Actions

Work Header

Every Time I Bleed.

Chapter Text

      They had talked at length that evening, Byou explaining his past to Taizo who tried not to judge. “You were young and stupid, Byou.” He said bluntly. “The issue at hand is are you still young and stupid?” Byou had the correct basics in place, only looking at the Dominant when told to. “Everyone seems to believe that I am, Sir.” Byou’s short interaction with the other Dominants made it obvious to him, that none of them believed he had redeemed himself, at least not in the eyes of the community.

          “What do you expect of me if I take you as my submissive?” Taizo always asked this question, too many times had he agreed to contract a submissive only to find out that what they expected was not on the same page of what he demanded. “Sir? I um…I don’t expect anything, Sir.” Who is this guy? Taizo frowned, “That’s not a sufficient answer, Byou. As a submissive you should have expectations of your Dominant, I am not interested in ruling over you. I’m sure you have things that you would expect me to provide.”

          Byou eyes wandered around the room, how could he ask anything of Taizo, when it was obvious that the man had everything. “I um, I don’t know. I’ve never been asked that before. I guess I’d want you to love me and care for me.”  Taizo reached out and cupped Byou’s chin, “Love you? Since when do Dominant’s fall in love with their submissives?” Taizo snapped.

          “If you can’t love me, I can’t be your submissive. I’m sorry.” Byou got up from the couch and walked towards the door. “Thank you for speaking with me.” He bowed and left Taizo’s home.  “What the hell kind of question is that? He can’t love me?” The tears that he had held back, started to fall. He had such high hopes when the Dominant approached him tonight, and now here he was alone and abandoned yet again. “Maybe Isshi…yah right, not even a chance.”

          Walking towards the train station, Byou looked around for any security then jumped the turnstile. It was late and the last train would take him back towards the city and the sleezy internet café he was staying at. Sitting down on a bench, Byou waited for the train and started to plot out his next move in his mind. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t see a man walking down the stairs, not even noticing when Taizo sat down next to him. “Really? Is it that easy to walk away from me?”

          Byou jumped a little. “Wait, what? I’m not walking away from you. You’re the one that doesn’t want me,” he snapped. “You ask me a stupid question, then tell me that you can’t love me? What the hell…you’re throwing me away before we even try. So yes, it is that easy to walk away from you. Excuse me, my train is coming.” Byou stood up and moved towards the edge of the platform, refusing to look back at Taizo.

          As the train ground to a halt, the doors opened and Byou stepped in, taking a seat in a corner, looking out the window as to avoid looking at Taizo. The doors to the train started to close, the chime sounding. Byou turned to look at the platform, seeing that Taizo was gone, much to his relief.  “You’re not getting away that easily, Byou.” Approaching from the other end of the train, Nakamura Taizo walked up the aisle and sat next to Byou. “What the fuck are you doing? Just leave me alone.” Byou went to stand up and move away from the Dominant, when Taizo reached out and caught the young man by the arm, pulling him back in his seat. “Sit down, you little twit.”

          Byou yanked his arm away, “What part of leave me alone don’t you get? You made it perfectly clear that as my Dominant, you can’t give me what I want, so why the fuck are you here?” Taizo reached out and slapped Byou across the face. “Shut up for ten minutes and I’ll fucking tell you why I’m here!” the man growled.

          Byou’s hand flew up to his cheek, “What the fuck? You just slapped me!” He tried to get up again, Taizo reached out and grabbing him by the hips and pulling him into his lap, reaching up he grabbed the young man’s chin roughly, “If you would let me…” he murmured as he closed in, kissing Byou gently. “Just shut up and listen to me, boy.”

          Byou’s body relaxed, he was just done with everything, “Whatever…” he muttered. Taizo tightened his arms around Byou’s waist, “Come home with me, so we can talk.” Taizo’s head was leaning into Byou’s back. “Why should I?” Byou asked. Taizo’s arms loosened slightly, letting his hands roam over the young man’s chest, “You’re coming home with me, Byou.”

 

          Taizo led Byou up the stairs at the next station, and hailed a cab. Giving the driver the address, he reached over and took the boy’s hand in his. “We will finish our discussion,” he said calmly. It took but a few minutes to arrive at the posh apartment building where Taizo lived, taking the elevator to the 26th floor. Before he opened his front door, Taizo pushed Byou against the wall and captured the young man’s lips in a heated kiss. “We will talk.”

          Pointing to a couch, Taizo went into the kitchen and poured two glasses of wine, rejoining Byou and handing him one. “I believe I need to clear up something first,” he said as he took a sip from his glass, “I apologize for the answer I gave you. I’m sorry you felt used or lied to, that was not my intention. I was caught off guard by your comment, I wasn’t expecting you to say that you’d want me to love you.”

