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The Vagueness of Salvation

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          “I love you too, but I’m scared.” Koichi’s voice was barely above a whisper, as he spoke to Tatsu. He couldn’t stop the tears from falling, “I’m scared that you won’t love me anymore because I’m crazy, that you’ll find someone else that’s healthy and can give you what you need. I’m not that person right now.”

          Tatsu didn’t say anything, he just listened. “I cry for no reason; a stupid song will come on the radio and I have to stop what I’m doing just to cry, I’ll see something that reminds me of our past, or I’ll hide in my room and stare at the computer, trying to figure out what’s wrong with me.  Nobody really cares, they’re just helping and saying nice things because they feel sorry for me.”

          Tatsu’s heart was breaking, his beautiful husband believed that no one cared for him, that he was some sort of freak that was mentally ill. “Babe, I know telling you that all of that isn’t true, won’t help you, but I can tell you that I’ll be right beside you, doing whatever it takes.” With his elbows on his knees, Koichi hid his face in his hands and cried.  “I know you feel obligated to help me, we’re married so you can’t just walk away, but maybe you should.”

          Tatsu got up and moved to sit next to Koichi, “I’m not leaving, I won’t walk away from you. I did that once before, when I thought you’d be better off without me, do you remember how horrible that was?” Koichi nodded, the ordeal with Masa was the second lowest point of his life, up until now. Koichi leaned int Tatsu “How do I fix this?” Tatsu kissed the top of Koichi’s head, “We fix it by going to therapy together, being there for each other and understand that sometimes the words we’re saying to each other are out of frustration and not hate or anger. If Dr. Takigawa thinks medication will work, we’ll start there, it might take a while to find the right one but I’m confident that the doctor knows what he’s doing, he helped Mao didn’t he?” Koichi nodded.

          “It’s getting late, I need to go home and feed the monsters, will you be alright tonight?” Tatsu wanted to beg Koichi to come home with him, though he’d be met with resistance and possibly resentment, so he’d let it go for now. “Okay, uh thanks for coming to see me. I’ll let you know when my next appointment is. Give Teo and Gordy kisses for me.”

          Tatsu stood up and hugged Koichi, kissing him on the forehead, “I will, just text me when you know the time and date for the appointment. I love you, Kou.” Leaning against the front door, watching Tatsu get into his car, Koichi wanted nothing more than to scream for Tatsu to take him home, but why didn’t he? “Because I’m pathetic, that’s why. He’s going to want a divorce after that first session.” Koichi knew that once they were sitting with Takigawa, Tatsu would be done with him.

          Walking down the hall to his bedroom, Koichi’s tears started again, “so fucking pathetic,” he muttered to himself as he closed the door. He didn’t bother changing into pajama’s, he just got in bed with his clothes on, “makes no difference.” Pulling the covers over his head, Koichi prayed for a dreamless night.

 

          “I just heard Tatsu leave, let me see if Koichi’s still awake.” Uta and Sakurai had been lying in bed while Tatsu and Koichi talked. “Baby, just leave it please. If Koichi’s awake, he may not want to talk to anyone, so keep your sexy ass in bed with me.” Sakurai quickly reached out and grabbed Uta around the waist, pulling him back onto the bed. “Really? Can’t I just go see if his light is on in his room?” Sakurai muffled any more questions with a rough kiss, the type of kiss that left Uta mewling and forgetting everything else.

          Koichi could hear the giggles and unmistaken sounds of sex, coming from Uta and Acchan’s bedroom, at least someone was happy, he thought. What would make him happy? Tatsu, his friends, Teo and Gordy, the house he shared with his husband. “Then why am I sleeping in Acchan’s guest room? Why haven’t I gone home yet?” His tears started again, “fucking pathetic” as he continued to beat himself up, “do something dumbass!” he muttered. He reached for his phone, “he loves me,” text or call? “I want to come home, can you come and get me please?”

