where are you?” he ignored the text. Walking up to Taka’s room, Koichi stopped and took a deep breath, before knocking on the door. “Hi, want some company?” Taka’s eyes lit up and he smiled, “Hell yah! I’m bored to death!”.

            Taka and Koichi talked about mundane things, Koichi showing him pictures of Teo. “He’s still tiny, compared to Eddy, or is Eddy just super fat?” “Both!” Koichi was relieved to hear Taka’s laughter. “Taka, I have something to say, so let me finish before you say anything.” Koichi didn’t have a plan before he got to the hospital, but it was clear what he had to do.

            “First, do you know when you’re being to be discharged?” Taka shook his head, “Nope, soon I hope.” Okay, here goes, “I know Sato offered you a place to stay with him. I know that would be awkward, so you’re moving in with me.” Taka started to say something, Koichi held up his hand, “Don’t try to argue with me, because you’ll lose. You can’t go back to that flat, Taka. You will NOT go back to Sakurai! Your parent’s house is not an option, so that leaves me.”

            “What about Tatsu, Kou?” Taka wasn’t sure of this, he didn’t want to be in the way. “If Tatsu has a problem with this, then you and I will get our own flat.” Koichi looked serious, “I don’t want to be in the way, Kou!” Koichi glared at Taka, “In the way? Really? Taka, you dumbass! How would you be in the way and who cares? You need a safe place to live, I won’t let you live alone!” Koichi stared Taka down. “The doctor wants me to go to therapy. I asked about Maeta, if I could see him, he said yes.” Koichi let out a huge sigh of relief at the mention of Maeta’s name. “He’s great, I really liked him and he did help me, after the rape.” Taka flinched at the word, rape. “So, it’s a done deal, you’re staying with me when you are released. Once we know the day, I can go to your flat and get your things. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go back there.”

            Koichi checked his phone and saw nine texts from Tatsu. “Shit” Koichi called Tatsu.

                                    “Hi, just get…I’m at…well…you…FUCK! Imonthewayhomenow!”

            “And you want me living with you, Kou? I don’t know.” Taka could hear Tatsu yelling at Koichi. “He’s just pissy because I left and didn’t tell him where I was going. I’d better leave before he freaks out even more.” With a hug and a promise to come back the next day, Koichi went home. “Living with Kou…ugh and Tatsu?” Taka wasn’t sure, but he really had no other options.

 

~~

 

            “Where the hell were you! You just ran off and decided you didn’t need to tell me where you were going? Dammit Koichi! I’ve been trying to reach you for almost two hours!” Tatsu was furious with his husband, who was giving it right back. “Considering how you were taking about NOT helping Taka? Not evening discussing it? I didn’t need your damned permission to leave the restaurant! Oh, maybe I shouldn’ have said anything, just automatically do with whatever my husband says? FUCK YOU! I’m helping Taka. If I have to, I will move out! He’s being released soon, he has nowhere to live, so I told him he could stay HERE! If that’s not acceptable, then Taka and I will find our own flat!” Koichi spun away from Tatsu, went into his office, slamming and locking the door.

 

            Tatsu was speechless, left standing in the living room, he could not put into words on what just happened. “Our first real fight.” He whispered. “Taka’s moving in? How is that going to work?” If I say no, Kou will move out? Where does my opinion come in? Do I get a say in this? Doesn’t sound like it. FUCK!

            “Fucking ASSHOLE!” Do I really mean that? Right now, I do! What the hell, he expects me NOT to help Taka? Yah, like that would ever happen! I make enough money to support Taka and me. Shit, if I move out, does that mean we’re getting a divorce? Do I lose my job? I could always find something else. FUCK!

 

            Koichi spent the remainder of the day in his office, leaving only to use the bathroom and get food. Tatsu was watching TV and they both ignored the other, neither wanting to be the first to reconcile. When it came time for bed, Tatsu decided to sleep on the couch, Koichi took their bed. The next morning, coffee was drunk in silence. Tatsu went back to the couch, Koichi got dressed and read to leave. “I’m going to see Taka.” Is all he said as he left the flat.

            “Woah, Kou! You look like hell, what happened?” Please don’t let this be because of me. “Tatsu and I had a huge fight last night, he was being an asshole.” Taka groaned, “Because of me?” Shit. “NO, because he’s being controlling! He was pissed off because I didn’t text him back, then it just blew up from there. He slept on the couch last night.” Taka knew this would happen, it always did, nobody wanted to be near him. “It’s okay, Kou, you tried, I can go…” Koichi stood up. “FUCK NO! We’re getting our own flat! WE could probably go back to the HBG and work. I’m not leaving you Taka, I will always be there for you…ALWAYS!” Koichi was tearing up. “Are you willing to give up Tatsu…for me? Because that’s what it sounds like.” This brought Koichi up short, was that was he was saying, that he’s leaving Tatsu for Taka?

 

            Do I call him and apologize? What am I apologizing for? Caring about him, worrying when I can’t reach him for two hours? Pfft! Whatever. I didn’t do anything wrong, he’s the one who said fuck you. If he wants to move out to live with Taka, go for it! Is …he leaving me for Taka? Divorce? Fuck!

 

            “So, when’s the release date? I’m going to need to pack up some stuff.” Koichi had a note pad on his lap, trying to make it all feel normal. “What do you need from that flat?” Koichi won’t look me in the eyes, why? “Kou, are we really doing this? Shouldn’t you talk to Tatsu before you decide?” I have to stop this! “No, I don’t need to talk to Tatsu, he made his opinion quite clear last night. So, do we need a place near the HBG? What about your newer flat? It has only one bedroom, but we might be able to make that work, or do you not want to go back there?” God! I’ve always wanted to live with you Koichi, but this feels wrong, it’s not for the right reasons!

            “Taka” he whispered, “I don’t want you to die. If that means leaving Tatsu, then that’s what I’ll do.” Taka was shocked. “Kou, really? You’d do that …for me? Why Kou? You have the perfect life with Tatsu, why would you leave that for a fucked-up loser?”

            “You’re not a fucked-up loser, Taka. You got lost and broken, I want to make sure that never happens again. You’re still my best friend.” Koichi got up and sat on Taka’s bed. “You scared me so badly, I thought it was partly because I was with Tatsu, and not you, that pushed you…well, you know. If it takes me leaving Tatsu to save you, it’s worth it.” Koichi leaned down and hugged Taka, who then put his arms around Koichi. Fuck this feels good, but it’s still wrong, I have to fix this!

            Koichi had finally left to go home, and face Tatsu. Using the hospital phone, Taka called Sato.

                        “Can you get Tatsu over to see me? Yes please, the sooner the better.”

 

Chapter Text

“I’m not sure, he just called and wanted to see us.” Sato had called Tatsu, after he had spoken to Taka, who had a definite sound of urgency in his voice. Tatsu had not left a note, perhaps out of spite. Once Tatsu go in the car, Sato could feel a change in his friend’s demeanor, but didn’t ask about it.

            Walking into the hospital, memories for both men hung like a negative shroud over their hearts, a dark reminder of recent troubles. Walking into Taka’s room, they were greeted by a disturbed, unhappy patient.

            “YOU!” pointing at Tatsu. “Do you know what you’ve done? By not talking to Kou? Do you?” Tatsu was taken aback by the viciousness of Taka’s attitude. “What are you talking about? What about Kou?” Tatsu was on the defensive immediately. “I haven’t done…”

            “SHUT UP!” Taka was getting out of bed. Sato started to step between the two men. Taka advanced on Tatsu, arm raised, finger pointed. “You didn’t give him a chance to talk about helping me, that’s why he left the restaurant. He came to talk to me, he’s trying to help and you’re being an asshole” Taka was now shaking, “Then he came today, he’s ready to divorce you! Dumbass! He said that if it took him, leaving you, to save me, he WOULD! That it was worth it! Is that what you want? ANSWER ME TATSURO!” A nurse poked her head in, “Um, do I need to send security?” Sato reassured her that everything was fine, and apologized

            Sato coaxed Taka back into bed, “Shssh! Taka, it’s okay. We can talk.” Turning on Sato next, “You need to stay out of this, Sato, this is between Tatsuro and me!” Tatsu had not said a word since Taka started yelling. “Koichi wants a divorce? He wants to leave? Why would he want that?” Tatsu sat heavily into a chair, staring at the floor.

            “No, you dumbass.” Taka said quietly, with no anger. “You just ignored his feelings, you didn’t give him a chance to say anything.” Tatsu’s face was pale, he felt physically ill at the thought of Koichi leaving him.

            “Tatsu, you know I love Kou, I could so easily take him from you right now. I had him in my arms, hugging me, telling me he was willing to leave you…for me. It felt like heaven, Tatsu. To have Kou, all to myself…living together, eventually becoming lovers. The last three years of my life, living the dream I’ve always wanted. Guess what, Tatsu? That’s wrong, and it felt wrong the entire time he was talking to me. My mind was screaming no, I have to fix this, it’s wrong, Kou belongs with Tatsu. But, by you not listening to him, by ignoring his feelings, you almost lost him, to me. If you want that to happen, I’ll gladly take Koichi away from you, in a fucking heartbeat. I’ll gladly comfort him when he starts to cry over you, I’ll gladly make love to him, I’ll fuck him into oblivion, EVERY NIGHT!  Tatsu, just say the word. If you want to keep Koichi, you’d better do something tonight, or I WILL take him from you.”

            “GIVE ME YOUR KEYES!” growled Tatsu. Sato tossed the keys. “You can’t fucking have him Taka! KOICHI’S MINE!”

 

~~

 

            “That was either the most brilliant or the cruellest thing I have ever seen, Taka.” Sato couldn’t decide which was true. Taka got back into bed, exhausted. “A little bit of both. I had to tell Tatsu that, or it wouldn’t happen. I could easily take Kou away from him, but it’s wrong, Kou doesn’t love me like he loves Tatsu, I know that. But he acted like an ass towards Kou, who just wants to help me.” Looking at Taka, Sato see’s something different, but he’s not sure what it is. “What are you going to do, Taka? My offer still holds, no strings, I promise.” Taka shook his head, “No, I won’t do that to you or me. I may try to call my sister, Hina, see what she thinks. Don’t worry Sato, I’ll be okay, I’ll be out of your hair soon.” Sato stayed a little longer, until Taka started to doze. Leaving the room, he looked back at his pale, beautiful boy. “You’re mine…” he whispered, “You’ll always be mine.”

           

            “Shitshitshit. Behomebehomebehome.” Tatsu muttered frantically as he drove home. Parking the car and running up the stairs to his flat, he threw the door open. “Kou! KOICHI!” Running to their bedroom, “Wherewhere. Kou?” Koichi’s office. “Nonono!” The bathroom, “No!” Tatsu’s standing in their kitchen, a tight grip on the counter, he feels close to losing it altogether. Sliding down to the floor, Tatsu pulls his knees up and lays his head down, “Oh, Kou.”

            Teo tried to climb into Tatsu’s lap, head butting his way in, but suddenly stopped and ran to the door. “Teo, I got your food now, so stop being a…” Arms, hair, body, all at once, wrapped around Koichi. “Kou!” Tatsu was sobbing, “Please, don’t leave! I’m sorry, please stay with me, I love you.” Koichi dropped his shopping bags, his arms slowly going around Tatsu’s waist. “Kou, I love you so much, I’m sorry for being an asshole. I don’t want to lose you!” Koichi inhaled Tatsu’s smell, his essence, it always centered him, made him feel safe and loved.

            “Can we talk?” Koichi mumbled into Tatsu’s neck. “Mmm” But Tatsu wouldn’t let go, not yet, just five more minutes…Koichi pushed Tatsu back. “Let me feed Teo before he dies of starvation.” Feeding Teo, and putting away groceries, Tatsu watched Koichi carefully. “What? You’re creeping me out!” Tatsu smiled “Sit please.”

            Koichi cuddled up at the end of the couch, in a blanket. Tatsu took a deep breath. “First, I’m sorry I ignored your feelings about Taka. You’re right, I didn’t give you a chance to speak, I’m sorry.” Kou nodded. “I don’t want you to move in with Taka, EVER! I don’t want a divorce, I don’t want Taka to take you away.” Tatsu reached for Kou’s hand, kissing the palm. “That leaves us with how to help Taka. I’ll seriously consider whatever you want to do, we just need to agree.” Koichi shook his head. “No, there’s only one other option to me moving out…Taka moves in here, with us, no questions.”

 

            The day after the Tatsu blow up, Taka had two unexpected visitors, without warning and no knocking, suddenly, Kyo and Die were in Taka’s room.

            “Uh, hi guys, what’s up?” Die made Taka nervous. Kyo shoved Die forward. “Do it”. Die shot Kyo a nasty look. Die sat in the chair by the bed. “Taka, tell me the truth please…what I did, um like teasing you, um, making you hard.” Kyo slapped Die in the back of the head. “HEY!” Turning back to Taka, “Look, I’m sorry Taka, I took it too far, I should not have played with you, when you were Sato. That being said, if you’re no longer with Sato, would you go out to dinner with me? Um, like a date?” Die had the puppy eyes looking going for him, it was hard to resist.

            “Die, I don’t even know where I’ll be living when I’m discharged. So, can I get a rain check on the date for now, please?” Die grinned and accepted. Kyo shoved Die out the door. Turning back to Taka, “Listen, stay away from Sakurai, he’s not all that he appears. If I were you, your safe haven…is Sato. You honestly can’t get better…well unless you want me, heh, but I’m taken. Take care of yourself Taka.” It was going to be one of those days, littered with unexpected experiences.

 

            “Taka, may I come in?” Doctor Yuya Maeta came to check in with Taka, his second visit. “How’s it going so far today?” Taka told him and Kyo and Die’s visit, with Die’s confession. “Do you think he’s sincere? About having remorse for playing with you, as he put it.” Maeta didn’t know Die personally. “I think so, as much as he can feel remorse, but then he asked out to dinner.”

            They talked for an hour, bringing up some sore issues. Taka told Maeta what he had said to Tatsu. “So, you essentially, confessed to Tatsu, your feelings for Koichi, holding back nothing.” Taka hadn’t thought of what he said as a confession, so that was a surprise.