          Byou looked down at the glass of wine in his hands, he said nothing. “My former submissive Constance, we had been together for almost twenty years and yes, I loved her a great deal. But she would not leave with me, we voided our contract and she stayed in America.” Taizo finished his wine, getting up for another glass, “When you said you wanted me to love you, it caught me by surprise. I have not told anyone I loved them other than Constance, for years, and for you to stay that in order to make you happy, you expect me to love you was just a little harsh to my ears and to my sensibilities.”

          “What does that mean for me?”

          “It means that if you’d like to have a trial period, I’m sure we could make some temporary arrangements for let’s say…three months?”

          “What kind of arrangement?” Byou didn’t quite trust Taizo.

          “What would you like from me, Byou? Tell me truly from your heart what you’re looking for.”

          Byou drank his wine, forming his thoughts before he spoke. “I want security, no I need security. I need to know that you won’t void our contract if I do something stupid. I need a firm hand because sometimes I’m an idiot and I say things that I shouldn’t.” Taizo took Byou’s glass from him and went into the kitchen to refill it. “Alright, so far this all sounds fair.” The Dominant handed Byou his glass, “What else?”

          Taking another deep drink, Byou continued, “I will not sign any contract if you mean to share me with others, that’s a complete deal breaker. Isshi-san never did it, but I have had others that did.” This was insightful for Taizo, now understanding Byou’s request to be loved. “I want a chance to apologize to Isshi-san at some point.” Another surprise, “Why?” Taizo asked.

          “What I did to him was hurtful and selfish and I was a complete asshole. I’m not that person now, and I want to be able to show Isshi-san that.” Byou’s nerves were throbbing in his back, scared that Taizo would think his demands were ridiculous coming from any submissive. Drinking the rest of his wine, he set his glass down on the table, the alcohol was starting to muddle his thinking.

          “I want you to spend the night Byou, in my bed. There will be no scenes, no sex. Tomorrow I will arrange a meeting with either Mistress Davina or Madame F, to discuss a trial period and temporary contract. We will also go and retrieve what ever belongings you have. But tonight, it’s just sleep, nothing more. Is there anything that you want before we retire?” Taizo stood up taking the wine glass to the kitchen.

          Byou hesitated, but it made more sense, “Could I take a shower please? I don’t want to get your sheets dirty.” Taizo looked over his shoulder, “Yes of course. I will lend you some sleep pants and a t-shirt for tonight.” Directing Byou to the large master bathroom, he left the boy to shower alone, much to Byou’s relief.

          Letting the hot water run over his head, Byou breathed easier. The shower was large (enough for two) and the bathroom itself was stunning, the entire house was like nothing he’d ever seen before. He heard the door open, “Your clothes are on the counter,” Taizo snuck a glance at the naked form of the boy, outlined in steam on the shower door, an appreciative smile grew on his face and a twinge in his groin.  Giving the young man time to dry and get dressed, Taizo changed into pajamas and sat on the end of his bed to wait for Byou.

          There was a toothbrush laid out for him, along with the pajamas, Byou a little overwhelmed by the generous acts. Finishing brushing out his hair, he opened the door, “How was your shower?” Taizo asked. Byou looked down, twisting the bottom of this shirt, “It was good, the shower’s very large…well the house is huge, it’s beautiful.”

          Taizo stood up and walked towards Byou, putting his hands on the young man’s shoulders. “I want you to sleep well tonight, you look like you haven’t had a decent night in some time.” Byou just nodded. “Come then, enjoy the comfort of my bed.” Byou grinned and with a giggle, launched himself onto Taizo’s bed. “God this feels good!” pulling back the comforter, he burrowed down into the luxury sheets, pulling them over his head. “I could stay here forever,” he murmured. The Dominant laughed, “That might be arranged you know, but if you do consent to stay with me, you would always have your own bedroom, you would not be required to sleep with me every night, I can be a bit of a bear sometimes.”

          Pulling the sheet down, Byou looked at the other man. “Do you snore?” he laughed, “Not that I know of, Constance never complained about it, if I snore tonight feel free to make me roll over.” Without warning, Byou rolled over and quickly kissed Taizo. “Thank you,” he whispered on the man’s lips. Taking advantage of the closeness, the kiss was returned eagerly and with a bit more passion. Byou mewled through the kiss, “You’re welcome,” Taizo kissed Byou on the nose, then reached over and turned off the light, pulling the younger man close to him.

          Waking in the middle of the night, Byou had to gently pry himself out of Taizo’s arms in order to use the bathroom. Quickly walking back to the bed, he slid in carefully and snuggled against Taizo’s side, and the man mumbled something and put his arm around Byou’s waist. It felt so good to be held by someone as he had longed for this for five years.

