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Scattered Desires

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Davina and Kato had delivered the submissive girl Zelena to Madam Siska in Amsterdam that week, the introduction had gone better than Davina had hoped for. Madame Siska and Zelena were instantly enamored with each other, Zelena quivering in anticipation of serving her new Dominant, Davina had no qualms in leaving the girl with Madame Siska. The two women signed their contracts, the Dominant then presented Zelena with her collar, and with a quick goodbye, Davina and Kato were on their way to Maastricht.

                The Dominant and her pet had decided to take the train from Amsterdam to Maastricht, in part to ease Kato’s fear of flying, also as a way for the young man to view the landscape of the Netherlands. Securing two seats in a first-class car, the couple settled in for the two-hour trip to the southern province of Limburg.

                The morning had dawned in typical Netherlands weather; cold with a light mist covering the dark green pastures of the countryside, with horses and cattle shrouded in a pale light. Davina had laid her head on Kato’s shoulders as they watched the landscape pass by their window, Kato randomly bestowing soft kisses to his Mistress’s forehead, her hand warmly held in his.

                Davina’s properties manager Boh, had separated from them at Schiphol International Airport, taking the Dominant’s private jet and going on to Maastricht in order to have her apartment ready when they arrived, notifying Marcel and his sons at In den Oude Vogelstruys pub of her imminent arrival.

                The rhythmic swaying of the train car had lulled Kato into a light sleep, Davina feeling his soft even breath as he had laid his head against hers. The last few months had been an emotional firestorm for the woman; coming home from the Netherlands with Uta and Sakurai, Uta still suffering from memory loss, which lead to the boy living with the man for a short time. Then there was the announcement by Kato that he was destined to be her new personal pet, sent to her by Teiji and Kato’s deceased Mistress, and Davina’s initial reluctance to accept him as such.

                The information Davina had received a few days before they left Japan, that Uta had reconciled with Sakurai, was met with mixed emotions. She worried of course, the boy had so many demons associated with the Dominant man, but she also knew that Sakurai loved the boy deeply. If they had indeed worked through all their issues, Davina could be happy for them.

                There was one issue that weighed on Davina as they flew from Japan to the Netherlands; Madame F had called her the day before their departure, informing her of a situation with Isshi and his boys, regarding Leda and Karyu. There was a jealous tension building in Leda over anyone that got close to Karyu, specifically an incident at Davina’s manor, during a luncheon, involving Kato.

                The jealous anger of Leda and the senpai infatuation of Karyu towards Kato, had not gone unnoticed by Ruimaru, who then informed Isshi. Davina thought nothing more of the situation, due to the timing of the couple leaving Japan. But Madame F’s phone called had brought the problem forward again, leaving Davina with thoughts on how to address the issue upon her return to Japan.

               

                “Mistress, I believe we’ve arrived.” Kato woke Davina with a kiss. The train had slowed and was pulling into Maastricht Centrale Station, Davina stretching her arms over her head. “Well that seemed to be a rather quick trip.” Davina lowered her arms, turning and sliding them around Kato’s neck, kissing her young lover softly.  “Shall we?” She whispered against Kato’s lips.

                Leaving the train, Davina and Kato walk through the large station, to the main street, where Boh was standing next to Davina’s Mercedes. “Mistress, Kato-san. Welcome home.” Within minutes, Boh was winding his way through the streets of the ancient city, towards the large central plaza. Kato gazed out the window, admiring the architecture, which was similar to Copenhagen, where he had trained and spent time with Mistress.   

                Stopping in front of In den Oude Vogelstruys, Boh opened the door for Davina, who walked right into Marcel’s arms. “Welkom thuis, Davina.” Kissing her long-time friend on the cheek, Davina hugged Marcel tightly, “Dankje, Marcel.”

                Davina held out her arm for Kato, “Marcel, this is Kato, he is my personal pet. Kato, Marcel owns the pub and is the caretaker for my flat…along with being one of my oldest and dearest friends.” Kato bowed to the pub owner, “Groten, Marcel.”

                Davina and Kato followed Marcel into the pub, where there was a light snack and coffee waiting for them. Marcel asked about Uta, Davina asked about Josez, both in the same breath. “Josez stops by often, she always asks about Uta and Atsushi, she still goes to the Basilica every morning.”

                “Uta is once again in a relationship with Atsushi, but this time I believe there will be no problems. It seems that our Acchan has grown up, and learned how to love again… properly.” Davina chuckled. With a quick kiss and an excuse, Davina and Kato went upstairs to the flat, to unpack and take a short nap.

 

                Davina tried to turn over, her hip hurt from sleeping in the same position for too long, but there was a problem, she was trapped. Kato had his arm slung tightly around her waist, leaving no wiggle room. Davina patted Kato on the arm, “My love, you need to release me.” Kato’s answer was to nuzzle her neck. “Yes, Mistress.” He sighed as he reluctantly rolled onto his back.

                “Would you like me to have Marcel make you an early dinner?” Kato pulled on a pair of jeans, understanding that formal submissive attire would be waved during their trip. “If you would please, I will be downstairs in a moment.” Kato bowed and left the flat.

                The remainder of their day was spent unpacking, making plans for day trips and having dinner with Marcel and his family. At the end of the evening, Davina and Kato bundled up against the cold winter weather of the Netherlands to sit out on the patio with a large cup of coffee, enjoying the vision of the Basilica that was lit up at night.

                “Shall we celebrate tomorrow night? Is there something special you would like to do to ring in the new year?” Davina was snuggled closely to Kato, the afterglow of sex still showing on their faces. “I don’t have any particular wishes; shall we spend it with Marcel and his family?” Kato’s only real wish was being fulfilled daily, in his servitude to Davina.

                “I will ask Marcel what they have planned, I believe they still have a decent firework’s show, and there are usually various musical groups in the plaza. Let us ask him first, then we shall plan, ne?” Kato’s answer was to nuzzle his Dominant’s neck, nipping at her collarbone, trailing his tongue up her neck. “I love you Mistress, you are everything to me, he whispered against her skin and with a contented sigh, they both fell into a sated slumber within minutes.

 

                Davina had woken before Kato, but in no hurry to get up, at least that was her original plan, but with the bells of Sint Servatius tolling for the faithful for the first mass of the day, she changed her mind, Davina quietly slipped out of bed, dressed quickly and left Kato a note.

                Marcel was already in the kitchen, Davina waved to the man as she trotted out to the plaza, walking quickly, shivering in the early morning cold. Reaching for the door to the chapel, she breathed deeply, she knew she would find peace.

                The stillness of the Basilica of Sint Servatius had a calming effect on Davina, more than any place in the world. There was something about the ancient church in Maastricht, that could chase away the ghosts and the haunting images of her past and replace those with serenity and optimism. 

                She could see in her mind, Uta and the elderly woman Josez, sitting quietly together in a pew towards the front of the chapel, Uta’s head laid gently on Oma’s shoulder, not having to say anything, both understanding each other without words, Davina smiled at the memories.

                “Hallo Mistress, hoe gaat het?” Josez slid into the pew quietly, sitting next to Davina. “Hallo Josez.” The older woman placed her hand in Davina’s, then turned her attention to the sermon, all the while patting Davina’s hand gently with hers.

                “Josez, will you walk with me to Marcel’s? I have someone I’d like you to meet, and then we can talk about Uta.” Davina’s voice gave nothing away to the older woman, but Josez had her suspicions, “Ja, Koffie klaar?”  The younger woman smiled, “You know the koffee is always klaar at Marcels.” Hand in hand the women walked across the plaza, the morning sun starting to warm the streets.

Davina and Josez were greeted by Marcel who had seen the two women crossing the plaza, “Koffie Klaar, marcel?” Davina asked, “Of course! Come in and get warm.” Marcel held the door open for the two women, “Pick a table or booth, I will bring the coffee.” Marcel shouted back to the kitchens for his sons to start the breakfast menu.

                Taking off their heavy coats and hanging them on the end of the booth, Marcel approached the two women with a large carafe of coffee and two small cups, “Alsjeblieft. Kato will be down in a moment, Mistress.”

                “Kato?” Josez asked, Davina shaking her head and smiling. “You’ll have to wait Josez, I don’t want to spoil the moment for you.” Before Davina could start talking about Uta, Kato came down the stairs, quickly walked to his Mistress, but bowing to Josez first. “Josez, this is Kato.” Josez first looked at Davina, then took her time appraising Kato, “He is handsome Davina, and young…such a beautiful man.”

                “Dankje Josez,” Kato thanked the woman in fairly decent Dutch. “Does he speak Nederland, Davina?” This surprised the older woman. “No, just a few phrases that I’ve taught him, but he does speak fluent English.”

                With coffee and a good Dutch breakfast in front of them, Josez needed to ask, “How is our Uta? Is he well, no more seizures?” Marcel, believing that this may be a lengthy discussion, brought a fresh carafe of coffee and sat down next to Josez.

                Davina nodded, “Uta is healthy, the seizures have not returned, and I believe it’s due to his happiness, he has reconciled with Sakurai Atsushi, and from what I understand, he is now living with Sakurai.” When Davina spoke of Uta, Kato’s expression changed slightly, something that Josez picked up on immediately, but chose not to comment…not yet.

                “And his lover? He has finally grown up and has started being a responsible adult?” The older woman had had her reservations about Sakurai, she knew the man loved Uta, but there had been conditions to that love.

                “Sakurai has changed, I will admit that I was surprised, and I still hold a little concern for Uta’s emotional stability, but I believe that Sakurai knows what the consequences will be if he harms Uta in any way. There are dozens of people that will be kicking his front door in to confront him.” Kato’s breath hitched, Davina heard it but ignored it.

                Now was the time, Josez looked at Kato, getting his attention, “The blonde woman who you love, she is happy for you now, she is no longer in pain and has no worries, you found another to serve and to love, that was her only wish.” Kato’s eyes grew wide, Davina reached over and picked up his hand. “How do you…?” 

                Josez slid out of the booth, taking her coat from the side of the booth. She stepped up to Kato, “Love Davina as you did your Mistress.” The older woman bent down and kissed Kato on the forehead. “Davina, you must return to Maastricht before you go home, I have a few small gifts for Uta.”

                After Josez had gone, Davina explained to Kato that the woman had the same talent and abilities as Ojisan, “She also knows things she shouldn’t, and as with Ojisan…pay attention to what she says.” Kato had a difficult time believing that the woman could speak for how Astrid would feel now, but he kept it to himself.  “Enough of that, what shall we do today?” Davina asked, she had nothing planned, but wanted to give Kato the opportunity to make a suggestion.

                “Shopping for you, Mistress.” Kato lowered his eyes, a bit of embarrassment showing. “Hmm, always a good choice. Then let us wander the streets of Maastricht and see what we can find! I’d like to pick up a few treats and some coffee for Uta, he would be angry with me if I didn’t.”

                As Kato was getting ready to leave, Davina glanced at her planner, she knew she’d have to contact Madame F at some point that day, the problems Isshi may be having with his boys, wasn’t something she wanted to put off for very long.

                Kato helped Davina on with her jacket and held the door, following her down the stairs and through the pub, “We will be back for dinner Marcel, make sure you have a good supply of champagne for us tonight!” Marcel laughed and waved the couple away.

 

                Taking their time walking through the city, stopping at the smaller independent shops and also visiting the large indoor mall, Davina and Kato drew some attention to themselves; a very attractive Japanese couple, arm in arm walking the streets of Maastricht was not completely foreign, but they were noticed.

                Pulling Kato into a shop on a corner, Davina gushed, “This is the exact store I was looking for!” The store dealt in the famous Dutch Delft china, something that was known around the world. “I wanted to get Acchan and Uta something for their home, help me choose!” Kato walked apart from Davina, looking at the various vases, tobacco canisters, and other knick-knacks in the store.  Looking over at Davina, who had engaged the owner of the store, asking about a specific piece, Kato joined her.

                “I think both of these are perfect, ne Kato?” Davina held up a beautiful vase and a very impressive clock. “These will look good in the house, I’m sure Uta will love them.” Paying for the items, Davina instructed the owner to wrap them for shipping and to send them to Marcel’s pub, thanked the man and left the store.

                They stopped for lunch at a small café on the river, watching the long barges wind their way under the Maas river bridge. “It’s colder here than I thought it would be, I’m not sure why.” Kato commented. “It’s not that it’s any colder, but the Netherlands lie in the North Sea, and most of the country is under sea level, but with their engineering concepts, the cities rarely flood.”

                Kato was going to word his next question carefully, “What made you fall in love with this city…the country?” Davina’s eyes grew distant, she sighed heavily. “My father was a wealthy international businessman who did a lot of traveling, he bought the flat over the pub before I was born. When I went to live with him, we would travel here every summer, we stayed in the flat and used it as our home base as we traveled throughout Europe. This was the first place I brought Teiji after I had contracted him.”

                Kato knew to back off, there would be no more questions that day as it was obvious that it was painful for Davina to revisit those memories.

                “Let’s go to the bookstore. It was Uta’s second favorite place to visit after the Basilica.” Davina paid the bill, and with Kato helping her on with her coat, the couple once again walked through the city.

 

                She was slow getting up that next morning, tired and sore from Kato’s New Years Eve worship of her body, each muscle ache made her smile. With a deep sigh, Davina got up and put on a dressing gown, sitting at the small table next to the window, that looked out on to the main plaza. The celebration the night before had been exciting; the fireworks, sitting with Kato’s strong arms wrapped around her protectively, Marcel and his family’s addition of good food, champagne and most of all, good friends.

                Balancing a tray, Kato came through the door to join Davina, “Coffee for my Mistress,” pouring a cup of coffee and placing it in front of her, along with the new planner Kato had given her for Christmas. The woman chuckled, “Your not so subtle hint is working, yes…I will make my calls right after I’m finished with my coffee.” She had ignored several phone calls during the previous night’s festivities.

                Madame F, Isshi and Uta had all phoned Davina, wishing them both a Happy New Year, though Isshi’s voice had a lack luster tone, which worried the woman.

                Uta’s message was more light hearted, “Hi! Happy New Year! I lov…Acchan stop! I’m on the…uhhmnngg I love you, bye!” Uta had quickly hung up, leaving Davina laughing at the vision of Sakurai molesting Uta while he was on the phone. “Oh Acchan.” She giggled.

                Madame F’s message had been more cryptic and after listening to Isshi’s voice, Davina had her suspicions; Leda and Karyu, there must be a problem with the two boys.

                “Mistress?” Kato had seen the change in Davina’s mood, her brow furrowing. “Hmm?”

                “Is there a problem Mistress?” Kato’s gut instinct said yes. “Possibly, but I won’t know until I call, I’m going to shower first. I’d like a light breakfast, please inform Marcel.” And with a last sip of her coffee, Davina stood…stopping to briefly kiss Kato, then walking into the bathroom.

                What to do about Isshi’s boys? She had a small reservation when she had initially written the contract for Karyu, but the boy seemed so lost, and Davina knew that Isshi would love and protect the him, but with Leda’s submissive switch tendencies, and his immediate attraction to the young man, this was proving to be a problem. The Dominant knew Isshi would not cancel any contract unless there would be no other option, and even then Isshi would be hard pressed to do that.  

                Finishing her shower and dressing quickly, Davina found Kato tending to domestic duties, leaving her planner and phone on the table, a notebook and pen. Checking the time, she knew that Madame F would still be awake. Davina picked up her phone and made the call.

 

                “Davina my dear! Happy New Year firstly.” Madame F sounded to be in good spirits.

                “Madame, thank you, I hope you and Ormond had a wonderful night? Kato and I certainly did. So, tell me, what is going on with our dear Isshi and his boys?”

                Madame F sighed. “I can tell you, you left at the wrong time, Isshi is in a panic, Karyu and Leda are missing, but not presumed to be together.” The news left Davina stunned. “Missing? Since when?”

                Madame F gathered her thoughts, “You’re already aware of the little issue with Leda’s jealousy and the obvious infatuation that Karyu has or had, with Kato, it seems the day of your little luncheon was the end for Leda. The boy verbally berated poor Karyu, leaving the boy in tears, and as Isshi was not home at the time, it seems that Karyu packed a bag and left the house without telling Ruimaru or Leda. Once Isshi came home, he wanted to speak to Karyu, but the boy had already gone. I’m assuming that Leda had also gone possibly to find Karyu. Now Isshi and Ruimaru are panicked and devastated.”

                This was more than a small matter, two collared submissives alone on the streets was a safety threat, these boys could be picked up by anyone and kept. “Would you like me to return, Madame? We could be on our way home tomorrow morning.”

                Madame F hesitated to ask Davina to return, she was having a sort of honeymoon with Kato. “I think not, at least not for the present. If the situation worsens, I’ll contact you. I will also be contacting Sakurai, since Karyu was originally under his care. Please, don’t worry too much, I will keep you posted.”

                “Mistress?” Kato was looking at his feet, this was partially his fault, if he had noticed something he could have spoken up. “Kato, look at me. No, this is not your fault, and I know that’s what you’re thinking.” Kato sighed, “It is partially my responsibility as their senpai, I should have been paying attention closer. I’m sorry Mistress.” Davina held out her arm to her pet, “Kato my love, this was going on well before you arrived. Isshi’s boy Leda, is a submissive switch and this is not the first time he has reacted, it just happens that this time he has over reacted and that led to Karyu’s disappearance. I’m going to call Isshi in a moment.”

                Kato nodded, “May I be excused Mistress? I’d like to go down stairs and give you some privacy.” Davina excused the young man, knowing that Kato would be doing some soul searching.

                Once again picking up her phone, Davina called Isshi.

Chapter Text

                Isshi sat alone in his office, his elbows on his desk and hiding his face in his hands, mumbling through his tears, “My beautiful boys, where have you gone?” Ruimaru was standing just outside the office, his eyes swollen, red and tender from crying. It had been three days since Leda and Karyu had run from Isshi’s home, leaving the Dominant and his remaining pet alone, scared and devastated.

                Isshi had made numerous phone calls to members of the community, Madame F was aware of what had happened, and offered her support and Ormond’s presence if needed. What Madame F had told Isshi that she had called Davina in the Netherlands, informing her of what was happening at home.

                With each phone call, Isshi’s hope sparked; There had been sightings of Leda, or who the person thought was Leda, but no sightings of Karyu, which truly frightened Isshi. Karyu was a country boy, ill equipped to survive on his own in Tokyo.  

                  The first day of the new year arrived with zero fanfare at Isshi’s home. There were no celebratory kisses, no staying up until midnight, just a lonely Dominant and his equally lonely submissive, holding each other throughout the night, praying for the safety of their lovers.

                Isshi had slipped out of bed quietly that morning, leaving Ruimaru to sleep soundly, the boy had whimpered all through the night, clinging tightly to his Dominant. Making his way to Karyu’s bedroom, Isshi had combed through the young man’s belongings, trying to find something that may give Isshi a clue to where Karyu had gone.

               He moved through his day slowly, the call from Davina left little comfort for Isshi, she had asked Isshi if he would like her to return to Japan to assist in the search for the boys, Isshi of course refused.

                “My dear woman, you are on your honeymoon so to speak, I would not interrupt your time with Kato for anything. It is better you stay where you are and enjoy yourself, Madame F and I are handling things here, but thank you for offering.” Isshi under no circumstances wanted Davina to come home for his problems.

                “Has the community been notified? I’m sure if the boys are still in the city, someone would certainly recognize them, especially if they were both still wearing their collars.” Davina believed that Leda would definitely take his collar off, but she doubted that Karyu would.

                “The entire community, even down to the amateur cos players, have been made aware of the problem, Madame F gave the word and it spread. The clubs of course have been notified, not that I believe that Karyu would go to a club alone, but Leda may.” Isshi sighed.

                Davina ended her call, giving her love to Isshi and Ruimaru, and promising to call again in a few days. “If either boy is found, call me at once, regardless of the time, promise me that Isshi.” Davina’s voice was terse, leaving a definite message for Isshi. “Yes, my dear, I promise to call. Thank you, Davina.”  

                Ruimaru wandered into the living room, having heard Isshi on the phone. “Sir, was that Mistress?” He shuffled over and flopped down on the couch next to Isshi, falling over into the man’s lap.

                “Yes Angel, she sends her love. I explained what we are going through right now, and if needed, she offered to come home immediately.” Isshi carded Ruimaru’s bright yellow hair. “I hope she comes home soon, because if we can’t…and they don’t…” The young man’s lip quivered, the tears started falling once again. “My Angel, you’re going to have to stop crying, you’re so blotchy and your eyes will be swollen shut, come here love.” Isshi pulled the young man into his arms.

                “The entire community is looking for both of our lovers, I’m sure Karyu will return on his own and once he does, Leda will return as well. We will have to have a very serious discussion about all of this, but I refuse to void any contracts until we all agree. You are going nowhere my love, I will keep you forever.”

               

                It was dark when Karyu stepped off the train in his home town, the only place he could run to. He had decided not to go back to his grandfather’s house, at least not yet. His plan was to walk quickly past the store and straight to Gray’s Estate, he would sleep in the barn that first night and deal with everything else the next morning. Karyu was certain that Sakurai wouldn’t care if he slept in the barn; it was dry and had plenty of soft straw to lie in, it would be away from prying eyes for the night.

                He stuck to the side of the road, hiding in the bushes any time a car approached, and thankfully there were no people out and about at that time of night. Hiding in the trees along the road, Karyu looked for any approaching cars, before darting across the road and slipping through the loosely chained gate, running along the low wall to the back part of the property.

                Gently prying the barn door open, Karyu slipped in and quickly shut it behind him. Taking a flashlight out of his bag, he looked around, a flash of gray to the side of him announced that the small feral cat was still living in the barn. “Hello Koneko-chan, I’m home.” He whispered.  Looking in one of the gated pens, Karyu saw a canvas tarp on the ground that looked fairly clean, at least clean enough to sleep on. Throwing his backpack down, the young man opened it and pulled out a sweater and a hoodie, he didn’t really have time to pack properly…not after what Leda had said to him.

                Using the backpack as a pillow, Karyu put the sweater and the hoodie on, hoping that it wouldn’t get too cold that night. Laying down on the canvas, he turned off the flashlight, and stared at the roof of the barn, seeing a sliver of the moon peeking through.

                Leda’s words were still burning in his ears, the angry look of the young man who had accused Karyu of something he didn’t do, a tear slipping from one eye, rolling down into his ear.  Leda, his face twisted in anger and jealousy, growling at Karyu, saying hurtful vile things to the boy.

               Why were you staring at Kato? You looked like a slut, licking your lips…everyone fucking saw you, panting after him. Were you hoping he’d fuck you? Did you think if you stared long enough that Davina would ask Sir to borrow you for a night? That’s what you want, right? You want Kato to fuck you into the floor!

                I’M THE ONLY ONE THAT’S ALLOWED TO DO THAT! ME! YOU DON’T GET TO LOOK AT OTHER MEN LIKE THAT! ONLY ME! LIKE DAVINA AND KATO WOULD WANT YOU IN THEIR BED, YOU’RE STILL A VIRGIN COMPARED TO THEM, WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!

                 It wasn’t only the words that hurt Karyu, it was the way they were said to him, with vulgarities, a growl and a snarl, as if Leda were his Dominant, not Isshi-san. The look on his lover’s face was the breaking point; pure disgust and revolt, that was what pushed Karyu over the final edge, and he ran from Isshi’s home.

                “Never again, ever. I’ll never wear another collar, I’ll live here quietly and everyone will forget about me. That’s the best thing…I don’t want to be a problem for Isshi.” Karyu whispered into the dark. Pulling the hood up over his head, Karyu closed his eyes and prayed that he could stay hidden for as long as possible, long enough that Isshi would stop looking for him and Leda would never have to see him again.

 

                The sleek Mercedes sped along the empty highway on its way back to Maastricht from Aachen, Germany, where Davina and Kato had spent the day wandering through the great Cathedral Dome. Looking back at their conversations that day, Kato wanted to know more about his Mistress, he wanted to know each and every detail of her life before he had met her. Davina was slow to give the information, Kato sensing that some of her past was extremely painful to recall and as such he didn’t press.

                The one question Kato had dared to ask; Davina’s birth name, which shocked the woman into silence, Kato fearing he had over stepped his boundaries with his Dominant. “Why do you ask?” Kato had stopped in his tracks, bowing deeply, “Please forgive my impertinence Mistress, it is not my place to ask such questions, my deepest apologies.” Kato held his bow until Davina reached down and cupped his chin, bringing him up.

                “There is nothing to forgive, my love, you are merely curious and it caught me off guard.” Davina reached up and kissed her submissive. “I suppose I should tell you my story, Teiji knew of my past, it’s really only fair I suppose.” The couple continued to walk through the cathedral, stopping ever so often to look at a specific relic, then walking again.

                “Yazuki Miho.” Davina reached down to clasp Kato’s hand in hers, as they walked along a long corridor between the two sections of the ancient church. “My mother became pregnant but was not married at that time to my father. I doubt that they would have married at all, if she were not pregnant, their social backgrounds were unequal.”

                “Mistress, you do not owe me any more information, if this is painful for you to discuss, then please, stop.” Kato pulled his Dominant towards a small alcove where they sat down on a low stone bench. “It is painful, but it is necessary, I hid nothing from Teiji, I will hide nothing from you. My past is what guided me to where I am now, there are underlying issues that should be in the open between us.”

                Kato nodded, he didn’t want his Mistress to become distressed over his request, “You must be completely comfortable with what you tell me…and only when you want. Take your time, I’m a captive audience.” He chuckled.

                “I will not keep you in the dark, Kato. I want no secrets between us. I had none with Teiji, I will not have any with you. If you are to trust me completely, then you need to know of my past.” Davina was confident that as with Teiji, there would be nothing that she couldn’t tell Kato.

                “I’m hungry, I think it is time for lunch, let’s go find Boh and have him pick a nice café for us, ne?” Kato stood up and held out his hand for Davina, “That sounds perfect.” Kato grinned.

                 During the drive back to Maastricht, Davina told Kato a little more about her past, the unhappy memories. “Mistress, if this is too painful, please stop!” Kato pleaded when he saw tears falling silently. Davina patted Kato’s hand, “It’s fine, my love, it’s just been a long time since I’ve told my story.”  With a sigh, Davina laid her head back on the seat, reaching up to gently wipe the tears from her eyes.

                “My father, as I’ve told you, was an international businessman, and very wealthy. He came from a family that was of high standing in Japan, there was nothing questionable about his life. He met my mother at an industry conference, she worked with a different lower level company that had dealings with my father’s business. He was young, very brash and wickedly handsome.” Davina lifted her hand, caressing Kato’s cheek.

                “My parents started to date, well…as much as people of those social standings can really date. My mother was beautiful, Father was very enamored with her immediately, though his family did not approve of my mother’s family, their status was nothing near my father’s.”

                Kato watched Davina closely, “What was your mother’s name?” he asked softly. “Maiko.” Kato gently kissed Davina, waiting for her to continue.

                “As it happens all over the world, every generation; my mother became pregnant. Once Father found out, he told his parents that he would marry Mother, needless to say they were unhappy but had to accept it. I was born five months later.”

                Arriving back at Marcel’s, Davina and Kato went up to the flat. “I need to check messages.” Davina went into the bedroom for a bit more privacy, Kato going downstairs to order coffee for the both of them.

                With no messages from Madame F or Isshi, Davina had started to lose hope for the two missing submissives. Kato knocked on the bedroom door, “Mistress, I have coffee for you.” Kato came in with a tray and two cups of coffee. “Any news on Leda or Karyu?” he asked cautiously. “None, I’m starting to worry a great deal, those boys need to be found, especially Karyu…he has no experience with the city.”

                Kato sat down across from Davina, “Mistress, let’s go home. Your heart is not happy here right now, we need to help Isshi-san. Once the boys are back with Isshi, we can return…for the summer when the weather is nicer.”  Davina’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at her submissive, “Yes, we need to go home.”

                  Madame F closes her phone, tapping it on her chin, “Madame? Is there a problem?” Ormond sets down a tray with the Dominant’s afternoon tea. “No, not a problem, Davina just phoned to tell me her and Kato are returning to Japan.”  Ormond was surprised, “If I may ask, why?” 

                “She is obviously concerned that neither of Isshi’s boys have been found, it’s been weighing on her mind, and I’m sure Kato is concerned about her health. They will arrive sometime tomorrow night.” Madame F’s concerns had been growing with every passing day, the fact that neither one of the boys had even been sighted, was troubling. Short of organizing a search party, there was little that anyone could do, other than wait.

               

                Davina held Kato’s hand tightly, even after years of traveling internationally the young submissive still had a fear of flying. Within a short period of time, they were on their way across the continent, with clear skies and no projected turbulence. With a glass of wine and a light cheese snack, Kato finally relaxed enough to ask Davina more about her past.

                “Did you have a happy childhood, Mistress? I’m sure as the child of a wealthy businessman, you were never wanting for anything.” Kato leaned back in his seat, still holding Davina’s hand in his.

                Davina sighed, “I obviously have no memory of my infancy, but my parents divorced when I was three. I remember the arguments, the shouting. I remember the distain from his parents, they would never acknowledge me, there was always that question on whether or not I was his child.”

                This angered Kato, “How could they be so hateful towards a child? I’ve never understood how anyone can hate a child, it’s not their fault for living.”

                “No, it’s not. Most of the times the arguments were over my father’s constant travel for business, but my mother knew that going into the relationship. The continued belittling by his family when my mother was home alone with me, it just grew to be too much for her, so she packed me up and we left his house. I do remember asking daily when I was going to get to see my papa. My mother never answered me.”

                The flight attendant interrupted Davina briefly, only to ask if they required anything more, as the cabin lights would be dimmed. “Another glass of wine for each of us please, then that will be all.” The flight attendant excused herself, coming back quickly with the wine, Davina thanking her, and taking a deep drink from her glass.

                “My mother eventually met a man that worked for another company similar to hers, Aikawa Akino, and they began dating. Aikawa was not my father in any way, let me make that clear. He was a rougher man, unrefined in actions and appearance, I would say he would be considered a bad boy type. Of course, Mother thought he was the most perfect man she’d ever met, even more so than my father. When I was almost five, they married. We then moved into his house, which was larger than ours, and started living as a family.”

                Davina shuddered at the memory, Kato got up and reached in the overhead compartment for a blanket, “Mistress…do not distress yourself! Please, I do not need to hear this if it makes you uncomfortable!” he pleaded. Davina cupped his chin, bringing her lips to his. “I’m fine my love,” she assured him.  Davina closed her eyes and laid her head back, her hand seeking Kato’s, clasping it tightly.

                “Our lives went along as normal as they could be, I started school, excelled in academics but nothing more. I was not popular, I was not attractive…I was a very geeky adolescent.” She chuckled. Kato snorted. “I can not believe that you were ever unattractive, Mistress, that’s just not possible!” he argued. “Was your father absent from your life? You had no contact with him?”

                Davina shook her head, “None, and I was not sure by who’s choice, my father or my mother, I had one picture of him, holding me when I was about two years old.” This caused a tear to fall, it was obvious that the pain was never that far from the surface for Davina, leading Kato to believe that his strong Dominant Mistress’s strength was just under the surface, with more turmoil buried deep.

               

                Leda spends hours each day, searching the various shopping districts, for Karyu. Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and even the upscale Roppangi district, but it was all in vain. With each passing hour, Leda grew more despondent and frustrated; where could Karyu have run off to?