            “Have you found a place to stay when you’re discharged? This will be critical for your continued stability.” Taka shook his head. “Sato offered me his spare room, I just said no. That it wasn’t a good idea.” Taka then explained Koichi’s plan, that of course he used on Tatsu. “So, the answer is no, I don’t have anywhere to go, yet.” Maeta was concerned, this patient needed stability, in order not to slip back into his self-destructive patterns. AS the session ended, Dr. Maeta asked a question, that he wanted Taka to work on;

                                    Who do you love, and why?

                                    You need to love yourself, before you can love others.

 

            “No other option? I get no say in this at all?” Tatsu was a bit miffed. “No, not really. Seriously, where else will he go? He can’t go back to Sato’s, so that leaves us.” Koichi was going to be firm, he had to be for Taka’s sake. “Guess I’m out voted. Yes, Kou, Taka can move in with us.” Tatsu worried that having Taka living with them, could create some tension. The confession from Taka, about stealing Koichi away, weighed heavily in his mind, more worrisome was Koichi wanting to leave.

            “Thank you, I appreciate it. Taka just needs time to recover. He sees Maeta every week, he’s going to stay away from alcohol and most importantly, away from Sakurai.” That was a sore subject with Tatsu. Sakurai’s influence in the industry and the possibility for negative press in retaliation for housing Taka. He was hoping that Sakurai would have the common decency to leave Taka alone.

           

            Sitting in Tatsu’s lap, wiggling just enough, Koichi kissed his husband. “Kou, um, what’s this about?” Another wiggle, this time, Tatsu moaned. “Koichi” he whispered. Wrapping his arms around Tatsu’s neck, and full on grinding his ass into Tatsu’s lap, Koichi gave Tatsu a wicked smile. “Let me show you how much I love you and how thankful I am for having you as my husband.” One more extra hard grind, and Tatsu growled, picking up his petite husband, he kissed Kou and didn’t stop for the rest of the night.

Chapter Text

The hospital room was too damned quiet at night. Lying in the dark, Taka strained to hear the soothing lullaby played for the birth of a baby, one of the few sounds he could tolerate. Part of his restlessness was due to his discharge from the hospital later that day, compounded with the anxiety of not knowing where he was going to live. The promise by Koichi that Taka would live with him, to take care of him no matter the circumstances, weighed heavily on Taka. He was not willing to let Koichi throw away his relationship, or his marriage, to help him. “I will call Sato, even for a few days, it will be better than going home, or back to the flat.”

            A 7am doctor’s visit woke Taka out of the few restful hours he was able to grab. “Would you like to be discharged today, Taka? I know Dr. Maeta will want to speak with you first.”

            “I’m ready, but I’m not sure where I’m going yet, I need to make some phone calls.” The doctor discussed some dietary routines that would assist Taka in regaining the weight he had lost, as well as other precautions he should use in the future. Just as the doctor was leaving, a knock on the door brought Koichi and Tatsu in. “Hey, Taka,” The doctor gave Taka some final instructions and excused himself from the room. “Why are you here so early, Kou? You’re never awake before 10.” Koichi snarked back, “Well, if you don’t need a place to stay…I can always go home.”

            “Kou…what about, um…” Taka was looking at Tatsu, “Kou and I had a discussion last night, and the only option we could agree on, was that you will live with us, for however long you need.” Koichi sat on Taka’s bed, “I told you, I would never abandon you, that whatever it took, I’m going to keep you safe.”

            Taka sniffed a little, “Shit, Kou! Don’t make me cry so early in the day.”

            “Tatsu, are you sure about this?” Taka was sure Koichi had badgered his husband, instead of a discussion.

            “Taka, we do love you. I may be stubborn, but you do mean a great deal to both of us. So, yes, I’m sure about this.”  Looking at Koichi and Tatsu, Taka shook his head. “It hasn’t been that long since I told you to fuck off, Kou, and Tatsu, 24 hours after I threatened you…, now you’re accepting of me living with you?”

            Koichi sighed, “Okay, let’s drop the past, unless it’s super important. We need to collect your things from the other flat, we’ll do that on the way home.”

             Home, that sounds nice.

~

            “Wow, I don’t remember doing that.” Standing in the bathroom of Taka’s flat, he was shocked at the broken mirror, looking at the glass on the floor, he was surprised that only one foot had been lacerated. Koichi made a small gasp at the sight of the blood trail leading to the bed. “Damn, I guess I bled a little.” Taka was looking at the stain on the bed.

            “Let’s get your things Taka, I don’t like it here.” Koichi felt sick, this place brought nothing but miserable memories. Picking up his bed pillows, a few items in the bathroom and a pile of books, there was little left that had any value for Taka. “Uh, here’s a note for you Taka.”

                        The amount for the damage to the flat has been paid in full.

            “Who the hell…” Taka shook his head, “Sakurai probably, nobody else but you, knew where I lived. He’ll probably try to use this to his advantage, somehow.” Tatsu had not told Taka about the conversations with Sakurai, and wasn’t sure he would. Loading up Taka’s things, he looked back once, and flipped the middle finger at the door. “Asshole.” He muttered under his breath.

~

           

            “I had to move a few things around, but there is still plenty of space.” Taka would be using Koichi’s office for the time he was staying. “Kick me out when you need to work.” Taka was extremely worried about being in the way, he did not want to inconvenience Tatsu and Koichi in any way.

            “Um…Kou?” he whispered. “I have a really awesome pair of headphones, noise blocking and all that. So, don’t worry about me um, hearing you and Tatsu.” Koichi giggled, “I’ll just remind Tatsu not to be so loud. Don’t worry about that. You won’t always be home, we’ll just have to do quickies.” Now they both giggled.

            “I need a phone, Kou. I, well I threw my phone on to the train tracks, when I ran from Sakurai’s house.” Taka was ashamed, but he didn’t want to hide anything from Koichi. Kou hugged Taka, “It’s okay, you’re starting over!” Taking the rest of the day to get organized, Taka and Koichi fell back into a family pattern of friendship, still avoiding everything to do with Sakurai. “Die asked you on a date? Why?” Taka explained Kyo and Die’s visit, also explaining what Die had been doing. “Taka…you should tell Shinya,” Taka held up a hand, “Kyo took care of it, it’s all good now.” Koichi was unhappy with this new information.

           

            Tatsu had made a pasta dish for dinner, leaving Taka amazed at how well Tatsu could cook. “Amazing meal, Tatsu. Thank you.” Taka then insisted on cleaning up, and doing dishes, pushing Tatsu and Koichi to go into the living room to relax.

            “Did you know about the Die thing?” Koichi whispered. “Die thing? I don’t think so, other than those flirting incidents with Kyo that pissed Sato off so much.” Koichi shook his head, “It’s way worse! I tell you tonight.” The trio watched some TV, but Taka had had a busy day and turned in early.

            “So, what’s this thing about Die?” Koichi and Tatsu were lying in bed, reconnecting after a long stressful day. “I guess, on several occasions, Die cornered Taka and as Taka put it, ‘played with him’.” This caught Tatsu’s attention, “Played? As in touching?” Koichi nodded, “The way Taka explained it, hands down Taka’s pants, kissing, grinding…that sort of playing.” This new information and everything else that had come out, did two things to Tatsu; first it pissed him off, second, he started to understand Taka’s problems more, and the causes.

            “With all that, combined with us being on tour, and Sakurai preying on him, it’s understandable, considering Taka’s past that he went off the deep end. FUCK! That pisses me off!” Koichi was a little surprised at Tatsu’s rather visceral reaction. “I don’t think we should mention this to Sato, it’s not our place, and he may try to go after Die.” Tatsu agreed. Pulling Koichi close, he kissed his tiny boy, “We need to help Taka in any way we can, I totally see it now. Sorry I was such a jerk.” Koichi made a small soft sound, “You’re my jerk, so it’s okay.”

 

~~

 

            “Phone bought, check. What’s next on the list, Taka?” Koichi and Taka were out and about, buying Taka a new phone, “Should I keep my old number?” Kou was against that. “No, Sakurai might try to call, just get a new number, we can add contacts later.” “I need shampoo and stuff, and a new pair of skinnies.” The pair shopped, stopped for lunch and generally hung out much as they did in the pre-Mucc days.

            “Kou, remember the dressing room thing, I mean not like you could forget.” Kou punched Taka in the shoulder, “It’s okay, Taka.” Taka continued, “I had a major déjà vu with Sato, same type of incident, him trying on clothes, it was so weird, made me cry and scared the shit out of Sato.” Hearing this hurt Koichi, as Taka was obviously in a lot of pain in the past that he just didn’t see. “Oh! Haha! That was depressing, sorry Kou.” Taka tried to laugh it off, but Koichi wasn’t buying it.

           

            “Tadaima,” Kou and Taka, bags in hand, pushed the door open. “Okaeri, I thought you were just going for a phone, what’s all this?” Koichi stuck his tongue out at Tatsu, “When have I ever gone shopping, and come home with only one thing? Really? I thought you knew me better.” With a small smile and a shake of his head, Taka watched his friends. “Well, you should know, that when you’re a smart ass…I’m going…” Tatsu ran up and started to tickle Koichi, “Aahhahh!! Noonoo! Stop!! Haha! Not Fair, Taka, help me!” Taka just laughed, “I am so not getting involved with this, you’re on your own, Kou.”

            After a few minutes of fun, Taka went to his room to put away his purchases. Looking at his new phone, he wondered if there were certain people he should avoid as contacts, “Duh, Sakurai for sure.”  Do I add Sato? Taka had not thought about Sato at all in the last two days, and surprisingly, he felt guilty for ignoring his former lover. Yes, stupid to even question that. I should call him, I’d really like to see Eddy. Taka continued to adding contacts, making notes for numbers he had forgotten.

            “You think so? I really miss Eddy, but I’m not sure Sato wants to see me.” Taka had asked Koichi for his opinion on calling Sato. “My 2cents, is you should call him, Taka.” Even Tatsu had an opinion, “Just a friendly visit, to see Eddy and let Sato know you’re safe.” Taka remembered what Kyo had said, Sato is my safe haven. “I’m going to call him after dinner.”

 

            “Hi, um… would you mind if I can over tomorrow, if you’re not busy? I’d like to visit with Eddy.”

 

            “Hi, how are you?” If the term Awkward had a picture in the dictionary, it would be of Taka and Sato at that very moment.  “I’m good,” Taka wanted to puke, his stomach was in turmoil. “EDDY! HOLY SHIT YOU’RE HUGE!” Eddy appeared at the right moment. “He’s a huge pig, right you little turd?” Eddy had immediately jumped into Taka’s lap, put his paws on Taka’s chest and nuzzled his nose, “Aww, I miss you too Ed.”

            Taka had been anxious about coming to Sato’s flat, their flat, but Eddy drove some of the anxiety away. “You’re living with Koichi and Tatsu?” Taka nodded, “For now, I’m hoping to return to the HBG at some point, then move into my own flat.” Sato’s heart lurched, “Oh, I guess that makes sense.” Taka knew he had to start ‘the’ conversation.

            “Uh, can we talk about us? The old us?” Taka’s voice was shaky.

            “Sure, what about the old us?” Sato had no idea where this was going.

            “Well, like that we didn’t really date much before I moved in. The problems I had were pretty out of control, and the lying, not telling you the complete honest truth about my past, at least not right away.” Taka had Eddy in his lap, stroking the cat gently.

            “You’re right, we skipped the dating and went straight to living together, but there were circumstances that played a part in that.” Sato looked at his boy, Taka would forever be his boy.

            “What I’m getting at…is I’m not saying no I don’t ever want to be with you again,” Sato’s head snapped up. “But I need to learn how to love myself, before I can be with anyone else.” This shocked Sato. “Does this mean…I um,” Sato didn’t dare say the words. Taka blushed, “I’m not saying no,just not right now.” Sato wanted to stand and scream. “Okay, I’m good with that. You’re seeing Maeta, right? He really helped Kou.”

            “Yep, once a week, he’s helped a lot. But I still have a long way. I…I don’t expect you to wait, that wouldn’t be fair to either of us.” It took everything Sato had not to grab Taka. “Don’t worry about me, even if we didn’t…well I want you to be healthy and happy. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true.” Looking at Sato, Taka smiled. “I know, you’ve always had a big heart.”

            They talked a little longer, making plans to see each other again at some point. Before Taka walked out, Sato opened his arms for a hug, “I’m just glad you’re safe, above anything else.” Taka muttered thanks. After closing the door, the two men reflected on what the other hand said, both filled with optimism.

 

            “How did he react? Was he angry?” Koichi was quizzing Taka on his visit with Sato. “He seemed to accept it, I didn’t say yes or no.” Taka was uncomfortable with Kou’s questions, but understood that his friend wanted him to be happy. “It’s okay, Kou. I told him not to wait, that I had to fix myself first and it wasn’t fair to either of us.” Koichi groaned, “Taka! I want you to be happy too…Sato’s perfect for you!” Taka hugged Koichi, “I love you, Kou. But I need to do this the right way. If I end up with Sato, fine, but I’m not making any predictions or commitments. “Okay, okay, I get it. I’ll back off…for now!” Koichi would not give up. “I love you too, Taka.”

 

Chapter Text

“Too soon? Why do you think it’s too soon?” Taka was in session with Dr. Maeta, they were discussing Taka going back to work at the HBG. “It has only been two weeks since you were discharged from the hospital. You are not completely recovered physically, you could easily use another 10kg.” Being shot down on his request to go back to work, Taka was a bit disheartened. “The last thing you need is stress, which would pull you back into depression. No, Taka, I will not clear you for work, not quite yet.” Taka was disappointed, but Maeta was right, he was still think, and he still had bad mood swings.

 

            “I’ll have to clear it with several people. Do not assume the answer will be yes.”

 

            “We need to talk.” Tatsu looked serious. Tatsu kissed Koichi before giving him the news. “What’s wrong?” “Sakurai called me today.” Tatsu paused. “He knows Taka is living with us. He wants to speak to Taka in person.” Tatsu had barely finished speaking; “NO! FUCK NO!” Koichi almost screamed. “He is NOT coming near Taka! How did he find out Taka is living with us?” Tatsu shrugged. “I didn’t ask, I was too busy trying not to scream at him.” Koichi was pissed. How the fuck did he find Taka? “Kou, we have to tell Taka, it’s not up to us.” Koichi turned on his husband. “FUCK YOU! I will not let that ASSHOLE NEAR TAKA! BECAUSE OF HIM, TAKA ALMOST DIED! FUCK NO!”