 

          Byou stood against the wall in Madame F’s large office, listening to Taizo speak about the temporary contract. Ormond was standing behind his Lady’s chair, his eyes on Byou throughout the exchange. He had known Byou when the young man had been contracted to Isshi, and what the Dominant had gone through emotionally with the boy. As such he didn’t exactly trust the submissive young man, at least not yet.

          “Three months? That seems sufficient enough time to decide on a permanent arrangement. Byou, come here boy.” Madame F directed the boy. ‘Yes, Ma’am.” Byou kept his eyes on the ground at all times, Madame F had always intimidated him a great deal, more than any other Dominant he had come in contact with.

          “I want you to look over these terms, Byou. Initial next to what you agree with, and if there is anything you don’t like, we can discuss that.” Madame F knew there was nothing that the boy would object to, he had stood and listened as the two Dominant’s discussed the terms of the contract. “Yes Ma’am.” Byou picked up the paper and read through it, a tiny gasp when he saw the section about his collar. “Ma’am? Am I to have a collar, even without being contracted?” he asked. This was not unusual in the community, but it was something new for Byou.

          “Yes Byou, I’m going to provide you with a temporary collar, if you are to attend me in public, it must be noted that you belong to me.” Taizo wanted to have the boy sign a permanent contract right away, he had no doubts after the boy spent the night in his bed. Byou put the paper down and reached for a pen, initialing all of the conditions happily, secretly wishing that this was his real contract.

Presented with his temporary collar, Taizo buckled in place before Byou and Taizo left Madame F’s and went to the internet café where Byou had been living, to collect the paltry personal belongings. “Most of this we can just throw away, I um…don’t have a lot of clothes.” Byou was embarrassed, trying to shove his things in a bag quickly so Taizo wouldn’t see. “Let’s take stock of what you have, and then we’ll go shopping, ne?” Byou was shocked, “Wait… you’re going to take me shopping? But I’m not fully cont…”

          “Byou, if you’re going to be with me, you’re going to have to learn to let things go. It’s obvious I have a lot of money, right? Just get your things and let’s go home.” Taizo grinned, putting his arm around Byou’s shoulder as they left the internet café. Walking towards the sleek red BMW, Taizo dug a little to find out what exactly Byou wanted to wear, or was comfortable wearing in relation to being a submissive. He was surprised at Byou’s rather timid request, “If it costs to much, then forget it, but do you think I could get my hair dyed dark again?” Byou had bleached his hair in an act of pure rebellion, but now being with Taizo, he wanted to return to his true self, which was dark hair.

          Taizo stopped mid stride, in the middle of the sidewalk, “Why would you think I would say no?” Byou looked at his feet, “Maybe because you like my blonde hair…that maybe it’s what attracted you to me?” Taizo sighed, “No, it wasn’t all the blonde hair, it was the look in your eyes, it was the story that Madame F and Isshi told me, that’s why I came to you.”

          Without regard to anyone on the street, Nakamura Taizo slid his arms around Byou’s slender waist, pulling him close and kissing him deeply. Resting his forehead on Byou’s, Taizo looked into his submissives eyes, “I want you, the whole you, not just the submissive or sex you…all of you. So just let me care for you, ne?” Cupping Byou’s face in his hands, he kissed the boy again. “Let’s just work on us for right now, and not worry about anything else.” With a kiss on the nose, Taizo took the young man by the hand and led him towards his car.

          Back at Taizo’s home, Byou dumped his bag on the bed in ‘his’ bedroom, something that Taizo wanted him to have, “You must have your own room as I’m sure there will be nights either you or I will be too tired or sick to want to play. You need your solitude as much as anyone else.”

          Looking through the clothes it was obvious that most of what the young man owned was ‘shit’ as he so eloquently put it to his Dominant. “I have one sorta decent outfit, that I wore every time I went to Vinyl Fetish, other than that I have a few pairs of track pants and some band t-shirts, that’s it.” Taizo sat on the side of the bed, making a list in his phone. “You need clothes, you need shoes, all the basic things that a man should have. Oh, and we need to have your hair done, and I know just the place.”

          Putting the few clothes he would keep in drawers and in the closet, he listened as Taizo made the hair appointment, “We’ll be there, thank you.” He snapped his phone shut, “We need to be there in an hour. I’m going to make us a quick snack then we’ll go.” Taizo reached out and grabbed Byou’s ass as he walked by, smirking over the small yelp he got in response. This was going to work, he had to move on from Constance and the only way to do that would be to dive into another relationship. There was no denying Byou was attractive, he could only imagine the young man moaning under him as he would deny the boy’s orgasm, the sounds he would be able to draw from him…yes, this was going to work out more than just nicely.