                Walking up the main street in Shinjuku’s main shopping district, Leda would stop to glance into each store, hoping to find Karyu. “Pfft, like he’s just going to be randomly hanging out in a store.” He snorted. It was getting late in the day and Leda’s stomach is warning him that he may pass out soon, if he didn’t eat. Taking a chance, Leda walked into a trendy looking clothing store, his last of the day.

                “Irasshai, is there something I can help you with today?” A cute boy with vibrant red hair approached Leda. “Um, no thanks…I’m just looking for my friend.” Leda said quickly as he bowed lightly and left the store.

                With a deep sigh, Leda made his way down the street to an all-night internet café, paid for a cubicle and settled in for the night. Laying on the floor, his backpack shoved in the corner under the desk, Leda takes his phone out and starts paging through the dozens of pictures; Ruimaru and Karyu, Isshi and Karyu, Leda kissing Karyu. With each picture of the boy he loved, the knife he had plunged into his own heart twisted a little deeper.

                His jealousy had ruined his life again, this time hurting three others and not just himself. Closing out the pictures, Leda types out a short text.

                “I will find Karyu and send him back to you. I love you.”

Chapter Text

                This wasn’t working, and he knew it wouldn’t work for very long. Karyu shivered all night, sleeping in the drafty barn, even with a hoodie and a sweater on, the boy was still cold. Waking in the early morning hours, the young man knew he had to go home, there really was no question. Resigned to living a dull life with no possibilities of ever having anyone to love, or that would love him, Karyu got up, repacked his bag and left the barn to walk the quarter-mile to his grandfather’s store.

                “Tadaima.” He bent down to unlace his boots, “Okaeri Karyu…why are you home?” His grandfather was surprised to see his grandson, and also pleased as he had missed the boy. “Things just didn’t work out for me Jiji, I know now, that I should just stay here with you and help you run the store. It’s fine, don’t worry. I’m going to go take a shower and I’ll be down to help you in a bit, ne?”

                The grandfather watched the young man go upstairs, the look on the boy’s face told a different story, but the old man wouldn’t push, he knew in his heart that asking questions too soon would scare the boy, and he may decide to leave again.

                Karyu broke down, gut wrenching sobs escaping as he stood under the sting of the hot water. He had failed, again. He had failed Acchan, he had failed Isshi, Ruimaru and most of all, he had failed Leda. There was nothing more left for him other than to live a bland existence in a small rural town, with little hope of finding anything remotely close to a loving relationship.

                He knew he should call Isshi and tell him where he was and that he was fine, but something held him back. He didn’t want to disappoint the Dominant any more than he already had, Isshi would have to void his contract if he didn’t return to the city.

                The young man’s thoughts turned to Leda. Was he still with Isshi? Or did the Dominant void his contract and have him leave his house? It didn’t really matter, Leda showed his true feelings towards Karyu, for all the, it was clear that the submissive had not loved him.

Lying on his bed that night, trying to understand his own feelings, Karyu hoped that he would just disappear into the background of the scenery of his small town without another word. There was the problem that Sakurai Atsushi still owned Gray’s Estate and at some point, the older man may return. Karyu couldn’t worry about that right now, he couldn’t think in the terms of Dominants and submissives, contracts and collars. The only thing he could think of, was how lonely his existence would become.

 

                “Where do you think Leda is, do you think he’s with Karyu?” Uta was lying in Acchan’s arms, snuggling in bed after a round of rowdy sex, something that always surprised Sakurai Atsushi, his tiny lover never ceased to amaze him during their love making. But now in the afterglow, Uta had thought about Isshi and his boys, worried for the two submissives that he liked, although did not know well.

                “I don’t believe that they are together, no. From what Isshi and Ruimaru have told me, the tongue lashing that Leda gave Karyu, that bond is probably broken for good.” Acchan sighed, he couldn’t imagine the hell that Isshi was going through; two of his collared submissives missing.

                Uta nuzzled Acchan’s neck, “Where do you think Karyu is? Could he have gone home?” Acchan had thought about that exact place, but dismissed it early on. “No, he was unhappy at home, it’s a smaller village, not completely rural but enough so he felt trapped there. I don’t know where he is to be honest.”

                Just as Acchan’s eyes had slowly closed, Uta whispered in his ear, “Will you take me to the estate? I want to meet the chickens.” Acchan murmured a yes, “And I want to have nasty barn sex too.” Acchan’s eyes flew open, “You WHAT?” Uta just giggled, kissed his lover good night, “I love you, Acchan.”

 

                Karyu’s eyes felt like someone had thrown sand in his face, the grit was thick and irritating, walking down the stairs to face the questions he knew would be coming from his grandfather. “Karyu, come here boy, sit with me.” Karyu got a cup of tea first, then sat down at the worn dining room table that sat in the kitchen of the old house.

                “Tell me what happened boy…you were so happy to leave here with your gentleman, what caused you to come home so unexpectedly?” The old man leaned forward, waiting for his grandson’s answer.

                Karyu sighed, how much did he tell his grandfather? He couldn’t bring up specifics, like sexual details, he hesitated before answering. “There was another young man living with us, and he made some accusations about me that weren’t true. I did not want to bring shame to my…my friend, so I left his house.”

                “Does your lover know where you are?”

                Karyu’s mouth dropped open, “My…my what? Lover? Um, you have this all wrong, Jiji!” the young man stammered. The old man smirked, “Karyu, I’m old…I’m not blind nor am I stupid. I’ve known you were gay since you were in middle school.” The bomb dropped, and Karyu was stunned.

                “Ho would you know? I never had a date or anything! Oh my god, did Baba know too?” Karyu could not believe what he was hearing. “Your grandmother knew before I did, remember we were parents once ourselves. Parents notice these things in their children. So, tell me the truth boy, what happened with your gentleman?”

                Karyu looked down at the table, he was unsure what to say, did he tell Jiji about Sakurai? About Isshi, Leda? “Um, well…things didn’t work out for Sakurai and myself, but he had a friend, Isshi-san. That’s who I was living with, and there was another young man, Leda. He confessed to me, but then we had an argument and well, I left Isshi-san’s house and came home.” The words just came tumbling out.

                “Did you love Isshi-san?” The old man probed a little further. “I’m going to assume that the man does not know where you are?” Karyu nodded, “Both, Jiji, but I can’t stay there, not with Leda. It’s just better I’m back home…it’s safer for me.”

                The old man reached over the table and covered Karyu’s hand with his. “What about Sakurai Atsushi? Where does he fit in all of this, Karyu?” The younger man shook his head again, “He isn’t involved in anything, Jiji. He has his own boy, that’s why it didn’t work out between us, he’s in love with another young man.”

                “What will you do now, boy?” Karyu’s grandfather wouldn’t force the boy out on his own, the boy was all he had left in the world. “Stay here, help you with the store, if that’s alright. I’ll take over the business when you’re gone.” Karyu looked up at his grandfather, “Jiji, it’s fine really. I’m happy to be home, I missed you!” Getting up from the table, Karyu walked around and leaned down to hug the old man. “I’ll be fine, really.”

 

                Karyu went back upstairs after telling his grandfather he didn’t have much in the way of clothes, and that he had lost his phone. “But I don’t really need another one, who am I going to call? I’ll deal with buying a few pairs of jeans later.”

                The old man waited for Karyu’s bedroom door to close, then went into the front of the store, opening a drawer and rummaging around in it. “Here it is…just where I left it.” he held a small piece of paper with a phone number on it.

                Waiting until he heard Karyu in the shower, the old man took his phone out onto the front porch of the store, sitting down on the long wooden bench, he dialed the number.

                “Hello, Sakurai-san, this is Karyu’s grandfather, I’d like to speak to you about the boy.”

 

                Acchan closed his phone, a smile plastered across his face. “Finally.” Reopening his phone, he called to break the news, “Isshi, I know where Karyu is. I’d like to speak to you in person, yes right now. Give me fifteen minutes.”
                 Acchan left the house and drove rather erratically to Isshi’s, the man waiting in the drive way with Ruimaru in his arms. “Acchan! Where is he? Oh my god, is he safe? TELL ME ACCHAN!” The man was as close to hysterical as Sakurai could ever remember. “Let’s go into the house first, Isshi…I’m sure your neighbors wouldn’t appreciate a scene.”

                With his arm around the Dominant, Acchan guided Isshi back into his home. “Sit, Isshi.” Acchan commanded, “Please, Acchan tell me where my boy is!” Isshi pleaded.

                “He’s home, with his grandfather, he came home last night.” Isshi flung his arms around the older man, “Gods, thank you Acchan! He’s okay…he’s not hurt? What about Leda?” Ruimaru was sitting quietly, looking at the floor, tears dripping from the end of his nose.

                “Karyu’s grandfather called me, he didn’t mention Leda. He also said that Karyu didn’t know he was calling, so I suspect that the boy doesn’t want anyone to know where he is, at least not yet.” Acchan reached over and held Isshi’s hand. “Let me go to him first, Isshi. Let me talk to him and see where his mind is at. If you suddenly show up, he’s going to know his grandfather betrayed him. If I am at the estate, Karyu wouldn’t suspect anything out of the ordinary. Let me see what I can find out, ne? I’ll even take Uta with me.”

                Isshi was quiet for some time, Ruimaru still staring at the floor. “Yes, Acchan…I think it would be for the best if you went to see him, with Uta. But please, make him understand that I am not angry with him in any way! I love the boy desperately as does my Angel, we just want him home.”

                Sakurai Atsushi looked at his friend, his eyes softening in compassion, “Yes, I’ll make sure to tell him all of that. I may see if Uta can get the boy to open up as well. Don’t worry Isshi, we know where he is and that he is healthy and safe. I wish I could say the same for your other boy, that one is still lost.”

                After making sure Acchan knew exactly what to tell Karyu, Isshi and Ruimaru waved as he drove away from the house. “Sir? Do you think Leda will return?” Ruimaru mumbled, he had still not looked up at his Dominant. Leading the young man into the house, Isshi sensed something was off with his young pet.

                “Angel, tell me what you’re thinking.” Isshi sat on the couch, drawing Ruimaru into his lap. “Please Sir, I mean no disrespect to you ever, but if I am honest with myself, I do not want Leda to return, I want him to be safe, but I do not want him to return here. I’m not sure I can get past the awful things that he said to Karyu, and the complete disregard for your feelings.”

                Isshi had never seen nor heard the young man acting so seriously. “It is a consideration, Ruimaru. I have thought long and hard about it myself, but I am not ready to make that call, I need to speak to Leda first. If he does not return to my home, I will seek out another suitable Dominant for him.”

                Ruimaru sighed as he leaned into Isshi, how did their life go from so perfect to absolute ruin, so quickly? Isshi, sensing the boy’s grief, held the young man close to him, murmuring soft words and petting Ruimaru’s hair. “Everything will work itself out my Angel, we just need to take one step at a time. Our little family has just hit a rough patch like any other family…we just need to be confident that both Leda and Karyu will return.” As Isshi is saying this, he has his own doubts about how rough of a patch this was, and if in fact, their little family would be reunited.

               

                “I can’t promise nasty barn sex, but would you be interested in going to the estate tomorrow?” Acchan was cooking dinner for he and Uta, standing at the stove, while Uta chopped up a salad for them. “Tomorrow? Hmm, sure…that would work for me, I don’t have to work for the next two days, but why no nasty barn sex?” Uta pouted.

                “We are going to the estate on a pretense.” Dishing up the meal, the two men sat down to eat. “What pretense is that?” Uta didn’t quite understand. “I received a phone call this morning while you were at work. It was Karyu’s grandfather, the boy has returned home.”

                Uta gasped, almost choking on his food. “Home? You said he wouldn’t go home! Is Leda with him?” Acchan shook his head, “No, he’s not, evidently Karyu did tell his grandfather what had happened between he and Leda.”

                The couple ate in silence, each one wondering where Leda had gone. “Are we going to go and pick Karyu up to bring him home to Isshi? I mean what else would we do? He needs to be with Ruimaru and Isshi.” Uta stated rather harshly.

                “No, we’re not going to bring him home. As a matter of fact, we’re not going there specifically to see him, we’re just going to the estate.”

                “Wait…what? Why would we go all the way out there and not bring him home? That makes no sense.” Uta protested.

                “Because Karyu needs to come home to Isshi on his own accord, not with us dragging him back and forcing. him to be with his Dominant” Acchan was firm on this. “I explained to Isshi what I proposed to do, and that is to spend a few days at the estate and hope that Karyu will come to us on his own. I also explained that I was taking you with me as a sort of buffer. The boy doesn’t need another Dominant telling him what to do.” Acchan got up to get more coffee, standing with his back to Uta.

                “I want you to talk to him, make him understand that he is not at fault and that Isshi is not angry at him, that’s your job in all of this…one submissive to another.”

                Uta watched Acchan carefully, as the man poured him another cup of coffee, digesting what he had told him. “How long will we stay there and do I need to call Taka? My next shift is in two days and it’s a closing…is that enough time?”

                “If we leave first thing in the morning, I think we at least may convince Karyu that Isshi’s not angry with him, but whether or not we can convince him to return, that I have no time table for. It may take Isshi going out there to speak with him…” Acchan’s thoughts trailed off.

                Uta got up from the table, turning to walk down the hall to their bedroom, a few moments later, he walked back to the kitchen, his phone in his hand. “I want Isshi’s number please.” He asked Acchan, who raised an eyebrow, then gave his young lover the number.

                “Isshi-san? It’s Uta…Acchan just told me, yes, I will. What do you want me to say to Karyu outside of that you’re not angry at him? Okay, that’s reasonable…yes. Could I speak to Ruimaru please? Hi Ru… what do you want me to tell Karyu? No, what You want to say, not what you should say, or what Isshi wants. Tell me what you want him to know, from you personally. Okay, I understand, yes, I will. Tell Isshi-san we’ll call him and let him know, jaa ne.”

               

                The next morning dawned early for Sakurai and Uta, the two men leaving the house at 7am, Uta falling back to sleep in the car. Acchan had not asked his lover what Isshi or Ruimaru had said to him, he doubted that the boy would answer him truthfully, probably telling him to mind his own business. They did however discuss how they were going to let Karyu know that they were at the Estate.

                “I can just go walk down to his grandfather’s store, act all innocent and all.” This drew a snicker from Acchan. ‘You, act innocent? This from the boy who asked me to have nasty barn sex with him. I love you Uta, but you are far from innocent.” That comment earned Acchan a sharp punch in the shoulder from Uta.

                “Baby, we’re here…wake up.” Acchan stroked Uta’s face. “Hmm? Already…that was quick.” Uta stretched and sat up, “Wow! This is cool!” was his first comment as he watched Acchan get out of the car and unlock the gates. “This is fancy Acchan… Davina’s manor is the only place I’ve seen with gates like this!”

                “It’s an old estate, it was common back in those days if you were wealthy enough.” Acchan had glanced at the general store where Karyu lived, as they drove past, not seeing the young man. “Let’s go in, then I’ll take you on a tour of the property so you can meet Henny and Penny.”

                Walking through the house, Uta making small comments in each room. “Not as big as our house, but it’s nice for a vacation home.” Acchan was in the kitchen, taking stock of what they might need for the next few days, making a list in the process.

                “Can we go see the barn please?” Uta wiggled his eyebrows at his lover. “Yes, but no nasty sex… at least not right away.” Acchan shook a finger at Uta, who just flipped him off and stuck out his tongue. “Spoil sport.”

                As they walked the grounds of the small estate, they found the two chickens just outside the barn door, scratching in the dirt. “Wow, they’re bigger than I thought! Are they nice?” Uta had never been this close to a live chicken. “I don’t know if nice is the right word, baby…they’re chickens.”  Uta squatted down in the dirt, Penny walking over to see if he had any food to offer, allowing Uta to stroke the soft red feathers.

                Acchan moved towards the barn door, “I wonder if our little neko-chan is still living here?” Pulling the door open, Acchan quietly walked in, hoping to see that quick flash of gray. “There’s a cat in here?” Uta whispered, “Where?” Uta peered around Acchan, looking for the small feral cat.

                Acchan walked up to one of the gated pens, slowly peeking over the top. “Ah, there you are koneko-chan.” Holding out his hand, Acchan guided Uta to the pen, “Oh, look how cute she is…wait, is it a girl?” The small cat was laying on the same canvas tarp Karyu had spent the night on, “I’m not sure, I’ve always thought of her as a girl, but she’s feral so there’s really no way to check. I’m just happy she is still here and looks fairly healthy.”

                Leaving the small cat to itself, Acchan and Uta walked the remainder of the property, then went back to the house, sitting in the kitchen working on the short grocery list. “When should we do this?” Uta asked seriously. “The sooner the better, probably within in the next hour or so. I’m going to call the properties manager and let her know that we’re here for a few days, and while I’m doing that, you should walk down to the store. If you don’t see Karyu right away, make sure to let his grandfather know that we’re here.”

                “If I see Karyu, I’m going to ask him over for dinner, would that be okay with you?” Uta had plans of his own once he could get the young submissive to sit down and talk to him. “If you can manage that, by all means…ask him to dinner. If he objects, just let him know that you’re here to talk, not to pass judgement.” With his list, a quick kiss and a pat on the butt, Uta was sent on his way to the small general store, his hopes high that he would see Karyu.

 

                Karyu sat on the stool behind the cash register, mindlessly paging through an old magazine. With no phone or computer (he had left his at Isshi’s), Karyu felt brain dead. The few people that came to the store daily were the old folks, not really wanting to chat with Karyu, but his grandfather. The old woman who knew everyone’s business was sure to be in that day, grilling both Karyu and the old man about the boy’s return.

                Karyu had gotten up to grab a soda from his kitchen, when the door chime sounded, “Irasshai, I’ll be with you in a minute.” Uta’s chest tightened, he was going to be face to face with Karyu in a matter of seconds. With a deep breath, Uta grabbed a small basket and walked the aisles, picking up what in fact they did need.

                “Hi...how can…Uta-kun?” He wasn’t seeing this! Uta was in his grandfather’s store! “Karyu!” Uta dropped his basket, running up to the boy and throwing his arms around him tightly.

                “Uta, why are you here? How did you find me?” Karyu’s brain stopped functioning at that moment. “Acchan brought me to the estate…how long have you been here?” Uta had to calm himself, not over act his part of the innocent man. “I um…I got back yesterday.” Karyu’s entire demeanor changed, he was back to being the shy submissive, looking at the floor.

                Uta was careful with his questions, “Have you called Isshi yet? He’s been so worried and scared. Is Leda with you?”

                Karyu looked up, it was obvious by his expression that he didn’t know Leda was missing. “Leda’s gone? When?” Before Uta could answer, Karyu’s grandfather came into the room. “Hello there young man, is there a problem?” The man winked.

                “Jiji, this is Uta…he’s um sort of a friend of mine, he lives with Sakurai Atsushi.” Karyu didn’t know how to explain his relationship with Uta, to his grandfather. “Uta is um…Sakurai’s um…” Karyu blushed. “I’m Sakurai Atsushi’s boyfriend.” Uta supplied the words Karyu could not speak. Before the old man could ask anymore questions, Karyu took Uta by the hand, “Jiji, I’m going to take Uta upstairs, I um…I need to talk to him.”

                Before the old man could say another word, Karyu grabbed Uta and dragged him through the store and up a set of stairs. “Wait…Karyu!” Uta whined. “No…we have to talk!” Pulling Uta into a small bedroom, Karyu closed the door and locked it, whipping Uta around and almost throwing him on the bed.

                “Who told you I was here!” Karyu snapped. “Wait…nobody told me you were here, Acchan and I came to the estate.” Uta lied, “More importantly, have you called Isshi yet? Karyu…he’s so worried about you! He’s been crying since you’ve went missing, so has Ruimaru!”

                Karyu sat next to Uta on the bed, “No, I haven’t called Sir, I’m not going to.” The young man looked at the floor. “He doesn’t need to have someone like me as a pet, he just needs to rip up my contract…and you can give him this.” Karyu reached under the bed and pulled out a box, opening it, he took out his collar and handed it to Uta.

                “Karyu…” Uta whined softly. “Are you sure?” Karyu nodded, “Yes…I’m sure. I can’t go back Uta, I’ve dishonored Isshi-san…I’m not fit to wear his collar.” Uta reached over to hold Karyu’s hand. “Before I do that, I think you need to come and talk to Acchan. Why don’t you come over for dinner tonight? We can talk more, ne?”  Karyu still wouldn’t look at Uta, “Sure…I’ll come for dinner, thanks.”

 

                With the last bit of his money, Leda bought a bus ticket. He had given up searching for Karyu, the boy was nowhere to be found. He was certain that his lover would not have gone back to his home town, he had hated it so much and was so quick to leave.  He knew he couldn’t return to Isshi’s, not that the Dominant would agree to take him back regardless. Getting on the bus, Leda had a window seat, and no one next to him for the two-hour trip. This was, he felt, his only option, the honorable thing to do is remove himself from Isshi’s life, he would not dishonor the man by attempting to return. “I’m sorry Isshi, Ru…Karyu… I love you.”

Chapter Text

                After a long flight, a hot shower and a warm familiar bed with a beautiful young man beside her, Davina woke up feeling rested and refreshed the morning after her return to Japan. Kato had risen early, knowing that Davina would want a hot cup of tea and her planner in front of her even before she got out of bed. “Mistress…your tea is ready.” Kato announced as he brought the tray into her bedroom, setting it next to her on the bed.

                “I’m surprised you’re up this early, my love, is there something I should be aware of?” Davina reached for her planner first, checking for appointments. “Nothing I know of as of yet, Mistress. Is there something you need me to do?” Kato watched Davina as she paged through her planner.

                “I will need to speak to Madame F today, and depending on what information she has, I may want to visit Isshi and Ruimaru. If you would speak with Raizo and make sure that the car is available when I need it today, that’s all I will need for now.” Kato bowed and left the room.

                Before Davina could finish her tea, her phone buzzed on the tray next to her, it looked like she wouldn’t need to wait to hear from Madame F.

                “Good morning, Madame F…no, I’ve been awake for a bit, what can I do for you? NO! Oh, good gods, thank you! Is he back with Isshi… no? Ah, well that makes sense…I’m surprised he went home, he had no fondness for that small town of his. True, it was better that he did…at least we know he’s safe. None? That’s odd…I’m surprised actually, he seemed fairly timid, but then I’ve seen that little switch of his pop up… true, we’ll deal with it when it comes. Yes, thank you for calling…I will.”

                Kato knocked on the door, “Kato my love, Karyu has been found, he is home with his grandfather, and it seems that Sakurai and Uta are at the estate as well.” Davina was all smiles.

                “What about the other boy, Leda? Has he not been found Mistress?” Kato was anxious about both boys. “No, and that does concern me, but we can only wait to see if he shows up. He may have gone back home to Osaka.”

                Kato had a certain amount of guilt roiling in his gut, he had been unaware of the situation as it was happening the day Karyu and Leda had their falling out. “Kato, stop it! You are not to blame for any of this!” Davina snapped at her personal pet. “Um, Mistress I wasn’t…” Kato sputtered.

                “Yes, you were! I can see it in your face. This is not your fault!” Kato looked at the floor, “Mistress, it’s a feeling I can not just turn off. I should have been more aware of what was going on at the time. Regardless of what you say, I will feel that I had a part in this.”

                Davina pinched the bridge of her nose, rubbing her eyes in frustration. “Fine. This is your fault, 100%.” She could play Kato’s game, “you should be held responsible for your actions. It’s your fault that you are so damned good looking, so beautiful, that a young man couldn’t help but stare at you, how dare you be so fucking attractive Kato!”  

                Kato’s Mistress peered up through her fingers at her attendant; Kato was blushing a deep red, and trying to stifle his laughter but failing, finally bursting out in the giggles. “Davina, I’m going to step out of line right now, and tell you that I love you more every damned day I’m with you. Thank you for bringing me to my senses.”

                Davina opened her arms for Kato, who fell onto the bed and smothered his face in her breasts. “I love you, Mistress.” He whispered.

 

 

                Karyu walked the quarter mile to Acchan’s estate with his feet dragging. He feared the Dominant would reprimand him seriously, even though Uta said that was not what this dinner was about. “It’s about the three of us, having dinner and maybe some discussion about the situation. Nobody is angry with you, Karyu, please believe me.”

                “Pfft. Yah right. Sir hates me now.” The young man muttered in the dark. Walking up the steps to the house, his gut tightened as he knocked on the door. To his relief, Uta answered. “Hi! Come in…do you want a beer or a glass of wine?” Uta offered, hoping that the young man would take one or the other. “A beer would be nice, thank you.” Karyu lowered his gaze to the floor.

                “Karyu, you don’t have to do that, I’m not a Dominant.” Uta teased, then threw his arms around the young man and hugged him tightly. “I can be as submissive as you, if needed, especially if Acchan wants to punish me.” Uta whispered in Karyu’s ear, a bright pink blush on the submissives cheeks spread quickly. Uta took Karyu’s hand and led him into the living room, where Acchan was sitting, “I’ll go grab you a beer.” Uta trotted off to the kitchen. Acchan stood and opened his arms, “I’m so glad you’re safe. You had us worried my boy.” Tipping the boy’s chin, Acchan gently kissed Karyu, surprising the young man.

                Acchan and Uta had spoken earlier in the day, Uta explaining what Ruimaru requested of him. “Ruimaru asked me if I’d kiss Karyu for him, you don’t mind, do you?” Uta peered up through his lashes, a coy expression, he knew that Acchan couldn’t resist that look.

                “If I can watch? Of course, I don’t care!” Acchan joked, “Then can I kiss Karyu? I’m sure Isshi at this point wouldn’t care, he just wants the boy to feel loved.” The couple stared at each other for a moment, “Could you imagine…” Uta moaned softly, Acchan closing his eyes, “Right this minute, yes.”

                Acchan had then grabbed Uta and dragged him down to the bedroom for a hot and horny round of mutual fantasy sex, which left both of them craving more.

                “One beer for you and one for me, a glass of wine for this overgrown playboy.” Uta giggled as he handed out the drinks. There was a short moment of awkward silence, as Karyu tried to gage what the night would be like, drinking half his beer in the first three minutes.

                “I have a message for you from Isshi.” Uta looked at Acchan first, he nodded. Looking back at Karyu, the boy had lowered his eyes to the floor again, “Look at me Karyu.” Uta ordered the boy, who complied. “Isshi loves you, he’s not angry and you’ve done nothing wrong. If you want to void your contract, he will but with regrets. He’s not sure if he will keep Leda though, but he would make every effort to find him a new Dominant.”  Uta and Acchan decided that the kiss for Ruimaru, would wait until after they ate.

                “Dinner should be ready, let’s eat.” Uta said cheerfully, wanting to put the young submissive more at ease. Uta had Karyu sit next to him, the young man’s eyes growing wide as Acchan served the meal, “Don’t let him bother you, this keeps him in line for me.” Uta winked, causing Karyu to cover his mouth in a giggle.

                Dinner conversation revolved mostly around Uta’s thoughts on the property, “I’m not sure which one it was, but one of the chickens let me pet her! I was surprised her feathers were so soft.” Karyu laughed, “That would be Penny, she’s at least friendly, don’t try to touch Henny, she’s kind of mean.”

                “I saw the little cat too…she’s so tiny, I wish we could catch her and bring her home.” Uta was unhappy about leaving the small cat alone. “She slept behind my knees…” Karyu’s hand flew to his mouth and his head snapped down, looking at his hands in his lap. “I mean, um…” he stuttered.

                “Karyu, did you sleep in the barn?” Acchan leaned forward, the boy nodded his head. “Um, I’m sorry I broke into your barn, I slept there the first night I was back. I thought I could just live here and nobody would see me, but after it being so cold that night…” his thoughts trailed off.

                Uta and Acchan exchanged looks, Uta nodding his head towards Karyu. “You said the cat slept with you? How do you know?” Acchan totally avoided the obvious.

                “Wha…I mean, you’re not angry that I broke into your barn?”

                “Uh, you broke into a barn, not my house or some store. A barn.” Acchan deadpanned.

                “Well, I felt something behind my knees, so I sort of slowly reached down and I felt fur, so I assume it was the cat. She wasn’t there in the morning.” Karyu was relieved that the Dominant wasn’t angry, though he wanted to kick himself for being careless with is words.

                Uta cleared away the dinner dishes, Acchan leading Karyu into the living room. “Sit with me for a moment.” The man patted the couch. “What are your plans, Karyu? Will you return to Isshi and live with he and Ruimaru?” The boy shrugged, “I don’t know.”

                “I personally think you should.” Uta walked in from the kitchen, sitting down next to Karyu. “You need to be with people that love you, that will nurture you and give you a chance at having some semblance of a normal adult relationship. Are you going to find a boyfriend or husband out here? No. You’re not going to find a Dominant either.” Uta pointed out.

                Karyu shook his head in protest, “But, what about Leda? I can’t stay with Isshi if Leda is there, he doesn’t love me, I don’t think he ever really did.”

                Uta looked over at Acchan who had stayed quiet, then he nodded. “Can I tell you what Ruimaru said? He has a message for you.”

                The young man’s eyes brightened, “Ru? What did he say?” Uta smiled softly at Karyu. “He’s heartbroken, he loves you and wants you home with him and Sir. He’s asked Isshi not to accept Leda back into the house, that he’s afraid of Leda now. Also, he wanted me to give you a kiss, just from him. Will you let me kiss you, Karyu?”  The submissive looked at Acchan, his eyes a little wild.

                Looking back at Uta, Karyu nodded. Uta skootched closer to the boy, reaching up to cup Karyu’s face in his hands. Leaning in, his breath whispered over the boy’s mouth, a tongue danced over Karyu’s lower lip, asking softly. Karyu moaned, Uta’s breath smell so sweet, he leaned into the kiss, his hands coming to rest on the other man’s thighs.

                Acchan’s pants got a little tighter with each passing second, the two boys together were erotically arousing, the scene he and Uta had earlier in the day coming to life before his eyes.

                “You taste so good, Karyu…do you want to leave Isshi and Ruimaru alone, without this every night?” Uta whispered as he kissed the boy, who could do nothing but moan. Uta pulled Karyu closer to him, wrapping his arms around the boy’s neck, kissing him deeply, but after a few more seconds, he reluctantly pulled away.

                “That was for you, Ruimaru loves you…he wants you home again with Isshi, and I kind of get the feeling that it’s what you want as well, ne?” Uta briefly kissed the boy again.  Acchan couldn’t hold back any longer, “Karyu, Isshi loves you, there is no question. If you feel threatened by Leda, Isshi will void his contract. This entire incident was a result of Leda’s insecurities and his switch personality, this was Leda’s problem, not yours. You found Kato very attractive, hell even I find him attractive…anyone who doesn’t is blind. But the point is, neither you nor him would have ever acted on that attraction. Kato is completely devoted to Davina, just as you are devoted to Isshi and Ruimaru. I believe that you truly belong with the man, I’ve actually never seen him happier in all the years I’ve know him.”

                Karyu knew in his heart that he wanted…no he needed to be with Isshi and to some extent, Ruimaru. His life had been so perfect with them, if he could be guaranteed that Leda would not be allowed back into Isshi’s home, then he would return. The hard part would be telling his grandfather, that concerned him.

                Drawing himself up, Karyu looked Sakurai straight in the face, “Yes, I’ll go back to Isshi’s, would you please call him for me?”