          Koichi wrote a short note to Uta; “Thanks for everything, tell Acchan too. I’m going home. I’ll call you later.”

          Stuffing what little he had with him in his bag, he quietly left the bedroom, leaving the note on the counter in the kitchen. “Thanks, Uta, Acchan.” He whispered as he went through the front door, standing in Sakurai’s driveway, to wait for Tatsu. “He loves me,” he had to hang on to that in order to move past his depression and regain himself.

          He heard Tatsu’s car before he saw it, giggling at the ratty sound of the muffler, as Tatsu pulled along side the curb, leaning over to open the door, “Hey babe, are you ready to go home?” Koichi nodded, “Yep, let’s go, I want to sleep in my own bed tonight, with you and the cats.” Sliding into the passenger seat, Koichi leaned over and kissed Tatsu, “I love you.” Without another word, Tatsu pulled away from Sakurai’s house, happier than he’d been in weeks and hopeful for his and Koichi’s future.

 

 

          Pon turned over onto his back, his body reminding him of what had happened the day before. Reaching over for Die, who was still snoring, Pon rolled onto his side to wiggle         against Die’s back, spooning him and throwing his arm around his lover’s waist, sliding his hand under Die’s shirt, ghosting his fingertips over the small nub of a nipple. Pon’s head was still throbbing, as he buried his face into Die’s back and sighed. What would be the next step, would he have to testify in court or would it just be swept under the rug because of who Akinori was, and who he wasn’t?

          “Probably,” he mumbled against Die’s back. “Probably what babe?” Die rolled over, “That nothing’s going to happen to Akinori, because he’s a well-known musician and I’m just a studio engineer.” Die sat up in bed, “Don’t think that you’re not anything special, damn it! You are worth just as much as that fuck stain Akinori! You’re not just an engineer, you’re a person with rights just as anyone else has. Just don’t…” Die was sputtering so much he couldn’t collect his thoughts properly, it pissed him off that Pon would think less of himself.

          Pon’s eyes grew wide, “Die…” he said softly. “Damn it Pon! I hate what that bastard has done to you!” Die got out of bed, “I’m going to make sure that asshole pays for what he’s done to you… to MY boyfriend!” Die stomped off to the bathroom, slamming the door. Die turned the water on in the shower, stripping down quickly and getting in before the water was hot.

          “That mother fucker did this shit to my boy! He’s going to regret every fucking second of the rest of his life. He fucked with the wrong fucking person, GOD DAMN HIM!” Die ranted loudly.

          Pon could hear Die’s screaming, and it scared him. Would Die now go after Akinori, and cause even more of a problem? “Shit, he can’t do that!” Pon scrambled out of bed, and went into the bathroom. Taking his clothes off, he got into the shower with Die. “Pon? This is a surprise, so what the hell are you doing?” Pon putting his hands on Die’s hips, turned Die around to face him, “I’m making sure that my overly concerned and protective boyfriend doesn’t do anything stupid.”

          “Um, taking a shower with me is going to do what?” Die laughed. “Well, if I play my cards right, taking a shower with you will lead to other things, and hopefully those other things will keep your mind on making love to me, instead of killing Akinori.” Pon put his arms around Die’s waist, sliding his hands down to grab and massage the taller man’s ass. “Pon…” Die whimpered. “Okay, shower time is over!” Die reached behind him and shut the water off, then carefully picked Pon up. “Um, we need to dry off, don’t we?” Pon tried to reach for a towel. “Oh, we’ll dry off, don’t worry about that!” Die stepped gingerly out of the shower, kicking the door closed and walking to the bedroom. “I love you, you know that?” Die leaned back and fell onto the bed, still holding Pon. “Show me how much you love me.” Pon whispered, and Die always did what his boyfriend told him to do.