Chapter Text

 

          He watched the two men leave the room, talking excitedly about a new video game that was being released soon, “It’s been ten fucking years!” Hal whined. The door closed on the conversation and Aoi watches as Uruha disappears down the hall, his heart heavy with regret. “You fucked that up.” He grunted to himself. He had a sure thing with Uruha, and he did what he always did, thought of his needs and wants first, the other person second if at all.  “Aoi, are you ready?” Ken asked over his shoulder. “We need to lay down that run in the middle again, I keep picking up something weird.” Aoi picked up his guitar and sat down behind Ken, thankful for the distraction of recording.

          Uruha had felt Aoi’s eyes boring a hole in his back as he left the room with Hal. His conversations with his bandmate had been limited, Uruha was in no mood to deal with a jealous Aoi, especially after the morning they’d had. Walking into the studio early in the day, Uruha had just set his bag down and was reaching for his guitar when he felt Aoi’s eyes on him. He hated the feeling that he had to tread lightly around the other guitarist, that if he looked him in the eyes that Aoi would take it as a sign Uruha was willing to talk; which he wasn’t.

          Uruha had ridden in to the studio with Ruki that morning with the hopes of using the small man as a buffer from Aoi…and it worked to an extent. As they waited for Ken, Uruha was on his phone texting Hal, talking about having lunch later and about a new video game. Of course, Aoi had to jump in where he wasn’t wanted, “I see you’ve moved on, dating Hal now? That didn’t take long.” He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth, “I mean…um,” he tried to back peddle, but it was too late.

          “What Uru does on his own time is none of your business Aoi, so just don’t even go there.” Ruki moved to stand next to where Uruha was sitting. The guitarist reached out to touch Ruki on the arm, “Ru, it’s okay,” he said as he turned to look at Aoi, “Hal is a friend of mine, that’s all you need to know.” Aoi sheepishly nodded, “Right…sorry.” Everyone was getting tired of the tension that seemed to always be in the air, when Aoi and Uruha were in the same room, when Aoi couldn’t control his emotions, let alone his mouth. The man knew he was slowly alienating his friend and bandmates, but there was just no filter between his brain and his mouth.

          During a smoke break on the back step of the studio, Aoi asked Reita about Hal and Uruha, “Are they actually dating? Nobody seems to want to give me a straight answer. If they are, I’m happy for him, seriously happy, he’s found someone he can connect with.”  Reita shrugged, “Far as I know they’re just friends, they both like to seriously geek out over shit like video games, now that Umbrella is with DCR, I think Hal was just looking for someone to hang out with, that’s all.” With Ruki’s comment and now Reita’s, Aoi was satisfied…for now. “Well, good for him, he’s a better man than I am.”

 

          Hal laughed, “Seems like he was a huge handful before he found his boyfriend.” The members of Umbrella were not frequent visitors to the restaurant that most of the bands with DCR frequented, and as a result the man didn’t know about Ruki’s sordid past habit of dine and dash. “There’s been so much drama at that place, it’s a wonder they haven’t shut it down.” Uruha told Hal some of the multitude of stories; Shinya dropping Reita with a single punch, the episode with Masa and Tatsu and of the wake for Teiji.

          “I don’t understand that at all, I mean I don’t know any of those people, why was it such a big deal.” Hal didn’t know about the thin connection between the communities. “It has to do with Sakurai Atsushi’s boyfriend, Uta.” That name Hal did recognize, “Oh shit, that’s the other kid that got attacked by Morrie…he’s Sakurai’s boyfriend now? How does that work with this other guy?”

          Uruha laughed, “Try to follow me. The connection is Tatsu and Sato of MUCC’s boyfriends, Koichi and Taka, they work at the HBG. Taka’s the manager, he hired Uta, then Uta got in with an abusive Dominant.” Hal held up his hand, “Wait, Dominant like the bondage type Dominant?” Uruha nodded, “Yep. Did you know that Sakurai is a Dominant?” Hal’s jaw dropped, “Sakurai Atsushi? Holy shit… no I didn’t know! That’s wild, but I can kinda see it.” Uruha continued, “Sakurai, Kyo…um I think Tatsu and Koichi, maybe Taka and Sato went to this club and rescued Uta.” Uruha explained the events leading up to Teiji’s murder. Hal was stunned, “I remember that! I didn’t know it was Uta!”

          “Uruha? We’re ready to start again,” Reita had poked his head out the door, “You’re up, sorry Hal, we need our guitarist back.” Hal waved, “No worries. Hey, I’ll text you later, there’s a huge boss that I can’t seem to kill,” with a pat on the back, Hal went back to his practice room.