                Acchan smiled broadly, “I’d be more than happy to call him; would you like to go back tomorrow? I can take you straight to his home, we can leave here around 11am.” Before Karyu could answer, Uta threw his arms around the boy, “Yay! I can’t wait to see their faces when you come walking through the door. I bet I can guess what your welcome home party might consist of.” Uta said with a wicked grin, causing Karyu to blush furiously.

               

                After thanking Uta and Sakurai for the lovely dinner, and the equally lovely kiss, Karyu walked home, now faced with telling his grandfather he was leaving and going back to Isshi.  

“Jiji…” Karyu called out to his grandfather, “I’m in here boy,” The old man could tell by his grandson’s voice, what was coming. The young man went into the living room, sitting on the table in front of the couch his grandfather was sitting on.

 “Jiji, I’m going to…” Karyu started, but his grandfather raised his hand, cutting him off. “I’m glad you’re going back to your gentleman. It’s the right place for you, not stuck here in a small town with no chances to find love. Don’t worry about me or the store, I’ll either sell it to someone or it will just be closed down once I’m gone.”

                Karyu gaped at the old man. “Jiji, are you sure? I mean I can always come back when you’re gone to run the store…do you really not care if it closes?”

                “Karyu, you’re my only grandchild, you’re the last in our family. I’m not about to force you to keep a store open, when it’s not what you want out of life, I don’t want that for you either. Once I’m gone, you can sell the store or just clean it out and close it up. The property deed is already in your name, do with it what you want.”

                 Tears welled up in Karyu’s eyes, “Jiji, thank you, for everything you’ve ever done for me. You and Baba were my parents in a sense, after Tousan and Kaasan died. You’ve taught me so many lessons, and you’ve always supported me. I love you, Jiji.” With that confession, Karyu leaned over and kissed his grandfather on the forehead. “I’m going to come back at least every other month, I want you to meet Isshi-san, I’m sure you’ll like him.”  Running upstairs, Karyu grabbed all that he had brought home with him, shoving it back into his bag, his body quivering with excited nerves, he knew he’d get no sleep that night.

 

                Nuzzling Uta’s neck, Acchan’s breathing hard, his young lover stretched out under him, nude. “You’re seriously going to kill me one day, you know that, right?” Lifting his head, he kissed Uta, then in a sweaty heap, rolled off the boy, the nasty barn sex had been just that…nasty and ridiculously satisfying.  “As long as you leave me everything, I’ll be happy to have you fuck me to death, but I’m going to try every night to kill you.”

                Ten minutes after Karyu walked out the door, Acchan was grabbing a blanket and Uta’s hand, dragging him down to the barn. “Wait, Acchan!” the older man ignored his pleas. “You wanted nasty barn sex…” he growled as he opened the barn door, pushing Uta against the wall and pinning the boy’s hands over his head.

                Nipping at his lover’s neck, Acchan growled, “You wanted nasty sex, you’re getting it. I almost lost it when you were kissing Karyu, fuck baby…it was so damned sexy, I’d love to have both of you in bed with me.” Uta knew this was their fantasies being voiced, Acchan would never bring another to their bed, unless it was agreed upon first.

                “He tasted so good, Acchan, so sweet, you should have…” Uta’s voice was silenced by a deep demanding kiss, and being pulled to the straw covered floor of the barn and for the next hour, Uta’s wish for nasty barn sex was happily granted.

 

                Karyu felt like he was going to puke, not because he was sick but the anticipation of seeing Isshi again, had given him a bad case of the jitters.  Even with the reassurance of both Uta and Acchan that the Dominant was not angry with him, the boy knew he had violated their contract by running away from home.

                With a last breakfast with his grandfather, making promises of visiting soon, Karyu left his childhood home for the last time, the old man sending the boy off with a hug and a kiss, and a promise that Karyu would live his life and be happy.

                Acchan had risen before Uta, (the boy completely worn out from the previous night of rough sex in the barn), to call Isshi and let the man know he was bringing Karyu home, this news of course was received with tears and and overwhelming amount of gushing gratitude from Isshi.

                “Wake up sleepy…Karyu will be here in about fifteen minutes, if you want coffee before we leave, you need to get that cute ass of yours out of bed.” Acchan ruffled Uta’s hair, who then reached up and smacked the man’s hand away. “Nomphmmsleepmmff.” Uta muttered into his pillow.

                Acchan sighed, “You can sleep in the car on the way home, now you need to get up.” Reaching over, Acchan grabbed all the blankets and the sheets and pulled them off of Uta. “HEY! ASSHOLE IT’S COLD!” Uta screamed.

                The older man laughed and walked out of the bedroom, smiling at the vulgarities hurled at his back. “Fine! I’ll get up, but you’re in big trouble mister!”

                Karyu was sitting at the kitchen bar counter, talking softy to Acchan when Uta padded into the kitchen. “Why are we awake at this god-awful hour? Seriously, we didn’t need to leave at the crack of fuck o’clock did we?”

                “Crack of what?” Acchan gawked at his tiny lover. “Whatever, Uta…get your ass in the car. Karyu, if you’d like you can sit in the front with me, this little brat can sit in the backseat.” Acchan sniffed, turning away from Uta.  Karyu hid his giggle behind his hand, watching the couple tease each other. Once everyone was packed up, Acchan turned out of the estate’s drive, “Let’s go home.”

 

                Isshi closed his phone. “My Angel?” he called out for Ruimaru. “Yes Sir?” Ruimaru was overly excited to see Karyu, Sakurai-san and Uta-kun as well. “Angel I need to run an errand before Karyu comes home, I will be back shortly, ne?” He had hoped his face had not shown his fear. “Yes Sir! I’m going to make sure Karyu’s room is all clean and I’ll change the sheets on his bed. Hurry home please Sir!”

                A quick kiss on the forehead, and Isshi made his way to the garage, his hands were shaking…it had perhaps come to this? “Leda, my sweet boy.”

                Ruimaru stripped the bed of sheets, picking up any dirty laundry left over from when Karyu had run away. “I can’t wait to see you, I’m going to protect you from Leda…he will never touch you again, I don’t care what Sir says…he can’t live with us anymore.” Ruimaru muttered angrily as he moved around the room.

                The bright faced young man had been so upset with Leda that day, “You have no right to say those things to him!” he had screamed at Leda, as Karyu had run out of the house. “I hate you! You’re a nasty nasty boy!” Leda’s face when Ruimaru had screamed those words had hit the young man in the heart. He’d never seen that twisted angry face from Ruimaru, that’s when he had decided to go find Karyu, leaving the house without telling the other.

               

                Isshi had hoped that Sakurai and Uta were waiting for him at home, he knew that he’d need the older man’s support and Uta would be able to comfort his boys. The drive home seemed to take forever, but in only fifteen minutes, he pulled into his driveway, relieved that Sakurai’s car was parked in front. He parked his car, but didn’t immediately get out, sitting for a few minutes to gather his thoughts.

                This would truly be the most difficult thing he had ever done.

                Entering the house, he could hear Ruimaru’s excited voice, Uta’s teasing and he could picture Sakurai sitting with an amused smile on his face. Another deep breath and he walked into the room, upon seeing him, Karyu walked into the man’s arms, tears and crying. “My sweet boy, I’m so happy to see you.” Isshi kissed the boy’s head softly. Looking at Isshi, Sakurai knew something was wrong.

                Sitting with in between Ruimaru and Karyu, take a hand from both boys and holding it tightly, he smiled sadly. “My beautiful boys, Leda-kun will not be coming home to us.”

                Ruimaru started to shake, Karyu looked at them, then looked at Sakurai whose face was covered by his hand, Uta looking pale. Isshi starts to cry softly, shaking his head he tries to say the words.

                Ruimaru breathless words of fear, he knew. “He’s dead, isn’t he Isshi.” The Dominant nods, Karyu gasps loudly, Uta’s hand flies to his mouth, stifling a cry.  

                “Isshi, what happened to the boy?” Acchan asked quietly. Isshi couldn’t speak for several minutes, Ruimaru’s head was buried in the man’s lap, his body wracked with sobs, Karyu’s mumbling unintelligible words.

                Taking a deep breath, Isshi explains; “The police called me a short time ago, I knew when I got the call that it would be nothing good. It seems that someone found Leda’s body in Aokigahara, he…” Isshi stopped, he hid his face in his hands and started to rock. “Leda-kun had hung himself.”

                Uta cried out “NO!” He then stumbled over to Acchan, falling into the man’s arms, Acchan cradling the boy. The room was filled with the sounds of grief, loss and pain, nobody said anything for almost forty-five minutes, until the initial shock had worn down.

                Acchan got up, leaving Uta in the chair, he went into the kitchen to get water for everyone. He was angry, yet he wanted no one to see his anger…it wasn’t the right time for it, the anger would come later, now he had 4 young people to comfort.

                Returning to the room, Acchan gave everyone a glass of water, “Isshi, how did the police come to find you? I would think they would have notified Leda’s parents first.” Isshi wiped the tears, taking a long drink of water before answering.

                “It seems that in Leda’s backpack was a note and his collar, the people who found him called the police right away. He must have done it sometime last night, and there was a note.”  Reaching into the pocket of his coat, Isshi brought out a piece of paper, handing it to Acchan. “If you please, Acchan.”

                Sakurai took the piece of paper, opening it and reluctantly read aloud;

               

                “I have brought shame and dishonor to Isshi.

                 I wronged the one’s I love the most.

                 I accused my senpai of having wretched thoughts that were my own.

                 I do not deserve forgiveness.”

               

                Acchan and Uta stayed as long as they could, wanting to make sure that Isshi and his boys would be alright for the night, that they would comfort each other, but with a promise that he would call in the morning, to offer any assistance he could.

                For Isshi’s part, he thanked Uta and Acchan, “Please would you call Madame F and Davina for me? I wish to see no one tomorrow, I need time with my precious boys to come to terms with this. Thank you Acchan, and you as well Uta-kun. We all love you both dearly.” With a hug and a kiss for both of them, Acchan and Uta left Isshi and his boys to grieve in private.

 

                “Madame F, I have some news on Leda. Yes, he’s been found, but he was found in Aokigahara, he had hung himself. Would you please call Davina? No, Isshi requested that he and the boys be left alone to grieve in private for the next few days, yes, I will. Thank you my dear.”

 

                Uta clung to Acchan that night, crying for Isshi’s loss, the loss to both Ruimaru and Karyu, and the death of Leda. Acchan held his boy tightly, trying to keep himself from falling apart as well. This would rock their small community yet again.  

Chapter Text

 

                “It’s hard to believe that he was really that, I don’t know… upset? Mad? I don’t even know how or what to say about it. How do you go from screaming at your lover to committing suicide?” Koichi was lying in Tatsu’s arms, still in shock over what Taka had told them at the meeting earlier that day, that Leda had gone to Aokigahara and hung himself.

                Tatsu kissed Koichi’s head for the umpteenth time, “The note pretty much explained it, Kou, he thought he had brought dishonor to Isshi, and in his eyes that was the only way to handle it.” It wasn’t much of an answer, but it was what they had to accept.

                Sato and Taka were having a similar conversation at their home, though Taka was in tears, trying to assign blame to something, with no real success. “Babe, there’s no one to blame in this, you have to understand that, Leda most likely would have done this at some point in his life.” Sato tried to find the words to comfort his husband, but Taka wasn’t hearing any of it.

 

                The difficult reality that they all faced, was a young man had taken his own life over something that most people saw as petty, which left them all with questions on what they could have done if anything, to help the young man.  Kato was taking the news of Leda’s death especially hard considering he blamed himself for the boy’s running away from Isshi’s home.

                Madame F and Ormond had called ahead and warned Davina they were coming over. Davina suspected that something serious had happened, but she had not prepared herself for what her mentor had to say. “He…he what?!” Davina stammered in disbelief.

                “He was found in Aokigahara forest, by someone out walking. He had left a note and his collar, saying that he had brought dishonor to Isshi and to Kato as well.” Madame F was tired, not only physically but emotionally.

                Kato was standing behind Davina when Madame F gave her the news, and with a short sniff, walked out of the room without permission, a moment later they heard the wailing of a man in pain. Davina sighed sadly, “He’s been beating himself up since the boys went missing, and now this?”

                Madame F lifted a finger and Ormond turned and walked away. “Perhaps Ormond can comfort him somehow.” The woman’s voice did not carry much hope.

                Knocking softly on the door, “Kato-kun, let me in please.” Ormond asked gently. The door was unlocked, Ormond opened it quietly. Kato was sitting in a chair, his head in his hands, bent over at the waist, Ormond drew a chair close and sat down.

                “Kato, look at me.” Ormond asked, the other man peering through his fingers. “This is my fault Ormond, if I would have noticed something out of place, I could have stopped this. Now the boy is dead.” Kato closed his eyes again.

                “This is not your fault nor anyone else’s, this was all Leda, his mind was obviously disturbed most likely before he came in contact with any of us.” Ormond reasoned with the man. “We all knew the boy was a submissive switch, but what we did not count on was the extreme jealousy and possessiveness of Karyu-kun, that we did not anticipate, I don’t think anyone did.”

                Kato sniffed, Ormond reaching for a box of tissues. “How do I face Isshi-san and his boys? Ultimately, this was something that I played a part in, unknowingly yet it was Karyu’s small infatuation that day, that caused Leda to verbally attack the boy.”

                Ormond thought carefully before his next words, “I’m sure that Karyu has similar feelings, if he would have not openly gawked at you, Leda would not have had reason to become angry with him.” Kato’s head snapped up, “This is not Karyu’s fault! How could he even believe that? No Ormond, I will not agree to that, he is not the cause of Leda’s death, Karyu is blameless in this.”

                “As are you, my friend.” Ormond said gently, “Come, wash your face and return to your Mistress.” Rising from his chair, the older submissive left Kato to clean up and return to Davina. Ormond nodded to Davina and Madame F as he entered the parlor, returning to his position behind his Dominant.

                “I believe Sakurai will be offering Isshi and his boys the use of his country estate, it will do them good to be out of the city. I have an idea that I’d like to discuss with you, when you have more time.” Davina had pulled out her planner, making a note for another appointment with Madame F.

               

                Isshi sat with Ruimaru and Karyu on the couch, listening to Acchan’s offer, both the boys clutching at Isshi’s robe, eyes swollen and red. “Please Isshi… take yourself and these beautiful boys out to the estate, stay there as long as you like, you need the quiet and solitude of the countryside. I’m sure Karyu’s grandfather would enjoy meeting you.” Acchan’s pleas were heartfelt, just looking at the three men was tearing his heart apart.

                Ruimaru leaned his head against Isshi’s shoulder and sighed, Karyu pulled the man’s sleeve and whispered something into his ear, which made Isshi smile. “Acchan thank you. I will gladly take you up on your kind offer. I do believe that spending some time away from the city will do us all good, thank you my friend.”

                Acchan left Isshi’s house with a tiny bit of hope in his heart, he knew it would be a long haul for the Dominant and his pets. “Uta…” he sighed, he couldn’t ever imagine losing Uta in that way, or having any reason that Uta would want … wait…yes, he could. Teiji. How did that slip his mind? Uta’s desire to die to be with Teiji, while not the same as Leda’s suicide, but it’s still wishing for death.

                “Tadaima.” Acchan toed off his shoes in the genkan, hoping that Uta was out of bed and at least showered. “Okaeri.” Acchan sighed in relief, as he walked towards Uta’s voice. “Would you like some tea?” Uta asked from the kitchen. “Yes, that would be lovely.”

                At that moment, Acchan needed to have Uta in his arms, an urgency for protecting his boy was overwhelming. Sliding his arms around the boy’s too small frame, Acchan nuzzled Uta’s neck, “I love you.” Uta smirked and tried to wiggle away from the tempting touch of his lover. “I love you too. How are Isshi and the boys holding up? Did they accept your offer?”

                Carrying two cups of tea into the living room, Uta snuggled next to his lover, pulling a blanket around him, he needed the feel of security. “They look like hell, but who wouldn’t and yes, Isshi gladly accepted the offer, I think it will be good for them to get away.”

                The silence between them was comforting, both knowing that the other was there for support, both deep in thought. “The HBG will be closed for two days, Taka called and said the owner was going to send flowers and koden in our name, but that we’ll be closed until Monday. I really should go over and see Pon and the guys, check on Yuki as well.”

                Uta really didn’t want to go anywhere other than back to bed, to hide under the covers and not have to think about anything. He knew he had responsibilities and commitments, he needed to perform his landlord duties and collect the rent, he needed to be a good son and go visit Hide and Yutaka and explain what had happened.

                “Have you spoken to Davina yet?” Acchan shook his head, “No, I’ve only spoken to Madame F, once Davina finds out…” he didn’t finish the thought. “Mmm, I’m sure Kato’s going to take it hard, he is the senpai for those boys…well for Leda and Karyu at least.”

                The remainder of the day was spent cuddling, neither Acchan or Uta ever far apart, the driving need to be within arms length of each other was always there, the small moments when Uta would break down again, Acchan holding him close and rocking him. Sleep would come early for them, but it would be anything but restful.

 

They left the house at the same time, Acchan going to the studio to speak with his bandmates, Uta driving his cute little sports car to the apartment complex to speak with Yuki and whomever else may be home.  He was tired, there had been too many dreams revolving around Leda and Isshi, Uta waking up several times to find Acchan holding him.  Ultimately, he needed to get out of the house and away from dwelling on Leda’s death.

Sitting with Yuki in the kitchen of his former flat, Uta told his young tenant the basics of what had happened, not wanting to think about the ordeal.  “It was surreal, sitting with Karyu and Ruimaru, happy that the boy was back, then Isshi walks in. Acchan told me later that he knew that Leda was dead, and so did Ruimaru, I guess he could tell by the way Isshi looked.”

“I still can’t get over the fact that Leda thought his fight with Karyu to be so serious that he …he went and hung himself…that’s the bizarre part of all of this. When Ayato came home from your meeting, he looked like he was going to faint, Reita got all scared and shit, grabbing Ayato and carrying him into the house. After that, Reita came over and told me, Pon and Die were already at the studio. “

Much like the others, Yuki was stunned, even though he didn’t know Leda, but the fact that the young man had only been one or two years older than he, Pon and Ayato, for someone that young to think a fight was so horrible that he had to kill himself was beyond what Yuki could imagine.

“How are things going with Aoi?” Uta wanted to change the subject, it was just too painful to deal with at the moment. “He’s well… better, but he still acts like an asshole some days. He’ll have some really good progress, then something stupid he either says or does, puts him back a day.”

“The guy has a few screws loose! How is he around Pon, or do you not have him coming over yet?” Uta knew that the Pon situation while cleared up, was still fresh, “No, he doesn’t come over, and I told him flat out, he’s not going to be coming over until he fixes his shit personality issues.”

Uta giggled, “Shit personality issues must be a common problem, Acchan had those issues for years.” Yuki took the opportunity handed to him, “How’s things between you two? You look pretty damned happy all the time. No more over bearing asshole?”

Uta laughed, “Oh, there’s still the overbearing Dominant living inside him, but for the most part, he’s changed. He’s always loved me, even if he had shitty ways of showing it. He had to learn to love himself and be happy alone, now that he has, he’s much nicer to live with.”

“And the sex is amazing, right?” Yuki wiggled his eyebrows, “Yah, the sex is amazing…unreal sometimes.”

“Hey can anyone join this party?” Pon pushed the door open, “Sure! We’re discussing amazing sex.” Yuki laughed. “Hmm, sorry…I have no experience with amazing sex.” Pon deadpanned.

“HEY!” Die walked in right behind Pon, “That’s it…we’re breaking up!” the older man pouted. “Oh, shush Die.” Pon scolded. “Guys, um…come in for a minute, Uta has something to say.” Yuki asked.

Pon and Die looked at Uta, “Sure, what’s up?” Die asked. Uta’s smile faded, the weight of what he had to say pushing down once again.

“Die, do you know Isshi? Acchan’s friend from the other community?” Uta asked first. “I know the name, I’m not sure I’ve ever met the man, why?”

“Isshi has… had three submissives, Ruimaru, Leda and Karyu. I’ve known Ruimaru since before Teiji was killed, Davina found him and trained him for Isshi.” Uta went on to explain further the dynamics of Isshi’s special situation, and that he had met Leda when the boy worked at the HBG.

“There were some problems between Leda and Karyu…Leda was a submissive switch, and he was in love with Karyu.” At the term submissive switch, Die cocked an eyebrow, he knew enough of the scene to understand the complications of the term.

“Anyway, both Karyu and Leda ran away from Isshi’s…Karyu went home, his grandfather called Acchan, and we went and picked him up. We never knew where Leda had gone.” Uta’s eyes started to swell with tears, Die immediately groaned. “Uta…” he whispered.

With a heaving sigh, Uta told them, “Leda’s body was found in Aokigahara, he committed suicide by hanging.  His backpack with his collar and a note were found.”

Die sat down on the couch, head in his hands, Pon stood staring at Uta, not moving. “He killed himself over an argument? Why would he…”

Uta went through the contents of the note, the suppositions that Acchan had, but the fact came down to nobody could understand why Leda went as far as he did.

“I wanted to tell you personally, Ayato had told Reita and Yuki, but you guys were already out of the house. The HBG is closed until Monday, and Isshi has taken Ruimaru and Karyu to stay at Acchan’s estate out in the countryside. Die, could you be my messenger if anyone from the other bands ask? I don’t know how many times I can tell this story to people, it’s…” Uta didn’t finish.

Die stood up and opened his arms, Uta accepting the hug from the musician, Die kissing him on the head. “Uta, you know I’d walk through fire for you, you’ve always known that. I’ll do whatever you ask of me, ne?” Uta nodded.

“Pfft!” Pon snorted. “You’d walk through fire for Uta…but for me? You won’t even put your socks in the hamper! You just drop them in random spots! Thanks, Uta…you’ve now raised the bar for Mr. Slob.”  Now the truth came out, that Die was a slob, and Pon needed to kick his lover’s ass on a regular basis.

Uta backed his car out of the parking spot, stopping for a moment to thank the kami for giving him such good friends, supportive loving and kind friends. Wishing he had known Leda a bit better, if he had tried harder, maybe the boy would still be alive and living with Isshi, being loved by others. With a sad smile and a shake of his head, Uta turned his car and headed home, to the one place he knew he would always be safe.

Chapter Text

                  Isshi walked hand in hand with Ruimaru and Karyu, down the short dirt road towards Karyu’s family store, having agreed to meet with the boy’s grandfather. Isshi had some reservations about meeting the old man, would he understand Isshi’s lifestyle with his boys? How could someone of that generation accept that his young grandson lived with two other man and in a relationship?

                Karyu for his part believed that his grandfather would accept Isshi, based on the fact that the old man already knew his only grandchild was gay and in a committed relationship. “Jiji’s not that old fashion, Sir.” Karyu tried to reassure his Dominant.

                As a family, Isshi and his boys were still in the depths of grief over Leda’s suicide, a problem that Isshi would face if the old man asked outright. Ruimaru had been fragile, almost more so than Karyu. His past experience with Setsuna, Leda’s suicide was on the same level, tragedies that the man had now experienced twice in his young life.

                “Jiji?” Karyu called out as the trio entered the store. “Karyu? This is getting to be a habit with you, why are you home yet again?” The old man walked from the back of the store, stopping in his tracks when he sees Isshi and Ruimaru. “It’s a long story, Jiji, but I want you to meet someone.”

                Karyu held out his hand for Isshi and Ruimaru, “Jiji, this is Isshi-san and this is Ruimaru, they are um…” The young man hesitated on how to describe their relationship. “Isshi-san, it is a pleasure to meet you, Ruimaru as well.” The old man bowed. “I want to thank you for loving and taking care of my grandson.” Isshi smiled, “I love Karyu a great deal, he brings me a lot of happiness, as does Ruimaru. Thank you for entrusting his care to me.” Isshi bowed.

                “Enough of the formalities! Would you care for some tea, Isshi-san?” The old man turned to go back into the house, Isshi and his boys following. “Tea would be lovely, thank you.” Isshi had Karyu by the hand, nodding to the boy. “Jiji, we’ll be staying at Sakurai’s estate for awhile, we’re going to need a few things.”

                The old man thought as much, there would be no random reason for his grandson to just show up unannounced. Placing cups of tea before each of them, Karyu’s grandfather joined them. “Tell me why you’re here, Karyu…you just left two days ago, I am pleased, but surprised.”

                Ruimaru whimpered, hiding his face in Isshi’s shoulder. “Ah, yes, well we have had a death in the family, sir.” Isshi offered. “My other young man who was living with us…” Isshi wasn’t sure he could continue. “Jiji, Leda committed suicide, they found him in Aokigahara.” Karyu looked down at his hands.

                The old man sighed heavily, “Isshi-san, please accept my condolences on the loss of one of your young men. I knew of the boy, and the reasons Karyu had come home, but this…this is not the outcome I’m sure anyone anticipated.”

                Isshi was taken aback by the sentiment, the admission by the grandfather that he at least understood that Isshi’s boys were not just roommates or friends, that they were in fact his lovers. Isshi nodded in thanks. “We need some groceries, Jiji…then we’re going back to the house.” Karyu sensed that Ruimaru was starting to feel poorly, the boy had barely looked at anyone, having hid his face in Isshi’s shoulder during the brief conversation.

                “Yes of course, let’s get you set up then so you can be on your way. Please Isshi-san, if you need anything, come to me and I will gladly assist you.”

                With two bags of groceries, Karyu, Ruimaru and Isshi made their way back to the estate, Isshi praising the old man. “Your grandfather is quite a remarkable man, Karyu. He knew exactly what our little family consisted of, it’s impressive for a man of his age.”

                Karyu blushed, but was secretly very proud of his Jiji, “He told me that he knew I was gay when I was in middle school, and that my grandmother knew before him. He obviously sees a lot more than most old folks.” Isshi wrapped his arm around Karyu’s shoulder, “We will recover, it may take a while, but we’ll be happy once again.” Through all of this Ruimaru was oddly quiet, something which caused concern for Isshi, making a mental note to watch the boy carefully over the next few days.

 

                Spring meant two things in Japan; the Sakura’s were blossoming and the bands were getting ramped up for tour season with Dir En Grey scheduled to leave in a week.  Pon wasn’t looking forward to being apart from Die for six weeks, on the contrary, if he didn’t have a job that required him to be in the studio for twelve hours a day, he’d be following Die on tour.

                But such as it were, Lynch were getting ready to record an album and Pon was on the list of engineers that were assisting in the process, leaving Pon with no chance of seeing Die while Diru was on tour. “It will fly by, I promise. You’ll be so busy at the studio, you won’t even miss me.” Die tried to comfort Pon.

                Pon wasn’t buying it, “Bullshit, I’ll still be eating and sleeping alone, coming home to an empty flat, so you’d better be ready for multiple texts a day, phone calls at night or when you’re traveling.” The younger man huffed.

                Die started to tear up, Pon thought he had said something wrong, “Why are you crying?” Die suddenly grabbed his young boyfriend and hugged him tightly, “Because I never thought I’d have someone that loved me this much…I never had anyone say that they’d miss me while I was on tour, never anyone demanding that I text them or call. I love you, Hiroto.”

                The fact that Die used his actual name shocked Pon somewhat. “I love you too, Daisuke. Of course, I want you to call and text me, that’s a normal thing when two lovers are separated.” Pon felt Die’s warm tears on his neck, hugging Die with the same intensity. “You’re a big doofus, you know that?” He murmured into Die’s shoulder, Die responding with a muffled “I know”.

 

                On the other side of town, Kyo and Mao were having a similar conversation, but without much in the way of dramatics. “Don’t call me if your throat hurts, make sure to take care of your voice. Just text me.” Mao was mom’ing Kyo while the man wrote down the schedule for his husband.

                “I’ve done this before babe, I know how to take care of my voice, and I won’t call you, I’ll just text. You’re sure you can do this for six weeks? There’s bound to be multiple days in a row that we’re not playing, I could call you then.”

                Mao giggled, “Oh, I can do this for six weeks no problem.” The giggle hurt Kyo’s feelings, “Gee, why not be a little happier that I’m leaving.” He snarked back at Mao. “Kyo, you’ll be gone for six weeks… that means six weeks with no sex…only you and your hand if you’re so inclined. What do you think I have planned for us when you get home?”

                Kyo’s frown faded, his eyes started to shine and the realization of what Mao was suggesting hit him. “You’d better ask Taka for a week off when I get home, because you’re not going to be able to walk when I’m done with you.” The smaller man grabbed his husband roughly. “Why don’t I give you a taste of what I have in mind, ne?” At that point, Mao couldn’t wait for Kyo to leave for tour…the sooner he left, the sooner Mao would have Kyo all to himself for a week of welcome home sex.

 

                The HBG quietly opened the Monday following Leda’s suicide, Taka and Koichi on the morning shift, a depressing miasma hanging over the building. Going through the motions of the opening duties, Koichi and Taka worked silently, there was no need for idle conversation that day. With the change in the weather, the spring air heavy with the scent of the cherry blossoms, Taka was in the office making plans for his pre-busy season meeting with the crew.

                “Kou?” Taka rolled his chair out of the office, “Hmm?” Koichi was busy cutting lemons. “Sunday before open for the meeting?” Taka didn’t even know why he was asking, it was just another meeting.

                “Sure, whatever.” Koichi was apathetic about everything these days; meetings, DCR work, life…everything just sucked. “What’s wrong with you?” Taka snapped.

                “Nothing’s wrong with me.” Koichi snapped back, as he turned and walked away. Taka shook his head and rolled back into the office. “Asshole.” He muttered under his breath.

                “Wait…what was that? Asshole? Thanks Taka, and fuck you too!” Koichi had walked back to apologize to Taka for biting his head off. Hearing the muttered word, the young man turned and stormed out of the building, slamming the door.

                “KOICHI! WAIT!” Taka scrambled out of his chair and throwing the door open, he ran after Koichi who was at the far end of the patio. “Fuck you Taka, don’t even talk to me!” Koichi turned his back on his best friend.

                Taka huffed, standing in front of Koichi, “Why are you so fucking pissy today? You totally snapped at me.” Koichi turned around, walking up to the other man and got in his face. “You snapped at ME first! What the fuck is wrong with YOU today? Then you call me an asshole? You know what Taka? Fuck you, fuck the HBG and fuck working here! I fucking QUIT!”

                Tearing off his yellow work shirt, he threw it in Taka’s face then quickly walked back into the building to grab his bag. Without looking back, Koichi walked towards the train station, leaving Taka to stand alone on the patio. “What the hell just happened?”

 

                “Piece of fucking shit! Calling me an asshole? What the fuck was that all about?” Koichi muttered under his breath as he walked towards the train, “I don’t need this damned job, screw him, let him have his shitty meeting any damned time he wants, I don’t give a rats fuck about it!” Sitting in a corner, Koichi looked out the window, not even noticing the passing scenery.

                Getting off at his station, the angry young man made his way through the neighborhood and up the steps to his house, walking in and slamming the door. “Kou? Why are you home?” Tatsu heard the door slam, surprised to see his young husband. “Leave me a lone.” Koichi snarled, walking straight to the bedroom and shutting and locking the door.

                Before Tatsu could knock on the door his phone buzzed in his pocket, Taka was calling.

                “What the hell is going on Taka? He what? Explain to me exactly. Okay…well that probably didn’t help did it? No, I wouldn’t think so, but you’re right. I’m going to let him calm down a bit before, yah, I will…thanks Taka, jaa ne.”

                Tatsu left well enough alone, letting Koichi destress on his own, but the fact that he had a fight with Taka and quit the HBG all in one breath, something wasn’t right.