            “Um, what’s up guys? Should I be worried?” Taka had walked in, just as Koichi was swearing at Tatsu. “Uh, no…it’s cool Taka.” Against his husband’s wishes, Tatsu spoke up. “Sakurai called me, he wants to see you.” Koichi slapped Tatsu hard across the chest, then stomped off to his bedroom, slamming the door.

            “Taka? Hey, I told him I had to clear it with several people and not to assume that you would agree.” Tatsu put his hand on Taka’s shoulder, “I won’t let that bastard near you, okay?” Shaking, Taka sat down, “Tatsu, what should I do? I don’t want to be alone with him, I …I’m not ready.” Tatsu kneeled in front of Taka, “Call Maeta, ask him. This may be too soon, Maeta will give you a better answer than I can.” As Taka was reaching for his phone, Koichi stormed back into the living room. “NO TAKA! FUCK NO! I won’t let him near you!” The violent reaction by Koichi was surprising. “He almost killed you! Because of him, you wanted to die!” Koichi was yelling, tears choking his words. “Please Taka, don’t talk to him, please!”

            Taka hugged Koichi, “I’m going to call Maeta and see what he says first, Kou.” Taka got up and went to his room. Sitting down, head in his hands, thoughts started to swirly; what the fuck? Why does he want to see me? For what reason?

            Koichi had calmed down enough not to be crying, but was still angry. Tatsu had his arm around Kou, trying to talk to him, without much luck. “It’s not for us to decide Kou, it’s Taka’s. He won’t be alone with Sakurai, we’ll both be there. We could make him come here, ask Sato maybe? Or anyone else that Taka might want…Shinya, Kyo? They would be here as backup.”

           

            I’m not sure I’m ready, but will I ever be ready to face him? Do I do it now, and remove him as a road block?

 

            “Not Sato, he might go after Sakurai. Maybe Shinya, he’s always calm. I’ll be there, sitting right next to Taka.”

 

            “Maeta says it’s up to me. Getting Sakurai out of the way now, maybe better than waiting. He also said, I should have someone with me, not to do it alone. I thought if we did it here, Koichi could sit with me, and Tatsu, you could be here too? I think you two will be enough.”

            “He agreed. But under our terms.”

 

            “Kou, I’m scared. What if he yells, or freaks out on me? Maybe I should have asked Kyo and Die to be here too. Fuck, I’m going to puke.”

            Arranging the furniture, the couch was separated by a coffee table, a single chair sat on the other side. Tatsu would stand behind the couch, Koichi sitting next to Taka. They were ready.

 

            Sakurai looked haggard, a look that he did not wear well. He didn’t look like Sakurai Atsushi. He smiled weakly at Taka, nodding to Koichi. Sakurai looked at Taka, with a hint of longing and regret resting on his face, in his eyes. Taka had a death grip on Koichi’s hand, Tatsu laying a reassuring hand on Taka’s shoulder.

            “Taka, you look well, nice to see your bright eyes again.” Taka shifted in his seat. “What do you want, Sakurai?” It pained Sakurai to hear his name said with a hint of disgust and contempt, especially from one he had come to love.

            “I’d like to ask you to forgive my stupidity, my insensitivity and my obvious inability to make you happy.” Taka snorted, “Make me happy? That’s a fucking joke, considering you told me that we would work through whatever was thrown at us. It took less than a week, and you threw me away, breaking the contract. You had no intention of making me happy. You lied, and I was an idiot to believe that you meant everything you said to me. I almost threw away my own LIFE, because of your insensitivity. I threw away a man that loved me, even when I dragged him through shit. You made me lose my best friend. Forgive you? NO, Sakurai, I won’t forgive you. Your teasing, your flirting your touches, those are what destroyed any confidence I had in myself. You nearly destroyed me with your lies. So, NO Sakurai Atsushi, I will NOT forgive you. Stay away from me, and I will try to repair and rebuild my life…without you in it!”

            Taka got up and went to his room, leaving Sakurai with Koichi and Tatsu.

            “You have your answer, Acchan. Leave Taka alone, leave us alone.” Sakurai looked at Tatsu, “Yes, I have my answer.” Getting up, Sakurai left the flat.

~

            “Taka, are you okay? Can I get you anything?” Kou didn’t open the door. “I just need to sleep Kou, I’ll be okay, thanks. I love you and Tatsu.” Koichi heard the tears in Taka’s voice, but decided to let his friend have all the time he needed. “He handled it well, come on Kou, let’s go to bed.” Taking Koichi by the hand, Tatsu led him to the bedroom.

            As he sat in his car, Sakurai replayed what Taka had said. If he had not run off…he’d still be with me. How can I get him to see that I do love him?

~~

 

            Taka spent the rest of his night, lying in bed, dissecting what Sakurai had said. He didn’t believe, not even for a second, that Sakurai was being honest. Sakurai knew Taka’s history, told him that he would keep Taka forever. “Pfft. What an asshole.” Taka snorted. Around 1am, Taka finally fell asleep, hoping that the nightmare of Sakurai was gone for good.

 

            “Taka woke to Koichi tapping on his door. “Hey, want some breakfast? Tatsu’s making French toast!” Koichi’s aim today was to get Taka back on course, with no Sakurai bumps in his road.

            “Okay, I’ll get up…French toast? Mmm, Yep! I’m in!” Stretching his lean frame, Taka felt surprisingly good. He had had no nightmares, nothing regarding Sakurai at all.

            “You keep impressing me with your cooking Tatsu.” The morning mood was light, with no shadows hanging over them. “I like to eat, I like different types of food, eating the same miso soup and ramen gets boring quickly.”

            The trio chatted throughout breakfast, Tatsu having to leave for the studio, broke the morning party up. “I have some work to do as well, do you have any plans, Taka?” Koichi was concerned, he didn’t want Taka to feel like he was in the way. “I’m going to the HBG today, talk to the boss about coming back to work.” Koichi’s breath caught, “Go back to work? Taka, really? Why do you want to go back to the HBG?” Now it was Taka’s turn to be surprised. “Why wouldn’t I? Morrie can’t hurt me, Die won’t bother me, Sakurai wouldn’t dare do anything. I miss Aki and Uta. I need to work, Kou. I can’t live with you and Tatsu forever.” Koichi grumbled some, making a rude noise.

            “You have a valid point, but isn’t it a bit soon? Are you physically ready to go back?” Taka and Koichi went back and forth, point to counter point for almost an hour. Taka was frustrated, “Koichi! What’s the real reason you don’t want me to go back to work? Is it the HBG? Is it Aki or Uta? Come on…out with it!” Koichi looked at his feet.

            “I’m scared that someone…I mean, what if you…like, meet someone new? Then you and Sato…” So, this is about Sato. “Kou, I doubt that would happen. I’m still trying to fix me, I can’t be in any relationship until I can care about myself, first.”  

            “I’m sorry Taka, I’m being selfish. I want it to be the four of us again, I still believe you’re meant to be with Sato, that’s what my heart tells me at least.” Taka hugged his best friend. “If I can learn to love myself, which I have to do before I’m can be in a committed relationship, Sato is still at the top of the list.”

 

~

            Taka felt better than he had for the last six months. The owner of the HBG had Sat down with Taka, listening to the story, tearing up and then hugging Taka tightly. “You are very special to me, like a son.” He said. Taka was asked to come back, start off where he had ended, as a manager. Taka declined the position, for now, saying that he needed to earn the right to be a manager again. Aki and Mao had been there, both excited to work with Taka again. After setting up a tentative schedule, Taka left, heading to Dr. Maeta’s office.

“I would be back, working the counter, only day shifts to start. It would be only twenty hours per week. I told the owner that I needed to work my way back to being a manager, and he agreed. I need to do this, I want to do it. I can’t live with Koichi forever, as much as he may want me to.” Maeta was pleased, and impressed with Taka’s new attitude, giving his official all clear to return to work.

 

 

~~

 

            “It couldn’t hurt to try he might say yes. Ask him out on a ‘friendly date’”. Sato and Tatsu were in the rehearsal room taking a break from practice. Sato had asked Tatsu how Taka was doing. “I miss just hanging out, you know Genki Sushi, Leisure Land, the silly stuff we’d do.” Tatsu could hear the longing in Sato’s voice, and it hurt to see his friend so lonely.

            “All he could do is say no, Sato.” Yukke was sitting on the couch, chiming in on the subject. “Make a video.” Miya was in the sound booth, “Make a goofy video, asking him on a date.” The members of Mucc were familiar with creating goofy videos. “Wear the bowling pin suit, from Mucc Taisou!” Yukke laughed, “Maybe I will, even if he says no, it might make him laugh.”

 

            “Hello? Um, hi Shinya. Yah, I’m doing well, thanks. How’s Miyu? I bet she’s huge for a Chihuahua. Um, Die? Yah, I know. Thanks, but we cleared all that up when I was still in the hospital. Oh, Um, okay I guess, that’s fine. Thanks Shinya, hope to see you soon.”

 

            “Do you guys have a minute? I want your opinion on something.” Taka didn’t want to lie to his friends, the old Taka would have. “You know all the stuff between me and Die, right? Well, we cleared that up while I was still in hospital.” Taka was shaking inside. “Um, Die asked me out to dinner.” Koichi looked at Taka, “Okay, so what opinion do you need?” Taka hesitated a moment. “Well, whether or not I should go, would help. Die knows I’m not interested in him other than as a friend, and I trust him now, so…”

            Tatsu shrugged. “If you’re comfortable with Die, I have no issues, Kou? Do you?” Koichi shook his head, “Nope, I know Kyo busted up Die big and made him apologize, I say go ahead, it’s a free meal!”  

            “He wants to take me to the restaurant, so it’s not like we’ll really be alone. Um, maybe you could just happen to be there before we get there?”

~

            “Thanks, Die.” Taka and Die were walking into the restaurant, Die being Die, was chatting away. “I’m sorry…for, um, playing with you, it was mean, but you’re so fucking hot Taka-kun, can you blame me? Seriously! I thought you and Sato were done.” Die was turning a little red, slightly embarrassed, “It’s okay Die, really. I was a mental case, so that didn’t help either. And, honestly, you’re pretty fucking hot too.”

            Both men started to laugh, poking fun at themselves. Dinner was enjoyable, the conversation light; Miyu and how the puppy tore up one of Miya’s leather jackets, showing Die pictures of Eddy, laughing at the fact that he was ten times bigger than Miyu. Yui from Umbrella stopped by to say hello, then Koichi and Tatsu showed up. “Are you spying on us Tatsu? I’m being very good tonight, I’m not playing with my date at all.” teased Die. “Since we had our own dinner planned last week, no I’m not spying, but glad to see you Die.” Tatsu and Koichi went to their normal table towards the rear of the restaurant. “Did they really have their night planned before us?” Die leaned in, “Yep, same night every week.” smirked Taka.

            Die asked about Sato, “I want to ask you, and please be honest. Are you going back to Sato? The reason I ask is, if you’re not...I’d like to spend more time with you, truly, not playing around.” Die was blushing hard, “I do like you, Taka-kun, I wouldn’t have played with you if I wasn’t really interested, I just went way too overboard, I’m sorry. But fuck,” Die was whispering, “You made me hard as hell! You’re fucking sexy!”

            Taka was turning bright red, feeling the flush come over his body, “You want to go out with me? Like a boyfriend?” Die nodded eagerly. “I’m flattered Die. I can’t say yes or no yet. Um, I still have a lot of shit I’m…” Taka suddenly stopped, his face going pale. Die sat up. “Taka?” Die turned around to see what Taka was looking at…Sakurai had just walked in.

 

~~

 

            “Oh Shit! Tatsu, Sakurai just walked in!” Koichi saw the man at the same time as Taka, “Let’s just stay here for now. Die’s got Taka, he’s fine.”

~

            Taka was shaking, not knowing exactly what to do. Die knew about the situation via Kyo, and was not happy to see his date scared.

            “Hello Lovely, it’s nice to see you, are you enjoying our dinner with…Who is this? I can’t seem to remember his name.” Sakurai’s voice was dripping with contempt and sarcasm.

            “First off, I’m NOT your Lovely anymore, I was enjoying my DATE until you showed up.” Taka was pissed, the shaking was now out of anger.

            “You’ll always be my lovely boy, regardless of who’s fucking you.” Sakurai was becoming angry.

            While the exchange was going on, the other patrons were watching, some who had knowledge of the situation, were poised, ready to move if needed.

            “It’s none of your damned business who I’m fucking, because I don’t belong to you.” Taka stood up. “You need to mind your own damned business Sakurai.” Die stood up. “Just leave, old man.” Sakurai whipped his head around, “Old man? You little fuck. If it wasn’t for me you’d have no career, shut your face.”

            People started to move closer, just in case. “Tatsu, we need to do something,” hissed Koichi. “Just wait”. Tatsu had his hand on Koichi’s shoulder.

            “Lovely, you signed a contract, you still belong to me until we both agree to void that contract. So, who you’re fucking is of great concern to me.” Die was about to reply, when a deep growl interrupted him. “Sakurai, do you really want to cause problems here? With everyone watching you, hmm Acchan?” Turning around, Kyo was standing behind Sakurai.

            “I can start a scene for you, and not one of your normal scenes, or you can excuse yourself and leave. Taka belongs to no one, not to you, nor Die or even Sato. He is his own man now, and he has no need for anyone like you.”

            Turning to look at Taka again, Sakurai see’s Tatsu and Koichi are now standing behind Taka, Die is standing in front of Taka, and the other guests at the restaurant are all staring at what is taking place, leaving for many witnesses.

            “I told you Sakurai, I don’t belong to you. I don’t’ need you, you need to just fuck the fuck off and leave me and my friends alone.”

            Sakurai growled, “Lovely boy, we have a contract, your pale beautiful ass belongs to me! I’m not done with you Taka-kun.” He turned and walked out of the restaurant.

            Taka was still shaking as he sat down. “Are you alright? Can I get you something?” Tatsu was kneeling in front of Taka. “No, I’m fine, he just pisses me off.” Kyo walked over and sat down in a chair and looked at Taka. “Like I told you that day in the hospital, Sakurai is not what he appears to be and most importantly Taka, Sato is your safe haven.” Taka started to speak, Kyo holding a hand up to stop him.