 

          “I don’t want to go. I’m going to ask Taka to take me off the schedule as well, and no, this has nothing to do with my depression, this is about my ring.” Koichi laid on his side, facing away from Tatsu, who had gotten a DCR email stating it was scheduling an event to welcome Umbrella to the label, and Koichi wasn’t happy. “Kou, you can’t stop living because of a ring.”

          Koichi tuned over quickly, “Is that all you see it as? A ring? Fine, I don’t’ care about a fucking ring, just like I don’t’ care about this fucking marriage if you’re going to be a dick about it!” Getting up from the couch, Koichi stomped out of the room, going into the bedroom and slamming the door. With his elbows on his knees, Tatsu leaned forward and buried his face in his hands, “It’s a piece of jewelry, it’s not the end of the world if it’s lost.” Taking out is phone, he called Taka, “Hey, can I come by and see you today? Okay, I’m on the way.”  Tatsu walked over to the bedroom door, “Kou, I’m going out for a bit.” He got no response. With a heavy sigh, Tatsu left the house.

 

          Sitting in the office of the HBG, Tatsu explains the situation, “He doesn’t want to work the event, he doesn’t even want to go. I’m not sure I can force him to do either, that’s not going to work with him right now. He’s devastated…Taka I don’t know what to do! We can’t find the ring anywhere, and believe me, we’ve torn the house apart.”

          “Are you sure Teo didn’t eat it?”

          “He’d be in major pain or dead by now. His mouth is just too small and it’s not something Gordy would do either. I guess what I’m asking is either you force him to work and risk his wrath, or let him stay home, it’s your call really.” Tatsu was leaving it up to Taka, he had enough of Koichi being pissed off at him.

          “I’ll come by today after work, I won’t make any decision until I talk to him. This is an important event, not only for DCR but for Umbrella. Koichi doesn’t have to be here, but MUCC does, as senpai’s for the band,” Taka leaned forward and patted Tatsu on the leg, “let me talk to him, don’t give up yet.” Tatsu got up and hugged Taka, “Thanks, just text me before you come over, just to make sure he’s still there.”

          Thinking about what he had gone through with Koichi over the years, this was just another one of those hurdles that they had to overcome as friends. Though the thought of his best friend being that upset over a ring baffled him. “Kou, it’s a damn ring…what’s the big deal?” Turning back to his computer, Taka just shook his head. Right now, getting the details ready for the DCR event took precedent over Koichi’s problems. Rolling his chair through the office door and leaning back, “Aki, Tomo, come talk to me when you have a minute.”

          “Sorry Tomo, it’s your turn to be break bitch.” Taka smirked. “It’s okay, I know how much Mao hates it and honestly I’d rather be inside than out on the patio.” Tomo said shyly. “That’s why I’m having you do it this time, I know that it can get a little rowdy out there and of course, we don’t need your boyfriend flipping shit over someone looking at you or something.”

          “He’s not that bad Taka, give me a break.” Tomo stuttered.  Taka and Aki looked at each other then started to laugh. “Tomo, we all love Ruki, but you can’t tell me he’s not a jealous monster if he wants to be.” Tomo huffed and crossed his arms over his chest, “Only sometimes,” he muttered.

          “Is Koichi going to work?” Aki tried to change the subject. “I’m not sure yet, I need to talk to him first.” Taka wasn’t about to tell them about Tatsu’s visit or the missing ring. “Because this is a fairly important event, everyone is working.” That was as much of an answer Aki was going to get.

          “Tell Tora and Mao when they get in later, I’m taking off early, I have some errands to run. I’ll be in tomorrow morning hopefully with more details on the event.” Taka stood up and grabbed his bag, “jaa, ne.” Taka texted while he walked, telling Sato he was stopping at Koichi’s, then texted Tatsu that he was on his way.

          “Where is he?” Taka toed off his shoes in the genkan.

          “He’s still in the bedroom, the door isn’t locked though. Thanks for this Taka.” He patted Tatsu on the back, “That’s what friends do.” Walking down the hall, he stopped and listened at the door before going on, making sure that Koichi wasn’t throwing an angry tantrum. He opened the door slowly, peering around it before going in. “Hey Kou…you awake?” Taka padded over to Koichi’s side of the bed, touching him on the hip, “Why are you here Taka?”

          “Because you’re scaring Tatsu, and frankly I think you need to grow the fuck up. I’m sure you’re going to tell me to fuck off but that’s okay, you’ve said worse to me.” Koichi turned over on his back. “What do I have to grow the fuck up for? Because I lost the single thing that was most precious to me? Pfft, you have no clue how I feel. Go home.”