 

          Waking up in Tatsu’s arms, it was as if the last month hadn’t happened to Koichi, his life hadn’t been in shambles with disturbing visions and thoughts. When he had gotten home with Tatsu that night, Teo and Gordy were both very wary of Koichi, which of course upset him to the point of locking himself in the bathroom to cry. It took Tatsu a half hour to calm the young man and get him to come out. “Kou just lay down on the bed, I bet both of them will be cuddled up to you in a few minutes.”  Koichi sniffed, “You think so?” Tatsu kissed his small husband on the forehead, “Yes, I think so. You’ve been gone for almost a month, I think they’re in shock to see you.” Tatsu prayed that Koichi would believe him.

          Thankfully, what Tatsu had said was exactly what had happened. Koichi changed into pajamas and got into bed, calling for Teo and Gordy. Once Tatsu joined Koichi, it wasn’t ten minutes later when both cats were on the bed, Teo standing on Koichi’s chest, head butting him and Gordy tapping him in the face. “Gordy! Not with your claws out!” Kou giggled. Tatsu was relieved, he had not counted on the cats not accepting Koichi, but once the cats had settled down, Tatsu pulled Koichi close, “This feels so good, I love you Kou.” He nuzzled Kou’s ear, “Mmm, it does feel good. Thank you for coming to get me.”

          Breakfast that morning seemed about as normal as in the past, though Tatsu was a little on edge, anticipating Koichi’s mood. The cats were screaming to be fed, Tatsu dancing around trying not to step on either one, leaving Koichi giggling. “You should have gotten up earlier to feed them, you know how they are in the morning.”

          “Damn it, Kou, it’s not like they’re freaking starving. They get fed every day at the same damned time.” Tatsu groaned. “Fine! Here you little monsters!” Tatsu put the bowls down and the screams of starvation ceased. Tatsu poured two cups of tea, then joined Koichi at the table. “Do you have plans for today?”       

          Koichi shifted in his chair, “Uh, I have an appointment with Takigawa today, um… will you go with me?” he looked down at his lap. “Of course, there’s nothing pressing for me to do today, MUCC is on a break of sorts. Takigawa said he wanted me to come to some of your sessions, today is fine.” Koichi peered up through his hair, “Are you sure? I can um, go by myself…it’s fine if you don’t…”

          Tatsu put his hand up to stop Koichi. “Babe, I’m going with you, there’s no question about this. I’ll go to every session you have, if Takigawa wants to see just you, then I’ll be there, waiting for you to be done. You’re not going through this alone, Kou.” Tatsu reached over the table, putting his hand over Koichi’s. “You’re never going to be alone in this, ever. If I can’t go for some reason then you call Taka, or Shinya. You know that they’ll be here to help as well. Hell, I bet you could get Kyo and Ruki to go with you! Could you imagine Kyo with Takigawa? Or shit…Ruki and Kyo together? God, I’d pay money to see that.” Koichi snickered, “I wouldn’t do that to Dr. Takigawa, that would be so mean!”

          They spent the rest of the morning just reconnecting. Koichi laid on the couch, his feet in Tatsu’s lap with Teo on his chest. Tatsu was on his laptop going through DCR stuff, making comments here and there about what was going on at the studio. Then he came across the problem between Pon and Akinori, frowning and reaching for his phone.

          “What’s wrong?” Koichi saw Tatsu’s face change. “Pon…looks like he got into some type of fight or something, I’m calling Yukke.” Koichi listened to the one-sided conversation, and whatever had happened to Pon, was obviously disturbing judging on Tatsu’s side of the call.

          Snapping his phone closed, Tatsu leaned his head back on the couch, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Is he okay? What happened to Pon?” Koichi sat up, pushing Teo onto the floor, he didn’t like the expression on his husband’s face.