 

                Taka called Mao and Ayato, asking them both to come in a little early, “Koichi had to leave, he was um, he wasn’t feeling well. Thanks for coming in.” Taka lamely explained. “Not a problem for me, Kyo’s busy packing for tour, I was just in the way.” Mao shrugged.

                “Reita’s been in the studio, I wasn’t doing anything either, and I can always use the overtime.” Both Ayato and Mao were concerned about Koichi’s sudden illness. “I hope it’s nothing serious with Koichi…maybe just the flu or something?”

                “Or something…” Taka let the subject drop. “Next Sunday is our spring crew meeting, same as usual, 9am meeting before opening. Probably nothing new to discuss other than what bands will be touring and the work load for the summer tourist season, I may also hire one other seasonal person, so if you have a friend or relative that you trust, let me know.” Taka wasn’t about to tell the two men that Koichi had effectively quit, considering he didn’t really know what was going on with his best friend. “Kou what happened?”

 

                “Kou? Babe can I come in please?” Tatsu knocked at the bedroom door, but with no answer, Tatsu had the key to the door and let himself in. “Koichi? Baby…what’s going on?” Tatsu asked quietly. The curtains had been drawn and the room was dark, Koichi was lying on the bed facing away from the door, as Tatsu walked up, he saw that his husband was asleep.

                Kneeling down next to the bed, Tatsu brushed Koichi’s soft pink hair away from his face, “Baby? Hey…what’s going on? Do you not feel well today?” Koichi made a small sound, then buried his face in his pillow. “No.” was all he said.

                Tatsu’s instinct was to back off, there was something else going on with his husband, but his gut told him not to push the issue right then. “Would you like me to make you something to eat? Or do you just want to sleep for awhile?”

                “Sleep.”

                Tatsu frowned, “Okay baby, I’ll check on you later, I love you Kou.” Before he stood up, Tatsu kissed Koichi softly on the cheek, caressing the young man’s face with his fingertips. As he left the room, he looked back, wondering what the hell was going on with his tiny husband.

                Taking out his phone, Tatsu shot off a quick text to Taka. “I need to talk to you about Kou, text me when you get home please.”

 

                Koichi’s mind was burning, what the hell had he done today? Screamed hateful things at his best friend for no reason, walked off the job and quit, like some stupid teenager throwing a temper tantrum. What about Taka had made him so angry? The tears started, with no warning…no reason. He was just so tired of everything, he just wanted to be left alone and sleep. Sleeping would keep him from having to think, he wouldn’t have to speak to anyone, he could just be alone. Nothing felt right anymore, everything he thought about, tried to do, it was all pointless and meaningless.

                Leda was dead. Something twisted his gut when he thought about the young man, he could see the boy hanging, swinging gently in the afternoon breeze, his backpack below him with a note and his collar. Koichi whined as his stomach churned, Leda’s dead eyes stared at him, asking him to help. The bile in his throat started to come up, lurching out of bed Kou ran to the bathroom falling to the cold tile and vomiting violently into the toilet.  Tears stung his eyes, the bile coming up through his nose, he’s coughing so hard he’s gagging, in between retching, Koichi sobbed, “Leda…”

                Laying down on the floor of the bathroom, the young man curled into his stomach, his face scrunched up in pain. “Koichi? Baby what’s wrong!” Tatsu had come in to check on his husband, hearing Kou vomiting, he ran to the bathroom. Kneeling down next to Koichi, Tatsu tried to pick his husband up.

                “NO! Leave me alone! Just go away…leave me alone.” Koichi cried, as he shoved Tatsu’s hand away. “But baby…you’re sick! What the hell is wrong? Do you have the flu? I need to get you to a doctor.” Tatsu tried to reach for Koichi again, this time Koichi lurched upright, “WHAT PART OF LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND! I SAID LEAVE. ME. ALONE!”

                Tatsu stood up, shocked by the viciousness of Koichi’s words, confused by what he was seeing and hearing. He slowly backed out of the bathroom, leaving the bedroom and closing the door quietly. Grabbing his wallet, phone and keys Tatsu leaves their home, getting into the car he takes out his phone and calls Sato. “I need to talk to you, meet me at Ojisan’s…yah now.”

 

                Taka tried to call Koichi, but the phone had been turned off, no voicemail…nothing. “Damn it, Kou!” Taka groaned. “Okay, I’m heading home, if you need anything let me know. Ayato can you come in and do an opening shift tomorrow? I think Koichi might have the flu.”

“Sure, whatever you need Taka.” Ayato smiled. “I can work extra hours if needed.” Taka nodded.  “Thanks, I’ll text you later tonight.” With a wave, Taka left the HBG.

                Even before getting to the train Taka’s phone chimed, it was Sato asking him to meet at Ojisan’s, but with no explanation. “Yah, I could so go for ramen right now!” Getting on the train, Taka’s thoughts of Koichi were replaced by visions of ramen and pork cutlet and an unplanned date night with Sato.

 

                “Irasshai Taka, please come in.” Ojisan greeted Taka warmly, “Your husband and his friend are not here yet, can I get you a beer perhaps while you wait?” Taka chuckled to himself, how the old man knew that he was meeting Sato and Tatsu… he’d long given up trying to figure out the mystic ramen maker. “Yes please, Ojisan. I’d like the pork cutlet ramen tonight, but I’ll wait for Sato and Tatsu.”

                Ojisan bowed, placing a beer in front of Taka. “Isshi-san’s young man…was there nothing anyone could do for him? Was it truly that horrible of an incident that would cause him to take his own life?”  Taka sighed, “Ojisan, I wish we knew. But he believed he was bringing dishonor to Isshi, but I’ll never understand how that would cause someone to…well.” Taka didn’t say the words, he couldn’t, it was still too fresh and painful. Before Ojisan could speak again, Sato and Tatsu arrived, “Irasshai gentlemen.” Ojisan greeted them.

                “Ojisan, I need a beer before anything else.” Tatsu asked seriously, there was something wrong, Taka knew it had to be Koichi. Sato kissed Taka briefly, “Hey babe, thanks for coming.” Tatsu drank half his beer in one gulp, then ordered ramen, “I’d like to have an order to go as well Ojisan.” The old man nodded, then turned to his small kitchen.

                Tatsu sighed, turning he looked at Taka. “What the hell happened today with Kou? He just came in, basically growled at me then locked himself in our room.” Taka shrugged, “Your guess is as good as mine, I asked him about a meeting, and he was like whatever. I snapped at him, but he over heard me mutter the word asshole and he got angry and went out to the patio. I ran after him, he screamed fuck you, fuck the HBG and he tore off his shirt and threw it in my face, and screamed that he quit. He left for the train station after that. I have no idea what the hell is going on.”

                Sato turned to Tatsu, “What happened at home?” Tatsu told them about checking on Kou, then later hearing him throwing up in the bathroom, lying on the floor all curled up. “He basically said the same thing, to leave him the fuck alone, so I called you and left the house.”

                Ojisan listened to the men talk, worried that something had happened to Koichi. “Your husband is ill, Tatsu?” The old man asked as he placed the food in front of his customers. “I’m not sure what’s going on with Koichi, to be honest. He’s been a bit moody lately, we all have been since Leda…” Nobody wanted to say the words.

                Ojisan frowned, “Was Koichi close with Leda? Not to lessen the boy’s death, but there is a connection somewhere.”

                Sato and Tatsu looked to Taka, “Leda didn’t work with us for very long, just a few weeks. Isshi and Ruimaru met him at one of the HBG events, and it was pretty much over for him. He moved in with Isshi about a week or two later. I don’t think anyone, maybe Tomo…really knew Leda that well. He was quiet and shy, but always friendly.” Taka was at a loss to explain a connection between the two men.

                They talked a while longer, Ojisan packing up a to go order for Koichi, “Call me please Tatsu, if there’s any change. I’m not going to change anything at work, as far as everyone is concerned, Koichi has a bad case of the flu, at least until further notice. I’m not accepting his resignation based on his actions today, there’s something else going on.”

                As Sato drove them home, he glanced over at his husband, “Babe, don’t try to overthink this, he might just be reacting a little differently to Leda’s death. Let’s just wait and see how he is tomorrow, maybe call and offer to bring over food or something, or just have a besties day.” Sato reached over and held Taka’s hand, squeezing it reassuringly.

 

                Tatsu carefully opened the bedroom door, Gordy and Teo sneaking between his legs, running over and jumping on the bed, Teo crying loudly. Walking past the bed, Tatsu went in and turned on the bathroom light.  Moving to stand next to the bed, he could see that Kou had changed into pajamas and was now laying on his back, snoring softly but he looked so pale it broke Tatsu’s heart. Teo had tapped Koichi on the face softly. “Teo…no!” Tatsu shushed the small black cat as he sat down on the side of the bed.

                “Tatsu?” Koichi’s eyes fluttered open. “Hey baby, I’m just checking on you…I’ll leave you alone.” He started to get up, “No…stay please.” His tiny husband asked. “Baby are you hungry? I went to Ojisan’s and got ramen.” Koichi shook his head, “No thank you, can you come to bed now please?”

                Tatsu leaned over and kissed his lover on the forehead, “Of course, let me get everything locked up, I’ll be right back.” Kou nodded. Tatsu rushed through his nightly routine, making sure that Gordy and Teo had plenty of food, wanting no early wakeup call. Locking up the house, and grabbing two water bottles, he went back into the bedroom where he found Koichi asleep.

                Grabbing a pair of pajama pants, Tatsu quickly changed and turned out the light in the bathroom. Sliding into bed, he gently pulled Koichi to his chest, his husband snuggling under his chin, and murmured ‘warm Tatsu’, “I love you baby, we’ll get through this together.” Tatsu kissed Koichi’s forehead and closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

               

                Standing in the door way of Taka’s office, Ayato had offered to cover Koichi’s shifts, “If he’s going to be out a while, I’ll just work his shifts, it’s fine really. I don’t mind.” Taka had taken out the applications from the last round of hiring, believing he’d need to hire at least one person in order to be fully covered for the upcoming busy spring/summer season.

                Taka shook his head, “I don’t want Reita on my ass about working you too much, I’ll give you Koichi’s shifts until I find another person, or if I can move the schedule around enough to cover, but thank you for offering Ayato, I appreciate it.”  Taka had heard nothing from Tatsu nor Koichi in the last two days, refusing even to text Tatsu just in case the situation had gotten worse, but not hearing anything at all was more concerning.

 

                Tatsu peered into the darkened bedroom, looking for any change in Koichi’s position in bed. The young man had not risen except to use the bathroom in the last two days and Tatsu was beyond worried going straight to scared.  That first night, Koichi was restless; Tatsu held his husband as the boy cried out and fought with dreams that caused him to thrash around in bed, never completely waking up.

                Morning had not brought a refreshed Koichi out of the bedroom, on the contrary, Koichi didn’t make it out of bed at all that day…nor the next four days, leaving Tatsu at his wits end. Each night Tatsu would hold Koichi and comfort him through his nightmares, waking in the morning and attempting to get his husband out of bed. “Kou you need to at least shower, babe. What if I go and get you some of your fave donuts, then we can have breakfast together.”

                “Not hungry.” Is all that Koichi would say, before turning over and going back to sleep, leaving a more than worried husband standing next to the bed. On the fourth day, Tatsu finally had given up trying to do anything by himself, he needed to call someone in.

                “Can you please come over? Koichi hasn’t gotten out of bed in four days and he’s scaring me. Please?”

 

                Twenty minutes later, Shinya is sitting on the side of Koichi’s bed, rubbing the young man’s back. “Kou-kun, wake up and tell me what’s going on sweetie, you’re scaring Tatsu badly.” Shinya knew Koichi was awake, but getting him to talk was obviously going to be a challenge.

                “Tired, go home Shin.” The lump in the bed muttered. “Kou, I’m not going home until you talk to me properly. Sit up and tell me what’s going on, quit acting like a brat.” Shinya was irritated at this point.

                “Shinya, go home to Miya, just leave me alone.” Koichi pulled the covers up and rolled over, away from Shinya. The older man sighed, “You’re not going to like what I’m going to do, but that’s too damned bad.” Leaving the bedroom, Shinya pulled out his phone as he walked into the living room.

                “I need you to come over to Tatsu’s, no leave him at home. I don’t have time to explain just get your ass over here.”

 

                Shuffling through the old applications, Taka just couldn’t find one that where the person may be a good fit for the HBG, not even close to justify an interview. Throwing the applications in the trash, Taka picked up the schedule for the next few weeks, “I’m just going to have to re-arrange this…”

                Hearing the back door open, Taka rolled out into the hallway, “Hey Tora! Just the person I needed to talk to.” Tora eyed his boss suspiciously, “Why? Am I in trouble?”

                “What? No, you’re not in trouble, I need to rearrange the schedule a bit, I want to know if you and Aki would be interested in picking up a few of Koichi’s shifts? He’s got the flu and um, I’m not sure how long he’s going to be out.”

                Tora grinned, “I’m all for it, I’m sure Aki would want a few shifts. Koichi’s that sick?” Taka wanted to choose his words carefully. “Yah, he um, left work the other morning and I had to call Ayato and Mao in early. Kou’s kind of puny, so him having the flu is worse than a normal sized person.” Watching Tora’s face for any type of reaction, Taka was relieved when the man didn’t question him further.

                Taka hadn’t heard from Tatsu, it had been four days since Koichi stormed out of the HBG with a ‘fuck you I quit’. What the hell was going on with his best friend? The incident felt eerily familiar to Taka, although the rolls had changed; now it was Koichi freaking out for no reason and not him.

                “Hi, just checking to see if Koichi’s any better, text me when you can.”

 

                Shinya walked into Tatsu’s living room, “I couldn’t get him to do anything other than to tell me to leave him alone.” Sitting down next to the man, Shinya put his arm around Tatsu’s shoulder. “I’ve called Kyo and told him to come over…maybe he can get Kou-kun out of bed.”

                Tatsu looked up, “Kyo? Why would you call him?” Shinya smiled, “Really Tatsu? Who loves Kou-kun as much as you do? The man would walk through fire for Koichi.” Kyo was not the first person Tatsu could think of to help Koichi, but Shinya was right…Kyo would do anything for the young man.

                Without even knocking, Kyo barged into Tatsu’s home, “What the fuck is so important that you’re dragging me away from packing for tour? Seriously… what the fuck?” Kyo growled.

                Shinya sighed, “It’s Koichi.” Kyo’s expression changed in an instant. “What about Kou…what’s wrong?” Tatsu had the small man sit down as he explained the last few days, Kyo realizing that it must be serious just by the way Tatsu looked; run down and haggard.

                “I went in to see if I could get him up, he told me to go away, to go home.” A tear fell on Shinya’s cheek. Kyo frowned, “Is he truly sick? Like throwing up sick?” Tatsu shrugged, “He was puking into the toilet on the first day when he came home from work early, but not since then.”

                Kyo got up and walked towards the bedroom, taking a breath before opening the door. He was surprised how dark the room was, even at that time of day. Taking a chance, Kyo crawled into bed on Tatsu’s side, slowly sliding his arms around Koichi, something that for him, felt like heaven. “Kou, hey wake up babe.” He whispered softly into Kou’s ear, as he tightened his arms around the man.

                “Mmm, warm Tatsu…” Koichi wiggled into Kyo’s arms, none the wiser. Kyo was tempted just to lie there with his arms around the boy he’d love since they day they met, but he could only think of Mao. “Koichi, it’s Kyo…you need to wake up.”

                At the sound of Kyo’s voice, Koichi jerked away from the man. “What the hell are you doing in my bed! Go home Kyo, get the fuck out of my house!” he snarled. “Hardly. I’m not going anywhere until you get your ass out of bed, you’re scaring Tatsu and Shinya.” Kyo got up off the bed, walking around to Koichi’s side.

                Tearing back the covers off of Koichi, “Are you sick or what? Don’t give me any shit Kou, you know better than that. Get out of bed and go talk to your husband.” With a blink of an eye, Koichi lost control of the situation. “Fuck off Kyo, leave me the hell alone and get out of my house.” He snapped.

                “No.” Kyo crossed his arms over his chest, staring down at his ex-lover. “Get out of here Kyo…NOW!” Koichi got to his knees and yanked the blankets back over him, turning over to face away from Kyo.

                “I’m going to count to five…if you don’t get up, I will physically pick you up out of bed and carry your childish ass to the living room. One, two, three, four, five.” Kyo had given him a chance, bending over the bed, pushing the blankets away, Kyo dragged Koichi to the edge of the bed and lifted him into his arms.

                “PUT ME DOWN ASSHOLE! KYO LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE! NO!” Koichi struggled against Kyo’s arms, as the smaller but infinitely stronger man carried him into the living room, Koichi screaming obscenities and trying to punch Kyo in the face.

                “PUT. ME. DOWN. NOW!” Kyo walked over the couch where Tatsu was sitting and rolled Koichi out of his arms, dumping him next to Tatsu. “What the hell is going on Koichi? If you’re sick then tell us, if not, you’d better be able to explain why you’ve been shut in your room and not eating for a week.” Kyo snapped.

                Koichi glared at Kyo, then turned to Shinya, “That was shitty of you Shinya, calling Kyo. Some friend you are.” Then he turned on Tatsu. “You just had to call him, didn’t you? Nice job, thanks.”

                “I called Shinya because you wouldn’t get out of bed, you won’t talk to me and you won’t eat. You’re scaring me babe, I need to take you to the doctor if you have the flu…you need medication!” Tatsu gently scolded his husband.

                “I don’t need to go to the doctor, I don’t need medication. What I need is for you to leave me the fuck alone!” Koichi stood up with the intention of going back to his bedroom, but his vision wavered and before he could take that first step, everything went black.

                Tatsu and Kyo both reached for Koichi at the same time as the boy pitched forward, almost crashing through the glass coffee table. “KOU!” Tatsu screamed, as his husband fell face first into the table, Kyo managing to grab Koichi by the arm. “SHIT!” Kyo yelled. “Shin call an ambulance!”

                “NO! Just help me get him to the car, Shinya will you come with me? Sit in the back with Kou?” Shinya nodded, as Tatsu scooped Koichi up, Kyo holding the front door. “Who do you want me to call?” Kyo asked. “Nobody right now, can you come with me please Kyo?” The smaller man nodded, “yah of course.”

                Koichi hadn’t regained consciousness, even with all the jostling around and being put in the car, his body remained limp and his face had turned an ashy gray. “Tatsu, get in the back with Kou, I’ll drive.” Shinya ordered, getting behind the wheel. Within ten minutes of Koichi passing out, they were on their way to the hospital.

 

                Taken to the emergency room, Tatsu, Shinya and Kyo are left in the waiting area, “I hate this place, do you realize how much time we’ve spent here over the years?” Kyo growled in a low voice. “Too much time, Kyo.” Shinya put his arm around his friend, “Let’s sit down, it might be awhile.”

                Shinya went to the cafeteria to get coffee for them, calling Miya as he walked, “Koichi’s in the hospital, it’s a long story. Would you please call Taka and Sato? He’s in no danger now, but it’s confusing. Thanks, I love you too.” Coming back with coffee, Kyo shook his head; the doctor had not come to speak with them yet.

                Sato and Taka had arrived and yet there had been no word on Koichi’s condition, which was starting to irritate and scare Tatsu. His imagination was working overtime, visions of brain tumors, stroke, or seizures, all played a part in what he was expecting the doctors to diagnose. Three hours in, a doctor that looked vaguely familiar came into the waiting area, Tatsu jumping out of his chair.

                “Koichi is comfortable right now. He was severely dehydrated which was the most likely reason he passed out. It doesn’t appear he has eaten much in the last few days?” The doctor looked at Tatsu for conformation. “It’s been about four days, um…the first day he vomited as well. I haven’t been able to get him out of bed, it’s just the flu, right?”

                The doctor frowned, “No, it is definitely not the flu. He is running no temperature, there are no signs of a viral infection of any type. You said he came home from work early?” Tatsu turned to look at Taka, who stepped forward.

                “Yes sir, he was a little out of it that day and we um…had a bit of an argument and he basically quit his job and walked out. That’s the last time I’ve spoken to him.” Sato stood next to his husband, rubbing his back sympathetically.

                The doctor was still frowning in concern. “Has he had any trauma? Falling and hitting his head, anything like that?” Tatsu shook his head, “No, he’s been fine. What’s wrong with him if he doesn’t have the flu?”

                The doctor wasn’t ready to answer that question just yet. “I need to speak to some of my colleagues, I don’t want to make any diagnosis until we cover everything, if you’ll excuse me.” The doctor left the room.

                “What the fuck was that then?” Kyo argued. “He comes in and tells us Kou’s fine, but not really?” Tatsu walked back to his chair and sat down, leaning forward with his head in his hands. “You guys can go home, I think I’ll be here for awhile. I’ll call you as soon as I know something.” He muttered through his hands.

                Shinya looked at Kyo and Miya, “If it were not for the fact that we’re leaving for tour, I’d argue to stay with you, Tatsu-kun, but we leave tomorrow afternoon.” Shinya sat next to his friend, “Please, call me when you hear something, I don’t care what time it is. I’ll be checking in with Miya of course.” With a hug and a kiss from the soft-spoken man, Shinya walked out of the room with Miya, “Same here Tatsu, let me know, ne?” Kyo patted Tatsu on the shoulder, then followed Shinya and Miya.

                Sato and Taka said nothing as they settled in to wait with Tatsu, Taka taking out his phone to text the HBG crew, making sure there would be someone there tomorrow morning to open the counters in case he was still waiting.

                “I don’t understand this! What the hell is wrong with him if he’s not sick? He’s done nothing out of the ordinary, I don’t fucking get it.” Tatsu moaned. “We’ll find out, just hang tough. The doctors just want to make sure they tell you exactly what the problem is, and not second guess themselves.”

                The distraught man said nothing. Hadn’t Koichi gone through enough? Morrie, the rape and then the trial, the horrific abuse of Uta…it was just too damned much for one man to handle. Looking at the time; 4:45pm, Tatsu figured it would probably be another three hours or so before someone came to speak to him again. “Why don’t you guys go home? It’s going to be awhile, I don’t want you hanging around unnecessarily if you have other things to do.”

                Sato snorted then reached over and smacked Tatsu in the back of the head, “Shut up, will yah? Like we’re going anywhere…sorry but Taka and I are staying right here until we hear from the doctor.” Tatsu rubbed the back of his head, “Fine, but as soon as we know what’s going on, you guys are going home.” Sitting back in his chair, Tatsu leaned his head back and closed his eyes. He felt like it was going to be another long night of waiting.

Chapter Text

                Isshi leaned against the weathered barn door, watching Ruimaru and Karyu sitting quietly on the ground, the small gray kitten between them, from the first day they had arrived at Sakurai’s estate, they had been working hard to befriend the cat.

                That first night had been agonizing for Isshi and his young men, they all blamed themselves for Leda’s death, was there something they had missed? Ruimaru had believed it was his fault for yelling at Leda, calling him a nasty mean boy. Karyu of course laid the brunt of blame on himself; he believed if he had not stared lustily at Kato that Leda wouldn’t have become angry and that by his leaving the house to search for him, that Leda wouldn’t have committed suicide.

                Isshi had questioned his actions on taking Karyu into his home, though he had no idea that Leda was a submissive switch, he was just helping a friend who had a young submissive that didn’t connect with his Dominant, when he agreed to take Karyu from Sakurai.

                As a result of being at the estate, a rather surprising relationship had sprung up; Ruimaru and Karyu’s grandfather had become fast friends, with the wisdom of the older man making an impact on the younger. With frequent trips to the small store, Ruimaru had taken to calling the old man ‘Jiji’ just as his co-lover did. Jiji had a lifetime of experience, even if it had nothing to do with Ruimaru’s lifestyle, words of wisdom have no boundaries.

                “Sir…look!” Karyu whispered, Isshi’s mind being half a lifetime away. Turning his attention back to the two young men, Ruimaru had made progress with the small cat, now gently stroking the cat’s fur, her eyes closed in contentment. “Sir? If we can tame her all the way, do you think Sakurai-san would let us keep her? I mean…if you…um.” Karyu dropped his eyes, forgetting to ask his Dominant if they could keep the cat, regardless of what Sakurai would have to say.

                “Karyu my love, a simple answer; yes. If you can tame this wild little kit, we can take her into our home. I am very fond of cats, but have not had one in my house in many years.” The look on Isshi’s face spoke volumes to his submissives, he had rarely mentioned his past life, both of his boys concluding that a cat was somehow involved his former submissive.

                “Are you sure it is a female? I would hate for you to use a girly name if the cat is in fact a boy.” Isshi teased. “When she lets us pick her up, we’ll check right away.” Ruimaru giggled. Karyu had reached over and started to stroke the small cat, who was now purring loudly. “I think we’ll be able to hold her in a few days, look how happy she is!”

                “Boys, I need to go down to the store, will you be okay here by yourselves?” Isshi had reservations about leaving his young men alone, the grief and pain was still fresh. “Yes Sir, we’ll be here until you come back.” Karyu whispered, not wanting to frighten the cat by speaking loudly.

                Isshi quietly left the barn to walk the quarter mile to the small store at the end of the dirt road. He had lied a little, not needing anything in particular, but wanting to speak to Karyu’s grandfather, a man he had come to trust in a very short time.

 

 

                Walking into the small store, Jiji was sitting behind the counter, “Isshi, so good to see you again. How are our boys? Have they tamed the koneko yet?” Isshi bowed lightly. “They are now as we speak, sitting in the barn with the kit between them, stroking her fur. I believe that I have just agreed to an addition to our little family when we eventually go home.”

                “Are you thinking that you will be leaving us soon?” The old man asked carefully. “I’m not sure when to be honest Jiji, some nights with my boys are good, some are filled with nightmares for the both of them. It may be too soon to ask them to return home.”

                “May I ask you a rather delicate question, Jiji?” Isshi was curious to why the old man had been so accepting for Karyu’s relationship with the Dominant. “Of course, what is it you need to know?”

                Choosing his words carefully, Isshi cleared his throat, “What do you understand about my relationship with Karyu and Ruimaru?” The old man smiled, he completely understood Isshi’s situation.

                “As long as the consent is mutual, love is individualistic and no two relationships are the same. While I can’t say that I have known anyone from your lifestyle before, I do know of it. What I can say is that you obviously love my grandson and Ruimaru a great deal, I have never seen Karyu this happy before.”

                Isshi smirked, “And here I thought you were a typical country bumpkin type. Jiji, you have hidden knowledge, don’t you?”

                Jiji laughed openly, “I’m not that ignorant to others Isshi.” The old man’s face grew serious, “You must be strong for your boys, they look to you for leadership. Karyu has been searching for his place in the world for years, when he met Sakurai Atsushi, I have never seen the boy happier.”

                Isshi shook his head, a tear dropping into the man’s lap. “I’m not so sure anymore, Jiji. What happened with Leda, I allowed that to happen by bringing Karyu into my home.”

                “Isshi look at me.” Jiji snapped. “That boy would have killed himself regardless of who he was living with at the time. He obviously had some sort of issues with himself before you had even met him. There is no place to lay blame except with Leda.” Isshi was shocked, “That’s very harsh, Jiji.”

                “So is blaming yourself and keeping those boys a constant state of grief.” Karyu’s grandfather had no time for martyrs. “If needed, I suggest that you get yourself, Karyu and Ruimaru into some sort of therapy. You need to normalize your life again, Isshi, I’m not telling you to forget Leda, but you can not keep living with the grief, it’s not healthy. I have a lot of experience with that and it does no good.”

                Isshi understood the context of what Jiji was saying; the fact that Karyu’s parents died rather young, leaving the boy to be raised by his grandparents. “What do I say to them? I don’t know how to take the pain away and it scares me.” Isshi confessed.

                “You can’t take the pain away, that will fade on its own. You love them, hold them and reassure them both that you’ll always be there for them. Stay at the estate for another week, then take them by the hand and lead them home, you all must be active in your own recovery.”

                It was getting dark, Isshi got up and made his excuses, he had hoped that both Karyu and Ruimaru had the sense to go into the house before it became too cold. “Thank you, Jiji, for listening to me ran. I appreciate your wisdom and your advice. Now I must go home and make sure those two are still not sitting in the barn.” Isshi bowed deeply, and left the small store.

 

                “We should go inside before Sir gets back, he won’t like it if we sit out here in the cold.” Ruimaru was still petting the cat, who had rolled on to her back baring her soft tummy which allowed the young men to see that the cat was indeed a girl. “Do you think Sakurai-san will let us keep her?”

                Karyu snorted, “Of course, he loves cats. I’m sure he’d want her to be warm and loved. What should we name her?” Ruimaru had gotten to his feet and held out his hand to help Karyu stand, leaving the small cat curled up on a blanket. Stopping just inside the barn door, Ruimaru turned and looked at the cat, “Oyasumi Emi.”

 

                “I don’t understand, PTSD? From what?” Tatsu was standing in the corridor speaking with the attending physician who was treating Koichi, his diagnosis confused Tatsu, how or what would cause Koichi to be suffering from PTSD? The doctor guided Tatsu to a couch, Sato and Taka stood just next to their friend.

                “Let me explain.” The doctor took out his notes, he had conferred with his colleagues for some time, in order to be certain that this was Koichi’s issue. “There must have been some incident that has triggered his memories from his rape and attack that have caused Koichi to shut down to protect himself. I would also caution you, I believe that he is also suffering from clinical depression. What has changed in the last week or so that would affect Koichi like this?”

                Taka gasped, “Um, one of Koichi’s co-workers committed suicide last week, could that have been the trigger?” The doctor made a note, “It’s possible, if there were no other incidents of physical trauma, and with Koichi’s experiences with the rape, that would be my first guess.”  

Tatsu leaned back in the couch. “After all this time, Morrie is still controlling him, letting him win.” Sato put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. The doctor leaned forward in his chair. “This may be something that Koichi will always have to deal with; the rape and beating almost cost him his life, there is no easy fix for him to deal with this.”

                Tatsu looked up at the doctor, “What do we do now? Can I take him home since he’s not technically sick?” There was a slight hesitation before the doctor spoke, “No, you can’t take him home just yet.” Tatsu’s eyes narrowed. “Koichi is awake but he is not speaking to us, I cannot in confidence release him until I believe he is not a danger to himself, you of all people should understand this.”

                With a sudden flashback to Tatsu’s own hospitalization due to his breakdown after Masa was exposed as a blackmailer, all he could do is nod. “You’re right of course, so when will he be moved to the psych ward?”

                “If he does not speak today, I will have him moved in the morning. That gives you the next twelve hours or so, to spend with him.” The doctor stood, “Try to get him to speak to you,” looking at Taka and Sato, “If he speaks to anyone, I will then reconsider moving him down to the other ward.” With a bow, the doctor turned and walked away.

               

                Taka held the Sunday meeting, but the scheduled topic at hand had disappeared, now it was all about what they could do to help Koichi. Taka explained what had happened, shocking his employees. “Will Kou be okay? I mean he’s not going to be admitted into a mental hospital…will he?” Tomo asked in a very soft voice.

                Taka sighed, “I honestly don’t know, Tomo. If he won’t talk to anyone…” Taka’s thought trailed off. Shaking his head, he picked up the schedule. “I need to re-arrange hours, if anyone can take more than what they normally have let me know, I don’t want to hire someone new.”