          “Do you hear yourself? You’re placing importance on an object instead of what it represents. It sucks that it’s lost, Koichi…but it’s a ring. I understand how you feel, I’d be upset if I lost mine, but to treat your husband this way over a physical symbol is wrong. Now get your skinny ass up, we need to talk about the DCR party.”

          Koichi turned back over, “There’s nothing to discuss, I’m not working and I’m not going with Tatsu. I’m staying home.” Taka’s nerves were at their limit, it was going to be ugly but it had to be done.

          “You know what? You’re a fucking asshole, Koichi and I’m getting sick of your pathetic whiney bitch attitude all the time. You lost your wedding ring, big fucking deal. You have depression, okay so get it treated, but you need to stop playing the fucking victim all the damned time. There are other people in this world that are just as important as you, that have just as many problems you do and have it way worse than you do. You’re turning into a huge fucking whiney assed wimp and personally I’m getting really tired of it. You’ve been treating Tatsu like shit lately because everything has to be about you…poor Koichi. Fuck that, I’m done. When you come to your senses, when you want to be a good person and a contributing member of society again, call me. I don’t give a rats ass if you show up for work or not…I’m fucking done.” Taka whipped around and stormed out of the room, Tatsu having heard the shouting had walked towards the bedroom, only to be passed by Taka on his way out.

          “Sorry, he’s not worth my time right now, hopefully you’ll get the adorable Kou back at some point, see you at the event.” Taka put his shoes on and left the house with a slam of the door.

          Koichi was dumbstruck, he couldn’t wrap his mind around everything Taka had just said. None of it was true of course, Koichi wasn’t being a wimp or a whiney bitch, he lost his wedding ring, that’s a big deal to most people. “FUCK OFF TAKA!” he screamed at the door. Tatsu stopped short of the bedroom, then turned around. He had heard everything Taka had said and, in his opinion, the man was spot on in his description of what Koichi had become; a spoiled whiney brat. Maybe this is what his husband needed and as he turned away from the room, he smiled to himself. “Adorable Kou? Haven’t seen him around in a long time.”

          “You haven’t?” Koichi had wandered into the living room, “am I really all that bad?” Tatsu turned cursing himself for speaking. “Kou, come here,” Tatsu sat down on the couch, patting the spot next to him. “It’s true that you’ve lost yourself lately, though it’s not entirely your fault, but it’s true that I haven’t seen the adorable Kou in a while.” Koichi leaned his head on Tatsu’s shoulder. “Have I been treating you like shit?” he asked. “To put it bluntly, yes.” He could feel Koichi stiffen. “Some of it I understand, other parts, not so much.”

          Tatsu picked up Koichi’s hand, kissing it gently. “I’m sorry about the ring, truly sorry, but it’s not the end of the world. It was a symbol of our love and commitment, but isn’t our love about what we do for each other and we how make each other feel? Our commitment to each other isn’t bound in a ring, it’s bound in our hearts, that’s what I think you’re missing.”

          The couple spent the next few hours talking about everything that had happened in the last six or seven years, everything from Morrie to Masa and Kyo. Koichi hadn’t realized that he had been such an asshole, not only to Tatsu but to his friends as well. In the end, Koichi called Taka and apologized, telling him that he would be at work for the event, and thanks for bitch slapping the stupid out of him. “I’ll see you tomorrow night, we can go over the event then, ne?” Taka laughed, “Sure Kou, see you tomorrow night.”

 

 

          Why did he care so much what he was going to wear? It wasn’t any thing special for The Gazette, just another DCR party, but it felt special for some reason. “Just pick something you idiot,” he snapped at himself. Just as he pulled on his boots, Ruki was texting him that he was downstairs waiting in the car. “Shit…” double checking his hair and make up in the mirror, he grabbed his wallet and keys and ran down the stairs. “Sorry, I um…” he stuttered as he got in the car. “You couldn’t find anything to wear, could you Shima?” Ruki teased, “You look nice though, I’m sure Hal will appreciate it.” Uruha just blushed, “Thanks Ru,”

          The crowd at the counters for the first round of drinks was normal, long. Aki, Tora and Tomo working hard to get drinks for everyone, Ruki hopping up and reaching for a quick kiss from Tomo, which then Aki and Tora decided they needed to kiss too, “it’s only fair Tomo,” Tora teased.

          Uruha sat with Reita and Ayato, nervously watching the entrance to the HBG, “Uru, he’ll be here, it’s okay.” Reita tried to reassure his friend. “I just don’t know how to act around him Rei, it feels like he’s giving me mixed messages. One minute we’re talking video games, the next about how hot he thinks I look in glasses.” Ayato giggled, “Uruha, pretty sure that he’s into you, but maybe he feels the same way?”