            “Taka, I’ve watched you for three years now. Sadly, some parts of you, remind me of my past. Self-destructive behaviors and lifestyle suck, please believe me. The only time you appeared to be truly happy, every time I saw you smiling, you were with Sato. Taka, if you can repair and reconcile with Sato, after you learn to love yourself and value yourself, give Sato another chance. He’s a good man, much better than most.” Patting Taka on the knee, Kyo got up and abruptly left.

            Taka thanked Die for the dinner and for standing up to Sakurai. Die was resigned to the fact that Taka didn’t want to date him. “Dude, Kyo’s right. You’re Sato’s boy, always have been, but if you ever change your mind…”

            Taka went home with Tatsu and Koichi, silent on the ride home. He said goodnight and went to his room. The dark was always the best place to be, when deciding your future.

 

            Sakurai was livid, so angry he could not think clearly. Old man…you little bastard. Don’t think we are done, Taka-kun, not by far.

Chapter Text

It felt weird to be behind the counter at the HBG again, the good memories outweighing the bad. “Taka!” turning towards the sound, Taka was almost knocked down by Uta and Aki.

            “Oh my god! I’m so happy to see you back!” gushed Uta. “Are you glad to be back? But you’re not a manager, right? Oh, I have to tell you about Kyo and me, shit, Kanon and Ruki too!”

            Aki stood to the side, wearing a large grin, “It’s good to have you back Taka, I’ve missed you!” The friends chatted as they readied the HBG to open. “Kyo’s going to be here for my break.” Aki had told Taka more about Uta and Kyo, two opposites that fit so perfectly. “And, Uta and Ruki, now that’s truly an odd pair of friends.” Uta walked by and flipped Aki a middle finger, “You’re just jealous!” Taka noticed how Uta had changed so drastically since he started dating Kyo and it was awesome to see Uta unafraid and happy.
           

            Working the counter had always been fun for Taka, it was comfortable and felt right. He had his back turned when a customer approached. Without turning around, “Hi, what can I get you?”

            “Um, a high ball and your phone number.” Taka froze, turning slowly, Sato is at the counter, giggling. “Shit! You freaked me out! I almost pulled a Koichi and fainted!” Taka was flustered by laughing. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it, it was just too perfect.”

            “How did you know I was working? Oh wait, Koichi.” Taka groaned.

            “Actually, no. I was at that konbini on the corner. I walked by and saw you, thought I’d just stop and see how you’re doing.” Sato had butterflies, Taka was still the most beautiful boy he had ever seen.

            “Today’s my first day back. I’m doing well, thanks. How’s the little turd?” They both laughed, “You mean the huge shit? Obnoxious and lazy, always thinks he’s starving.” A line began to form, so Sato said good bye, and Taka felt a little stay, watching Sato walk away.

 

                        “Can we all meet at the studio? I need some help.”

 

            “How do you want to approach this? Serious or fun?” The four members of Mucc were brain storming ideas for a video. Sato wanted to ask Taka out on a date, but in an unusual way.

            “I don’t really do serious, so fun is the better option.” The bowling pin suit Sato wore for Mucc Taisou, was thrown out. “I can’t wear that!” After two hours, idea exchanging, the band had filmed a short, to the point video email, for Sato to send to Taka.

            Sato nervously entered the email address and clicked ‘Send’. “I hope I’m doing the right thing.”

 

            “Tadaima,” Taka walked in, arms full of bags. “Okaeri, what’s all that?” Koichi was sitting in the living room, reading. “Dinner. Ramen and pork cutlet from Ojisan’s.” The small ramen hut had become one of the best go to spots for quick dinners. “Yay! I didn’t want to cook tonight and Tatsu’s at the studio, so this is perfect!”

            Eating their dinner, the subject of Sakura came up. “He seemed so angry that night, he didn’t look like Acchan.” The two men were discussing how Sakurai interrupted Taka’s dinner with Die. “He acted like he didn’t know who Die was, Buck Tick has played with Diru before, for fucks sake.” Taka just shook his head. “I liked the ‘fuck the fuck off’. I said that to Tatsu once, he laughed at me, I said it about Sakurai was well. He sees to bring the fuck out of both of us.” Koichi laughed.

            “Hey, what’s so funny?” Tatsu walked in from the genkan. “Fuck the fuck off!” giggled Kou. Tatsu pouted, “I haven’t done anything wrong.” Koichi jumped up and hugged his husband. “We were just saying how Sakurai brings the fucks out of us.”

            “There’s ramen in the fridge for you, I stopped at Ojisan’s.” The mention of Ojisan’s ramen, brought a hungry smile to Tatsu’s face. “Yay!”

            The mood turned nostalgic, as they sat around after dinner. “Remember that first live? When Tatsu saw you and just stopped?” snarked Taka, “Then Miya kicked you in the ass to get your attention?” Taka and Koichi fell into each other laughing. “And Miya yelled at him, backstage?” Tatsu turned his back on the two friends, trying to act hurt, but Taka and Koichi didn’t see the huge smile on Tatsu’s face. Taka looked happy, not letting the shit with Sakurai bother him.

            “Okay, enough torturing me.” Tatsu got up and kissed Koichi. “How was work today, Taka?” Tatsu started fishing. “Good, worked with Aki and Uta, oh and Sato stopped by.” Koichi tried not to react. “Oh? What’d he want?”

            “He was at the konbini, saw me and just stopped to say hi, we only talked for a few minutes.” Koichi and Tatsu left it at that.

            Taka was tired, and so a quick shower, then off to bed. Lying in bed, he checked his email on his phone. Seeing an email from Sato, but with an attachment, he got up and started his laptop. What’s Sato sending me? He opened the attachment, a video? What the hell?

 

            Images start to flash across the screen; HBG, Club G, Leisure Land, Genki Sushi, Eddy,The restaurant, the café at the beach, DCR.

                                    Sato sitting behind his drum kit.

            “Taka, I’d like to take you on an official first date. Your choice on where to go.”    

            The screen turns to black, and the word PLEASE, flashes in red letters.

Chapter Text

Taka watched the video several times, each time reacting to different images. The HBG, made him smile, laughing at Genki Sushi and Leisure Land. The image of Eddy as a tiny kitten, hurt Taka’s heart, he missed the cat a great deal. Sato asking him out on a date brought out different feelings; sadness and embarrassment on what he had, and the reason he lost it and a feeling of optimistic uncertainty. Taka had feelings for Sato, though unsure if the feelings were remnants of the past, or new feelings. Closing down his computer, Taka was unsure if he would accept Sato’s offer of an official first date.

           

            “A video of what?” Tatsu explained the concept of the video, and why Sato had chosen to go that route, as a way to ask Taka on a date. “He wanted to gently remind Taka of places they had gone, fun places, with good memories. Putting a picture of Eddy as a tiny kitten, was my idea.” Koichi pulled Tatsu down and kissed his husband, “Thank you.” “For what?”  Koichi kissed Tatsu again. “For caring about Taka and Sato. I know you want them back together as much as I do.” Koichi pulled Tatsu down one last time, but didn’t stop at the kiss, moaning in Tatsu’s mouth, and molding his body to his lovers, a deep sigh followed and the sounds of passion arise.

 

            Taka didn’t know what to do, was he read to start seeing Sato? “Maybe I’ll ask Maeta, he’ll be unbiased.” Taka did not mention the email the next morning, and Koichi had not asked. “I’m off to see Maeta, then into work for a bit, I’ll see you guys tonight.”

            “Do you think he’s seen it? He didn’t say anything.” Cuddling Koichi on the couch, Tatsu tried to calm his nosey boy. “Give him time, Kou, he might not know what to do…he’s seeing Maeta today, so we might know more tonight, just give Taka some time.”

           

            “Well, it’s an interesting method in asking someone out, but considering it’s Mucc, it makes sense.” Taka had pulled the video up on Maeta’s computer. “What was your first reaction?” Maeta already had an opinion, but need to verify Taka’s feelings. “I laughed, seeing Eddy as a tiny kitten was hard. It was mostly positive feelings, but sad as well, as I fucked it all up.” Maeta made some notes in his book.

            “Should I say yes? I’m not sure yet, not sure what he expects from me on a date.” Taka was confused, what were Sato’s motives? Friends or more? “If you have doubts, you need to voice them to Sato. If he wants a friendly date, no sexual overtone, no pretenses, I would say, why not? But, if he is using this video to somehow guilt trip you into seeing him, you need to stay away from his manipulations.”

            Is Sato trying to manipulate me? I doubt it, he’s not that kind of person, he’s too decent of a guy.

~

 

            Taka had to shove all of this to the back burner, work needed to have his full attention.

            “It’s nice to see you smile again, Taka. We were all scared for you. Maybe we should have done something more for you.” Aki harbored some guilt, wishing he and Uta would have gotten more involved, perhaps helping Taka before he fell so far.

            “Aki-kun, even if you would have tried, I was so messed up, I would have shoved you both away. I’m sorry I put you guys through it. It won’t happen again, I know why it happened in the first place, and I’m changing everything in my life.” Taka did have good friends, it took him almost dying to see it.

            The day went by quickly, Taka only working a few hours. He stopped at the store for dinner fixings, not reaching for the alcohol as he would have in the past. “Tadaima, I’m making dinner tonight!” Unpacking groceries, he heard Tatsu and Koichi in their bedroom. Smiling, he went and grabbed his headphones, and proceeded to start dinner. Standing at the stove, Taka see’s something out of the corner of his eye, turning, he sees a naked Koichi, who then squeals like a girl and runs back into his room. Taka just laughed, which surprised him. Had it been a year ago, that this happened, Taka would have probably used that visual for late night activities, but it didn’t even cross his mind.

            “If you two will get dressed, dinner is ready.” Taka had knocked on the bedroom door, Tatsu emerging with a stupid grin on his face, followed by a very red- faced lover.

            “Kou, I’ve seen you naked, but really? Running out into the living room? What if Sato would have been here?” Taka teased his bestie.

            “Um, heh…sorry, we didn’t hear you come home.” Koichi was giggling. “Well I heard YOU when I got home, so I put my headphones on.” Taka held them up.

            The topic of naked Koichi continued during dinner, which made the segue into the Sato video easier.

            “Just wanted to let you know, yes I’ve seen the video Sato sent me.” Taka was now the one who was blushing. “And? Oh! I was the one who suggested the picture of Eddy.” Tatsu was proud of his contribution.

            “And, I need to talk to Sato first, before I say yes.” Taka looked up for any reaction, by his friends. “That sounds like a solid plan, although I can tell you this much, his intentions are honorable.” Tatsu put his hand over Taka’s “Taka-kun, he still loves you, but he respects the boundary’s you’ve put in place.”

            Taka nodded, “I will let you know what we’ve decided, and thank you both, I don’t deserve…Wait! I DO deserve friends like you! I love you both!” After everyone stopped crying, the topic returned to naked Koichi, all in fun.

Chapter Text

“I’ll see you in a bit, thanks.” Taka closed his phone. He had called Sato, asking to meet him at the HBG during his break. He had not told Sato why he wanted to talk to him, just to be on the patio. He was working with Miku today, who had not yet met Sato. “Miku, I’m expecting a visitor, I’d like to take my break when he shows up, if we’re not too busy.” Miku was amused, his former boss was asking him if he could take a break. “Um, Taka, you’re my boss…you don’t have to ask me.” Taka shook his head, “No, Miku, right now I work the counter, same as you.”
The two went back and forth until a customer interrupted them. “Uh EXCUSE ME!” The customer sounded pissed. Taka looked over and laughed, “Oh it’s YOU!” he faked indignation. Miku’s eyes widened, Taka was being rude to a customer! “Miku, this is Sato, he’s um…” “A friend, we’ve known each other for years.” Sato filled in. Miku looked at the customer again, “Sato? As in Mucc, Sato?” Sato grinned, “Yep, that would be me.” Taka took off his apron and left out the back door.
“Hi, thanks for coming, let’s sit over by the fountain.” Leading Sato to a quiet area, they sat across from each other. “So, what’s up?” Sato was hoping it would be good news, as in Taka liking the video. “Well, I saw the video,” Taka was blushing, “But I have a few questions.” Sato’s heart dropped.
“If I say yes, will this be um…a friend date? Or a friend that wants to be a lover date? Or I want to fuck you into the wall date?” At the last question, Sato sat back, “No, no! Not the last one!” Taka giggled.
“Okay, it’s friends who have seen each other in a long time, date, how’s that?” Sato had leaned back in, towards Taka. Fuck, he’s still so beautiful.
Tipping his head up, tapping his chin with a finger, Taka pretends to contemplate the answer. “Hmm, I dunno, sounds like a sketchy date to me…so…” Taka drew it out. “Okay, I’ll go!” Letting out an explosive breath, Sato grinned at Taka. “You’re awfully mean…” Taka nodded, “Yep, I am. Can I ask you one last thing? Since this is an official first date, could we make it a group date? Please!? My first date with you needs to be chaperoned “
Sato threw his head back and laughed, “Chaperoned?” “Yes, Tatsu and Kyo, Shinya and Miya, Yukke and Kai.” Sato sighed, “Because it’s you, I want what you want. Yes, we can have a group date. I’ll talk to the others and arrange a day and time, okay?” Taka clapped his hands.
As Sato walked away, Taka saw a strange look on Miku’s face. “You mean to tell me, that Mucc Sato…is YOUR Sato? How did I not know this?” Taka shrugged, leaving a confused co-worker to wonder what else he was missing.
Chapter

“He wants it chaperoned, so I agreed.” Sato was at the studio, with the others members of Mucc, discussing the date with Taka. “A group date? Sounds like fun, we haven’t done anything like that since…um, never?” Yukke knew Kai would agree. “Is everyone on board?” Sato flashed his goofy grin, knowing the group wouldn’t refuse. “Now the hard part, where do eight people go on a group date?”
“Of course, we’ll go! All of us want to see Sato and Taka-kun reconcile, where are we going?”
“A group date? Chaperoned? What? Is Taka like sixteen again?”
“Anything to help Taka-kun recover, I’m happy to help. Has anyone decided where we’ll go yet?”