          Looking over at Koichi, Tatsu wasn’t sure how much he should tell him, “It seems that Pon has been having problems with Akinori from Lynch. He was the sound engineer on their new album.” Tatsu paused, watching Koichi’s face carefully. “Yukke said Akinori has been harassing Pon…like sexually harassing him.” Koichi made a soft noise that to Tatsu sounded like ‘no’. “Yesterday, Akinori got Pon trapped in a bathroom stall, and something happened where Pon ended up with a gash on his forehead that needed stitches. Aoi found him and it all went down hill from there, Die ended up beating the snot out of Akinori. Yukke said they’re not sure what’s going to happen next.”

          “Is Pon okay?” Koichi whispered. Tatsu nodded, “Just stitches I guess, Die took him to the emergency room. Kai is livid of course, Yukke had to keep him from going after Akinori, you know how scary Kai can be when he’s pissed. I’m sure we’ll hear about it in the next day or so, since management had to get involved as well as the police.”

          Koichi’s face paled, “The police? Was it that serious? Is Pon going to be okay?” Tatsu noticed that Koichi repeating a question, almost as if he didn’t remember he had just asked about Pon. “Just a few stitches in his forehead, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Yukke seemed a little worried about Die…Pon’s going to have to restrain him from going after Akinori.”

          Koichi’s lip trembled, “What about Kyo? Will he go after Akinori too?” he asked softly. Tatsu hadn’t expected this, “Um, I don’t think so babe, why would Kyo get involved?” he asked carefully. “Because Kyo and Die do everything together, you know that. I just thought that Kyo would help Die.”

          Reaching for Koichi, Tatsu pulled him into his arms, “Everything will be fine. Kyo’s not going to be involved, Die and Pon will work through this with the DCR team. I don’t think you have anything to worry about, ne?” Koichi nodded, a soft “okay” Kissing the top of Kou’s head, “I think we need to get ready for your appointment, let’s go get dressed.”

 

          His mouth was so dry he couldn’t swallow correctly, his tongue sticky and thick. Sitting with Tatsu in front of Dr. Takigawa, Koichi was terrified. Would he say something so bizarre that Tatsu would get up and leave? Koichi must be shaking, Tatsu had a good firm grip on his hand, constantly patting it in reassurance. “It’s okay, I’m not going anywhere,” Tatsu leaned over to whisper.

          Dr. Takigawa put down his notepad, “You’ve gone home, have you? That’s great Koichi, a good first step in your recovery. How have you been feeling?” Glancing at Tatsu, who nodded, “Go ahead, Kou.”

          “Um, well I found out this morning, that a friend of mine was hurt yesterday, and it is um, upsetting.” Dr. Takigawa wrote on his note pad, “Is it upsetting because of the person involved, or is there another reason?” Koichi looked at Tatsu, “Um, I guess because he um, has had problems in the past and also who was involved.”

          Takigawa looked up at Koichi, “Is this person close to you?” Koichi looked down and shook his head. “Not really. He’s Kai’s nephew and he’s Die’s boyfriend.” Dr. Takigawa looked at Tatsu, “Can you explain these connections.” Tatsu went through his band, “Kai is my bassist’s husband. Pon has been in the city for just about a year, maybe a little longer. We’re not super close with the boy, but he’s family none the less.”

          The session went on from there, Takigawa digging to come up with a connection to Koichi’s emotions and Pon’s assault, with Tatsu adding what he could. “Koichi, how confident are you that you are going to be able to deal with your depression?”

          Koichi shrugged, “Maybe 70% confident, at least right this minute. You know how that can change in a heartbeat.” Takigawa took out a pamphlet from his notebook, “This is the medication I’m going to start you on today. Every known side-effect of the drug is listed. I want you to start tonight, then we’ll see how you do. If you experience any of the side-effects, stop taking the medication immediately, then call me.”  

          With a prescription in hand, and Tatsu’s arm around his waist, Koichi left Dr. Takigawa’s office feeling confident. “Can we go get this filled now please?” he asked Tatsu. “Yep, right now. Let’s hope it works for you, but like Dr. Takigawa said, don’t become too upset if this isn’t the right medication, there are a lot out there and you have to start somewhere.”