          Koichi was standing next to Tatsu, sneaking in a kiss while he was on patio duty, “I love you,” he whispered as he kissed his husband on the cheek, “You’d better get back to work… you can’t be seen making out with the guests.” Koichi slapped him playfully. Tatsu watched as his husband walked away, “He seems better, ne?” Sato said, “We had a long talk, and I think what Taka said to him, hit him in the gut pretty hard.” Sato grinned, “Taka told me what he said to Kou, pretty damn harsh if you ask me, but if it worked, I can’t say I blame him.”

 

          The party started to ramp up with the guests of honor and the management of DCR arrived. There was a short speech introducing the members of Umbrella, a short mention of the upcoming Spring tour season and the release later in the year of the Gazette’s new album. With the end of the speeches, the DCR management told everyone to have a good time, but to be safe and call a cab if needed. The management of the record label never stayed at the parties, wanting to let their clients enjoy themselves without the fear of retribution if there was some sort of incident.

          Once Umbrella was introduced, various members of other bands came to speak with them, congratulating them and welcoming them to the label, Hal was speaking to Uruha and Reita, with Ayato hanging on his boyfriend and Uruha oddly quiet. Near the fountain, Aoi sat with Ruki, both watching the guitarist and Hal. “Are you sure they’re not dating? Uru’s dressed up a bit more than normal.” Aoi asked Ruki. “You’re not getting any info out of me, especially since I don’t know the answer. I think they’re just good friends, Aoi…just drop it okay?” Aoi nodded, then turned his attention to Yuki and Ken who were standing near the Dir En Grey table, Pon waving his arms around and Yuki laughing at whatever story he was telling.

          Ruki side-eyed Aoi, as the man watched Yuki. “Regrets now, Aoi?” “What? Oh…maybe a little. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. He’s happy, you can tell he loves Ken.” This was a shock, “Oh? You think so?” Ruki said. “Yah, I can tell. I’ve seen that look before…well before I fucked everything up. Yah, I’m sure Ken’s in love with him too, what’s not to love?” Aoi sighed. “You know, I think I’m going to go home, I’m just not into this tonight. I’ll see you later, Ru.” Aoi got up from the table and walked out of the HBG.

          Uruha had seen Aoi walking out of the patio area, his heart thumped a little in disappointment. “Hey, everything okay?” Hal turned to see what Uruha was looking at. “Yah, sorry… Um, you want to get another drink?” Hal’s smile brightened, “Sure.” Before he could even move, Hal slid his arm around Uruha’s waist and walked with him to the counters, “Is this okay?” Hal whispered to Uruha, “Mmm, yah it’s fine,” he said in a shaky voice.

          Hal kept his arm around Uruha while ordering drinks, Tomo smiling at his boyfriend’s bandmate. “Thank you, Tomo.” Hal said cheerfully. “Hey, do you want to meet the rest of the band?” Uruha’s step stuttered a bit, “Um…” Hal stopped, “I know, let’s go find a quiet table, just you and me for now.” Uruha nodded, “Okay,” his voice so low Hal almost couldn’t hear it.

          They found a table at the back of the HBG, just a little way from the main party. Hal moved his chair so he was sitting in front of Uruha, “Sorry, I guess I moved a little to fast, ne?” Uruha bit his lip, “A little.” He couldn’t look at the man sitting in front of him, it was too hard. “Probably should have asked before the party, and not spring this on you in public.” Uruha just shrugged. “Hey, look at me,” Hal reached out and lifted Uruha’s chin with a finger. “We don’t have to do this, if what you’re looking for is just a friend. It’s what ever you want, I’m happy just having you in my life. If it moves on to something else, great, if not, that’s great too.”

          Uruha had his hands in his lap, looking down at them. “I’m not sure you’d want to be in a relationship with me, just ask the guys in my band. They’ll all tell you I’m an OCD headcase.”  Hal took Uruha’s hands in his, “Hey, ask the guys in my band and they’ll tell you I’m a huge geek that spends too much time on my Game Boy and that I’m a shut in. I seriously doubt you’re that big of a headcase, Uru. If you were you wouldn’t be in a super successful band that’s been together for almost twenty years. We all have our quirks, we’re all music geeks that were teased in school for being different.”

          “Are you sure, Hal? I mean really sure? What happens if…” before he could finish, Hal leaned in and kissed him softly. “I’m sure, and I’m not Aoi…make sure to remember that.” Without another word, Hal stood up and took Uruha by the hand, “Come on, let’s go mingle…it’s a party, right?” His smile…it’s so damned cute! Take a chance Kouyou, quit letting Aoi’s shit hold you back. “Yep, let’s go…introduce me to your guys?” With a smile, Uruha stood up, letting Hal put his arm around his waist again, as they walked back into the party.