                The remainder of the meeting was subdued, talking about the upcoming tour season and how it affects the employees, the possible parties and special events that would be held. “I know no one wants to even think about all this shit, but we still need to run a business. If any of you have questions about Koichi, please let me know.” Taka ended the meeting with a promise that he would keep them updated on Koichi’s condition.

 

                Tatsu sat in a chair next to Koichi’s bed, holding his husband’s hand. “Kou? Is there anything I can get for you?” He had been trying to draw out just one word; a yes or no, a fuck off would have been welcomed just as much, but there was nothing. Koichi laying on his side, staring at the wall.

                “Baby I have to go home in a bit, I’m sure Gordy and Teo aren’t happy, can I bring you something from home? Pajamas, your pillow…anything?” His husband said nothing, he wouldn’t even look at Tatsu, let alone speak to him.

                Getting out of his chair, Tatsu bent down and kissed Koichi on the cheek, “I love you baby, call me if you need anything, I’ll come as quick as I can. I’ll see you in the morning.” Tatsu walked over to the door, taking one last look at Kou. Walking out of the room was one of the hardest things he’d ever done, leaving his husband alone in a cold hospital bed.

 

                It all seemed so familiar to Koichi; the smell of the sterile environment of the hospital, the random calls for doctors, the lullabies for the babies. Koichi had been poked and prodded, given an IV and having a heart monitor put in place. The doctor that had seen him first, irritated Koichi, asking stupid and redundant questions.

                He had no memory of the ride to the hospital, the last thing he remembered is Kyo in bed with him, wrapping his arms around Koichi. Why was he in bed with me? Where the hell was Tatsu? Shinya had been there, asking the same lame questions. He just wanted to be left alone, just don’t even bother with me, it’s not worth your time, everyone, just go away.

                Why should I say anything? I don’t care anymore…it’s all just too damned painful. Morrie, Shinya, Uta and now Leda. He was so tired, nothing would make him happier than going to sleep and not waking up and having to deal with what had become his life; a constant cycle of emptiness. Tatsu would do better to forget what they had, it meant nothing to Koichi, he wasn’t worth the effort.

                When the doctor told him would be transferred to the psych ward if he didn’t speak, Koichi laughed in his head. Psych ward? A meaningless threat to send him to the psych ward, please do! People wouldn’t come to visit if he was locked up in crazies ward, suits him just fine. He was done living for other people, done living in general.

 

                “How much more?” Ayato and Reita were walking through the grocery store, Ayato wanting to stock up on ready to eat meals now that The Gazette were starting to record a new album. “Um, maybe 35 hours a week? Just until Koichi comes back.”

                Reita had been surprised to hear about Koichi’s hospitalization, and the diagnosis of PTSD came as a shock. “I guess all the stuff from years ago, his rape and attack somehow the memories were triggered by Leda’s suicide, at least that’s what the doctors think.”

                The couple talked quietly as they went through the store, grabbing snacks and drinks for Reita to take to the studio during the recording time. “I can always bring you ramen if you’d like.” Ayato offered. Reita stopped in the middle of the aisle, tugging Ayato into a quick embrace and kiss, not even bothering to look around to see if anyone was watching. “I love you.”

                Ayato chuckled, “I love you too, you big dork.” Pushing Reita away, the young man pushed the shopping cart down another aisle. Reita watched his boyfriend walk away from him, the slight sway of Ayato’s hips catching his attention. Running up behind his lover, Reita slid his arms around Ayato’s waist, kissing him on the back of the neck. “How are we going to finish shopping if you keep molesting me every five feet?” Reita nuzzled the young man’s neck. “I’m just giving you a sample of what we’ll be doing when we get home.” He murmured in Ayato’s ear, causing the man to shrug his shoulder up, ducking away from Reita.

 “Fine, but please stop…you’re going to get me all worked up, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be shopping, walking around with a boner.” Reita laughed, promising Ayato to stop…at least until they got home.

               

                Sakurai Atsushi sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as he listened to Uta explaining what was going on with Koichi, the hospitalization and diagnosis. They were sitting on the couch, Uta leaning hard into Acchan as he relayed what Taka had told them at the meeting that morning. “I’m going to help out as well, I’ll be taking some of Koichi’s shifts, Aki and Tora are splitting the majority. Taka said he doesn’t want to hire anyone new, considering there is no time line on when Koichi will get out of the hospital.”

                Shaking his head in disbelief, Acchan reached for his phone. “I’m going to text Tatsu, let him know that we’re here to help if he needs it.” Uta had also suggested they go to Ojisan’s, not only to see if the man knew anything, but also a quick lunch with his lover.

                “If you need anything, please let me know. I will do whatever it takes to help.”

                Uta stood in the genkan waiting for Acchan to finish on the phone, “Ready? I’ll drive.” Uta had his shoes on and was out the door before his lover could even answer. Uta loved the small sports car Acchan had bought him for Christmas, though his lover was slightly terrified when Uta was behind the wheel; he had no idea that Uta subconsciously wanted to be a race car driver.

                “Please, let’s take it easy on the gas pedal, you’re going to end up with a speeding ticket one day.” Acchan gently chided Uta. “Pfft! You’re just old, I’m not that bad.” Uta shot back. “No, I’m careful, you on the other hand want to be a formula one driver.” Acchan countered.

                For his little tantrum, Uta drove overly cautious and slow on the way to Ojisan’s, just to prove his point. Acchan knew what Uta was doing; trying to prove his point about his driving technique. “Okay smart ass…let’s get to the restaurant before Ojisan closes.” Sitting at stop light, Acchan quickly leaned over and kissed Uta, but as soon as the light changed, Uta sped off with a squeal of the tires.

                “Irasshai gentlemen.” Ojisan smiled broadly as Uta and Acchan walked in, “Ojisan, please give our little speed demon some pork cutlet ramen and I would like the chashu pork, colas for the both of us considering Uta is behind the wheel today.”

                “Do you not trust the young one’s driving skills, Sakurai?” Ojisan teased. “I do, but what I don’t trust is his tendency to drive fast. I’m starting to second guess my choice of Christmas gifts.” Uta punched Acchan in the arm, “Too bad, you gave it to me and I’m keeping it! You can go drive your old man car.”

                Ojisan frowned as he walked over to stand before his customers. “What has happened to Koichi? Why is he in the hospital?” Uta stopped eating for a moment, then proceeded to explain all that had happened to Koichi in the last thirty-six hours.

                Crossing his Arms over this chest, Ojisan listened to what Uta told him, there was something else behind Koichi’s problem, but he couldn’t pin point it, not quite yet. “How is Tatsurou?” Uta shrugged, “I haven’t spoken to him personally and Taka didn’t really mention him during the meeting.”

                “I have reached out to him via text Ojisan, I offered our assistance if he needs it.” Acchan added. Ojisan was still frowning, bowing lightly he went back to his tiny kitchen, leaving Uta puzzled, as the mystic ramen maker had not given much insight to the problem.

                Uta and Acchan finished their meal, “I’ll contact you if we have anything to report, Ojisan.” Acchan promised the old man. “Please do.” Ojisan’s gut feeling was troubling, but to pin point the trouble at that moment was impossible.

Chapter Text

                Pon watched as the Dir En Grey tour bus pulled away from the studio, his spirits dampened just a bit with the realization he wouldn’t see Die for weeks. With a deep sigh, he turned and walked into the lobby of DCR, and headed back towards the conference room, to a meeting with management, technical staff and the band members of Lynch.

                This would be the first album that Pon would be working on, his skills as a sound engineer exceeded his own expectations and as a result, he had decided to give up his dream of being the manager of a band, instead throwing himself into the recording end of the business.  His dream had now become a reality, he was a contributing member of the music industry.

                As he sat across from the band, Pon’s first impression of the members was cautious. Reo and Asanao were a little intimidating, while Yusuke and Akinori were friendly and open and Hazuki was a dead-on flirt, teasing Pon at every turn. Akinori reminded Pon that they had in fact met before, “After the Mucc live, we spent a good hour together Pon, just chatting.” Pon hadn’t forgotten, though he didn’t remember Akinori blowing him a kiss as he left with Kai and Yukke that night.

                Listening carefully to what the artists wanted in the way of production, Pon was careful to make notes on what each member had to say, he was nervous but confident. After three hours, the meeting broke up and Pon left the studio. With a 10am start the next morning, Pon knew he’d have to go to bed early which really wouldn’t be that difficult now that Die was out of the flat, he wanted to be prepared for at least a twelve-hour recording session.

                Arriving at the apartment complex, Pon saw that the other two flats were dark and quiet, “Well, this sucks.” He muttered as he went into his own flat. Die was gone, Ayato and Yuki weren’t home, there was no one to gossip to about meeting and working with Lynch. Throwing his bag down on the couch, Pon grabbed a beer out of the fridge and went to sit on the porch, hoping to catch either Yuki or Ayato as they came home, and as luck would have it, Ayato showed up in less than ten minutes.

                “Want a beer?” Pon offered. “Sure, let me put my stuff away, I’ll be right back.” Ayato disappeared into his flat, Pon retrieving another beer. “How was work? You guys should be ramping up for the tourist season right about now.”

                Ayato snorted. “Yah, and we still haven’t heard anything about Koichi, which leaves us all to pick up his hours, which I don’t mind doing. Akira’s in the studio, so it’s not like I’m going to see him much anyways.”

                The fact that no one had heard any more about Koichi, bothered Pon, “Taka hasn’t been to see him? Is he still in the hospital?”

                Ayato shrugged, “I haven’t worked with Taka for a few days, Mao said the last he heard anything Koichi was still not speaking to anyone.”

                They sat quietly, finishing their beers, “Want another?” Pon offered. “One more, then I need to start making something for Akira to eat when he gets home.” Pon got up to retrieve more beers, “Hey, grab another one! Yuki just got home.” Ayato yelled into Pon’s flat.

                “Grab another what?” Yuki came shuffling into the common area of the complex, “Beer, you look like you could use more than just one.” Ayato thought his friend looked overly tired, something more than what would normally be on a regular day’s work.

                Pon handed Yuki a beer. “Thanks, I need this in the worst way right now.”  Slinging back half of the beer in one gulp, Ayato and Pon exchanged looks. “Um, everything okay at work?” Pon prodded gently.

                “Works fine, it’s Aoi that’s a pain in my ass. You’d think at his age he’d act like an adult. Guess age doesn’t make you smarter.” Yuki complained.  “Do we even want to know?” Ayato’s shoulders slumped as he tilted his head to the side.

                Yuki scoffed, “Put it this way, I’m thinking of just giving up on the man. Every time he makes some progress, something happens and he slips back to being Aoi of the Gazette. It’s fucking annoying and I’m getting tired of it.”

                Pon avoided saying ‘I told you so’, he liked Yuki and wanted him to be happy, but he wasn’t sure Aoi was the right guy for him. “What are you going to do? Give up on him? Maybe he’s not the right one for you…not like he’s the only guy out there, you’re cute and funny…I’m sure you wouldn’t stay single for long.”

                Yuki blushed, “It’s not that so much, I really like him…when he’s Shiroyama Yuu, not Aoi. Kind of like Reita versus Akira.” Ayato laughed at that, “Akira’s not a dumbass anymore, that’s the difference. He learned his lesson the fucking hard way…maybe Aoi needs a reality check.”

                “Like what?” This peaked Yuki’s interest. Ayato looked over at Pon, “Do you know anyone?” Pon thought for a moment, “Maybe…but you don’t think that would just make more trouble?”

                “What the hell are you guys talking about? What reality check?” Yuki wasn’t sure he was going to like what the other two had to say.

                Pon grinned, “It’s petty and it’s childish, but how about someone that shows interest in you…think Aoi would be jealous?”

                “Wait…what? Like who?” Now Yuki was listening. “Well, I’m sure we could come up with someone, how about another band guy?” Pon had an idea of who…but not sure if the man would agree to it.

                Yuki balked at that, “No way, it can’t be someone else in the industry. I don’t need Aoi being mad at someone, that just ends up being two bands fighting, you of all people should know this, Pon.”

                Yuki had a point, they really didn’t need the Gazette fighting with another band. “What if we just kinda happened to have Aoi show up some where that you and another guy were just talking? He doesn’t have to catch you guys fucking or anything, it doesn’t have to be that drastic.”

                Pon’s idea started to form, he thought he had the right man for the job. “I don’t know, what if it turns out that I like the guy…for real? Then what happens to Aoi?” Yuki cautioned.

                “Then Aoi gets a wake-up call and stops being a prick to everyone. That’s what happens and then you end up with a nice guy!” Pon said.

                Ayato watched the two go back and forth, unsure of which one he should support. “Yuki, you have to decide on whether or not you love Aoi. I know you guys confessed before it got all screwed up, but do you still love Aoi? Enough to fight for a relationship…or are you ready to throw it out?”

                This was the ten-million-dollar question; Did Yuki still love Aoi? “Honestly, I don’t know anymore. With every step forward, he takes eight back, so there’s really no advancement in our relationship. I still don’t want him here at my flat, I definitely don’t want him around you, Pon…for you own safety of course. So maybe?”

                Ayato could see the ideas flashing in Pon’s eyes, “Pon…who do you have in mind for this?” The young man grinned, “Just someone who’s super cute, a little older but not as old as Aoi, he’s in a band but not one that’s super close to us. Let me talk to him first, before we plan anything, ne?”

                The threesome sat on the porch and drank another round of beer, splitting up only when Ayato knew Reita would be home soon. “Pon, don’t do anything drastic, okay? Yuki doesn’t need to be shit on again.” Ayato warned his friend.

                “I won’t, I’m not even sure who I have in mind would even be interested, I don’t even know if he’s single!” Pon conceded. There were five of them, one of them had to believe that Yuki was cute enough to possibly make a go of it, “Anyone’s better than Aoi.”

                Tatsu sat next to Koichi’s bed, holding his husband’s hand and talking to him, even though Koichi never responded. “Teo’s really been giving Gordy shit lately, they were both in the bathroom last night, tearing up toilet paper.” He didn’t know what else to do other than just talk.

                “Has Maeta come by to see you yet? I’m sure he’ll be able to help you, we just need to work on this together babe, I don’t want you to…” Tatsu leaned his head down on his arms, not wanting Koichi to see him crying.

                Other than a random shrug for a question, Koichi hadn’t spoken since he arrived at the hospital, and as such he was now in the psych ward, being considered as a danger to himself. Dr. Maeta had been around to see the young man, urging Koichi to break through his depression and tell the doctor exactly what was troubling him.

                “If you don’t talk to me Koichi, I can’t release you. I know you don’t want to stay here forever, think of everyone that would miss you, Taka, Uta and Shinya. I need you to say one word that explains your emotions right now; pain, fear, grief, death…whatever word comes to mind.” The doctor got no response.

                Dr. Maeta had even gone to a place that he knew might make things worse; talking about Koichi’s rape. “You remember when Kyo and Ruki came by? They told you that you were letting Morrie win by giving up. You’re doing that now, you’re giving up because of what has happened to you in the last six or seven years. Is that what you truly want Koichi? For Morrie to win?”

                The fact that Maeta didn’t even get a blink of an eye, let alone an answer, deeply troubled the doctor, he couldn’t pierce the thick shield Koichi had put up around him. “This is about Leda, isn’t it?” Maeta looked at his notes, seeing that the young man’s co-worker had committed suicide recently.  

                Leda’s name at least got Koichi’s blood pressure and heart monitors to spike; this was the key issue, Leda’s suicide. “You were close to Leda; you and Taka were the first to meet him and you worked with him. His death must have been a shock, so unexpected and he was young, about the same age you are.” Maeta didn’t really ask questions as much as have a one-sided dialogue to try to pull Koichi out.

                Maeta had informed Tatsu about Koichi’s reaction when he spoke of Leda’s death, “Taka and Koichi met Leda at one of our concerts, which then gave Taka the chance to hire him at the HBG, but it wasn’t as if they were close friends.” Maeta warned Tatsu not to brush off the connection between Koichi and Leda.

                “Regardless of how long Koichi worked with Leda, the fact remains that the boy’s death has in some way triggered emotions that he believed he had dealt with and recovered from.” Maeta reminded Tatsu.

                “How do I help him? I don’t know what to say…he just stares at the ceiling or the wall. He won’t even look at me.”

                Maeta didn’t have an honest answer, “Patience, don’t give up on him. You come every day and talk to him. You have Taka and Shinya, Uta and Kyo, all of his friends that have the time need to come and talk to Koichi. There are no hold backs on this, the longer he stays non-verbal, the worse it’s going to be.”

                Tatsu had thought about something earlier, a question, “What about Isshi? He was Leda’s Dominant, do you believe that Isshi speaking to Kou would help, or would it make things worse?”  

                Maeta didn’t say anything for a few moments, “I think you should ask Koichi first, you may get a response out of him, positive or negative. If you get no response, then I would ask Isshi how he felt about talking to Koichi.”

                Maeta gave Tatsu the time for his next appointment with Koichi, then left him standing outside his husband’s room. Taking a cleansing breath, Tatsu walked back into the room. “Kou baby, I’m going to ask Kyo to come and see you when he gets back from tour. Would you like to see Uta or maybe Shinya? They’ve been asking about you and have wanted to come to visit, but they didn’t know…”

                It was difficult for Tatsu not to want to grab Koichi by the shoulders and shake some sense into him, “Maybe I should have Acchan come and talk to you…he’d shake some sense into you, just like he did me.” He muttered, then he heard what sounded like a snort. “Kou?”

                Was his husband teasing him or was he hearing things because he so desperately wanted to believe that Koichi was trying to speak? “Should I bring Acchan here to take you by the shoulders and shake you? Don’t tempt me Koichi, I will do anything right now!”

                Koichi said nothing, but a tiny tear slid down his cheek. Tatsu reached over and wiped it away with his thumb, “Baby don’t cry, I love you. I just want you to get better and come home, I hate sleeping alone, Teo and Gordy are driving me crazy! Your friends all miss you, please Kou…I’m begging you to just say something, tell me to fuck off, anything!”

                He sat there for another thirty minutes, just stroking Koichi’s hair, holding his hand and giving his husband small soft kisses. “I need to go home, you know how Teo and Gordy are if they don’t get their dinner on time. If you need me, you call me any time, I don’t care what time it is and I’ll be here as quick as I can. I love you, Koichi.” With a last kiss, Tatsu left his husband’s room.

                “I love you, Tatsu.”

 

               

                Reita nudged Kai, nodding towards where Aoi had his back turned to his bandmates, “What’s up with him?” It seemed to Reita that his friend had slipped back into a depressive mood, much like he was before he met Yuki. “I don’t think he and Yuki are getting along very well right now.” Kai murmured.

                Aoi tuned his guitar, watching the lights flash for the correct tone, his mind wandering as he thought about what the hell was going on between him and Yuki. “Okay, I’m ready.” The men took their positions and rehearsal started.

                He played without any emotion, just doing his part in a song and following along with the set list that Kai had put together. Aoi couldn’t stop himself from thinking about his most recent trip to the therapist with Yuki, one in which ended in a shouting match between himself and the younger man.

                “Why don’t you see what you’re doing is hurtful and selfish? Just because we had a sexual relationship does not mean I owe you anything! You’ve gone back to being that entitled prick musician.” Yuki said hotly. “How the fuck did you get that out of what I just said?” Aoi shot back.

                The the therapist finally had to step in. “Yuu, obviously something you said to Yuki hit a nerve, what do you think that was?”

                Aoi snorted, sitting back in the couch with his arms folded over his chest, “Fuck if I know.” He turned away from Yuki. “You really don’t know, do you?” Yuki argued. “I guess I should feel privileged to go out with you? Because that is effectively what you’re saying.”

                Aoi turned to look at Yuki, “All I said was that you should be happy with me, how is that being an entitled prick musician?”

                The sniping when back and forth for the entire session, leaving two generally pissed off patients that said nothing to each other as they left the building, going in two different directions.

                “Oi! Pay attention.” Reita nudged his bandmate, who had dropped some notes while they played. “Huh? Oh, sorry. Want to try that again?” Reita looked at Kai who nodded. “Ten-minute break.” Kai announced.

                “Come on, you’re going with me.” Reita took Aoi by the arm, leading him out the back door. “What the hell is wrong? Is it Yuki?” Aoi looked down and shook his head, “Yah, I don’t think it’s going to work out between us.”

                “Why not?” Reita wasn’t really surprised, he knew Aoi too well. “He still thinks I’m a prick.” Aoi muttered.

                “Well, you can be a huge prick, but why does Yuki think that?”

                “He takes things I say in therapy the wrong way! I told him he should be happy that I want to be with him, but then he called me an entitled prick musician.” Frustration played out across Aoi’s face.

                 “Happy because he’s with you? Yah, I can see why he thinks you’re a prick. Why should he be happy because he’s with you? Because you’re Aoi of the Gazette? Have you ever asked yourself why you should be happy with him?”

                 Aoi’s mouth gaped, reaching for words as a fish would be reaching for air. “I um, because he’s…shit, I don’t know, I just am!” he lamely answered.

                 Reita chuckled, “Sounds like Yuki has you figured out completely. Maybe you’re right, maybe it’s not going to work, but if that’s the case, you need to tell him right now and not drag it out. I’m sure there are a bunch of guys who would love to date Yuki. You’re a fucking idiot and you’re going to lose him, he’s going to give up because you’re so damned clueless.”

                Reita left Aoi standing outside, his friend and ex-lover wasn’t open to hearing anything on how he was screwing up his reconciliation with Yuki, from anyone, therapist or friend and frankly Reita didn’t have the time to deal with Aoi’s privileged attitude.

               “In total denial that it’s his fault that Yuki…” Reita was telling Kai what was going on, stopping only when Aoi walked back into the room, “Thanks for confidentiality, Akira. If I wanted everyone to know my business, I would have told them myself.”

               Uruha walked over and stood before Aoi, “We do want to know about your business, because your relationship or whatever it is with Yuki affects you, and the band. We’re not nosey, we’re concerned.”

               As he looked in Uruha’s eyes, Aoi saw the truth; his friends were worried about him. “I’m just not sure Yuki and I will work out, therapy isn’t going very well, I don’t think we’re going to get back together. So, let’s just drop it and get back to rehearsal.”  Aoi picked up his guitar and stared at the others, Kai shrugged and picked up the beat for Ugly.

 

 

              Ojisan had his back turned to the counter, working on his customer’s order, listening to Tatsu tell Isshi about Koichi, hoping that the Dominant agrees to speak with the young man in the hospital.

              “Leda? Are you positive, Tatsu? That seems a bit far fetched to me, but then I’m not a psychiatrist.” Isshi initially didn’t want to agree to meet Tatsu, Ruimaru and Karyu were still grieving and he wasn’t sure he could subject them to a discussion that would involve Leda’s death. Tatsu then suggested meeting at Ojisan’s and leaving the two young men at home.

               Tatsu looked like a beat down man, his eyes were bloodshot, his long beautiful hair was dull and tangled, the man looked to be on his last nerve. Isshi arrived before Tatsu, chatting causally with Ojisan as he waited for the other man to arrive. “Is he truly that ill, Ojisan? It sounds like his change in attitude came quite quickly and wholly unexpected.”

              Ojisan explained what he knew, “Leda’s death has affected Koichi in many ways. It has brought back the memories of his attack and rape, also Uta and Shinya’s attacks. He has lost hope and can not see past the pain any longer.”

            “When the doctor talked about Leda, Koichi’s heart rate and blood pressure spiked, so we know at least that much, but I can’t talk about Leda as I didn’t know the boy.” Tatsu turned to look at Isshi. “Please Isshi, please come and talk to Kou! I feel like I’m losing him, he’s slowly slipping away from me and I can’t stop it, nothing I say helps.” Tatsu laid his head down on the counter, tears falling silently.

             Isshi’s heart thudded in his ears, the thing he didn’t want to talk about, was what someone else needed to hear, “Tatsu-kun, when would you like me to visit Koichi? I can do it tonight if you’d like, Ruimaru and Karyu are are attending Davina at Vinyl Fetish..”

            Tatsu’s head snapped up, “Tonight? Yes please! Thank you, Isshi-san!” Tatsu leaned over and hugged the man. “Let’s finish our ramen and then we shall make a trip to visit your adorable husband, ne?” Isshi smiled, he just hoped he could get through the heart ache he felt for the loss of his own lovely boy, to help Tatsu keep his.

 

           Isshi wasn’t prepared for what he saw when he walked into Koichi’s hospital room. The young man he had come to know was gone, replaced by an individual who has lost the shiny pink hair, the rosy cheeks and instead had dark circles under his eyes and an unhealthy pallor to his skin.

          “Kou babe, you have a visitor tonight, Isshi-san is here to see you.” Tatsu picked up Koichi’s hand and kissed it, moving the chair so Isshi could sit beside the bed. Isshi nodded to Tatsu as he sat down next to the bed, Tatsu moving to stand in the corner.

          “Koichi-kun,” Isshi sighed as he placed his hand over Kou’s, “My dear boy, it seems that Leda’s death has brought pain and sadness to more than just my little family and our small community.” As Isshi spoke Leda’s name, the blood pressure and heart rate monitors beeped, just as Tatsu had said.              

         “Kou-kun, tell me…why does Leda’s death hurt you so deeply?” Isshi asked softly. Tatsu knew the man wouldn’t get an answer. Isshi watched Koichi’s face, the young man was struggling internally.

          “I’m tired of pain.” Koichi whispered. Isshi heard Tatsu gasp, without turning he held his hand up to stop the man from approaching.

          Isshi continued, “I suppose you are, you’ve experienced a lot of pain in your short life.” Koichi nodded. “Leda’s pain was not shared, as yours is. He believed he had no one to confide in, unlike you.” Koichi slowly turned his head to look at Isshi, tears sliding down his cheeks.

          Isshi smiled, “You have so many that love you, that will listen to your concerns, and your fears. Leda had those people that loved him, but we’ll never know why he didn’t believe that. He was a selfish boy…I loved him, as did Ruimaru and Karyu, but he believed that his love for Karyu is what caused me to be angry with him. Instead of talking to me, he ran away, much like you’re doing now by not talking to your husband and your friends.”

         “I’m not running away.” Koichi protested. Isshi shook his head, “But you are my boy, you’ve stopped living, which is exactly what Leda did. He decided not to live with the pain, instead of coming to me or anyone else for comfort. What he did can not be changed, whereas you can change your life, you can leave the pain behind by reaching out to your loved one and friends.”

         Isshi sat back in his chair, he had to choose his words carefully for what he was about to say. “What about Uta?” he asked the young man in the bed. “Uta?” Koichi didn’t understand.

         “Has Uta not experienced the pain you have? Would you like to add more pain in his life by deciding not to live?”

         “That’s not fair!” Koichi snapped. “What you’re doing to yourself right now is not fair to your loved ones. You are behaving as selfish as Leda did. You need to stop and think carefully…do you want to leave Tatsu, Taka, Shinya and Uta grieving as I am? Do you want them to question themselves daily, replaying your death over and over in their mind, wondering if they missed something that could have saved you?” Isshi’s asked in a low voice.

          Koichi refused to look at Isshi, his eyes clenched shut, “You couldn’t possibly understand how I feel!” Isshi chuckled, “No, you’re right, nobody knows how you feel because you’ve shut everyone out, Koichi.”

          Isshi stood up and leaned over to place a chaste kiss on Koichi’s forehead. “You should think about what I’ve said, you are not the only one suffering right now. Look around you.”

          Isshi left the room, “Kou, I’ll be right back.” Tatsu needed to speak to Isshi. “Thank you.” Tatsu said simply. Isshi put his hands on Tatsu’s shoulders, “My dear Tatsu, if this was the only thing I could do, then I am satisfied. I wish my Leda would have come to me, then perhaps your precious husband wouldn’t be where he is now. I’m glad I could help.” Isshi touched Tatsu on the cheek then walked away.

          Tatsu took a breath before returning to the room, hoping that Koichi would continue to talk and to heal. “Hey babe, is there anything I can get you?” Tatsu sat down in the chair next to the bed.

         “Do you believe Isshi? Am I being selfish?” Koichi’s eyes were full of tears. “Yes, I believe Isshi. I’m not sure I would have said you were being selfish, but if I think about it long enough, I have to agree. If you would have just come to me when you were hurting, I’m sorry I didn’t see it but you are good at hiding your emotions.”

          Tatsu got up and sat on the side of the bed, “I love you with every ounce of my body, you are everything to me. I’m not sure I could survive without you. When you hurt, I’m in pain. When you’re happy, I’m over the moon.”

          He reached out and pulled Koichi close to him, wrapping his arms protectively around his husband, letting Koichi cry into his shoulder. “Kou, please talk to Maeta, I want you to come home.”

         “Mmphmemmtoo.” Koichi murmured into Tatsu’s shoulder. “Can we talk for awhile?” Koichi looked up at his husband. “Of course we can. Scoot over.” Koichi moved to the side of the bed, with Tatsu kicking off his shoes and lying next to the smaller man. They spent the night like that, talking into the early morning hours. A nurse checked on Koichi at 3am, finding her patient in the arms of his husband, both soundly sleeping. She turned the light down and quietly walked out of the room wearing a smile.

Chapter Text

                Nerves that were strung tight enough to break, dry mouth and a gut that roiled, Pon was anxious as he stepped into the recording studio. He’d been working towards this very day for months, and now it was becoming his new reality, he would have credits on the record for sound engineering, his name stamped on the history of Lynch forever.

                One surprise that Pon hadn’t expected was Ken Yokoyama, working with the head engineer. Pon knew the man’s history in the industry, three successful bands and solo work that was more than just impressive. Pon introduced himself as he sat down next to Ken, “Yoroshiku.” Ken smiled, “You don’t need to be formal around me, I’m just a tech scrub.”

                Asanao was in the recording room, laying down his steady beats for the first track. A certain concentration on his face, but a looseness in his body language of one that had been there and done that countless times in the past.

                Sitting on the couch behind Pon, Akinori was strumming his bass, watching the young man intently, but with Hazuki’s warning ringing in his ears. “Don’t even think about it Aki, that’s Die’s boyfriend, please don’t fuck with the kid.” Akinori blew off Hazuki’s concerns, “What? I haven’t done anything. Can’t I just look? You have to admit, the kid is cute as hell.”

                Akinori wasn’t the only member of Lynch who was watching Pon, Yusuke kept stealing glances over at the young man sitting at the mixing board, albeit he was a little more discreet than Akinori. Pon was oblivious to what was going on behind him as he intently watched the mixing board and the computer, not hearing the small talk between Hazuki and Akinori.

                The first four hours went by quickly for Pon, leaving him a little surprised when Ken called for a short break. Standing up and stretching, he turned to look behind him at the two musicians sitting on the couch, “You guys want coffee or something?”

                Akinori stood up, “Sure, I’ll come with.” Pon shrugged, “Um okay…whatever.” Leaving the room, Akinori turned to wink at Hazuki, who glared back at his bassist, “You’re going to have Die all over your ass if you touch him.” He muttered under his breath.

                Akinori trotted up to Pon, “How’s it going for your first session?” He asked casually. “It’s great so far, considering we just started. I’m learning a lot, it’s great to be able to watch you guys play as well.” They walked into the break room, grabbing cups of coffee for everyone, making sure they had enough sugar and cream for those that used it. Returning to the sound room and handing out coffee, the recording resumed, Pon returning to the mixing board, Akinori back to the couch next to Hazuki. “I told you I just wanted to look.” Hazuki rolled his eyes, he knew that Akinori wasn’t just going to look, he new the bass player wanted to touch just as badly.