         

          The mood was high, and Tatsu felt he could somewhat relax, not watching Koichi constantly. For his part Koichi tried to keep up a positive attitude and decided to call Taka, he hadn’t spoken to Taka in what felt like years.

          “Kou! Oh my god, I’m so happy to hear your voice!”

          “I’m sorry Taka. I’ve been a horrible friend.” Koichi wanted to apologize first.

          “Really Kou? There’s nothing to be sorry about, you’re struggling with things and you’re doing the best you can. I totally understand that and by the way, everyone at work says hi and they hope you’re feeling better and want you to come by for a visit.” Koichi hadn’t thought of the HBG in awhile, mainly due to embarrassment for being such a shitty person to his friends.

          “I’d like to come and see everyone, but um, I’m starting on medication tonight. So hopefully this starts to work.” They talked about Pon, Sato had been contacted by Yukke, “I’m surprised Die didn’t kill Akinori, seriously. I’m sure if Kyo would have been around, it would have been worse.” Taka said.

          With the mention of Kyo’s name, once again Koichi’s mood changed, “Why would you even bring up Kyo? Are you saying that I should dump Tatsu and go back to Kyo? What a fucking stupid idea, Taka! Fine, I’m done.” And with a snap of the phone, Koichi hung up on his best friend.

          Tatsu had been listening from the kitchen, hearing the change in Koichi’s voice, “Uh oh,” he muttered under his breath. “Hey, how’s Taka? I bet you’d like to go to the HBG for a visit.” Koichi glared at Tatsu, “No, I don’t want to go to the HBG, I have no friends there.” He got up and left the room, not quite slamming the bedroom door.

          “Well shit.”

 

 

 

          Pon looked at the document in front of him from DCR and Lynch’s management team, explaining his options on how he wanted to proceed against Akinori. Die sat next to him but said nothing, he couldn’t influence his boyfriend as much as he wanted to tell Pon to file charges against Akinori.

          One of the options was for Akinori to pay Pon, for damages at a negotiated price. The other option was obviously filing criminal charges for sexual assault and battery. “How long can I think about this?” Pon asked the DCR representative.

          “You have up to seven days, which I would suggest you take. This is not something that we take lightly, this is no different than what you went through previously.” Pon was thankful the man didn’t mention names.

          “I’d like to take this with me, I’ll have an answer for you in a few days.” Pon got up and pushed back his chair, Die getting up to follow. They walked silently out to Die’s car. It wasn’t until ten minutes into the drive home, that Die noticed Pon crying. “Babe what’s wrong?” Pon quickly wiped the tears away with his sleeve.

          “I don’t really know what to do. I don’t want to ruin Akinori’s career, but I can’t let him off with no punishment.” He truly did not want to be the cause of the end of the bass player’s career.

          Pulling into their parking spot, Die turned off the car. “I can’t tell you what to do, Pon, and I won’t tell you what I’d like to do to Akinori, though I bet you can guess.” Pon sighed, putting his head on the back of the seat. “You want to kick his ass from here to hell and back, but that doesn’t help me decide.”

          The remainder of Pon’s day was shit, he had to make a choice. “I’m going to see if Ayato is home, I’ll be right back.” Pon left his flat. Knocking on his friend’s door, he was surprised to see Reita. “Hey is Ayato here?”

          “Pon?” Ayato peered over Reita’s shoulder, “Yah um, can I talk to you for a minute?” Ayato gently pushed Reita aside, “Yah, let’s go down to the bedroom.” Looking over his shoulder at Reita, Ayato gave him a ‘don’t bother us’ look, with Reita nodding. Closing the door, Ayato pulled Pon over to sit on the bed, “Okay, what’s up?”

          Pon took the document out of his pocket and handed it to his friend. “I um, I’m not sure what to do. Part of me wants to press charges, but I don’t’ want to ruin the guy’s career.” Ayato read the document carefully. Folding it back up, he handed it to Pon.