“It’s all set, we just need some place or event to go too.”
~

Taka was shaking inside, a mix of anxiety and excitement. He had not seen the others since the DCR event, only speaking to Kai and Shinya. “You’re over thinking again, they don’t hate you Taka.” Koichi could see the anxiety on Taka’s face. “If they hated you, they would not have helped with the video.”
“You’re right. I know, it’s my old habits, my old way of thinking.” Taka was embarrassed. “Do you know where we’re going?” Tatsu wouldn’t tell Koichi. “It’s a surprise, you guys have to wait until we get there.” Tatsu walked behind Kou and kissed the back of his head. “Um, that’s not really fair, Tatsu, it’s my date.” Whined Taka. “It’s a surprise, but I’ll tell you this much; Mucc shot a video at this location.” Taka looked at Koichi, grabbed him by the hand and raced off to his bedroom. “Think Kou! Where have they done a video, that works for a date?” Koichi closed his eyes, “Shit! I can’t think of anywhere close by!” As they brain stormed, Sato texted Tatsu, they were ready to go. “Come on you two, let’s go.”

Sato had borrowed at DCR van, since eight people would never fit in any of the members cars. Shinya had hugged Taka, whispering in his ear, “Welcome back, Taka-kun.” Kai and Yukke both winked at Taka. Miya was sitting up front, and had said nothing, leaving Taka to believe that Miya was upset. “Where are we going?” Koichi shouted over the din, “Hai, Hai! You’ll see when we get there.” Taka and Koichi both pouted.
Twenty minutes later, they pulled into a large parking garage, and everyone piled out. Not only were Taka and Kou confused, Kai and Shinya were as well. Everyone paired up, Sato slipped his hand into Taka’s, leaving Taka feeling flushed. Going up an escalator, Shinya was the first to react, laughing, he shouted, “Leisure Land!”
Koichi groaned, “I was thinking music video locations, not Mucc Missions!” Kai was almost giddy, looking around and pointing, “Oh! WE have to do that! Yukke, win me a bear!” The group started to walk around, playing various games, kicking a soccer ball, in which Miya epically failed at, during the Mucc Missions. While Sato was taking his turn, Miya approached Taka.
“Can we talk a minute?” They moved away from the group, Taka obviously nervous. “I want to apologize, Taka.” Taka was confused, “For what? You’ve never done anything to me in which you have to apologize for, Miya.”
“I didn’t support you, I wrote you off when you left Sato. I said some really shitty things about you, to Shin, and more shitty things when I heard you were with Sakurai. Shinya bused my ass for it…which I totally deserved. Then I heard a little about your past, that honestly, made me angry and sad, at the world, not you.” Taka was looking at the floor, shuffling his feet.
“Taka, you don’t deserve to be treated that way by anyone. You are worth so much more, to a lot of people. I for one, hope to be a better friend. Shin and I, well you’re part of our family.” Without noticing, Yukke and Kai, and Shinya had walked up.
“Taka-kun, Yukke and I also love you. You’re a part of our family too. We both want nothing but happiness for you.” Taka looked up finally, tears streaming down his face. “Thank you, I love you all too.” Sato had been standing back, watching. Leaning over to Tatsu, “Maybe this will work out, after all.”

Chapter Text

The group spent the day recreating what Mucc had done for their video. There was a small competition between Sato and Kai that lasted thirty-minutes. Standing in front of the strength test, which Sato clearly winning for the Mission video, Sato boasted, “I won this, hands down. I’ll do it again.”
“Move aside, old man, I’ll show you how it’s done.” Kai pushed Sato aside. The two drummers went ten rounds. But as he predicted, Sato won. “My arms are going to fall off.” Kai laughed. “I can’t breathe!” Sato was bent over, hands on his knees, breathing hard. “phTaka hugged Sato, and not one person in the group, missed that moment, leaving everyone smiling.
The last place the group visited was a photo booth, which produced some questionable results. The group photo of the boyfriends, then the Mucc members, and finally, all eight of them, shoved into the booth. They did enough photos for everyone to have a strip card. Piling back into the van, they drove back to Tatsu’s flat. “What’s for dinner?” Taka asked. “We have a special reservation for tonight.” Tatsu announced. “We have booked, for two hours, Ojisan’s!” A collective cheer ensued.
Filing into Ojisan’s, everyone ordering a beer, except for Taka and Sato, “You can have a beer, Sato, it’s okay.” chided Taka. “I actually need water more, after the strength game.” Taka smiled, knowing better. Everyone raved about the food, as Ojisan stood behind the counter, smiling.
“These are your fellow entertainers and their partners?” He asked Tatsu. “Yes Ojisan, These,” Tatsu watched his friends, enjoying their company, “are my best friends.” Ojisan nodded towards Taka, “This is the troubled one? He looks better” Tatsu nodded, “He’s much better, thank you for caring about us, Ojisan.” After two hours, too much ramen and an abundance of a good time, the group date was at its end.

Taka and Sato were sitting at the table back at Tatsu’s flat. “Well, did you have fun?” Sato really wanted to kiss Taka, but made no move. “Oh, My God, yes! Your battle with Kai was so much fun. Everything was perfect.” gushed Taka. Sato got up to leave, “Can I have a hug?” Taka shyly leaned into Sato’s embrace. “I really had fun today, thank you.” whispered Taka.
“I really want to kiss you right now, but I’m just a friend, who took another friend out.” Sato sighed, the hug would have to suffice for now. As they hugged, Sato’s breath hitched, “Thanks again, Sato.” Taka pulled out of the hug, and Sato went home.
Did he really feel a tiny grind into his hips? Looking back at Tatsu’s door, he was unsure. Wishful thinking?
Did he feel it? He must have, I head his breath catch. But will he do anything about it? Wishful thinking.

He’s with Sato? Oh lovely, I don’t think so, you are still mine, your pale beautiful ass belongs to me, collar or no collar.

Did you kiss him?” Koichi was at Taka’s side, the second Sato left. “No, I didn’t kiss him, it’s too soon for that.” Taka sighed. “Kou, I don’t want to move too quickly, it’s just too soon.” Koichi fell back on Taka’s bed. “I’m sorry Taka, it’s just…” Taka giggled, “If it were up to you, Sato would be fucking me right now!” Kou rolled over laughing, “No, you’d be getting married tomorrow.”
What should I do now? Ask him out again? How soon? Then do I try to kiss him? Fuck!

What to do about Sato. What punishment for you, Lovely? Are you letting him fuck you? Violating another’s property has serious consequences…for you both.

“How was the date, Taka?” Aki and Miku were working with Taka the next day. “Aki, did you know that Taka’s Sato is Mucc Sato?” Miku was still having a hard time with the information. “Yep, I knew. And Taka’s best friend, Koichi, is married to Tatsu. Why are you so surprised? Kanon and Uta are dating musicians, so what’s so different about Taka?” Miku rolled his eyes, “Aki, DUH It’s MUCC!”

Chapter Text

Lying in bed, taka replayed the group date in his mind, picking out certain scenes, things said and remembering the over- all feel of the day. Everything he thought of was pleasant, warm and made him smile. What Miya had said to him, apologizing for things he said, not to Taka, but to Shinya, “Like he really needed to apologize?” he laughed. The fact that Sato had held his hand, was always touching him in small ways, whispering jokes about the others, it all felt natural, not forced. It felt right. The hug. Did Sato notice that he leaned in with his hips? “Of course, he did, he’s not stupid.” He whispered to himself. Now I guess I just have to wait.

~

            Everyone slept in the next morning, as no one had anything pressing for the first part of the day. Teo was the alarm clock for the flat, trolling Taka first, who just covered his head and turned over. With a refusal from Taka, Teo trolled Tatsu and Koichi. Basically, stomping on Tatsu, then ramping it up when he got nothing from that, Teo bit Tatsu’s nose, albeit gently, and no blood drawn. “OW! FUCKER!” Tatsu thrashed up, launching Teo to the end of the bed. “Teo! Damnit!” Lying back in the bed, Tatsu groaned, “Kou, get up and feed your monster.” Koichi responded with something rather rude, and turned over. “Gee, I love you too.” Snorted Tatsu. “Alright, you devil, I’ll get up.” It was a less than perfect start to the day.

            “Morning Tatsu” Taka stumbled into the kitchen, reaching for coffee. “Kou still sleeping?” Tatsu grunted, “Yes, I had to get up and deal with the monster.” Teo was busy chowing down, not bothering to thank Tatsu. “Why were you yelling so early?” Koichi had gotten out of bed…finally, his husband noted. “Your precious baby Teo, bit my nose…again!” Scooping Teo up and nuzzling him, Koichi defended his monster, “He was starving, right baby? Who’s a sweet kitten?” Koichi got a small lick on his nose, “See? He’s not a monster.” Taka made a wretching sound, “I can’t stand all the drippy sweetness this early.” As he turned to go back to bed, the doorbell rang.

~

            Taka was quivering, sweating and felt like the was going to vomit. Sitting on the table, was a large arrangement of Black Bat Orchid, with one single blood red rose in the center. Taka didn’t have to read the card, he knew who sent the flowers. Tatsu had the card, ‘Lovely’ was the only word on the card. “Taka?” Koichi had laid his hand on Taka’s shoulder, “What!”, Taka jumped. “Woah, you’re okay, sorry.” Taka was shaking, “Why does he keep trying? How many times does it take to tell him to stop?”

            Tatsu bent over the chair, hugging the shaken man. “Taka, he won’t get to you…I promise.” Looking at the flowers, Koichi didn’t understand the symbolism, Taka explained, “I sent those to him…when I sighed the contract, but there were more roses.” He knew the single rose was him. “Do we call the police? We can call Aoyama, he might be able to help.” Now was the time to get serious.

            Taka, Tatsu and Koichi discussed on whether or not getting the police involved, was the right move. Sakurai Atsushi was a music icon, known and loved by millions of people. Moving to include the police was not done lightly. “We need to talk to the others first,” confirmed Tatsu. “I still want to call Aoyama, maybe just as a friend; as a consultant.” Koichi knew the detective was fond of them. “Taka? What do you want to do?” Taka was so tired, he felt himself slipping, he was scared. “Call Aoyama, I’m…I’m not feeling well. I’m going to go lay down, throws those fucking flowers in the trash please.”

                        “Can I come and see you today? I’m scared.”

            Sitting in Dr. Maeta’s office, Taka was shaking as he told Maeta the latest issue with Sakurai. “I can understand why you would be scared, he’s stalking you, much like Morrie stalked Koichi. Do you have a plan in place for dealing with this?” Taka shook his head, “Not yet, we may call Detective Aoyama for advice, I mean this is Sakurai Atsushi, not some old washed up vocalist.  Maeta agreed, “Tread lightly, this could be professionally devastating for a lot of people.”

            Sato was sitting on Tatsu’s couch, when Taka came home, and he immediately got up and hugged Taka tightly. “He’s not coming near you, I swear.” Taka instinctively grabbed Sato around the waist, burying his face into the man’s neck. This brought a wistful smile to Sato, who leaned his head against Taka’s. “Hey, look at me.” Taka looked into the face…of the man he loved! “We won’t let Sakurai anywhere near you, okay?” Taka now had an odd look on his face, softer eyes met Sato’s. “I know,” he whispered.

            “Aoyama will be here in a bit, Taka.” Koichi was going to hug Taka, but Tatsu held him back, nodding towards the couple, who both still had their arms around each other. Koichi’s mouth made an ‘o’, and then a huge smile broke out.

            Taka finally reluctantly pulled out of the hug, then sat on the couch, Sato next to him. “The others are coming as well, and Gazette and Diru. We want everyone involved in this. We also have DCR’s legal team if we need it, but I want to see what Aoyama advises first.

~

            Over the next hour, Tatsu’s flat grew crowded. Dir and Gazette sent two members; Kyo and Kaoru, Kai and Reita. With twelve people in the flat, it was standing room only. Aoyama arrived, quickly taken aback at the amount of people present. “Well, hello to you all, what can I do for you?”

            Tatsu and Koichi gave Aoyama an update on Taka’s situation, with Sakurai. “It’s starting to feel a lot like Morrie again.” Taka finally spoke up, “He sent me flowers today, so he knows I live here, we ‘ve had several confrontations in public, this is starting to scare me.” Taka had people surrounding him. Sato was next to him, a protective arm on his shoulders, Shinya on the other side, holding his hand. Aoyama had flash backs from the previous year. “So, what do you need me to do?”

Chapter Text

The flat was quiet, it had been an intense meeting with Aoyama. There was still no concrete plan, just a lot of ideas and opinions thrown around. One thing had become clear, nobody really wanted Sakurai to lose his career because of his actions, they just wanted him to stop. Aoyama had advised against any major legal action, unless Sakurai did physical harm to Taka, or anyone else, then it was a matter for the police if it went that way. Aoyama did suggest to flood the community with information, rumors, whatever noise they could make, hoping peer pressure would force him to abandon his quest for Taka.

            Sato had brought up the local BSDM community, what Sakurai was doing, forcing a contract on someone who walked away, was highly frowned upon, especially with any sort of mental or substance abuse issue are involved.

            Aoyama noticed, that as the meeting progressed, Taka withdrew more, almost as if he was trying to become invisible. Aoyama moved from his chair, kneeling in front of Taka, “Hey, listen to me. You’ve been through the worst of it, and I know that it may appear like this will never end. But look around you, all of these people are concerned for you, you matter to them…you matter to me, a great deal actually. We’ll take care of this, no worries, okay?”

            Patting Taka’s knee, Aoyama returned to his chair. Koichi looked at Aoyama; that sounded like a confession.

~

            “Where do we start? Aoyama made a valid point: do any of us, want to kill Sakurai’s career?” General negative muttering was heard. “I just want Sakurai to stop harassing me, I don’t want to be known as the whiney kid that caused Buck Tick to collapse.” Taka had not said much during the meeting, he was causing a problem, exactly what he didn’t want to do. He then abruptly got up and left the room.

            Locking his door behind him, Taka sat in a corner, head buried into his knees. I’m fucking things up again, I need to leave. Getting up, he pulled his bag out from under the bed, and started to gather his clothes.