                Yusuke watched Hazuki and Akinori whispering back and forth, with glances at Pon. Knowing Akinori like he did, Yusuke was fairly certain that the man would eventually try to get the younger man to go out with him. Yusuke also knew that his bass player was a slut, and just wanted another fuck buddy. He giggled to himself, picturing Akinori trying to corner Pon, then Die coming into the room and thrashing the hell out of Akinori. “He’d totally deserve it.” he whispered.

                Hazuki and Akinori turned to glare at Yusuke, “What the hell are you laughing about?” Yusuke pointed, “You…when Die kicks your ass.” At the sound of Die’s name, Pon turned around for a minute, all three men trying to look innocent. Pon had been thinking of the Yuki problem, but after spending the day with the band, he wasn’t so sure that any of the members were worthy of Yuki, he didn’t’ want to put his friend in another bad relationship.

                Yuki’s issues with Aoi had been weighing on Pon since the conversation they’d had the night before. “He deserves better than Aoi.” But did Aoi deserve to be deceived in some sort of scheme involving a member of Lynch? “No…he doesn’t.” So, what to do? He couldn’t do anything at that moment, it would have to wait until he got home that night.

               

               

                Tatsu left Koichi around 7am, waking with a jolt and sitting up quickly, worried that he had left Teo and Gordy home alone all night. They had spent their time together talking about Koichi’s fears about depression and Tatsu’s fear of losing Koichi. They had talked about his rape, the troubles with Masa and now Leda’s death, Koichi exposing more of himself to his husband than he ever had before.

                After Tatsu went home, Koichi laid in bed, contemplating his life up to this point and how he had gotten there, starting with the rejection of his parents when they found out he was gay, something he had thought he had made peace with. Telling Tatsu of the reaction of his parents to leaving his home and going to University in Tokyo, the one trip home for the holidays and the disastrous meal when he told his mother that he wasn’t interested in women and he wouldn’t be getting married anytime soon.

                His mother had gotten up from the table and walked away, moments later Koichi’s father had come into the dining room and told his son to leave his house and not to return and to cease any contact with them, there would be no more money for university. Koichi looked at his parents, not surprised by their reactions, but none the less, still very hurt.

                Taka. Koichi knew deep in his heart that his best friend was still in love with him, he would occasionally catch Taka looking at him longingly, there was always that glint of love in Taka’s eyes. Koichi knew that Taka would never admit or act on his feelings, there was no denying that he loved Sato, but it would always be Koichi that filled his heart.

                Kyo. Though the man loved his husband, Koichi knew, with some confidence that the small man had deep feelings for him. Kou could always rely on Kyo, he would always be there to save him if he needed, just as with Uta. Kyo had a large heart for his loved ones.

                Uta. They shared a bond that was unbreakable, a bond that both men would rather not have. That shared bond included Ruki and Shinya, the four men were close knowing that one could always call one of the others for support if needed.

                Ojisan. From the very beginning of Koichi’s and Tatsu’s relationship, the ramen maker shared a place in not only Koichi’s heart, but everyone the man came in contact with. Ojisan could see the truth, see the lies and deceptions, and predict the future or an outcome of a conflict. These abilities had given Ojisan the status of a mentor and confidant within their small community, as a treasured and respected friend to all.

                Isshi and Leda. The reality of what Isshi had said to Koichi, had resonated throughout the night. He was being selfish. He had so many people that loved him deeply, any of which would have taken the time to listen to Koichi’s problems without judging. Leda had people that loved him as well, Isshi, Ruimaru and Karyu, but for whatever reason the young man didn’t believe he was worthy enough to ask for help. This disturbed Koichi, feeling ashamed of himself for acting so selfishly, when he should appreciate his friends and loved ones.  

                Lastly, Dr. Maeta. Koichi was embarrassed by his behavior towards the psychiatrist’s questions, ignoring him completely. Dr. Maeta had helped him return to a normal life after the rape and attack, and this is how Koichi repaid him? By shutting him out and not responding to his questions, ignoring the doctor’s orders and generally being a spoiled brat. Koichi now resolved to be open and honest with Maeta, who he was sure had been told that Koichi was speaking again and that he and Tatsu had spent the night together.

                Koichi had an uphill battle before him, he knew that much. He had a lot of people to apologize to, people he needed to thank for being there for him in the past, and making sure he told each and every one of his friends how much he loved them for being in his life.

 

                Yuki read the latest text from Aoi, asking him to come over so they could talk. “You mean watch TV, then fuck.” Yuki snorted. He received at least five texts per day from Aoi; some confessing his love, others telling Yuki that in essence, he should be grateful for Aoi’s love and attention. Yuki thought otherwise and at that moment, was completely over Aoi and his privilege, he had finally had enough.

                “I’m only going to say this one time. I’m done with you. I’m done with your entitlement, your lack of understanding of my points of view and your inability to see your own faults. Hopefully one day you’ll understand. Please continue to go to therapy, but without me.  Good luck.”

                Closing his phone, Yuki felt a sense of relief. There would be no more shitty days after an hour of therapy with Aoi, no more stupid texts begging for his return or telling him off. He was done with that part of his life. “Hope you figure it all out on your own.”

 

                Aoi choked back a sob; Yuki had called it quits and now Aoi realized just how royally fucked he was. Through his arrogance and self-entitlement, Aoi had blown what he thought was the only chance to be happy with a boy of his own to love. The one thing that puzzled him was why Yuki had told him to keep going to therapy. “Why? There’s no point in it…no one who would even care.”

                 Aoi threw his phone onto the kitchen table, no reason to keep it near by, there was no chance Yuki would be texting him. He walked into his bedroom and stripped down to his boxers and crawled into bed, feeling broken, unloved and wallowing in self pity.

 

                Ayato received a cryptic text from Yuki, while he was still at work. Looking at the text, it made no sense;

                “The thing with Pon is a go.”

                “What the hell does that mean?”

                “Stop by my flat after work and I’ll explain.”

                Of course, this made Ayato’s shift at the HBG that day drag on forever. He had used the small sedan that was communal property, that day to drive to work so at least he could get home quicker than the train. Pulling into the complex, Ayato quickly walked to Yuki’s flat, going in without knocking.

                “Hey, what’s up? That text you sent me ruined my day! What the hell are you talking about, the Pon thing?” Ayato helped himself to a beer.

                Yuki sighed, grabbing a beer for himself he went over and sat on the couch, “I told Aoi I’m done with him, for good.” Yuki revealed. This was a bit of a shock to Ayato, “But you said you loved him…what changed?”

                After a moment’s reflection, Yuki explained what had happened. “I got another one of his stupid texts, the typical ‘come hang out with me tonight’ and I called him out on it, that all he wanted me to do was come over watch TV and have sex.”

                Finishing his first beer, Yuki got up and went to get another, leaving Ayato a little slack jawed in disbelief. “Is that all he said? I mean that’s kind of a harsh reaction from you, isn’t it?”

                Sitting back down next to Ayato, “Hell no it’s not harsh. He won’t see anyone’s point of view other than his own. He pins all of his shit on everyone other than himself, and honestly, I’m done with it. I did tell him I think he should continue with therapy on his own. I’m just so over dealing with a grown ass man who acts like a stupid teenager, and I’m not waiting for him to grow up, he needs to want to change himself, nobody can do that for him.”

                Ayato reached over and put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I’m sorry it ended up this way, truly sorry. You fell in love with Shiroyama Yuu, but got stuck with Aoi of The Gazette.” Yuki nodded, then shrugged. “Yah well at least I tried.”  

                Ayato finished his beer, “Hey, I need to get something for Akira for dinner, he’s going to be late again, would you go with me to Ojisan’s? Maybe he’ll up the beer limit since you’re broken hearted and all.”

                Yuki snickered, “So are you going for Ramen or beer?” The drive over to the small ramen hut was quick, Ayato agreed that Yuki was doing the right thing by dumping Aoi, “Maybe you just need to date a normal guy, some business man or office worker.”

                Yuki rolled his eyes, “Really? Do you really think some office worker would go out with someone like me? You’re delusional Ayato, look at me!” Yuki punched Ayato lightly in the shoulder. “Nah, I don’t think I could be happy with someone that wore a suit every day, how f’ing boring would that be?”

                “Irasshai gentlemen!” Ojisan was in his small kitchen, the ramen hut empty of customers. “Hello Ojisan, I’d like the pork cutlet ramen please, and a chashu pork to go.” Ayato gave the man his order, Yuki ordering the same, both with beers.

                Yuki and Ayato talked a little about Reita and what they were doing in the studio, and wondering how Pon’s first day recording with Lynch was going. With ramen bowls in hand, Ojisan placed them in front of the two young men, but he stopped and looked at Yuki carefully.

                “You were right to leave the immature man, he needs to learn to be an adult on his own, only he can right his mistakes. There is another that is looking for you.” Ojisan turned back to his kitchen, Ayato nudged Yuki in the ribs, “See, I told you.”

                A second round of beer was set before Yuki and Ayato, who were discussing the type of man Yuki was looking for, other than not a musician, but really not coming up with anyone solid. They were ready to finish up, Ojisan was getting Ayato’s to go order ready, when another group of customers came in. “Irasshai gentlemen, I will be with you momentarily.”

                Pon had walked in with Hazuki, Akinori and Yusuke, along with Ken Yokoyama, Pon surprised to find Ayato and Yuki there. “Well here’s my ride home tonight!” Pon introduced his two friends to the musicians, Hazuki and Akinori’s jaws dropping when they see Ayato, but Ken was smiling at Yuki.

                Pon saw the look on Hazuki and Akinori’s face when introducing Ayato, knowing trouble could be brewing. “Ayato is Reita’s boyfriend, you know… Gazette Reita?” He emphasized. This small announcement didn’t make much of an impact on Akinori, but it did on Hazuki. Ken just nodded, “I like working with the Gazette, great band.”

                Ojisan was busy with cooking, Pon chatting about their day in the studio and the challenges he had faced, “Actual recording was harder than I initially thought it would be, Ken’s had the patience of a god when he’s had to deal with me.” Pon laughed at himself.

                “What’s Gazette up to these days?” Akinori had forgotten all about Pon, now openly leering at Ayato. “They’re in the studio right now, so you know how that goes, long hours and short nights at home.” Before Akinori could reply, Ojisan moved to stand in front of him and Hazuki.

                With his arms crossed, Ojisan face darkened, “You gentlemen will stay away from these young ones. If you do not heed this warning, there will be trouble which you will regret.”

                Pon, Ayato and Yuki were taken aback with the harsh reprimand from Ojisan, Hazuki was about to complain about the attitude, when Pon reached over and told him and Aki to pay attention. “You’d better listen to what he says.”

                With his hand covering Ayato’s, Ojisan looked at Akinori and Hazuki, “This young one loves another in your community and this young one doesn’t want to date anyone from that same community, respect them and their choices.”

                Pon had never seen Ojisan so close to anger before. The normally genial man had a dark look and even his posture was threatening, something that the three members of Lynch could definitely see.

                Ayato and Yuki hung out with Pon until he was done eating, Pon accepting the ride home with his friends. “I will see you guys at the studio, have a good night.” Pon waved at the men from Lynch as he walked with Ayato and Yuki to the car. “That was so weird! Ojisan looked like he wanted to knock the shit out of Hazuki and Akinori…what the hell was that all about?” Yuki asked. “Not sure, but I hope whatever it was, Hazuki and Akinori were paying attention.

                There was a similar conversation happening between the members of Lynch and Ken, the four of them had varied reactions. “I think he was talking to you two, more so than Yusuke and I.” Ken pointed out. “Why us? Not like we said or did anything to deserve that sort of treatment from some old man.” Akinori grumbled.

                “He could see through that bullshit veil you wear, Aki. You were damned near drooling over that kid Ayato, who if you need reminding, is going out with Reita.” Yusuke knew that’s who Ojisan was delivering his warning to.

                Akinori objected to Yusuke’s characterization of his thoughts, “I wasn’t drooling…much, and so what if I was? I can look at someone, it’s not illegal to have dirty thoughts.” Ken just shook his head. “You guys are too much, seriously…Pon’s boyfriend is Die, and when you mess with Die who else gets involved? Kyo. Do you want to piss Kyo off as well?”

                Now it was Hazuki’s turn to laugh, “Kyo? That little fuck stain?  He’s hardly big enough to even be concerned about.” Ken stopped dead in his tracks. “You’re a fucking idiot if you brush off Kyo in anything, Hazuki. I’ve known Kyo for a lot of years, believe me when I say, don’t piss him off, if you want to finish this album on time, stop whatever it is you’re thinking right now.”

                Yusuke had calmly watched Ken try to defuse Hazuki and Akinori’s hormonal surge, biding his time. He was always the one that flew under the radar when it came to lusting after young vulnerable men, he was not always the obvious choice when the fanboys were flocking to the band. But he had had more success than Hazuki and Aki put together, he had his own secrets on how to get what he wanted, but which one of those luscious boys should he choose?

Chapter Text

 

                Davina sat at her desk trying to block out the noise of the construction going on in her house, as she shuffled through the paperwork that dealt with the complete remodel of the manor. She had said too many times, “I should have moved out.” The weeks following the news of Leda’s suicide, had driven Davina’s desire to change her surroundings; the past was haunting her at every turn.

                “Mistress?” Kato had stepped into Davina’s office, the woman had her head leaned back in her chair, her eyes closed. “Yes Kato?” she answered without opening her eyes. “Is there anything you need?” Davina made a small rude sound, “Oh, let’s see… silent construction? Invisible workers? The transformation of the manor magically completed over night?”

                Kneeling next to Davina’s chair, Kato reached up to caress his Dominant’s cheek, “We could go to an onsen for a few days, you’ve been under so much stress lately.” Davina leaned forward in her chair, and gazed down at her beautiful Kato. “I would love nothing more than to spend a few days relaxing, and playing with you, perhaps once the work on the manor is completed.”

                Resting his head on Davina’s thigh for a moment, Kato then looked up, “Would you like a cup of tea, perhaps?” With a heavy sigh, Davina leaned forward and gathered a pile of papers, tapping them neatly on the desk. “Yes, I think that’s exactly what I need right now.”  Kato stood up, kissed his Mistress on her cheek, bowed and left the room.

                 “Madame F has called and has asked me to meet her for lunch, I will be going alone but I wish for you to be my driver. Raizo is just too busy with the contractors today. I will be leaving in about an hour, please be ready.” Kato placed her tea before her, “As you wish, Mistress.”

               

                “My dear Davina, it’s been much too long. Has Kato kept you hostage in the bedroom?” Madame F hugged her protégé, kissing her lightly on the cheek. “If it could only be so lovely, no…I’ve taken a page out of Sakurai’s book and remodeling the manor. There were just too many ghosts lurking in every corner, the rooms just too masculine and dark. Once the construction is complete, I shall host a small gathering to show off the changes.”

                After being seated and ordering a light lunch, Davina went straight to the issue, “Why today, and why not with Kato? Your Ormond is missing as well, is it something so serious you do not wish them to know?” Madame F waved off the concern. “No, my dear, it is nothing that sinister, more to the point I wanted to spare Kato any discomfort.” The Dominant paused, “I have found some rather disturbing information regarding Leda and his previous Dominant.”

                Davina gasped softly, “Do I dare ask?” Madame F’s brow furrowed. “I wanted to discuss this and get your opinion on whether or not we give the information to Isshi.” It must be something serious for the older woman to want a second opinion.  “What did you find?” Davina prepared herself for something ugly.

                “Leda was from Osaka; their scene is slightly smaller than ours of course. His Dominant is a man by the name of Genjiro, an amiable man who was neither overly strict with his pets, but not as permissive as our Isshi.” A sense of dread was pooling in Davina’s stomach.

                “Once it was known that Leda had committed suicide, an associate of Genjiro’s called me and informed me that I should speak with the man, that it may be important or at the very lease insightful. I took it upon myself to contacted him, and we met at one of their more upscale clubs about week ago.”

                “Madame, I do not like where I believe this is going, please…if you are 100% sure this information is something that Isshi needs to know…” Davina’s thoughts trailed off.

                “Exactly the reason I called you today. It seems that Leda had been in some sort of trouble in Osaka, perhaps the reason he left. He had been collared, but by mutual agreement, his contract with Genjiro had been voided.” The older woman paused. “It had been voided for involvement with the submissive of another Dominant, and it had led to violence on his part.”

                This was not what Davina had expected, “Violence? Against another submissive?” This seemed out of character for Leda…or was it?

                “Leda had fallen for a submissive that he often came in contact with, he would see the boy at the clubs, their Dominant’s were friendly with each other. Leda and the young man had some how started to speak to each other without the knowledge of their Dominants.”

                This was something that was highly frowned upon in the community, it was one thing to be congenial to another submissive, but to contact the other without permission was just not done. “Go on.”

                Madame F sighed, “It seems that Leda had snuck out of the house and went to meet with this other boy, at a club that was not connected to the community, both of the boys removing their collars. Leda had some sort of altercation with another man at the club, with resulted in a physical fight over the boy, Leda had then slapped the young man. The police were called in and both boys were taken to the police department, with their Dominants contacted.”

                Davina shook her head, “Isshi had no way of knowing this, for that matter neither did Taka-kun when he hired the boy to work. Leda obviously said nothing about this to Ruimaru or Karyu.”

                “When Leda returned with his Dominant, they mutually agreed to void the contract, Leda left Genjiro’s home with only his clothes and a few hundred dollars that Genjiro gave him. It doesn’t appear that he went back to his parent’s house, perhaps he came straight away to Tokyo. In hindsight, it now is clear why he believed he dishonored Isshi, and possibly why he committed suicide.”

                Davina sat back in her seat, “Now the big question is do we tell Isshi about this? Will this information benefit either Ruimaru or Karyu? They both are experiencing some degree of guilt, which of course is preposterous. Personally, I believe that Isshi should be told and if he so desires, to tell Ruimaru and Karyu.”

                Madame F didn’t speak for a few moments, “I agree. I was hesitant to make the decision myself, without at least consulting with you, or even Sakurai.”

                “Speaking of Sakurai, have you spoken to Acchan lately? I have neither spoken to or heard from Uta in quite some time, I’m assuming as such, that they are a healthy and happy couple?” Davina missed her time with Uta, but did not want to push her presence on the two…not yet.

                “No, the last time I spoke to Acchan was when he called to inform me about Leda, I haven’t heard either way how Uta and he are doing these days. I’d like to think they are happy as we also haven’t heard from Yutaka or Hide. I do wish he’d come out to the club, but that’s not a reality that is possible.”

 

 

                Sakurai Atsushi could not believe what he was hearing from his young lover, “Baby are you sure? Is that a healthy idea considering your past?” Uta and Acchan were lying in bed, attempting to recover after a long afternoon of rather debauched sex. “As long as you are with me? I’m sure. You can’t tell me that you wouldn’t love to see me in full collar again.” Uta nuzzled Acchan’s neck, a quick nip of his lover’s ear.

                With a growl, Acchan rolled over and pinned Uta beneath him, “Just thinking about you in full collar…”

                “So, can we go … Pleassseeee?” Uta wiggled under Acchan, pressing his hips up and adding a little grind just to tease the older man. “Are you sure? 100% sure? I will not put your health in jeopardy.”

                Uta sighed, “What are you afraid of? Just tell me.” Acchan rolled off of Uta, laying next to the boy and pulling him in close. “To be frank, I’m worried about flashbacks…Natsu and Teiji specifically.”

                “But we wouldn’t be going to the Fetish, right? Davina told me that it’s basically a shit hole now, and that Vinyl Fetish is the respectable club…so there’s nothing that may trigger me.”

                Acchan wasn’t buying it. “I don’t like the idea.” Uta snorted, “You love the idea of me in a collar, just not in a club.”  The teasing discussion went on for sometime, Acchan finally giving in to Uta’s wishes. “Be prepared to be fucked into the mattress when we get home.”

 

                Going into the private entrance of the shop, Uta was a little nervous at first. The way the owner fawned over Acchan was a little disquieting. “Sakurai-sama, I’m pleased to see you, it’s been some time since you’ve visited. Is there anything in particular you or your companion are looking for today?” The décor of the shop was tasteful…as tasteful as an upscale bondage shop could be.

                “I’m looking for something special, not quite debut special, but close enough. What do you have in the way of collars?” Acchan was led over to a showcase, the shop owner pulling out several trays of collars of various materials. “Baby, do you see one you like?” Uta looked over the trays, picking up random collars and trying them on. He knew which one he’d choose the second he saw a specific look in Acchan’s eyes.

                “Hmm, I like this one.” He held up a rhinestone heavy leather collar. “Um, it’s a little flashy don’t you think?” Acchan wasn’t a fan. “Okay, you choose one then,” Acchan took his time, finally picking up a delicate gold and silver braided collar with a small heart tag on an O ring.

                “Turn around,” Acchan fastened the collar around Uta’s neck. “Let me see…” Uta knew immediately that this was his collar, not only how it felt but the look in Acchan’s eyes. “I love it!” Acchan’s heart melted, “It’s beautiful on you.”

                The rest of the afternoon was taken up with shopping for some new clothes, Uta avoiding anything that resembled what Natsu had forced him to wear. “I want to look cute, not like a slut.” He emphasized. The couple finally settled on a pair of black skinny jeans and a black mesh top, “I don’t want people leering at you.” Acchan warned, cautious about what may happen at the club.

               

                Davina and Kato were picked up by Madame F and Ormond, Davina finally agreeing to a night out at Vinyl Fetish. “You’ve been stuck at the manor for weeks now Davina, you deserve a night out with the girls. I wish Isshi was well enough to attend with us, it just won’t be the same.” Madame F bemoaned.  They had agreed to speak to Isshi about Leda’s history, but wanted to wait a few more days as the information was going to be shocking for the little family.  

                Walking up the stairs to Vinyl Fetish, Davina and Madame F were greeted by Niihara, “Ladies, so nice to see you once again. Velvet will show you to your room.” Niihara bowed, but not before Madame F spoke to him, “Has there been any rumblings about the situation with Isshi?” Niihara’s face darkened, “I will speak with you shortly, there has been some noise, but I’d like to speak to you in private if possible.”

                Madame F raised an eyebrow, “Please do, I’d like names if possible…this is inexcusable and there will be consequences.” The girl Velvet, led Davina and Madame F to Davina’s private room, taking their drink order and bowing as she left the room.

                Madame F was fuming, just short of ranting and throwing things, Ormond put a hand on his Lady’s shoulder. “Thank you, Ormond. Once I get the list, I want you to go out and round up the offenders, I will be handling this tonight.”

                A knock at the door brought in Niihara, still wearing the same dark look. “Madame, Mistress.” Niihara took a seat opposite the two Dominants. “I’m ashamed to say, that several in our community have taken it upon themselves to openly state that Isshi-san deserved the pain he is experiencing with the death of his pet, due to the fact that he is viewed as selfish and entitled. The way he treats his pets is outrageous and thusly he is deserving of the misery and is in some part to blame for the boy’s suicide.”

                Davina’s jaw dropped, “You’re joking! Who the hell would have the audacity to say such a thing?”

                Niihara shook his head, “It was not at Vinyl Fetish, but it seems the root of all the talk is Epson. I banned him from my club after that incident with Isshi and his two boys, I’ve heard that he has become a bit of a diva at The Fetish, insisting that he is the ranking member of the club. There were some others, lesser members that do not know the specifics, but if I were to reprimand anyone, it would be Epson.”

                “Niihara, could you give me a list of names, I will be making calls in the morning.” Madame F was disgusted, the fact that there were members of the community that would say such things. “This is not over, I am done with people who run their mouths. I pray it does not get back to Isshi, he’s had enough to deal with without hearing some old tired cow slandering Leda.”

                A small smirking laugh came from Ormond, to which Madame F ignored completely. “I agree, this needs to be stopped and if Epson is the main player, he needs to face the consequences.”  Niihara excused himself from the room, making his way to his office, Ormond following him to retrieve the list of names.

                Madame F was seething quietly, “While I’m not surprised it was Epson, I am surprised that someone did not take it upon themselves to shut his mouth before the information was spread.” Before anything else could be said, a rather harried looking Ormond returned to the room, leaning down to speak to his Lady.

                “WHAT? YOU’RE JOKING!” Madame F stood up quickly. “No Madame, I saw it myself as I was returning.” The Dominant turned and yanked the door open, storming out of the room, “Kato, go with her.” Davina ordered her tall pet.

                Stepping out of the room, Davina could hear the rather loud murmur going through the building, there was something definitely out of place. Rounding the corner, Davina see’s Madame F standing with her hands on her hips.

                “Madame F, whatever…UTA?” Davina was stunned. Not only was Uta standing in front of Madame F, in full collar, but with Sakurai next to him. “Hello Mistress, hello Kato.” Uta said cheerily. “What the hell are you doing here?” Davina snapped as a small crowd had gathered around the three Dominants, Uta with his arm linked into Acchan’s.

                “Uta wanted to come out tonight, and I obliged him, he’s quite fetching, isn’t he?” Acchan leaned over and kissed Uta’s cheek. “I have a new collar, Mistress…isn’t it beautiful? Acchan chose it for me.” Uta knew Davina and Madame F were angry, but he couldn’t resist the teasing, he knew he was making Kato uncomfortable, turning to wink at his former lover.  

                “Would you care to join us ladies? Niihara has promised us a nice private room, if you please?” Acchan bowed lightly, turning to walk down the hall way towards the rows of private rooms.  Uta walked with a little flounce in his step, peering over his shoulder at Davina, winking at her.

                Entering the private room, Acchan chose a wingback chair, pulling Uta into his lap, “Please, make yourself comfortable, lady’s.” he offered with a grand sweep of his hand. “Atsushi, this is inappropriate, have you lost what little mind you possess? Bringing Uta in full collar to a club?” Madame F was livid with anger.

                “My dear Madame F, what you see as inappropriate is irrelevant. Uta asked to come and I agreed. There is nothing wrong with him attending me, he is after all my lover and no one else’s. Davina, I can tell you’d like to scold me, please feel free.”

                Davina glared at Acchan, then looked at Uta, “Uta my love, is that true? Did you ask Acchan to bring you here?” Uta smiled sweetly, “Yes, actually I did. I’d been thinking about it for awhile now, there is no reason for me to hide from the scene, Acchan is and has been an important member of the community, so why should he leave?”

                Davina looked over at Madame F, who was shading her eyes with her hand, murmuring under her breath. “Why do you have such a problem with this Madame? I’m not quite understanding your objections.” Acchan asked genuinely.  The Dominant looked up at the two men. “You don’t understand? Honestly? Need I remind you of Uta’s past? That alone would preclude him ever coming to a club again, let alone wearing your collar. Uta, what in your silly little mind let you agree to this? Seriously boy…collared AND dressed AND in a club? “

                Uta snorted, “Would you rather I be naked? I can manage that if Acchan allows it.” Davina gasped, “UTA!”  Acchan chuckled, “My cheeky little lover here has grown up, he’s no longer the shy shrinking violet that you knew a few months ago.” Ormond chuckled, which caused Madame F to glare at her tall pet in reprimand.

                “Lady’s please, Uta is the one that suggested this, isn’t that right baby?” Uta nodded, “I asked him over and over if he was sure that this is what he wanted, and he said yes every time. While I understand your concerns, they are in fact unwarranted. Please, let us have a little fun tonight, shall we? I would love to take a turn around the club, I’m sure there will be more than a few nasty words uttered under breaths.”

                Before Acchan could rise, Madame F gave him the details on what had been said regarding Isshi and Leda, “Epson? That fat fuck? Surely you will be dealing with him in a severe manner? And what of Isshi, does he know about these rumors?”

                Davina assured Acchan that Isshi had not been told, “But we will be letting him know, also, Madame F has some information about Leda that we are still unsure of revealing to him.”

                “Wait, do not tell me tonight, I am in a pleasant mood, I’m here to have a good time with my love if you please, we will speak about Leda at a later time, tomorrow perhaps?”  Acchan didn’t want nor need Uta hearing anything upsetting, not tonight.

                The reaction to Acchan and Uta in the main room together, was much like the sighting of a celebrity; bowing and scraping Dominants ready to greet Sakurai-san and his boy Uta, greetings of ‘welcome back, so nice to see you again’ followed them as they walked around the club. Madame F held Davina back for a moment, “Do you believe him? Do you honestly believe that Uta wanted this tonight?”

                Davina smiled, “Yes, I do. Look at them, have you ever seen either one of them happier? Uta is healed, Teiji is still in his heart and watching out for him, but Acchan is his whole world now.”

Chapter Text

                Koichi sat passively on the couch across from Dr. Maeta, listening as the psychiatrist listed the terms and conditions that would need to be met before he would sign Koichi out of the hospital.

                “I’m going to be strict with this Koichi, I do not want to see you in the hospital again.” Maeta emphasized. “I want you to come to therapy twice a week for a month, after that we can reevaluate. Improve your diet, you’re too damned puny.” That statement drew an objection from the patient.

                “Too puny? What, do you want me to be fat? I’m just naturally thin, I’ve been like this since I was seventeen.” Dr. Maeta muttered something under his breath. “Change the way you eat, I’m going to give Tatsu a list of food that you need to include in your diet.” Koichi crossed his arms against his chest, with his lower lip stuck out, “Stop pouting, you’re not a toddler.” Handing his patient, a piece of paper, Koichi looked at it, “Play time? What the hell does that mean?”

                Maeta smiled, “You need some sort of play time, and I don’t mean sex. You need a hobby that has no relation to either one of your jobs. I don’t care if it’s biking, or paddle boarding, you need to get out and participate in some sort of relaxing recreation. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but never did?”

                Koichi sighed, “Not really. I was an only child so it’s not like I went outside to play with my siblings or the neighbor kids. Video games and the internet was about it.” Koichi’s lack of enthusiasm concerned Maeta. “Nothing that you can think of that you’d like to do for fun?”

                Koichi was apathetic about the idea of having a hobby, he had far too much work to do with DCR and the HBG. “What if I promise to take more days off? I have two jobs and I need…” Maeta held up his hand, cutting Koichi off.

                “This is exactly your problem, you have two jobs, you need to cut back on one or both of them.” Koichi started to speak, Maeta cutting him off again. “If you want to go home, then you will agree to these conditions, end of discussion.”

                “FINE! Then I guess I’m not going home because these are ridiculous things to agree to, I’m done!” Koichi got up quickly and stomped out of the room, leaving a stunned psychiatrist to figure out what had just happened.

                Koichi was pissed, “Play time? Seriously, what am I … ten? Cut back on work, eat more…this is all such bullshit!” Turning the corner towards his room, Koichi almost knocked Taka over. “Kou? Where have you been? I’ve been here for a good twenty minutes.”

                “In therapy.” Koichi snapped, “A stupid session that I ended.” Taka was taken aback at the nastiness in his best friend’s voice. “Uh, do you want to talk about it?” Taka didn’t want to pry, he felt that Koichi’s mental stability was iffy.

                Entering his hospital room, Kou threw himself on his bed, “I just want to go home…I hate it here. Then Maeta goes and gives me a fucking list of shit I can’t do.” Pulling a chair next to the bed, Taka watched Kou, “Like what things?”

                “Pfft,” Koichi snorted, “Let’s see; therapy twice a week, change my diet, cut my hours at both the HBG and DCR and schedule play time, and that doesn’t mean sex , he wants me to find a damned hobby or some shit. I’ve got too much to do to waste my day playing arts and craft at some stupid community center.”