          “I can’t tell you what to do either. All I can do is support your choice. What he did to you is not okay, but is it bad enough to kick him out of the industry? That’s what you have to decide, not me and not Die. I’m sorry.” Ayato patted Pon on the shoulder.

          “I’m going to ask Reita what he thinks.” Pon got up, Ayato held him by the arm, “I wouldn’t do that…leave him out of it please Pon,” Pon looked at Ayato, “Okay…maybe you’re right, he doesn’t need to know, you won’t say anything will you?”

          “Nope, not a word. I can keep my mouth shut, unlike a few others we both know.” As they walked out of the bedroom, Pon could hear Die. “Uh, what are you doing here?” asked Pon. “Just visiting, I got lonely when you left.” Die’s fake puppy eyes appeared, making Pon groan. “Lonely? I’ve been gone ten minutes, come on…let’s go home, you big baby.”  Grabbing Die by the hand, “Thanks, Ayato.” Pon and Die went home. Reita looked over at Ayato, “You’re not going to tell me what that was all about, are you?” Ayato smirked,

           “What all what was about?”  Reita flipped Ayato off. “Is that an offer? If it is, meet me in the bedroom.” Reita thought about it for half a second, jumped up off the couch and ran over, grabbing Ayato and throwing him over his shoulder. “I don’t need an invitation, do I?” he asked as he smacked Ayato hard on the ass. “Nope…no invitation needed.” Grabbing the door as they entered the bedroom, Ayato closed it with a slam, just before Reita dumped him on the bed. As Reita started to strip, he leaned over his lover, “This is my RSVP.” Ayato giggled, “You’re a huge fucking dork, you know that? But I guess that’s part of why I love…” Ayato didn’t finish, it was hard to talk with your boyfriend’s tongue shoved down your throat.

 

          Pon shroveled around in bed that night, visions of Akinori hovering over him, ripping his clothes off and succeeding in raping him, then there was Aoi, saving him by pulling the other musician off him. Die would slide his arm around Pon, pulling him close for comfort, hoping to keep him safe from his demons.

          He woke exhausted, looking like hell. Reaching for Die, that side of the bed was empty. Sitting up, the smell of breakfast hit him, and the sounds of Die humming and singing in the kitchen. “Food.” He muttered as he got up, using the bathroom and then padding into the kitchen, hugging Die from behind.

          Die leaned his head back as Pon kissed his cheek, “Morning babe, eggs and or rice?” Grabbing a cup for coffee, “both please, and I’ve decided.” Pon sat at their kitchen table, looking down at the document. “Oh? Well that’s good. You were pretty restless last night, kept whimpering. If you’ve decided then I’m going to guess you’ll sleep better tonight.”

          Drinking his coffee, Pon waited for Die to sit with him. “So, what did you decide?” Die placed Pon’s plate in front of him. “I’m not going to file criminal charges against him. I’m going to look into a suitable fine, then I’ll find a charity and donate the money.”

          Die smiled through his rice, “Gooftideaff” he mumbled. “I’d also like to issue a warning of sorts to Akinori, something like if we hear that he’s harassing anyone else, I’m going to file charges then. Maybe he’ll get the freaking idea that what he did isn’t fucking acceptable.”

          Die nodded, “I’m sure that Lynch’s management will be having words with him, not to mention DCR is going to hound him like crazy. He’s not going to take a chance on repeating this, if his own band doesn’t kill him first.”

          Pon finished his coffee, “I’m calling the studio, do you want to go with me?”  Die waved his bread in his hand, “Go get ready, I’ll be done in a minute.” As soon as Die heard the door to the bedroom close, he fist pumped the air. The last thing he had wanted to do is go through some kind of court trial. He had had enough of that during Morrie’s trial, and it had left a very bitter taste in his mouth, a taste he never wanted to revisit.