            “Taka, can I come in please?” Sato tapped on the door. Unlocking the door, Taka returned to packing his things. “What are you doing?” Sato ask quietly. “I’m leaving.” Taka was so tired. “Why?” Sato was trying so hard, not to rush over to Taka. “Where are you going to go? You know, my offer still stands.” Sato Saw Koichi peeking in, Sato waving him off. “No, I’m going to live alone, it’s better for everyone involved, out of sight…” Almost, without thinking and with no hesitation, Sato walked to Taka, gathering him in his arms, “I can’t let you do this, nope, not going to happen. If it takes all night, I’m keeping you locked up, just like this.” Taka tried to push back against Sato. “Please, just let me go.” Taka struggled, with no results. After five-minutes of just standing, Taka sighed. “Fine, I won’t leave today, but…” Sato lessened his grip, but still held Taka tightly. “I’m not letting go, every again, Taka.”

            “I told you, I won’t leave.” Sato shrugged. “And? Your point being?” Taka looked at his ex-lover, the man he now realized he still loved. “Won’t this be awkward if I have to pee? Or you? Eddy will starve.” Sato laughed at that one. “Eddy could stand to lose a few pounds.” It is now going on ten minutes of Sato capturing Taka in his arms. Taka was shifting his weight, foot to foot, he was also beginning to feel a little aroused by the confinement, something that soon, Sato would notice.

            “Um, how long do you plan on standing here? Just want an estimated release date.” Taka was smiling, he really shouldn’t be too upset, he could smell Sato, the smell that in the past meant he was safe. “I don’t have a release date. I actually plan on keeping you forever, and yes, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You are no longer my pet…never again will I use that name. Now, I may come up with something else, how does my sweet usagi sound?” By now, Taka had slid his hands into Sato’s back pockets, trying to stand a bit more balanced.

            “Sweet Usagi? Really? Isn’t a rabbit a pet? Nope, try again.” I’m winning. “Hmm, my tiny Akuma? Or My pale koneko-chan?? Tiny ushi? Oh! my little kuppekeki!” Sato just rattled off random objects. “Can we just go back to pet?” Sato shook his head. “No, we can’t. I will call you Taka, babe or whatever, but never again will I call you pet.” Sato looked into Taka’s eyes, and took a chance, closing slowly, Sato leaned into a small kiss, lips just brushing Taka’s.

            A tiny gasp escaped Taka’s lips, as Sato ran his tongue across Taka’s bottom lip. Wait for a response, yes or no? Closing his eyes, Taka mewled and his lips said yes. The kiss was sweet, no lust, no want, just a kiss to reconnect the two lovers. Sato refused to rush into things, he meant to romance Taka, unlike their first time around. No, I’m doing this right! Pulling away, Sato smiled at Taka.

            “Do you still want to leave? To live on your own? The kiss is just the beginning, the proper beginning this time.” Sato was screaming in his mind for Taka to just say yes! Taka moved in for another kiss, Sato didn’t deny him, but it was a s soft as the first, no rushing. “No, I don’t want to leave, I just don’t want to be alone, I believe you when you say you’ll keep me forever. I know you love me, I’m so sorry for causing you so much pain, I didn’t understand why I did those things. I love you, Sato, for the first time in my life, I know that it is the absolute truth.”

            Sato dropped his embrace of Taka, but it was obvious both had truly enjoyed the tenderness and closeness that it had contained.

            “We should probably go back, they might wonder what we’ve been up to.” Sato gave Taka another quick kiss, and they went back to the living room.

 

Chapter Text

Returning to the living room, most everyone had already departed, including Detective Aoyama. “Sorry, Tatsu we were talking.” Sato apologized. “What is the final decision, or do we have one?” Taka stood near Koichi, who was eyeing him. “What?” Taka hissed at Koichi. “We’ll talk later.” Koichi needed details.

            “Aoyama had a few suggestions, that does not involve any police or lawyers. It’s a general consensus to avoid ruining Sakurai’s career by taking all of this pubic.” Tatsu had taken notes, handing them to Sato and Taka.

            “Talk to the other band members of Buck Tick? Was there a suggestion on which members?” This worried Taka, he didn’t want to be blamed for anything. “Either Hide or Imai.” Sato wasn’t pleased with this option.

            “Go to BSDM community? I don’t like that much either, how many know that Sakurai is attached?” Good point. “Bring DCR bands into it? In what way?” this got Taka’s attention. “We would speak to individuals from DCR bands, and give them a vague synopsis of what’s going on, a very vague synopsis.” Miya started to explain. “Obviously Kai and Shin know, so does Die, Kaoru, Reita. Everyone is friendly with members of various bands, it would be up to the individual on who was told, and what. It would be similar to the children’s game of telephone, information would change person to person. Sakurai will eventually hear the rumors, possibly acting on it.”

            “But Sakurai acting on it, what should be expect him to do? Violence? Legal retaliation?” This concerned not only Taka, but Kai and Shinya. “Tatsu, you know best, should we be worried about this?” murmured Kai, who then looked to Taka. “Taka-kun, has Sakurai shown any violent tendencies towards you?” Taka stared at his feet, embarrassed. “Only once, he slapped me a few times…at the time I deserved it.” Sato growled “He HIT YOU? That motherfucker!” Taka clutched Sato’s arm. “It wasn’t like that! I was at a club, I should have been there in the first place!”

            Taka explained what had occurred that night at the Fetish Club, although he omitted the scene at Sakurai’s home. “He told me to go home, to” Taka paused, “To marry Sato as soon as possible.” Without even thinking twice, Sato pulled Taka into his arms, and kissed him. “I’ll have to agree with that bastard only once.”

            “Ah…” Everyone was speechless. “Um, heh…sorry.” Both Taka and Sato were giddy, giggling like teenagers. “Um, is there something you two would care to explain? I believe we are all missing something.” Tatsu winked at Koichi. “We talked, and um, yah, now we’re here, not much else to say really.” Sato still had Taka in his arms. “We don’t need to go into details, do we?”

            “I think that’s enough for tonight, we’ll regroup later.” As they were getting ready to leave, Sato pulled Taka into the kitchen. “I love you, we will take care of this, I promise.” Sato kissed his boy one last time, leaving with the others.

            Not ten seconds after the door closed, Koichi squealed “TAKA!” Running up and grabbing Taka, Koichi was giggling so hard, he was crying. “HOW?” Taka was still feeling a little embarrassed by the kiss in the front of everyone. “Like Sato said, we um, talked. I was…I was getting ready to leave…again. Go live by myself, I’m responsible for all of this.” Now it was Tatsu’s turn. “You’re not responsible for this, Taka. It’s all Sakurai, once you left, that should have been the end. Sakurai is the problem, not you.”

            Koichi stood in front of Taka, “You need to call Maeta tomorrow, promise you will? You need to talk about Sakurai, that you wanted to leave again, and talk to him about Sato.” Throwing his arms around Taka, Koichi whispered “I’m so fucking happy for you and Sato.” Taka then giggled, “Me too.”

 

            Dr. Maeta was pleased with the news of Taka and Sato’s reconciliation, but was hesitant to agree with the methods proposed to be used against Sakurai. Taka explained his perspective, that he had no intentions of ruining Sakurai’s career. Maeta warned Taka, that there could potentially be blowback from these involved. Taka reassured Maeta that all involved were aware of the potential for some negative press, but were willing to take the chance.

 

 

            Staring out of the window on the train into work, Taka went over what Dr. Maeta had said regarding his new reconciliation with Sato. “I would advise you to be cautious, do not assume this will be the same relationship you left. Consider what you have experienced, what Sato has experienced as well.” It makes sense, we both were hurt, this will feel different.

           

            Miku and Uta were working with Taka that day, shifts had been scheduled for an increase due to the summer season, as a result there were always three people working. Midway through the day, Kyo shows up, wanting to see Uta during his break.

            “Hi, um…can I speak with Uta, please?” Kyo’s demeanor changed when he was with Uta, from a spikey man to a very cute soft boyfriend.

            “Uta, Kyo’s here!” Miku called Uta, as Miku turned back to the counter, he was faced with Die, who went speechless. “Can I help you?” Miku had never met Die. “Um, no I’m fine.” Die continued to stand at the counter, staring at Miku.

            “Hey, Die what’s up?” Taka had noticed the man standing there. “Um, Hi Taka, nothings up.” Miku turned to Taka and shrugged, and walked away. “Taka-kun, who is he?” Die murmured. “His name is Miku, are you okay, Die?” Die just nodded.

            Die left the counter to sit on the patio, near Kyo and Uta. “Miku, you may have an admirer, you just struct Die speechless.” teased Taka. Miku didn’t say anything. “Miku, is everything okay?” Just as Miku was going to answer, Uta ran up to the counter, “TAKA! Kyo and Die need you on the patio!” Uta looked pale, “uh, okay.” Taka went out the back door, as he rounded the corner, he pulls up short.

            “You need to leave now!” growled Kyo. Standing in front of the shorter man was Sakurai. “No, I need to speak with Taka.” Die was standing to the side, looking ready to act if needed. “What the hell do you want? I told you to stay the fuck away from me.” Taka’s voice was shaking. “Sakurai, fuck off, Taka doesn’t want you here.” Kyo was on the verge of losing his temper.

            “Taka-kun, I need to explain why…” Die stepped up. “Old man, you need to leave. How many times do you…” Sakurai turned and grabbed the front of Die’s shirt. “Listen you little piece of shit…” Die laughed and smacked Sakurai’s hand off his shirt. “Do you really want to go? Think old man,” Die was laughing in Sakurai’s face. “Acchan, this is the second time you’re asking for a public scene. I’ll give you one, right now.” chided Kyo.

            “Say what you have to say, then leave Sakurai.” Taka was scared, but was angered by the audacity of the older man’s attempt to speak to him. “We need to speak in private, Taka-kun, I want to explain my position, and our contract which is still valid.” Sakurai looked at Taka, trying to win the young man. “There is absolutely nothing you can say to me, that will bring me back to you, nothing.” Sakurai’s face darkens, he begins to scowl at Taka. Taking a step towards the younger man, Kyo and Die move to stand in front of Taka. “One more time, Sakurai. Leave, he has nothing to say to you.” snarled Kyo.

            Sakurai glanced at Taka, turned on his heel and walked away. “Fuck! I so wanted to kick his ass!” muttered Die. “No Die, we want no physical violence. I told you how we’re going to handle this.” Warned Kyo. “Thanks guys, I don’t know if he would have tried anything, if you weren’t here.” Uta walked up to Kyo, who pulled his lover in. “That was fucking scary!” Taka looked around the patio, thankful it was empty. Miku peeked his out the back door, “Um, can I take a break please?”

~

            Taka told Koichi and Tatsu what had gone down at the HBG. “Seems like he’s getting desperate, he’s turning up in public now.” This fact worried Tatsu, the potential for some sort of police interactions was on the table now. “I was just thankful Kyo and Die were there, but the whole thing scared Uta and Miku. Oh, and Die is interested in Miku.” Koichi giggled, “That was random.”

Chapter Text

“They look happy, right?” Koichi whispered. Tatsu looked into their living room, Sato and Taka were sitting close, quietly talking. Tatsu kissed Koichi on the head, “Yes, finally. Don’t stare, Kou!” Koichi turned and stuck out his tongue. “I’m not!” The foursome was together for dinner, courtesy of Tatsu. “Hey you two, dinner’s ready.”           

            The conversation at the table that night was the concern that Sakurai was becoming increasingly antagonistic towards Taka, taking his hostilities into a more public view. The episode at the HBG, was proof of that. “What I don’t understand is why Sakurai believes that a contract between a submissive and their Dom, is somehow a legitimate bond, almost as if it’s a legal document.” Spat Koichi. “I’m guessing that in some circles it is, but I doubt Sakurai is a part of those communities…he is Sakurai.”

            Whenever the topic of Sakurai came, Taka visibly shrank down into himself. He felt a great deal of guilt, having his friends involved with his troubles.

            “TAKA!” snapped Koichi, ‘STOP IT RIGHT NOW!” Taka was startled, “What?” Tatsu slid his hand onto Koichi’s thigh, patting it. “Kou,” he muttered, “That’s enough.” Koichi got up from the table, walking to Taka, he clenched Taka’s arm, “Now, with me!” Sato and Tatsu gawked as Koichi dragged Taka from the table, pulling him into his bedroom.

            “Kou! What the hell are you doing?” Taka sputtered. “SIT DOWN!” snapped Koichi. “You need to STOP feeling guilty!” Taka studied his shoes. “I’m not…” “HUSH!” Koichi barked. “I’m not blind nor am I stupid, Taka. Every time his name is spoken you cringe, I know what’s going through your mind, ‘it’s my fault, I should leave’, I see it Taka. You really suck at hiding your emotions.” Koichi plopped down on the bed next to Taka. “You need to stop being a fucking victim! Ruki and Kyo told me to stop letting Morrie win, don’t you remember? Do I need to bring those two, together, over there to talk to you? I will…I swear!” Taka giggled, he remembered the visit by Ruki and Kyo, “No please, don’t.” Taka sighed, Koichi was right, he was letting Sakurai win.

            “Kou? Can I come in?” Sato peeked in the room. “We’re finished, you can have Taka back.” Koichi got up and left the room, looking over his shoulder and hoping Sato could talk some sense into Taka.

            Sitting next to Taka, Sato searched his boy’s face for distress. “It’s fine, Kou just kicked me in the ass…something I needed. It’s all good now.” Sato bumped Taka’s shoulder, all smiles between them.

~

 

            “Why can’t I visit Eddy? What are you hiding?” Taka was miffed, “Taka, you have to wait. I’m having work done on the flat, it’s a disaster, Eddy is miserable, barely coming out to eat. Please just wait until the work is done?” Sato prayed Taka believed him. Taka was highly suspicious, Sato was lying about something.

            “Kou, what’s going on at Sato’s flat? He’s acting all mysterious, he’s hiding something.” Koichi knew what Sato was hiding, so he played the game. “Construction, not exactly sure what, improvements are being made but Eddy’s in hiding. I tried to coax him out with Teo, but he stayed in hiding.” Taka didn’t believe Kou either, “Fine!” Taka huffed, walking away.

~

            “He’s going to find out!” Koichi insisted that Sato needed to let Taka in the flat, without revealing his secret. “How am I going to manage that Kou? I’ve got boxes piled up everywhere, but nothing that looks like construction materials.” Sato wracked his brain, trying to find a solution.