                Taka’s stomach churned, there was still something off with his best friend but he couldn’t pin point it. “Okay, if you’re not going to follow Maeta’s instructions, what’s next? You can’t just stay here, you need to come home. Why not just agree to what he says then we’ll figure out something later?”     

                Koichi glared at Taka, “Fuck that…I’m not bowing to some shrink’s demands.” Scooting down into the bed, Kou drew up the blankets and turned away from Taka. “Just go home Taka, I want to take a nap.” “Sure Kou…I understand, I’ll um, call you later I guess.” He reached over and patted his best friend on the back, “I love you.”  A muffled response came from the lump in the bed, with that Taka left the room, left wondering what was still going on with Koichi.

 

                Ruimaru sat in the back seat of Isshi’s car, a carrier on his lap containing a small grey cat, softly meowing every few minutes. “Is Emi okay Ru?” Karyu turned around and looked at his co-lover, “Yes, I think she’s just excited to go home.”  Isshi smiled he had called Sakurai the day before, wanting to ask if his boys could take Emi home with them. “Oh? She has a name now? Isshi you really didn’t need to call, of course the neko can go home with you, I only ever wanted her to be comfortable and cared for.”

                When Isshi told Ruimaru and Karyu that Sakurai had said yes, it was the first time since Leda’s death that he had seen the young men smile, leaving Isshi to tear up. Sakurai had asked Isshi how Ruimaru and Karyu were doing, “They are slowly coming back to me, Ruimaru tends to be the more weepy of the two but I believe that’s to be expected with his experience of Teiji’s death. I plan on contacting Davina when we go home, I think a day spent with his Mistress, would make the boy happy.”

                Sakurai smiled at the thought that Davina was Ruimaru’s Mistress, but in fact she was. If it had not been for Isshi, Ruimaru would indeed be collared by Davina. “I think that’s a lovely idea, Isshi. I’m sure that Karyu being able to see his grandfather helped as well.” Isshi had told Sakurai of his conversation with the old man, “He understands more than we think an old man should.”

                “We are home my lovelies, let’s get Emi settled before we unpack ourselves, ne?” Karyu rushed ahead of Isshi, opening the front door and by habit calling out “Tadaima.” Ruimaru came in carefully holding Emi’s carrier. “Where should we put her, Sir?” Isshi thought for a moment. “We could use the extra bathroom for now, I think she’d be more comfortable than in the laundry room. Karyu my love, would you go and make sure there is nothing that she could be poisoned by? Cleaners and the like.”

                “Yes Sir!” Karyu answered. “We will need to make a trip to a pet store of some sort, the little kit will need food and perhaps some toys.” Ruimaru’s face brightened at the thought of a shopping trip.  Before Isshi could say more, he had received a phone call from Tatsu, begging to see the man.

               

                  Isshi’s face darkened, “My lovelies, the shopping trip will have to wait a day or so, I have some business to attend to.” Isshi unpacked the car, kissing Ruimaru and Karyu, the Dominant left to meet Tatsu at Ojisan’s.

                  Sitting at the counter, Isshi was shocked at what Tatsu had told him.  “Leda? Are you positive, Tatsu? That seems a bit far fetched to me, but then I’m not a psychiatrist.” Tatsu had begged him to see Koichi, to try to break through the wall of silence and to reach what was truly upsetting the young man.

                  Leaving the hospital after speaking to Koichi, Isshi sat in his car before going home. “Leda my love, your death is still hurting us…why my boy? You could have come to me, anyone…but now it can’t be helped.” With a deep sigh, Isshi drove away from the hospital, wanting nothing more than to hug Ruimaru and Karyu, holding them close to his heart.

 

                 Yuki stood in front of the store, performing the mindless chore of folding t-shirts, his mind wandering, something that was easily done when business was slow. Taking out his pone for the umpteenth time, he checked to see if Aoi had texted him, and for the umpteenth time the answer was still no.  “Why would he text me? I told him basically to fuck off, that I didn’t want to be with him, I’m an asshole.” Yuki’s boss had watched the young man going through the motions of work, hoping that it wasn’t something serious. “It’s nothing, I just broke up with someone, I’m sorry.” Yuki had explained when his boss had asked.

                Going over the pros and cons of a relationship with Aoi, the con’s list was a lot longer than the pros. He could see Shiroyama Yuu in his mind, sitting on the floor of Reita’s flat, playing guitar with the man, he had been happier that day than he could remember. That’s the man he fell in love with, not the prick musician Aoi. The deeper they got into the relationship, the more Aoi’s entitled persona came forth, the more Yuki despised whom he had once loved. “Had to fucking ruin it, didn’t you?”

 

                Yuki wasn’t the only one checking his phone constantly, though he really didn’t expect his now ex-lover to text him, the young man had made it perfectly clear how he felt about him. Aoi was going through the motions, showing up for practice and playing, but without much excitement, something which the other 4 members of The Gazette had noticed.

               “Let’s take a break for lunch.” Kai had finally called for a break, not so much for lunch, as a chance to speak to his second guitarist. “Hey, are you okay? I mean I understand that you and Yuki broke up, but you’re like so not here lately.” Kai put his arm around Aoi’s shoulder, “Sorry, I’ll try to do better. I’m just tired and haven’t been sleeping well, that’s all. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” Aoi brushed off Kai’s concerns, leaving the room for a smoke break.

              Reita walked up to Kai, “He just blew you off, didn’t he?” Kai nodded, Yep, blamed it on not getting enough sleep. What’s going on with Yuki? Have you talked to him lately?” Reita shook his head, “I get home too late, Ayato hasn’t really said much about it either. I can try to have him talk to Yuki, see what’s going on with him?”

              “No,” Kai said, “Not yet, I want to give him a few more days and see if he snaps out of it, if not then maybe we should talk to Yuki.” Reita sighed, “Okay, I just don’t think Yuki’s going to take him back, he really hasn’t changed.”

 

          Akinori was breathing down Pon’s neck, literally bent over the young man looking at the mixing board. “Dude, can you back off just a bit?” Ken was irritated with the bassist. “If there’s something you need to see, Pon will let you know.” Pon shrugged the shoulder Akinori was bent over. “Um, you’re like distracting me.”

           Akinori had beat out Hazuki for Pon’s attention, the vocalist taking to heart Ojisan’s warning, as well as Ken’s. The bass player had not, seeing Pon as a challenge and a hell of a prize if he could get down the young man’s pants, even just once. “Aki, you should really take Ken’s advice, leave Pon alone, Die’s going to kick your ass if he knows you’re hitting on the kid.”  Akinori laughed, “Die’s an old man…he’s not going to do anything.”

           Anytime Akinori got close to Pon, invading his space or breathing down his neck, Pon had flashbacks of Aoi and Reita, memories that both pissed him off and scared him. He really didn’t need another episode of chase the new kid, but he didn’t’ want to say anything to Die. Their nightly texts and phone calls were Pon’s safe spot to fall after a day at the studio, leaving him giggling, crying and overall missing his lover. Every “I love you Pon” gave him a boost of confidence and a more ridged backbone against Akinori’s advances.

         They were in the middle of a break, when Yusuke approached Pon, “Can I ask you a question?” he asked Pon. “Sure, what’s up?” Yusuke looked over at Ken first, “What did the old man at the ramen hut mean about Yuki?” Pon thought back to what Ojisan had said, “Yuki used to date Aoi of the Gazette, but they’ve broken up recently. Ojisan was basically saying hands off, that Yuki doesn’t want to date anyone in the industry, and if I were you…I’d take that advice to heart.”

        The other person that was listening into the conversation was Ken Yokoyama, who smiled at Pon’s words. He had listened to the old man, tried to warn the others but they were acting like hormonal teenagers.

        Yusuke smiled, “I just wondered, that’s all. Your Ojisan seems like a very caring man.” Pon nodded, “He’s an important part of the music community, he cares a great deal for us, and it helps that he’s somewhat of a mystic.”

       “A mystic? How so…” Yusuke asked. “Ojisan knows things that he shouldn’t, um, like when a friend of ours, Uta, fell ill in the Netherlands, Ojisan almost passed out, he said something was wrong with Uta and Mistress, then we find out Uta was in hospital. He also had a little something to do with Die and myself getting together, I can’t explain it, but if he says something to you, you’d better pay attention.”

        Yusuke paused, “So I’m guessing that means Yuki’s not interested in dating anyone from a band?” Pon didn’t even bother to answer, it was apparent that Yusuke didn’t hear a word he had said, “I’m going back to the studio.”

        Grinning as he leaned against the wall, Yusuke’s mind was working overtime, how to get to Yuki without setting off any sort of alarms. “This shouldn’t be too hard.” Pushing off the wall, he turned to walk back to the studio, turning a corner he ran into Aoi and Reita. Perfect.

        “Yusuke-san, how’s recording going?” Reita asked. “It’s progressing as it normally does, long hours in the studio. By the way, I met your boyfriend the other night, you’re a very lucky man he’s very attractive, his friend Yuki is as well…I’ve heard he’s single?”  The second Yuki’s name was mentioned, Aoi started to bristle, signaling to Reita that it was time to walk away, and without answering the other man, Reita took Aoi by the elbow and walked away.

         Reita opened the door to their practice room, Aoi shoving past him and going straight to his guitar, “Let’s start.” He said. Ruki looked at Reita with raised eyebrows, getting a ‘not now’ look. The Gazette practice continued for another three hours, Aoi almost throwing his guitar down at the end. I’m  out of here.” Aoi said as he yanked open the door, and stormed out of the room.

       “What the hell just happened?” Kai and the others gathered around Reita. “We ran into Yusuke in the hallway. He said that he had met Ayato and that he thought Yuki was cute and asked if he was single, I got Aoi out of the way as quick as I could.”  This wasn’t what the members of Gazette wanted to hear, they had just gotten through the trouble Aoi had with Pon, now Yusuke is asking about Yuki? Not good.

 

                Aoi stomped up the steps to his flat, shoving the door open and closing it with a slam, he was pissed. He stormed through his flat, unable to think clearly, opening cabinet doors only to slam them shut, opening the refrigerator he grabs a beer. Chugging down half of the beer, Aoi wipes his mouth on his sleeve, “Asshole, who the fuck does he think he is?” Finishing the beer, he grabs another and sits down on the couch.  Yusuke and Yuki? “There’s no way he would date that fag.”  

                But Yuki wouldn’t date him either, so what did that make Aoi? “A piece of shit, that’s what.” He answered his own question, snorting at himself, he finished his second beer, getting up and going for beer number three, “Why not? I have no one to bitch about my drinking, nope. I fucked up and drove him away.” Aoi thought back to what he had done to Reita. “Fucked that one up good didn’t you?” Fuck toys didn’t have feelings, so was that what Yuki had been, a fuck toy?

                “No, he wasn’t. I loved him.” His phone buzzed, “Hey want to get some food?” Reita and Kai…no, he didn’t’ want to get food, he wanted to get drunk and he was will on his way to succeeding.

 

                Reita waited, “I bet he’s getting drunk, that’s his normal go to response.” He hated that his friend was in pain, but Reita knew the man had brought it all on himself. Aoi refused to grow up, had no accountability of his own, projected his troubles and faults on to others. “Leave him, he’s not going to be good company anyways. We can only do so much for him, Akira, you know that better than anyone.” Kai said. They parted ways, everyone going home with thoughts of Aoi, but not able to do anything to help the man. Ruki explaining the day to Tomo, who just shook his head, “He’s never going to learn, is he?”

 

                Reita pulled into the apartment complex, hoping that Yuki would be home, which it appeared that he was, but he needed to talk to Ayato first. “Tadaima.” Reita toed off his shoes in the tiny genkan, “Okaeri, how was practice?” Ayato slid his arms around Reita’s waist, kissing him briefly. “Good, until we ran into Yusuke from Lynch.”

                “Uh oh, what happened?” Ayato led Reita to the couch,  Reita laid his head back , “Yusuke asked about Yuki. You didn’t tell me you guys were at Ojisan’s.” Handing Reita his beer, Ayato sat down, tucking his legs under him, “I didn’t tell you because I haven’t seen you for more than five minutes at a time.”

                “Fair enough, so what happened?” Ayato told the story of going to Ojisan’s with Yuki, that he was upset with Aoi and what Ojisan had told him. “Basically, that Aoi is immature and he can’t handle his own shit.”  Reita chuckled, “leave it to Ojisan to not mince words.”

                “Then Pon shows up with Hazuki, Akinori and Yusuke and some guy named Ken who I’ve never seen before.” Ayato shifted in his seat, “Um, Ojisan got mad at the guys from Lynch, mainly because they were all staring at me, Akinori was almost drooling, except the Ken guy, he just asked about the Gazette.”

                This surprised Reita, “What do you mean Ojisan got mad, I’ve never seen that man more than just slightly disturbed.” Ayato nodded, “Me either, but Ojisan told them to stay away from Yuki and I, that I was dating you, and Yuki wasn’t interested in dating anyone from the industry. He also said that if they didn’t take the warning seriously, that there would be a lot of trouble.”

                Before Reita could ask another question, Yuki knocked on the door, letting himself in. “Sorry, Akira, can I talk to you for a minute?” Reita waved him in, “Would you like a beer?” Ayato asked as he got up to get Reita another. “Um, sure…that sounds nice after the day I’ve had.”

                Ayato frowned, “Please tell me it wasn’t something stupid that Aoi said.” Yuki looked down immediately. “Shit. What did he do now?” Handing the beer to Yuki, Ayato sat next to Reita. “This,” Yuki handed his phone to Ayato, “What the fuck? You’re kidding me?” Reita snapped, Ayato looked back at Yuki, who’s eyes were filling with tears.

                “Why would he say that to me? I don’t know Yusuke, I met him once at Ojisan’s. Why would he assume that I’m sleeping with him?” Before anyone could answer, Reita got up, bent down to kiss Ayato then walked to the door, put his shoes on and grabbed his keys. “I’ll be back in a bit.”

 

                Aoi was close to passing out, he was over his usual limit for drinking, 6 beers instead of his normal 4. He was laying on the couch, his arm thrown over his eyes as he cried silently. The instant he had sent the text, he regretted it.

                “You dump me? Then go straight to fucking Yusuke? You’re a fucking slut.”

                He wasn’t certain if it was true, but his alcohol drenched ego pushed the vision of his beautiful Yuki, being fucked by that asshole from Lynch. “He’s not yours anymore dumbass…you fucked yourself over,” he muttered drunkenly.  “No more boy to love.” The beer bottle in his hand dropped to the floor, as he slowly started to doze, he was at the edge of sleep when a loud noise interrupted it. “What the fuck?”

                The pounding continued, as he tried to get up from the couch, “Just wait a minute!” Staggering to the door, he turned the knob only to be thrown backwards landing on his ass on the floor, an angry Reita standing over him, pointing down.

                “You are the biggest piece of shit I know, and frankly, I’m ready to ditch you for good…I don’t’ give a rat’s fuck what your excuse is this time, you had NO right to text Yuki that… You’re an asshole Shiroyama Yuu!” Reita bent down and grabbed Aoi by the front of his shirt and slapped him across the face, then shoving the man back to the floor. “I hate you, I hate what you’ve become, I can’t stomach the sight of you anymore. Fuck off, Yuu.” Reita turned and walked out the door, leaving a stunned Aoi laying on the floor.  

Chapter Text

 

                The stand off between the patient and the doctor was at an impasse, neither one giving into the other, the terms and conditions of the patient’s release were unacceptable. “You have no right to dictate how I live my life! You will release me now or I will walk out…your choice.” Koichi was getting dressed, he was done with Maeta and the hospital.

                Dr. Maeta was firm. “I will not sign you out, you need further treatment and counseling.” Koichi glared at the psychiatrist. “I’m leaving.” Grabbing his bag, Koichi shoved past Dr. Maeta and walked down the hall, and out the front door of the hospital. Maeta watched as his patient crossed the parking lot and walked towards the train station. Taking out his phone he called Tatsu, “He just walked out, I did not sign a release for him and he left against my wishes. I suggest you watch him carefully.”

               

                The rocking of the train lulled him into a light slumber, leaning his head against the window, it was the time of day where the trains were not filled with students and businessmen. Koichi’s mind was working overtime, trying to sort out the events of the last five days, yet not able to understand some of his rollercoaster of emotions, the biggest concern was his escalating anger.

                Walking away from the train station, Koichi did some deep breathing, wanting to make sure he kept his anger under control when he saw Tatsu, knowing that the man would question him on his release from the hospital.

                One more breath, “Tadaima,” toeing off his shoes in the genkan, “Okaeri. Welcome home baby.” This greeting set Koichi back on his heels, there was only one reason that Tatsu wasn’t freaking out, “Maeta called, didn’t he?” Walking over to the couch, Koichi flopped down. “Yep, he did,” Tatsu leaned over the back of the couch, kissing Koichi on the nose. “Guess things didn’t go as planned?”

                Tatsu came around and sat down next to his husband, pulling the slender man into his arms. “No, it didn’t. His demands were asinine and I’m not letting him tell me how to live my life.” Koichi said. Tatsu put his arm around Koichi, kissing the top of his head, “I’m going to say he has your best interest in mind, but I agree…he should not have made those demands on you as a condition of your release.”  With Tatsu backing him up, Koichi felt much better about leaving the hospital and going against Maeta’s refusal to release him.

                Just as he tipped his face up for a kiss, Koichi’s stomach growled loudly, both men started to laugh. “I’m starving, can we go to Ojisan’s please?” Tatsu grinned, “That sounds like a plan!” Perhaps Ojisan would be able to see through Koichi’s anger, the ramen maker’s canny ability to predict the outcome of any given situation was mostly welcomed.

               

                A five-day diet of nasty hospital food, Koichi was ready for pork cutlet ramen and the only place to get that was at Ojisan’s. “Irasshai gentlemen.” Ojisan stood behind the counter, wearing a wide grin, “It does my heart good to see you both.” Tatsu had not told Koichi that he had been at Ojisan’s with Isshi that night, and Ojisan wasn’t going to offer up that information either.

                “Pork cutlet ramen please, Ojisan.” Koichi smiled, “But a cola for him, no beer yet.” Tatsu didn’t think that at the moment, alcohol was a good idea, and surprisingly Koichi didn’t object. With his arm around his young husband, Tatsu and Koichi bantered back and forth, the topic of the nasty hospital food and how someone could ruin rice that easily. “It tasted like they used sewer water to steam it, and the daikon was old and wilted, I hardly had anything to eat the entire time I was there.”

                Half way through their meal, Ojisan looked over at Tatsu with an almost imperceptible nod, moving then to stand in front of Koichi.

                “Your doctor was not trying to dictate your life, he was merely looking out for your health and well being. It was a very childish move on your part to leave without hearing the man out.” Ojisan gently scolded Koichi.

                Tatsu braced for an explosion, watching his lover closely, for his part, Koichi didn’t explode as much as growled at Ojisan, “You too? Why can’t you people just leave me the hell alone?” Taking one last bite of ramen, Koichi looked at Tatsu, “You set this up, you knew I would want to come here, and you called him ahead of time, didn’t you? You’re no better than Maeta, just someone else trying to control my life. I’m done.”

                Without another word the young man got up from his seat and left the ramen hut, Tatsu rose to follow him, but was stopped by Ojisan’s arm, “Let him go, do not chase after him. Koichi has to work through this himself and it will take time.” Tatsu looked at the door, willing himself to stay seated, wanting nothing more than to go and chase down Koichi, shake some sense into him and ask him, “Why?”

 

                Walking out of the ramen hut, leaving behind people that just wouldn’t mind their own damned business, Koichi figured a drink would be good right now, and he knew just the place he could get one with no questions asked, the only possible problem would be who was working that afternoon. He knew Taka would question him, “He’d probably call Tatsu, asshole.” Anyone else working, Koichi could pull rank over, especially if it was someone like Tomo or Uta.

                He paused by the entrance to the HBG, peeking through the bushes to see who was working the counters; Uta…good! Hmm, Aki…Tomo! “Yus, easy pickings.” Strolling up like it was the most natural thing in the world, Koichi approached the counters, “Hey Tomo, can I have a high ball please?” Fake smile on his face, pretending nothing was wrong, this should be easy.

                Tomo balked at first, not sure how to respond to his co-worker’s request, “Uh sure Koichi,” he said. “Anything else Kou?” Tomo asked, “Nope, well maybe another one in a bit, thanks.” He took his drink and made his way to the patio, choosing a seat where he could see the fountain and people watch.             “Aki!” Tomo hissed, as he called the man to the front counters, “Koichi just came and bought a drink! I thought he was still in the hospital? He’s out there by himself, on the patio.” “He’s what?” This didn’t sound right. “He’s bought a drink and now he’s out on the patio. What do we do?” Tomo wanted to call Tatsu.

                “I’ll go talk to him, let Uta know what’s going on.” Aki walked out the back door, casually walking towards Koichi, “Hey Kou, what’s up, you just out and about today?” Aki pulled a chair out and sat across from his friend. “Yep, just out enjoying myself, needed a drink though. How’s Tora?” The two idlily chatted, small talk about work and lovers. “You coming back to work soon?” Aki was leaning back in his chair, looking up at Tokyo Tower.

                “Not sure yet, maybe in a week or two, I just want to enjoy this little vacation, I might go down to an onsen this weekend.”

                “Taking Tatsu with you?”

                “Nope, just by myself,” Why would he take Tatsu? “Hey, could you ask Uta to come out for a minute?” Aki got up and walked back to the building. “Uta, Koichi asked to see you, try to find out what’s going on, will yah?” Uta nodded, “Sure.” 

                Noticing that the patio was empty, Uta looked to the front counters, seeing Koichi ordering another drink; this was bad. Taking a seat, Uta waved Koichi over, “Hey…I haven’t seen you in awhile, how’s it going?” Uta’s voice was steady, no sounds of betrayal. Koichi sat down and didn’t answer, just gazed up at the tower, taking sips of his drink. “Hey come talk to me before you leave, ne?” Uta got up and went back to work, leaving Koichi sitting alone and staring up at the tower.

                Tomo and Aki were standing just inside the back door, “Well? What did he say?” Aki asked. “He didn’t say anything, just sat there looking at the tower and drinking. What did he tell you?” Aki tapped his finger to his chin, “That he was thinking of going to an onsen…by himself, he said he’d be back to work in a week or two.”

                 “Shouldn’t we be calling Tatsu? I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t know where Kou is right now. That’s kind of the impression I’m getting, that he’s run away from Tatsu.” Uta wasn’t sure what to do. “Maybe we don’t call Tatsu…not yet, let me see if he’ll talk to me…”

                “Um, Uta?” Koichi had opened the back door a little, poking his head in. “Yah Kou…I’ll be right back.” Uta said over his shoulder to Aki and Tomo. Following Koichi out to the wall near the fountain, Uta noticed it looked like his friend had been crying, and without even thinking he just opened his arms and pulled Koichi in for a hug…and that’s when it happened.

                “Uta, I’m scared, can I um…can I go home with you tonight? Please,” he whined into Uta’s shoulder. “Koichi, what’s going on, please tell me.” Koichi shook his head, “not here.” Uta stroked Koichi’s long pink hair, kissing the side of the young man’s head. “I’m going to ask Aki if I can leave now, stay right here.” Kou nodded, looking at the ground as Uta pulled away.

                Going inside the HBG, Uta went to the back room and grabbed his bag, he quickly texted Acchan what was going on, “Aki, he wants to go home with me, don’t call Tatsu, let me see if I can find out what’s going on first. I’m going to leave now, it’s only two hours early, I’m sorry but Kou’s scaring me.” Aki shooed Uta away with his hand, “Go ahead, text me later.”

                Waving as he went out the door, Uta walked over and took Koichi by the hand, “Hey, you’ve never ridden in my car, have you? This will be fun!” Pulling his friend out to the parking lot, Uta kept up a stream of small talk, trying to at least create some comfort for Koichi, but without much luck.

                Instead of driving like speed racer like he normally did, Uta took his time getting home, hoping that Koichi would open up, “Oh, maybe I can get Acchan to make his famous lemon cream sauce pasta tonight.” Koichi glanced over at Uta, “That would be nice.”

                Leading Koichi into the house, they stopped in the genkan and toed off their shoes, “Tadaima.” Before anyone could respond, Saki shot past them at a dead run, tail fluffed up and ears laid back. “Ut oh…wait for it…” Uta giggled. They leaned into the door way, “Here she comes!” Maru ran past them with a yowl. “Is this something that happens all the time?” Koichi asked, “Yep, I’m sure Tsubaki and Luna are on our bed sleeping, they want no part of those two’s antics.”

                Taking Koichi by the hand, “Come on, let’s go find Acchan,” Uta led them towards the kitchen. “Wow, he really did remodel the house, it looks nothing like the last time I was here.” Koichi’s demeanor was subdued, something Uta hadn’t seen in his friend since the Morrie attacks. “Yep, he changed everything, sort of a starting over project.”

                Looking around at the new décor, it wasn’t what Koichi would have thought would suit Sakurai; light colors and shades of spring. The artwork was tasteful in its composition, the dark woods and heavy masculine feel of the house was gone.  

                “Koichi-kun, welcome. Would you like a glass of wine before dinner?” Sakurai Atsushi was standing in the kitchen, Uta wrapping his arms around his lover’s waist, looking up for a kiss. “No, I don’t think so, but thank you. I’m sorry to intrude, but I really needed some…” he stopped, a frantic look on his face, as he backed away from the couple, “I um, I mean… I need to…”

                “Kou? What’s wrong?” Uta moved slowly towards his friend, “Hey, come with me…” Uta held out his hand, Koichi hesitating for a few seconds before taking Uta’s hand, who then led him down the hall to the spare bedroom, closing the door quietly.

                They spent the next hour talking, Koichi telling Uta that he was scared and didn’t understand exactly what was going on with his mind. He was angry all the time, he yelled at his friends and told them to fuck off. He told Uta that Maeta had diagnosed him as suffering from PTSD, “He gave me this fucking stupid list of shit he wanted to do,” he snarled, his attitude changing in a flash. “He told me to stop working so much, he was going to give Tatsu a list of food he wanted me to eat, and get this! He told me to schedule play time…like I’m a fucking toddler! I don’t have time for this kind of shit, seriously what am I, ten?” Uta saw the instantaneous change in Koichi, it was as if there was someone else lurking behind his friend, pushing the scared Koichi aside and letting the anger and resentment take over.

                Then there was Leda’s death and the whimpering tearful Koichi returned. “It was too much like you and Shinya, it was Morrie all over again, with Masa lurking in the background waiting for his chance to fuck me over again, and Teiji… it’s all too much Uta, I can’t do it anymore. I want to curl up and just stop. I don’t want to go home, I don’t want to see anyone, I just want to be left alone, I’d move away if I could, but I’m married…I have two jobs and a ton of friends.”

                Uta put his arm around Koichi’s shoulder, pulling him close and kissed his forehead, “I can’t say that I know how you feel, because I don’t…exactly. But I can tell you that wanting to stop, is not healthy. I tried to just stop after Teiji died, and I was almost successful, but Davina wouldn’t let me go. No matter how much of a brat, difficult or how convinced I was of wanting to die, she wouldn’t let me.”

                Koichi had forgotten about Uta’s desire to die after the murder of Teiji, “Then you do understand, don’t you?” Koichi grabbed Uta’s hand, squeezing it tightly. “I’m done Uta…just leave me alone and I’ll be fine.” Uta shook his head, “No, I’m not leaving you alone and no you won’t be fine. You came to me, you asked me for a place to stay, and as such you asked Acchan as well. You will stay here until you’re well enough to want to go home, I’m not going to let you hurt yourself.”

                The two of them sat quietly, Koichi looking like he wanted to bolt, but with Uta’s firm grip on his hand. “I’ll stay, but I don’t want to see anyone, not Tatsu or Taka and not that asshole doctor.” With a sigh of relief, Uta hugged Koichi, “Good…now let me get you some sleep pants, and I’m sure Acchan has dinner waiting for us, if you’re hungry?”

                Leaving Koichi to change into some comfortable clothing, Uta went in search of Atsushi, finding him on the patio, watching the cats chase each other. “Hi, is he okay?” Atsushi sat up, concerned by the look on Uta’s face. “No, he’s fucked…I thought I had problems, but Koichi…his are buried deeper than mine. Did you call Tatsu yet?”

                Atsushi frowned at what Uta had just told him, “No. I wanted to talk to you first. What else did Koichi say?”  Uta shook his head, “He said he saw Dr. Maeta, who gave him some sort of ridiculous list of things he had to do before he’d be released, and that’s why he just walked out of the hospital.”

                “Maeta? That son of a bitch? He’s the one that told me to confess to you… and we know how well that went. Well shit.” Atsushi said. “Once I talk to Tatsu, I’m going to suggest to him about finding Koichi a new doctor.”

                Uta laid across the back of Atsushi’s chair, his arms slung around his lover’s neck. “He wants to stay here, he doesn’t want to go home and I think he’d be better off with us, then back in the hospital.” Atsushi patted Uta’s arms. “Of course, baby…he can stay here as long as he wants, though I want you to tell Kou, that we have to tell Tatsu where he is, the man is probably crazed with worry right now.”

                “You can tell him I’m here, Sakurai,” Koichi said as he walked onto the patio, “I just don’t want to see anyone right now, is that okay?”  Sakurai Atsushi got up and walked to where Koichi was standing, “Koichi, I will not let anyone near you, that you don’t agree to see. If you find comfort in the refuge of our home, then there is nothing that will interrupt that, but I will have to at the very least tell Tatsu where you are and that you are safe, nothing more than that.”

                Without warning, Koichi abruptly lunged forward and threw his arms around Atsushi’s waist, burying his face into the older man’s chest, “Thank you, Acchan,” he whispered softly. Looking at Uta who was smiling, Atsushi hugged Koichi back. “You’re more than welcome, Koichi-kun.”

 

                After a hot meal, a hotter bath and warm fuzzy pajamas, Koichi started to nod off, leaving Uta to drag him down to the spare bedroom. “Our bedroom is the last one on the right. You might have cats knocking on your door, it’s up to you if you want to let them in though and it will probably be Tsubaki, Luna always sleeps with us.” With a hug and a kiss good night, Uta closed the door to the bedroom, hoping that his friend would have a peaceful night.

                “No, he specifically asked for you not to come here. Tatsu I know it’s difficult, but the boy is traumatized, and honestly Dr. Maeta is a shit shrink. He was the one that told me to confess to Uta, and we know how that turned out. I have some other contacts in mind, no…please don’t, I promised Koichi that he would be safe here. Yes, I do understand, believe me…yes, I will, daily or hourly. Of course, Tatsu… you’re very welcome. Oyasumi.”

Chapter Text

 

                 Ken and the head engineer had signaled the end of the recording session for the day, everyone pushing back from their respective computers with a groan and a stretch.  Pon gathered his things without saying much, he just wanted to go home and hopefully get a call from Die.

                Diru were on the last leg of their tour, coming home in a week or so and both Die and Pon were anxious to see each other, albeit for different reasons. Pon was still being harassed daily by Akinori, though Ken had stepped in frequently and threatened to contact Die if Akinori refused to stop hitting on the younger man.

                Yusuke had spoken up on several occasions, telling his bassist “I’ll cheer from the sidelines as I watch Die kick your ass.” That statement led Pon to believe that the guitarist had his back and was trying to dissuade Akinori’s attentions. “Sorry, I’m trying to talk some sense into him, but he’s a dumbass. I won’t be sorry to watch your boyfriend kick his ass though.”