            “What about the studio? There’s always stuff in the storerooms, anything constructiony looking?” Koichi got on the phone to the marketing department, explaining what they were attempting to do. “Okay, thanks.”

            “They said to come over and look through the storerooms, there are probably some extra ladders, drop cloths, those sort of things, they said we could borrow them.” Driving to the studio, Sato and Koichi planned, hoping to be able to pull off the deception.

 

            Sato and Koichi were on a mission, in search of items that could be used as a ruse, giving Sato’s flat the appearance that construction was in progress. They found two different ladders, canvas drop cloths and a bucket of tools, nails and other hardware. Pleased with their haul, they left the studio and headed straight to Sato’s flat.

            Eddy met them at the door, waddling into the genkan, chirping. “Crap Eddy! You’re huge!” gasped Koichi. “He’s been depressed since Taka moved out, so he eats.” Crouching down to rub the large cat’s belly, Kou promised the cat, “Eddy, Taka will be back, soon we hope.” Unloading the equipment and materials found at the studio, Sato and Koichi disguised Sato’s flat, as if major construction was being done. The guest bedroom was full of boxes, stacked to the ceiling, Koichi propping a ladder against a wall, next to a window. Using the drop cloths, Sato and Koichi pushed some furniture together, and covered it. Various hand tools, were dropped in conspicuous areas, the bucket of hardware was left in the kitchen. An elaborate deception to be sure, but the unveiling of the finished product would be epic, as Sato was doing all of this for Taka’s sake.

            “Looks dirty.” Koichi grinned. “I just hope this is enough camouflage.” Sato had a back up plan, that he had told no one. Koichi patted Sato on the back, “The expression on his face will be epic, once this is all complete.”

~

            “It’s messy, be prepared.” Sato warned Taka, opening the door to this flat. “Wow! You’re not joking! What exactly are you having done?” Sato listed off a few items, hoping to shift Taka’s attention away from the deception. “You said you needed to discuss something?” Guiding Taka to a small bench, Sato sat, facing Taka. “Go ahead.”

            Taka was nervous. “Um, when I told you that Sakurai had slapped me several times? I didn’t tell you the whole story. After telling me to marry you, he said he wanted to kiss me before he took me home.” Sato nodded, he knew just how difficult this confession was for Taka.

            “We went to his bedroom, and um…we jerked each other off, and I spent the night. He said he wouldn’t make love to me, because I still belonged to you.” Sato was relieved, he had believed that the confession would be so much worse. “Is that it? Anything else I should know?” It was at that moment, Taka spilled his guts, everything. Die, Sakurai, the nightmares, any thing and everything, Taka purged his heart.

            Sato and Taka were both mentally and emotionally exhausted, both crying softly, grieving for the loss of their former lover. “I’m so sorry you went through these things alone. It upsets me, that for whatever reason, you felt you could not confide in me. I obviously failed you, as a lover and as a friend, I’m sorry for that.”

            Taka huddled close to Sato, breathing in the scent that had always meant feeling safe. “You didn’t fail me, we failed each other, by not communicating. I was afraid of rejection from you if you knew about the dreams. I was terrified that if I said anything about Sakurai, it would cause you trouble, I was wrong.” Sato cradled Taka, “We both fucked up, didn’t we? The exact reason for us moving slowly, there is no reason to rush back into a relationship.” Taka made a soft sound, leaning into Sato’s safe arms.

            “Tatsu? I just got an email…another DCR party at the HBG. Should be better than the last.

~

            “The boss, for whatever reason, is letting me handle the DCR party.” Taka did not want to accept the responsibility, but the owner was adamant, telling Taka that he had the experience needed to run the crew.

            “Taka, you are the obvious choice.” Teased Uta. “Well, that’s true, but I’m not longer a manager.” Taka reminded his crew. “You may not have that title, Taka, but we still see you in that position.” Aki said warmly. “Okay, well then, let’s get this organized! Most likely this will be a similar event as the last, with one large change. Uta and Kanon.” Uta blushed, while Kanon seem unbothered.

            “Uta and Kanon, I will keep you both at the counter, I’m sure you understand the reasons. We don’t need a Ruki rampage or Kyo hounding you during the event.” Taka wanted to be prepared for everything, including the possibility that Sakurai may show and cause a scene

Chapter Text

The event began with a stead stream of customers wanting the High Ball cocktail. Two hours into the party, the line at the counter had slowed, giving Taka the opportunity to switch out servers, sending Uta and Kanon on a much, needed break. Looking out the back door, Uta and Kyo, Kanon and Ruki were standing against the short wall, huddled together, trading whispered secrets.

            Throughout the evening, members of various bands would stop by the counter, bantering with whomever was manning the registers. Tatsu and Koichi came by, and picked up some drinks, Sato was with them, leaning over the counter to sneak a quick, but hot kiss with Taka, leaving him flustered.

            Shortly after Sato stopped by for his kiss, Die lurched into the counter, just a little drunk. “Taka-kun! I need a drink and a favor!” Taka stared at his former sexual harasser, “What do you want, Die?” Taka was still wary of Die, even after having cleared things up between them. “The tiny boy, blonde hair, beautiful eyes, piercings, Taka! Who is he?” Die was panicked. “Die, you met him a few weeks ago, that same day Sakurai showed up…don’t you remember?” Die shook his head, “No! I would have remembered that!” Taka sighed, “His name is Miku. Die, are you okay? You look a little pale.” Die shook his head, shaggy hair flailing. “Is he dating anyone? I know I told you…I wanted to um, but you know…” Die’s puppy eyes came up. “But…this boy, Miku? Holy Shit! Please, is he with anyone? Do you know?” Poor Die, he’s got it bad.

            “I don’t know Die, I can ask if you’d like and it’s okay Die, I’m with Sato, so you can’t have me.” Teased Taka. He told Die he would ask Miku and to come by later in the evening.

~

            “Die? Really?” Sato laughed, he and Taka were sitting at the table with the others, Shinya and Kai as well. “It was kinda cute,” Taka glanced at Shinya. “He had a bad case of puppy eyes.” Shinya put his hand to his mouth, giggling, “He has it bad then.”

            The event was busy, everyone enjoying themselves, Taka was able to step away from the counter more often, usually ending up sitting in Sato’s lap, Koichi and Tatsu in the same position.

            “Hello Tatsuro-san.” Tatsu turned, then removed Koichi from his lap, “Imai-san!” Greeting Imai and the other members of Buck Tick. “I hope we’re not crashing an exclusive party, are we?” Imai grinned, he knew better, Buck Tick, being who they were, had exclusive crashing rights to any party.

            Taka immediately tensed up, Sato tightened his arm around his boy’s waist. “It’s okay” he whispered. After chatting for a time, the men made their excuses, walking off to talk to others. “Maybe he won’t be here.” Koichi reached over to clasp Taka’s hand. No, he’ll be here. Taka left the table to check in with the counter crew, making sure all was running smoothly.

            “Um, Taka, do you have a minute?” Miku looked a bit frazzled. Uh oh, Die. “Is it Die? He asked about you, I didn’t tell him anything. I can ask him not to speak to you, if that’s what you want.” Miku looked at his feet, “It’s okay, I don’t mind talking to him, but…I know you and Die um…” Taka put his hand on Miku’s shoulder, “Thank you, Miku. That’s all in the past now, so no worries, okay? But be firm with Die, tell him you know Kyo, really well.” Miku giggled, “I’ll tell Uta, he has Kyo wrapped.”

            Taka made his way across the patio towards Sato, feeling grateful, a second chance was all he needed to prove to everyone, he was healthy and happy. Looking at Sato, Taka saw his lovers face change, hostility poured out. Taka feels a hand on his shoulder, “Hello, my Lovely Boy.” Was purred in his ear.

 

 

           Taka dropped his shoulder, spinning around to face Sakurai Atsushi. Taka stood frozen in the spot, waiting. “Oh! There’s the rest of my band.” With that, Sakurai joined his bandmates, near the fountain. Shaking, Taka went straight into Sato’s arms. “What the fuck? What did he say to you?” Burying his face into Sato’s neck, he felt Koichi behind him. “He called me his Lovely Boy.” He whispered. “I’m going to…” “NO! You can’t! Not here! Do not ruin the party! I’m fine, he just startled me, that’s all.” Sato backed down, but for the rest of the night, everyone who knew about the problem, kept their eyes on Sakurai.

            For the first time in months, Taka felt like he needed a drink, but opted for sips from Sato’s High Ball. Sato went with Taka to check on the crew, the nights sales had slowed. He had everyone but Kanon, on the patio. Amused, Taka watched Die, trying to be inconspicuous and followed Miku, who knew what he was doing. Miku threw small smiles at Die, teasing the poor man, finally letting Die catch up, and try to talk to Miku, it was more than adorable.

            One again, rejoining Sato, Taka saw that Tatsu was gone, but quickly looking at Koichi and following his eyes, Taka’s breath caught. Tatsu was speaking with Sakurai. “Kou!” hissed Taka, “What’s he doing? Shit!” Koichi grabbed Taka’s hand, pulling him into the chair next to him. “Wait! Sit!”

            “Sakurai, as a courtesy to DCR and the HBG, we’d like a promise, for no disruptions during the event, please.” This request drew questioning looks for the other members of Buck Tick. “Tatsu-kun, as of right now, I’m only interested in another beverage from this fine establishment.” Contempt and sarcasm bled from every pore of Sakurai’s being. Tatsu bowed, and walked away. Sakurai’s demeanor changed the second Tatsu walked away. “Acchan, what was that about?” Imai did not like the sudden change in the atmosphere. “None of your business, Imai.” snarled Sakurai, “It’s personal.”

            “That’s all I can do.” Tatsu sat down, pulling Koichi into his lap, “Tatsu, why did you even bother? You know he’s going to say or act at some point tonight.”

            “Acchan, is there a problem we should know about?” Toll had a sick feeling. “Nothing concerning the band, this is my issue…stay out of it.” Sakurai was seething inside. The audacity of Tatsu, he’s going to regret his involvement. Toll glanced at Hide and Imai, neither of which looked very happy.

~

            Taka and Sato had moved to the rear of the HBG, the event was nearly over, the crew were cleaning and closing the covers over the counters. Taka had thanked everyone for attending, as a majority of the crowd was leaving, with the exception of the boyfriends of Mucc, Uta and Kanon, and now Die, who was still hot after Miku.

            Glancing around the corner, Sato watches as the members of Buck Tick made their way out of the patio area. Sato whispered, “They’re leaving.” Taka had been on edge since Sakurai had appeared, watching them leave was a relief…until Sakurai stopped, looked straight at Taka, walking towards him. Sato stood up, ready for anything. Sakurai stood, silently looking at Taka.

            Looking over Sakurai’s shoulder, Kyo, Die, Aoi and Miya are standing behind him. Sakurai is still silently staring. He takes a step towards Taka, Sato tenses, “I can deal with this, Sato.” Taka pushed past Sato, stepping towards Sakurai. There are now multiple people, including the members of Buck Tick, witnessing the confrontation.

            “What do you want?” spat Taka. Sakurai takes another step, closing the gap between them. “Lovely, must you be so hostile towards your Master? The punishment I have planned for you, will be so exquisite.” He then reaches out to caress Taka’s cheek. Taka slaps Sakurai’s hand away, causing a stir in the small crowd of people watching.

            “Lovely, you’re just adding to your punishment, naughty boy.” Taking another step, Sakurai reaches for Taka, who then slaps Sakurai’s face. “You will NOT touch me. You hold nothing over me.”

            “We have a contract, it cannot be voided without my approval, which I refuse to give.” Growled the older man.

            “You have ZERO authority with my life. I’m worth more than any fake contract. You tried to destroy me with sex. You preyed upon my insecurities, my fears, my weaknesses. You never loved me, you only wanted to possess me.” Sakurai was breathing hard, his anger rising up. “You are my property, BOY!”

            Grabbing Taka by his shirt, Sakurai raised his hand as to strike Taka, who put his arm up to block the blow that never came.

            “Kyo!” Sato and Kyo reacted at the same time, Sato pulled Taka out of Sakurai’s grasp, Kyo grabbed his arm. “ATSUSHI!” someone growled. In the ensuing scuffle, Toll and Imai had grabbed their vocalist first, spinning him around. “What the fuck Acchan?” Imai screamed. Hide and Toll now had Sakurai restrained, even as he’s screaming for Taka, “Lovely! You will return to me!”

            “Are you alright, Taka-kun?” Yutaka had Taka by the shoulders, “I’m so sorry! We had NO idea!” Hide and Yutaka offered apologies. “We will deal with this, Taka. Sato, please accept our deepest apologies.” The two men bowed low, and walked away.

Chapter Text

“Sakurai had some big balls, trying to touch you.” Kyo snorted. Sato had Taka, shivering in his arms. “Taka-kun, it took even bigger balls to slap Sakurai, you may go down in history as the only person in the world, that rejected Sakurai Atsushi!” Kyo was teasing Taka, but was impressed with the younger man. “I didn’t even think about it, I just slapped him, he was pissing me off.” Taka’s voice was still shaky.

            The HBG finally cleared out, Taka sent his employee’s home…except Miku. “Die wants to speak to you, Miku.” Taka was feeling protective of the smaller man, knowing how pushy Die could be. “Well, I guess…will…will you stay close by?” Watching die approach Miku, Taka was faced with the realization that Die was a very sweet man. He watched as Die fumbled his words, peering at Miku through his bangs, shifting and kicking at the ground. Taka watched Die’s face light up, leaving Miku with a shy smile.

            “How’d it go? He looked happy.” Taka knew the answer. “He asked me for my number, he wants to call me tomorrow.” Miku said meekly. Walking out of the HBG, everyone was in good spirits, regardless of the stressful confrontation with Sakurai.

~

            “Are you sure? I’d would nothing more than to have you and Koichi with me when it happens.”

~

            “Tatsu decided he wanted something fancy for dinner tonight, we invited Sato as well.” Koichi was attempting to sound very nonchalant about the dinner plans. “Sure, sounds great. What’s Tatsu cooking?” A nice dinner at home was what the foursome needed, no drama just a quiet evening. “Some sort of pasta, with a champagne sauce, that’s all he told me.” Hopefully he buys this. “Yep, sounds fancy.” Laughed Taka.