 Ken wasn’t buying any of it, warning Pon, “I wouldn’t trust any of them.”  The two men got a long well, Ken admired Pon’s enthusiasm for learning the tech side of the business and his tenacity for refusing to be distracted by the lustful Akinori.  

                Late one afternoon, during a break, Ken asked Pon about Yuki, “So um…your friend Yuki, he got burned pretty bad by Aoi, didn’t he?”

                Pon instantly became defensive “Where did you hear that?” he hissed. “Over heard some of the crew talking, I just assume it was gossip, but by your reaction…” Ken was going to drop the subject. Pon was still suspicious, not wanting to give out too much information.  “All I can say is yes, they dated for awhile, then there were some issues and they broke up. Why do you ask?”

                “Just wondering,” Ken said with a shrug, “he’s pretty cute, seems like a nice guy, too nice for Aoi…” Ken stopped. “Okay, look. I know about the Reita Aoi thing when you first started at DCR, all I can say is that I’m glad you’re with Die now, he’s a very sweet man and it’s nice to see him so happy.”

                Ken seemed genuine, but something was still lurking, “Are you interested in Yuki?”

                “Maybe… I’m kinda old, older than Aoi.” Ken was certain Yuki wouldn’t be interested, the kid was too vibrant and young to be stuck with a man that was possibly ten to fifteen years older than him.

                Yuki and Ken? Pon couldn’t see it working, but then he couldn’t decide for his friend, “Don’t sell yourself short, Yuki’s not so shallow as to worry about age. Maybe when Die gets back, we can meet for dinner somewhere?”  Ken grabbed his bag from underneath the desk, “Maybe…anyways, good job today.” Ken patted Pon on the shoulder, and left the studio.

                Waiting until Pon had walked out, a patient eavesdropper moved out of the small sound booth where he had been standing, listening to Pon and Ken talk about Yuki. Ken had left the mic open from the control board to the sound room and it had paid off in aces. “Yuki? No way Ken…Pon’s the one for you.”

 

                No matter which way he looked at the problem, the conclusion was always the same; he was alone and Koichi wasn’t speaking to him. Night after night, Tatsu sat in the darkness, not bothering to turn on any lights, save for when he had to cook himself something to eat, or feed the cats. His phone was always in his hand, he was afraid that he may miss a text or phone call from Sakurai, and praying each night that Koichi would contact him on his own.

After speaking to Sakurai, Tatsu had called Sato and asked him to contact the others, and have them meet at their house, he needed to make sure that what he was feeling, was a valid concern and why Koichi had chosen Sakurai Atsushi’s home as a safe haven.

                “It’s not Sakurai, it’s Uta.” Miya said calmly. “Sakurai doesn’t really figure into the deal, other than that it’s who Uta lives with. Koichi consciously or unconsciously chose Uta, the boy knows what it is to just want to stop living.”

                “Then why not me, or Taka or you and Shinya? Why did he go to Uta and not someone closer to him?” Tatsu argued. Miya got up and moved to sit next to Tatsu, putting his arm around his friend’s shoulder, “Because Uta won’t judge him.” Tatsu’s mouth opened, he wanted to tell Miya he was wrong! Tatsu wasn’t judging his husband, was he?

                “Uta has lived with what Koichi feels right now, he just wants everything to stop. If he is suffering from PTSD as his doctor claims, all these emotions that he’s had buried since Morrie raped him, have come to the surface with Leda’s suicide.” Miya explained. “Koichi is safe for now, Sakurai may have been a complete unmitigated ass for some years, but now that he and Uta are together, if Koichi can’t be here, he’s safest with Uta and Sakurai.”

                None of what was being said really helped Tatsu, voicing his frustration and anger over an uncontrollable situation, “This is bullshit! He’s my husband and he should be home with me! I’m the one that can take the best care of him, not fucking Sakurai Atsushi!”

                Looking around the room at the faces of his friends, searching for anyone that would agree with him, he sadly found nothing. “What do I do? How can I help Koichi?” he asked with a defeated sigh.

 

 

                The nightmares started the first night, Koichi unable to run from Morrie, Natsu and Uta blocking the way, Shinya broken and bloody, shaming him for letting Leda kill himself. Tatsu divorcing him and walking away from him with Masa, who was taunting him. Taka and the others, rejecting him because he was mentally ill.

                By the fourth night, Koichi was desperate for sleep, asking Uta for sleeping pills, “I don’t think that’s a good idea Kou, how about a glass of wine to help you relax?” Uta said.

                “I don’t need any fucking wine Uta! I need to sleep…do you have any pills or not?” Koichi snapped. Against his better judgement Acchan gave Koichi one pill, then pulled Uta aside, “I think it would be safer for Koichi, if we just locked all the medications away.” With the recent suicide of Leda, Uta had to agree, the last thing he or anyone wanted is for Koichi to take his own life using pills.  

                Staying in his room and only coming out in the middle of the night to raid the kitchen, Koichi burrowed down into his bed, pillows and blankets covering his head in an attempt to block out reality. He had resorted to searching the bathroom and the kitchen for more sleeping pills, but in the end the only thing he could find was alcohol, and that just made him sick.

 

                When Koichi was out of his room, he tried to stay out of the way of Sakurai and Uta’s relationship, which had caused some anxiety, thinking he might be intruding and staying in his room for the most part, that was until Uta had confronted him.

                “Why are you locked up in here? You’re not helping yourself by using isolation as a crutch.” Uta scolded his friend. “I just don’t want to be in the way, I’m intruding on your life with Acchan,” Koichi said lamely. “No, you’re not. Come with me.” Uta grabbed Koichi by the hand and dragged him into the large living room. “Sit.” He pointed to the couch.

                “We need to talk, and we need to be completely honest with each other and not hold back.” Koichi shifted uneasily, “How honest?” picking up a pillow, Kou clutched it to his chest. “Brutally honest.” Uta smiled. “Ask me anything.”  

                Koichi buried his chin in the pillow, “Did you really want to die?” Uta nodded, “I saw no point in living, he was everything to me, my whole life…I couldn’t breathe without hurting.”

                “But what about Acchan?” Uta laughed, “Acchan, what can I say? He has a single truth, from the day we met he has loved only me. He hasn’t always proven or shown it in the right way, and he had to learn to love himself before he could love me properly.”

                Closing his eyes, as if the answer wouldn’t hurt him, Koichi pushed a little further, “If you and Teiji would have gotten married, the whole thing with Davina…what about Acchan?”

                Uta sighed, this was a memory he pushed as far back into his mind that he could, it hurt too much to ever revisit it, but he had told Koichi to ask him anything and that he would be honest. “He told me that he could have been happy for me, he told me Teiji would have been the one to heal me, and that all he ever wanted was me to be happy.”  Uta looked down at his hands, Koichi seeing a few tears fall.

                “There’s never really been anyone but Tatsu, even when I was with Kyo…deep in my heart it was always Tatsu.” Koichi said. “I loved Kyo, and I think he knew this…that I would never love anyone the same way I love Tatsu.”

                Uta leaned back on the arm of the couch, “I probably would have stayed with Kyo…but with all the ridicule, the incredulous opinions and the inability to understanding how I could be with him, that and his pulling away when he knew you were having problems with Tatsu. I love Kyo, but I knew he wasn’t my forever.”

                Koichi knew exactly what Uta was saying, “Mine either, though I tried. I’m sure you did too. He was there to rescue us, love us and bring us back from pain and tragedy, and we both got kittens!” Koichi giggled.

                “Acchan is still searching for a new doctor for you.” Uta held up his hand as Koichi was going to argue. “Let him do this please. He knows how important you are to me, and to everyone else,” Uta looked over his shoulder, making sure Atsushi wasn’t near by. “he also looks at this as a type of redemption or payback for his miserable attitude and behavior over the last few years. Just let him do this, please?”

                Still clutching the pillow, Koichi nodded, “Okay…” he whispered.

 

                After his talk with Uta, Koichi lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling and going over what Uta had said. Sakurai was looking for a new doctor for him…but why? He wasn’t anything to Sakurai Atsushi, the only connection they shared was Uta and DCR. So why was he doing all this for him?

                Closing his eyes, he had just started to drift off to sleep when he heard the unmistakably loud voice of Mao. His anger started to form, he had told Uta he didn’t want to see anyone. “Don’t be stupid, it’s his house, he can ask whomever he wants over.” Koichi chastised himself. Rolling over, Koichi covered his head with a pillow.

                “Do you think this will work?” Mao asked. Uta’s ploy to get Koichi out of his room, was to cook dinner, hoping to tempt him with the smell alone. “I’m not sure if he’s eaten yet or not, all I can do is try.” Uta made a little extra noise, encouraging Mao to be a little louder than normal. “Wait, am I usually loud?” Uta just laughed, “Next to Tora, you’re louder than anyone else.”

                With the rattling of pans, the boisterous laugh of Mao and the smell of something tasty, Koichi couldn’t ignore what was going on any longer and his stomach was starting to protest. “Fine…” he grunted.

                Taking a deep breath, Koichi walked down the hall towards the kitchen, “Sorry Kou, did we wake you up?” Uta was high fiving himself in his mind. “Um, no…whatever you’re cooking smells nice.”

                Mao jumped up and started to set the table. “Want to join us Koichi?” he asked. “Uh, sure.” Kou sat down at the small kitchen table.

                “I like Takigawa, better than Maeta at least. He doesn’t give me unreasonable goals.” Mao and Uta had decided to talk about Mao’s depression in hopes that Koichi would at the very least, ask questions.

                Uta snorted at the mention of Maeta’s name. “He’s the dip shit that told Acchan to confess to me and we all know how that turned out.” Koichi perked up at the mention of Maeta’s name. “Wait, Atsushi was seeing Dr. Maeta, when was this?”              

                Uta went through the events of Sakurai’s treatment after he got back from California, and what the psychiatrist had suggested Sakurai do; confess his feelings for Uta as a way to keep from breaking down. “It was when he did that, that I decided to leave and go back to the Netherlands and stay with Davina.”

                Uta dished up the pasta that he had made, then picking up the conversation about Mao’s doctor. “So, did the change in your medications help with the sex thing?” Uta asked casually. Mao almost spit out his food. “Oh god yes!” he laughed, “I think I almost killed Kyo that week.” Uta snuck a glance at Koichi, who was just staring at his food.

                “It also allowed me to sleep, and I wasn’t crying over you all the time. That alone was the big change for me. I wasn’t pissed off anymore…Kou, remember when I would cry in the bathroom, then tell everyone to fuck off? God, I was fucking horrible back then… sorry.” Mao added.

                The conversation moved on to the obvious fuck fest that was going to be Mao’s life as soon as Kyo was home from tour, Mao blushing slightly, then he gasped, “Holy crap, do you realize who we are?” he looked around the table. Uta looked puzzled for a moment, then started to giggle. “You’re right… I bet Kyo would have a damned heart attack if he knew the three of us were sitting together and talking about him.”  The conversation turned slightly perverted, with Uta and Mao comparing Kyo notes, Koichi didn’t add anything to the discussion, his mind was elsewhere.

                Cleaning up the dinner dishes, Koichi pulled Mao aside…he had to do this. “Um, do you think medication would help me?” Koichi asked, his voice was very small and he wouldn’t look up at Mao. “I think it’s something you should look into Kou, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Maybe you should call my doctor, make an appointment. His name is Takigawa Ichiro, I’ll text you his number, ne?”  with a quick hug, Mao went home.

                Koichi walked back to the kitchen to help with the clean up, Uta waiting for the other to say something first. “When will Atsushi be home?”  Uta smiled, “Mmm, in probably an hour or so, why?” Koichi just shook his head, then abruptly hugged Uta. “Thanks for everything, I love you.” Uta watched as his friend walked back down the long hall to his bedroom, satisfied for the small progress they made that night.

 

                “When will you be home?”

                “Late…or early, tomorrow night, maybe around 3am or so.”

                “Mmm, good. I have Saturday off, we can sleep in.”

                “I don’t think we’ll be doing much sleeping when I get home.”

 

                “Do we have enough lube, clean towels and have the toys been cleaned?”

                “I just went to the store today, we’re all stocked up on lube, the laundry has been done and I’m stocked up on ready to eat meals... Taka could only give me four days off, Koichi’s not back to work yet.”

                “I guess I’ll just have to double the effort. Make sure you’re ready, you know what I like.”

 

                “I had hoped for more progress, how is Tatsu holding up?”

                “By a thread, a lot like he was after Masa, the second time. Sakurai calls him daily, but nothing’s really changed.”

                “I hate to sound cruel, but Tatsu may have to force Kou-kun into a mental health facility.”

                “Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.”

Chapter Text

                The story Madame F told Sakurai was heartbreaking in the fact that it seemed that Leda was doomed from the start, to fail. “Did his Dominant have any information on the boy’s family life? There has to be some connection between his past and how he behaved as a submissive, this type of behavior is not learned over night.” Sakurai questioned.

          With a shake of her head, Madame F explained, “No, according to Genjiro he met Leda in a club and they went home together and had sex, it was at that point that he knew Leda was submissive.”  Sakurai sat back in the deep cushions of his chair, his mind working on how to tell Isshi, with causing the least trauma. “What we have ahead of us is the difficult task on how and when we tell Isshi what we have found.”

          Davina had been sitting quietly as the story was told, only offering her view after Sakurai had spoken, “Isshi has the absolute right to know about Leda’s past. He contracted the boy, so the question is not if, but when. I will call Isshi, and suggest that he bring both of his boys to the manor. Acchan, it may be helpful if Uta were here as well, Kato and Ormond will also be present, we will smother them in love, support and security. I will let him decide of course, on whether or not Karyu and Ruimaru will hear the information first hand, my thought is that it would be a softer fall if the boys where here with us.”

         

          Later that evening, Davina phoned Isshi and gently explained the situation, “Madame F has uncovered some information about Leda that you need to hear.”  Isshi said nothing for several minutes, and with a resigned sigh he agreed. “If you believe it is necessary, then I will come.” Davina could hear the shaking in Isshi’s voice.

          “Whether or not you’d like Karyu and Ruimaru to accompany you, is your decision alone, although I believe it would be better for them if they hear the story at the same time as you.” Isshi thanked Davina and promised they would meet the next day.  

         

          Isshi knew he’d have to ask Ruimaru and Karyu if they wanted to be present to hear the information on Leda, that Madame F had gathered. Calling his boys into his office, sitting them down across from his desk.

          “My lovelies, I just had a call from Mistress, it seems that there has been some information uncovered about our dear Leda. I will be going to Davina’s manor tomorrow to speak to Madame F. It is your choice on whether or not you’d like to come with me, and before you answer, Davina suggested that you both should attend me. Think it through carefully, I do not want you to decide right now.”

          Ruimaru leaned into Karyu, “I want to go, I don’t need to think it over Sir,” he said confidently. “I want to know what happened to Leda, Sir. Please let me come with you?”

          “Yes, of course you can. Karyu…would you also like to come? Davina did say that Sakurai-san and Uta would be there along with Madame F and Ormond.”  Karyu looked down at his hands in his lap, “If you want me to go with you, I will, Sir.”

          Isshi frowned, “Is there a reason you do not wish to go?” he sees tears falling. Getting up, he came around the desk and knelt down in front of his boy. “Karyu love, you do not have to go with me, it is your choice not mine.” With a hand on the young man’s thigh, Isshi searched Karyu’s face for a clue to his distress.

          “I’m scared, Sir. What if he did this all because of me? What if he killed himself because he couldn’t have me like he wanted?” Karyu sniffed. Isshi reached up to caress the young man’s cheek. “Karyu, I’m sure that is not the case, this is why I am agreeing to hearing what Madame F has to say. If you do not wish to go, please don’t force yourself.”

          Ruimaru reached over and put his arm around his co-lover’s shoulders. “Karyu, just come with us, I’ll hold your hand and I’m sure Sakurai-san will sit with you too,” he leaned in and kissed Karyu on the cheek, then looked at Isshi, casting his eyes down and blushing, he knew he wouldn’t be reprimanded for the kiss. “Are we all in agreement?”

 

          Arriving at Davina’s manor the next day, the men were greeted with open arms, Ruimaru going straight to Davina and Karyu to Sakurai. Isshi had given the two young men permission to seek out the other Dominants for comfort and support that day. Joining Madame F, Ormond, Kato and Uta, in the front parlor, Isshi and his boys were led to a long couch. Davina and Sakurai sat between the two young submissives, Isshi in a chair, and Uta standing next to Sakurai, all concerned with what they were going to hear.

           Madame F sat behind Davina’s large desk, waiting for everyone to settle in before starting. “Isshi, we spoke at length on whether or not to give you this information, Davina insisted that because you were contracted with Leda that you had the absolute right to the information.”

          Ruimaru clutched Davina’s hand tightly, looking at Karyu who had his face buried in Sakurai’s shoulder. “Go on.” Isshi nodded. Madame F proceeded with all the grisly details of Leda’s first Dominant and the subsequent obsession with another Dominant’s pet.

          Madame F sighed, “It seems Leda’s switch personality had gotten him in trouble before he came to you. It was an internal demon that he had been obviously battling with long before he was collared for the first time.”

          There was a long moment of silence before Isshi spoke, “It seems our lovely Leda was a tortured soul. It saddens me to think that I didn’t do enough to help him, but he hid it from us so well.”

          Ruimaru got up and went to kneel next to Isshi, leaving Karyu still clutching Sakurai’s hand. “Sir, we couldn’t save him because we didn’t know, he should have told you everything before he signed the contract, now the stupid boy is dead. I won’t be made to feel sorry for him any longer!” Davina gasped, “Ruimaru!” The young man with the bright yellow hair and cherubic face, glared at all of them.

          “I don’t care! He was a stupid selfish boy! If you want to beat me when we get home, fine! But he was mean to Karyu and stupid, I won’t forgive him for that… EVER!” He stood up and ran from the room before anyone could say another word. “Ru!” Karyu started to get up but Sakurai kept his hand in his, shaking his head.  “Kato.” Davina instructed her pet. “Yes, Mistress.” Kato left the parlor, fairly certain on where he could find Ruimaru.

          Isshi sat back in his chair, “This was more or less what I was expecting today, you rarely call me with such an ominous voice, Davina. I have no words to say…I can’t imagine how devastated Leda was, that he thought his life was beyond repair or redemption. If he had only come to me, or any of you and asked…” Isshi’s words trailed off.

         Kato had a hunch where Ruimaru had run off to, walking straight to the Koi pond, where he found the young submissive sitting on the low stone wall, petting Zeus. “I don’t care if I get punished, Sir can beat me but I won’t take back what I said. Leda was a hateful stupid boy.”

        The tall personal pet sat on the wall next to Ruimaru. “I agree that he was a stupid boy, but hateful? That I’m not sure of. I think you upset Mistress more than Isshi-san, she’s not used to hearing such vile language come from you.”

        Ruimaru stroked the large Koi fish, “He’s so much like Hercules, he learned quickly to come when Mistress splashed her fingers.” Wiping his hands off on his pants, he looked at Kato, “Should I apologize for my words, or just for running off with out permission?”

         Kato couldn’t help but like the young man, his face so earnest in his emotions, “I think you should apologize to Mistress first, then Isshi-san. Then I think you need to sit next to Karyu for awhile, he seems upset and unsure how to react right now.”

         Standing up, Ruimaru smiled, “Kato-senpai, may I hug you please?” Kato was slightly taken aback by the request. “Yes, you may.” The younger man threw his arms around Kato’s waist, a murmured ‘thank you’. Ruimaru went ahead of Kato, who chuckled. “Never in my life…”

     “We will be leaving now, I think my beautiful boys and I have a lot to discuss tonight. Thank you all for your concern, and thank you for shedding some light, albeit dark, on what our Leda was going through in his short life.” The three men bowed and left the manor.  Davina sighed, “Did we do the right thing by telling him? I’m not so certain now.”

 

          He was consumed with anger and generally hated himself, Shiroyama Yuu no longer existed, in his place was a self-entitled prick Rockstar; Aoi of The Gazette. Before he had met Yuki, being in a band, brought with it, certain perks; money, notoriety and any number of available men and women who would gladly sleep with him. He had tried to have a relationship with a bandmate, two years worth of what he believed to be true love with Reita. It only took one night, one huge mistake to destroy that true love.

          Since the night Reita found Aoi having sex with Arimatsu, he had tried everything he could think of to repair and reconcile his relationship with Reita, even going along with the plan they had to basically kidnap and rape Pon.

          Then there was Ayato, even Aoi could see that the beautiful young man was Reita’s one true love, the way they looked at each other, he then knew he’d lost his lover for good. Now he’d lost Yuki for good, sealing his fate with an accusatory text that he knew was a lie, yet he still hit SEND anyway.

          Aoi laid in his bed, still seeing Reita’s face as he screamed, yah…he was a piece of shit and he deserved nothing from anyone. How he would re-discover Shiroyama Yuu, he didn’t even have a starting point, let alone a plan. “Get your shit together asshole…do something about this!” Aoi growled at himself.

          The problem was; how to go about getting his shit together? Therapy didn’t seem to be worth the effort if he couldn’t go with Yuki, and he wasn’t sure seeing a shrink was the right path for him. Rolling onto his side he reached for his phone, hoping for a text from Yuki, “Dumbass, why would he text you? You should be texting him and apologizing for being a complete asshole.” Aoi snapped his phone shut, ready to toss it on the floor when something snapped.

          Opening his phone again, he paged through his contacts. “Just do it.”

          “I’m sorry. Shiroyama Yuu would have never said something like that to someone he loves. Maybe someday you’ll meet him, I heard he’s a nice guy, much nicer than that asshole Aoi could ever be.”  

          He put his phone in the drawer of his night table, then reached up and turned off the light.

 

          “He’s persistent, you have to give him that, but now it’s borderline harassment, and I’m sure DCR has had enough of that in the past.” Ken and Pon were having a late dinner at Ojisan’s, this time without the boys from Lynch. Ojisan hadn’t said anything, but there was a feeling of impending trouble, that he just couldn’t shake.

          Pon was tired of having to shove Akinori away from him constantly, the man wouldn’t leave him alone, always touching or leaning into him while they were working on the new album. “Maybe I should have Reita speak to him,” Pon laughed, “He could tell Akinori about how I’ve dropped him not once, but twice.”

          Ojisan replaced the beers in front of Pon and Ken, “The one with the long hair, he is still giving you trouble?” Crossing his arms over his chest, Ojisan had the same fierce look on his face as he did the first time he dealt with the boys from Lynch.

          Pon sighed, “Unfortunately yes, Akinori is still giving me trouble, it hasn’t gotten better, but he hasn’t done anything physical either.” Ojisan frowned, “Does your lover know of this problem?” Pon blushed, “Um, he just got back from tour…he’s been so tired I haven’t said anything to him, I’m trying to handle this on my own, Ojisan.”

          Ken and Ojisan gently scolded Pon for keeping the information from Die, reasoning that if the older man knew, he would put a stop to the harassment. The door chimed before Ojisan could scold Pon any further, with Ayato and Yuki coming in. “Irasshai young ones, what can I prepare for you tonight?”

          “Hey Pon…we really need to stop meeting like this!” Ayato chuckled. Pon noticed that Ken perked up as Yuki walked in behind his friend. “Not my fault you’re never home, poor Die must be lonely these days.”

          “Die is still recovering from tour, he’s been sleeping a lot and having me bring food home for him, which reminds me; Ojisan can I have a chashu pork to go please?” taking Ayato and Yuki’s orders, Ojisan turned back to his tiny kitchen, leaving the men to chat about their day.

          “How was the Diru tour? I haven’t seen Mao yet, but Taka said he had given him extra days off because Mao wouldn’t be able to walk.” Ayato smirked. “Die said it was good, nothing unusual happening, just a very straight forward tour for the band. How’s the recording going?”

          Pon rolled his eyes, “The recording is going fine, there’s some other shit that’s not.” Ayato groaned, “Let me guess…Akinori?” Pon nodded. “He hasn’t like physically molested me, but he’s just always there, invading my personal space.”

          “I’m guessing by the look on Ken’s face, you haven’t told Die yet, have you…why not?” Ayato asked. “Because I want to handle this myself, I don’t need Die rescuing me.”

          While Ayato and Pon were going back and forth, Ken had leaned over to talk to Yuki, “Bet you’re glad you’re not in the industry.” He said. Yuki cocked his head, “Um, why is that?” He totally didn’t understand Ken’s statement.

          “Uh, well you’re super cute… a lot like Pon. I’m sure you’d have a bunch of guys harassing you all the time.” Ken didn’t want to bring up Aoi, that was the last thing Yuki needed to hear from him.

          Yuki beat him to it, “I doubt it, I’m sure everyone has heard about me and Aoi, so I’m probably considered off limits or bad luck or some shit.” Yuki joked. Ken’s brow furrowed, “Not that I’ve heard…not that it would stop me from asking you out. You and Aoi are not dating, that leaves you free of any of his harassment.”

          Pon nudged Ayato, “Look,” he said nodding towards Yuki and Ken. “Really?” Ayato whispered, Pon just nodded. Ojisan interrupted the men by placing their food in front of them. “Your pork chashu will be done soon.” Ojisan winked as he told Pon.

          Ken was flirting with Yuki, who seemed to enjoy the attention, blushing at things that the older man would claim, “You’re much too cute to have gone out with Aoi…that’s why you should let me take you out.” Yuki at first thought Ken was teasing him, though the man kept mentioning taking him out on a date.

          Finally, he had to ask, “Um, are you like serious? You want to take me out on a date? I mean it’s okay if you’re joking, but…” Ken grinned, “No, I’m not joking and yes, I’d like to take you out sometime…sooner than later.”

          Yuki’s face turned a pretty shade of pink, should he go out with this guy? “Let me think about it, but I’ll give you my number…I’d like to talk to you a little more before I say yes.”

          Ken grinned, “That’s great! I mean sure, here’s my number…you can text me first if you’d like.” Ojisan was still in his tiny kitchen, wearing a broad smile as he listened to the young ones.

          Ayato was the one to break up the small party, “I want to be able to talk to Akira for more than ten minutes before he passes out.” Pon agreeing only because Die would be starving by now. “Promise me you’ll talk to Die, he needs to know what’s goin on, Pon.” Ken reminded his young friend. “I will, in the morning I promise. But don’t blame me if he comes hunting and barges into the studio ready to kick Akinori’s ass,” he warned.

          Ken had written down his phone number for Yuki, asking for a hug before he left, Pon opting for a ride back to the flat with Ayato. Walking to the car Yuki was quietly deciding on whether or not to accept a date with Ken.

          “He seemed pretty into you.” Ayato nudged his friend’s shoulder. “He seems really nice. Um, how old is he?” Yuki was worried about the age difference. Pon thought about it, “He’s never told me his exact age, but I know he’s older than Aoi, why, is that going to be a deal breaker?”

          Yuki shook his head, “No, not necessarily. I just wonder why he’d want to go out with someone as young as me, I’m sure he has other guys closer to his age that he could go out with.”

          Pon reached from the back seat and thwapped Yuki on the back of the head, “Stop that! You’re cute and funny, he’s obviously interested in getting to know you, cut the guy some slack, he’s not Aoi for fucks sake.”

          Rubbing the back of his head, he turned around, “I know he’s not Aoi! I just seem to attract older men, that’s all.” Pulling into the complex parking lot, Yuki went into his flat, leaving Ayato and Pon grabbing at each other, “We need to talk, now!”  “Wait, let me go get Die.”

          Reita was laying on the couch, snoring softly. “Hey,” Ayato whispered as he knelt down next to the couch, kissing his lover awake. “Hmm, hi.” Reita quickly grabbed the smaller man and pulled him onto the couch. “Uh, not now, Die and Pon are coming over.”

          “Man… why?” Reita whined. “Because we have some shit to talk about, so quit whining.”

          Before he could protest further, Ayato got up and went into the kitchen, “Do you want anything to drink?” Standing with the fridge door open, “Water please.” Reita rubbed his face roughly, “So what is so damned important?”

          “Let’s wait until…” Ayato didn’t finish, as Pon and Die walked in, Die holding a take-out container and eating as he walked. “Okay, what’s the big news that couldn’t wait until I finished eating?”

          Ayato gave Pon and Die the background info on Yuki’s text from Aoi, “What an ass…guess he hasn’t learned has he?” Die said through a mouthful of rice. “No, and it gets worse.” Reita explained the incident in the hall way with Yusuke, which led Aoi to send the text.  Ayato then pointed at Pon, “Tell him Pon.” Die stopped eating, “Tell me what?”

          “Akinori’s been harassing me non-stop since we started recording.” Die put his food down on the table, his eyes getting darker, “What do you mean, harassing you?” Pon tells Die the whole story, “He even was openly drooling over Ayato at Ojisan’s, which pissed Ojisan off, he gave the Lynch boys a warning which they obviously ignored.”  Ayato and Pon filled Die in on what had been happening while Diru was on tour, “On the plus side, Ken seems interested in Yuki.” Pon announced.

          “Ken? Ken Yokoyama is interested in Yuki?” Die was surprised, there was a significant age difference. “What? You’re older than Ken, aren’t you?” Pon knew exactly what he was doing.  “Only by a year, he’s between me and Aoi.” Die huffed. “Don’t make it sound like I’m a fossil or something.”  

          “What are you going to do about Akinori?” Reita spoke up finally. “I was thinking that maybe you could drop by the studio, and you could mention to him how I’ve dropped you twice, maybe if he knows that I’m not to be fucked with, he’ll stop.”

          Ayato laughed, “I would have paid good money to see that! Pon kicking the shit out of Akira,” as he laughed, he leaned into Reita. “It’s not that funny,” he pouted. “Oh yes, it is! The size difference alone is worth it.” Ayato giggled.

          Pon shook his head, “I want to keep both you and Die out of it, but if the story comes out, I can’t stop that,” he turned to Die, “I don’t want you involved at all, mister. The last thing you need is to be in a freaking fight with another band, we already went through that once.”

          The discussion moved to Yuki and Ken and the possibility of a match, Die giving his opinion, “I can’t say anything bad about Ken, he’s been in the industry a long time and I’ve never heard anything that would make me worry about Yuki’s safety.”

          “Same, he’s worked with our band a few times. He’s a hell of a better choice than Aoi.” Reita added. “I’m sure he understands that if he hurts Yuki, there’s going to be payback and it will be a bitch.”

 

          Ken Yokohama. Yuki looked up the man on the internet, seeing his age and his background, “Wow, he was really hot when he was young.” He giggled at a picture of Ken when he was in his twenties. He wasn’t pretty boy good looking, not like Aoi. There was no makeup, no wild clothes, just what seemed a normal guy, a bit of a punk that had major success in the industry. And he wanted to take Yuki out on a date.

          As he was getting ready for bed, his phone chimed. It was Aoi. “Shit, what the hell does he want now?” He thought about erasing the text without reading it, but something stopped him. “Fine,” he sighed.

           “I’m sorry. Shiroyama Yuu would have never said something like that to someone he loves. Maybe someday you’ll meet him, I heard he’s a nice guy, much nicer than that asshole Aoi could ever be.”

          “Yah right. That person doesn’t exist anymore and you proved it so many times.” Erasing the text, he closed his phone and finished getting ready for bed. “Nice guy my ass.” He muttered as he closed up the flat.  Getting in bed, he reached to turn the light out, stopping to pick up his phone.

          “I’d like to go out with you. If you have time this weekend, I’m off on Saturday.”

          With a snap, Yuki closed his phone and turned over, no longer wasting any thoughts on Aoi.