            Since Koichi was pushing the fancy dinner coverup, he felt it was safe to dress up the dinner table with flowers and candles, and hope that Taka didn’t question it too much. With Tatsu in the kitchen, Taka and Koichi set the table and waited for Sato, who originally wanted to wear a suit, an idea shut down by Koichi, “If you do that, he’s going to know that something’s up the second you walk through the door.”

           

            “We might as well drink the extra champagne, I bought more than I needed.” Sitting down for dinner, Tatsu offered up a general toast to friendship, which was Sato’s cue for his special toast. “I have a toast I’d like to make.” Sato turned in his chair to face Taka. “To the person who is the most precious to me, you are and always have been the single most important, beautiful person in my life. I’ve been lucky twice, I’m hoping to be lucky one more time.”

            Sato got out of his chair, and went down on one knee, grasping Taka’s hand. “Taka, will you marry me?” The instant Sato had turned in his chair, Taka knew what was coming and a small moan of surprise escaped his lips. With tears rolling down his face, Taka whispered “Yes!” Sato produced a small box, opening it, Taka gasped, “Oh my god! It’s beautiful!” A white gold band, with a single diamond set flush, it was exquisite. “Why not use the first ring you gave me?” Taka’s eyes were shiny with tears. “I want everything to be new. We’ve left that old life behind, I want to make no mistakes. I wanted to propose, with the other two most precious people in our lives, Tatsu and Koichi, not on a tour bus, in front of fifty people.” Taka glanced at his friends, who were also teared up.

            “It’s always been us four, Taka, from the beginning, it just made sense to propose here.” Sato slipped the ring onto Taka’s finger, Taka the grabbing Sato into a tight hug. “I love you.”

            The foursome spent the rest of the evening reminiscing on their lives up to this point, exploring both the good and the bad, choosing to leave the evening on a high note. Tatsu and Koichi excused themselves, leaving Taka and Sato talking about wedding plans. “Where and when?” was Taka’s first question. “The flat will be done in about a month. I want us to have the traditional wedding night, so we need to wait at least that long.” Taka was pouting. “So, no sex until then?” Sato kissed his boy, “Sorry those are the rules.”

            “Meh! So, where? The restaurant like Tatsu and Kou?” Sato already had a plan. “No, the venue has to be fairly large.” Taka gawked at Sato. “Large? How many people are we inviting?” Sato kissed Taka again, “Maybe 100? 150?” Taka had his mouth hanging open, “Do we even know that many people?” Sato laughed, “You have to remember, DCR Staff and management, non-industry spouses and partners. Realistically, that would be over 100 people.” Taka slumped against Sato. “How are we going to plan all this?” Kissing Taka’s forehead, patting his hand, “Think of all the artistic people we know…Ruki, Kai and Shinya have agreed to help and you know Kou’s going to run the show…don’t worry so much.”

            The couple spent the evening planning their wedding, with the venue being, the last concern. “Okay, we have colors, black and silver. Food, the restaurant and Ojisan’s, that leaves us only the venue and I already know where.” Sato could see a small amount of fear, in Taka’s eyes. “What’s wrong? Talk to me.” Taka was staring at his hands, “I’m scared…that I may fail, fail everything and I um…” Taka’s voice was quivering, on the verge of tears.

            “That’s why we have Dr. Maeta, call him in the morning. I’m never going to tell you not to continue with your therapy, you use it as long as you need to.

            “You said you know the venue? Where?” Taka snuggled in close. “There’s only one choice, the HGB.”

 

 

            “You know something! Tell me!” complained Taka. “There is something that Sato is hiding from me…only me, and you know what it is, Kou!” Taka was right, Kou did know, but he was sworn to secrecy. “No idea, Taka! Really! He hasn’t said a word, if he is planning something, he’s not told me!” Shit! I need to change the subject, quick!

            Did you tell Dr. Maeta you’re getting married?” Koichi knew Taka had some doubts, not about loving Sato, but somehow ruining the marriage. “I’m seeing him tomorrow.” Taka needed to be assured that he would not fail in his marriage to Sato based on things that happened in the past.

~

            Koichi wanted to talk about what everyone was going to wear. “Both Sato and I will wear black suits, with silver shirts. I have a red tie, Sato’s is dark blue.” Koichi and Taka agreed that it would be a causal wedding and reception, people could wear what they wanted. The restaurant was handling both the food and the drink, leaving the HBG crew the opportunity to attend. “I wonder what Kyo and Ruki will be wearing?” Koichi knew the answer, “Whatever Uta and Kanon tell them to wear.” Both men had the giggle fits for the rest of the day, creating clothing scenarios for Kyo and Ruki.

~

            “Are you feeling excited, Taka? Or is there another emotion clouding your excitement?” Dr. Maeta was probing gently. “I’m excited, I mean I love Sato and want to be with him, I’m a little worried about how I’ll deal with stress, I don’t want to fail.” Failing, was Taka’s greatest fear, he didn’t want to return to past behaviors. “The fact that you’re aware of the potential for failure, is a key element in stopping any behaviors that may jeopardize your relationship and marriage to Sato. I believe that you will be able to stop yourself, seek out the help from friends and, or call me, I’ll always be available for you, Taka.”

~

            “It’s completed, I just need to move everything, decorate and pick up the twins, so one more week is perfect timing.”

 

Sato and Taka’s wedding was two days away and both men were anxious with anticipation. Invitations, food and beverage plans were all in place. Some of the DCR wives and partners would be in charge of decorating the patio area of the HBG, and the Buddhist monk who performed Koichi and Tatsu’s ceremony, would be officiating Sato and Taka’s as well, at a separate location.

            “Are you nervous?” Sato murmured, leaning his cheek against Taka’s head. “I’m not nervous, excited though, ready to move forward, I want to just be done with all this.” Sato made a rude sound, “So finally being able to have sex…that doesn’t mean anything?”

            “Pfft! Of course, it does, but I just want to start my life with you, in our flat, with Eddy, who is going on a diet as soon as I move in!” Taka snuggled into Sato again, tipping his face for a long deep kiss.

~

            Taka took a deep breath as he and Sato faced the monk, ready to recite their vows. Sato clutched Taka’s hand warmly, both men shaking slightly. “I love you” Taka murmured to Sato, who winked at his new husband.

~

            “They should be here soon!” The patio area of the HBG was dimly lit in a soft light, small flower arrangements on each table, the food and beverage table against a small wall. As a small gift, Miya had set up his DJ equipment, and was getting ready for Sato and Taka’s entrance.

 

            Catcalls, whistles, cheering and applause, greeted Sato and Taka as they walked into the patio of the HBG. Sato was beaming, eating up the attention, Taka was more reserved, wishing everyone would just start to enjoy the party.  

            Koichi and the HBG crew were first to greet the newlyweds. “How was the ceremony?” Koichi whispered in Taka’s ear. “Amazing, we both cried.” Taka could already feel the difference, hugging Koichi, there were no sexual undertones, just the love of his best friend. Aki and Uta were right behind Koichi, both hugging Taka at the same time. “You look so unbelievably happy, Taka!” Aki gushed. The remainder of the HBG crew offered up congrats, but someone was missing. “Where’s Miku? He said he’d be here.”  Taka then lost focus, as people came up to congratulate the couple.

            After speeches were given by Tatsu and Koichi, the party ramped up significantly. Taka was sitting on Sato’s lap, his arm around Sato’s neck. Sato had his arms around Taka’s waist, both sneaking in a few kisses, and a little ass grinding. Taka was searching the crowd, making little sounds of frustration. “What’s wrong? Who are you looking for?” Sato couldn’t think of anyone that was missing. “Die and Miku, they’re not here.” Observed Taka, “Maybe they’re just…” Sato didn’t have a chance to finish, as Die, wearing a dark grey suit, approached the couples table.

            “Sorry we’re late, um…Miku and I had a bit of an argument.” grinned Die. “Because HE wanted to show up at your reception in TRACK PANTS!” Miku rolled his eyes. “He had a choice; suit, or go alone and lose my phone number.” As Miku was explaining their tardiness, Die grimaced at each word. “You look very nice Die, I mean that.” Take said genuinely. He had to small the back of his husband’s head, as he was snicker at Die. “You’re just dating, and you’re whipped.” giggled Sato.

            “What’s wrong with being whipped?” a deep voice growled from behind Die. “I don’t mind, Uta has more common sense than I do, so I usually just go alone with whatever the situation calls for.” Kyo, also in a suit, stepped from behind Die. “I mean shit, I look fucking hot in this get up.” heckled Kyo. “You weren’t really going to wear much better than track pants…I just changed your mind for you.” Uta walked up to Taka, hugging his friend warmly, “You look wonderful.” Bowing to Sato, “Please take excellent care of Taka, he means a great deal to me.” Sato almost unseated Taka, as he got up and hugged Uta, “I will Uta, and we love you too.”

            “Have you seen Kanon and Ruki yet?” Taka was still searching the patio. “Hopefully no rampage tonight?” quipped Aki. “Oh…My…God…” stammered Taka, “Holy Shit!” Walking towards the couple were Ruki and Kanon, in matching white suits, Ruki in full stage makeup, as well as Kanon, looking like any other Vkei musician.

            “Taka-kun!” Ruki ran up to Taka, throwing his arms around the younger man, kissing him soundly on the cheek. “Ruki, you and Kanon look amazing!” Looking over Ruki’s shoulder, Kanon, with his usual calm demeanor smiled at Sato and Taka, “Congratulations,” Ruki slid back to Kanon’s side. “He looks so yummy, doesn’t he Taka-kun?” Taka was surprised to see the gleam in Ruki’s eyes when he looked up at Kanon. No Ruki Rampage tonight, Taka thought.

~

            The reception lasted until almost 2am, with most people calling for a cab, as the amount of alcohol consumed was significant. There were no fights, confrontations or rampages, everyone enjoying and celebrating the marriage of Sato and Taka. Sato had gotten a cab for himself and Taka, who promptly fell asleep. Perfect!

            Arriving home, Sato barely got Taka out of the Cab, and as unsteady on his feet as he was, Sato scooped him up and took him inside.

            “Tadaima, Eddy” Sato spoke low. “Going to put him to bed, then supper for you guys.”

            Pulling Taka’s clothes off, he placed his boy, his husband, in bed, knowing that wedding night sex, would end up being first morning married sex, a few more hours not making a difference. After feeding the hordes, Sato finally climbed into bed, reaching for Taka, “I love you.” He whispered and then slept.

Chapter Text

Epilogue

 

            10am was obviously too early to get up after a long party night, but Eddy could not tell time, he just knew he was starving. “Okay…hold on a second,” Sato pried himself out of a tangle of Taka’s arms and legs, going to feed the ravaging horse. Taka felt Sato get up, but rolled over with the pillow on his head. “Hey sleepy, it’s almost past ten, let’s make breakfast.” A muffled reply was all Sato received. “Fine, I’ll start making coffee.”

            After smelling the coffee, the bacon and hearing his stomach complain, Taka decided to get up. Stretching his lean frame, he opened his eyes, and immediately froze. His eyes darted around the room, the furniture was Sato’s, and the bed, but, “SATO! Where...SATO!” Taka was panicking. “What?” Sato rushed through the door, he was expecting a panic attack from Taka.

            “Where the fuck are we? Your stuff, but…” Holding his hand out, Sato helped Taka out of bed.

            “I wanted us to start new and fresh, from the ground up, so this…is your wedding gift from me, to you.” Holding Taka’s hand, he first led Taka out into the living room, and out the front door. “Um, this is big for a flat.” Opening the front door, Taka then realized, it wasn’t a flat…” This is a HOUSE! CRAP! You bought me a house as a wedding gift?” Pulling away from Sato, Taka went back inside. “Oh, my, God! Our kitchen is huge! Wait, how many rooms are there?” Spinning towards Sato, “there are three bedrooms, and a guest bath.” Sato was wearing a bemused smile, “Go look at the master bath.” Taka took off, running down the long hallway, a muffled “Holy Shit it’s huge” came from the back of the house. Rejoining Sato in the living room, Taka flounced down on the couch.

            “When did you ever have time to buy a house? Wait, So You LIED about having work done on the flat! WAIT! Koichi knew? That little bastard!” Sato leaned over, kissing Taka on the cheek. “Do you like it? I have been planning this since before you left, it was going to be a wedding gift then.” This caught Taka by surprise, his face suddenly darkened, “So I screwed it up for you?” Sato’s heart dropped, “No, you didn’t screw it up. I would have lived here, even if you hadn’t come back, I needed to be out of the flat, the painful memories outweighed the good.”

            The couple gazed at each other, remembering how long and how hard they had worked to get to this point. “You haven’t seen the garden…it’s huge!” Sato took Taka’s hand and dragged him outside, to a very large garden. While Taka was exploring, Sato slipped back into the house for just a moment. Taka was sitting on the patio, looking around at his new house…his and Sato’s new house, not flat. At the sound of a chirp, Eddy strolls out onto the patio. “Hey Ed! I bet you’re really lov…” Taka stopped breathing. Peering out of the patio door, were too small faces, tiny tiger stripped kittens, gingerly stepped out of the house. They hesitated, then spotting Eddy, ran to his side. Taka slowly sat on the ground, “Hello tiny babies, where did you come from?”

            The two kittens slowly stepped towards Taka’s out stretched hand. “One of the office ladies, her cat had kittens, these were the last two.” The dark kitten stepped into Taka’s lap, “Oh! He has thumbs! Look at his feet!” The tiny kitten was polydactyl, and had 27 toes. “I’ve named him Fozzie, after the Sesame Street character, the little gray kitten is Muzzie, he’s a little strange.” Taka called to Muzzie, who then did a weird head turn, cause Sato and Taka to laugh.

            The newlyweds sat on the patio of their new home, watching Eddy and the two kittens chase each other around the yard.

            “This feels perfect, it can’t get any better than this right now.” Sighed Taka. Sato leaned away, fake shock registering on his face.

            “Really? Can’t get any better?” Sato leaned over and whispered in Taka’s ear. Shooing the cats back into the house, Sato and Taka made a mad dash to the bedroom, slamming the door behind them. Soon the only sounds in the house, were those of love and passion.