 

          Ken and Yuki had found a quiet spot near the fountain, enjoying watching the others but wanting a little privacy. “This is nice,” Ken said as he tightened his grip around Yuki’s waist as the younger man sat on his lap. “Yah, I like watching everyone, it’s kinda weird to think that everyone here for the most part are famous musicians, that play in front of thousands of people.”  Yuki leaned his head against Ken’s neck, “Even you, you’re a famous person, you’ve played in front of thousands of people…it’s kinda weird.”

          Ken nuzzled Yuki’s hair, “It is, but that’s not a big deal to you, is it? You don’t care that I used to be famous, right?” Yuki sat up, “What do you mean, used to be famous! You still are, just because you don’t have a current band, you’re like a top studio engineer, that’s worked on dozens of albums, right?” Yuki settled back into his boyfriend’s arms. “Being famous doesn’t matter to me, I’m happy with you, I don’t need anyone famous.” Yuki sighed. Ken was glad Yuki couldn’t see his face as a tear trickled down. How lucky was he? A younger boyfriend that besides being really cute and sexy, cared about him and not about who he was before.

          They both had the same thing on their minds as the party wore down. “Your place or mine tonight?” Ken asked, “Yours because I need to do laundry and I don’t have any clean towels.” Yuki giggled. “And you’re sure I have clean towels? Seriously I live alone, I’m lucky to have clean underwear!” Yuki made a gagging sound, “Eww, don’t tell me that! TMI!” Ken tickled Yuki for that comment. “Let’s go home, I don’t need to see who’s the drunkest here as we all walk out. Why don’t you go tell Ayato and Reita that we’re leaving, I need to see Kai for a minute…I’ll meet you at the entrance.”

          Yuki walked over to where Ayato was sitting with Reita. “Hey, we’re leaving. We should do lunch this week, I think we need a trip to Ojisan’s. Call me tomorrow or whenever you are off. Love you!” with a tight hug, and a quick pat on Reita’s head, Yuki saw Ken waving at him, “Let’s go home.” Both men had butterflies dancing in their stomachs, both men knowing that this night was going to be special in more ways than one.

Chapter Text

          Ken and Yuki were crying and laughing in each others arms, “I can’t believe this, I thought for sure I’d be the first one to say it, not you.” Ken had Yuki in a tight hug, both men still breathing a little hard from their second round of amazing sex, made more amazing when Yuki in the midst of his orgasm, “Uh god, I love you!” Which made Ken pound into the smaller man a little harder, “Yu…fuck ...I love you too baby.” Now they were laughing about the weird timing of the confessions.

          “I can’t help it…I just blurted it out, I’m surprised you even heard me, you were just like in the zone…” Yuki giggled, “Is that what you call it when I’m screwing you silly? I’m in the zone? That’s a new one I haven’t heard before.” Ken kissed Yuki on the nose, who then slapped him on the shoulder, “You know what I mean, your brain is so tied up in your dick you can’t think straight, I get like that too you know.”

          “Baby, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I’ve never thought straight to begin with, I’ve always been off kilter my entire life, why would sex make it any different?” The teasing went on for some time, but finally slowed down as the two men snuggled closely. “I really do love you, Yukimura, I’m not just saying it. You’ve made me so incredibly happy that it’s unreal. I seriously thought someone cute and sexy and young, would go out with an old fart like me.”

          “Okay, first you’re not an old fart…well maybe a little but that’s not a bad thing. You make me happy too, you listen to me and you treat me like I should be treated, how could I not fall in love with your goofiness? I love you Ken.” Yuki snuggled in as close as he could get, throwing a leg over Ken’s hip as he nuzzled the man’s neck. “I’m so fucking lucky.”

 

          The morning after the duel confessions was spent talking about how they would move forward from this point on. “What do you think about moving in with me?” Ken asked as they sat at the small kitchen table. “Uh, I’d say no, but you could move in with me.” Yuki smirked. “You have to admit, my flat is nicer than yours, and besides, we’re an all musician complex, three bands worth if you move in.”

          “Hmm, true and you do have an extra room, I could do like Die and Reita, use it for my guitars!”  They went back and forth about moving in with each other, what it might be like living together. “I’m not a slob…I’m just kind of lazy. So, you’d have to help with keeping up with the laundry, oh and I hate to vacuum, but I’ll keep the kitchen clean if you do that.” The bargaining when on for some time. Ken looked at his phone. “I need to get you home so I can get to work, but I want you ready at seven tonight, dress nicely because we’re going to the restaurant to celebrate.”

          Ken refused to get out of the car when he dropped Yuki off, “If I get out and walk you to your door, then start kissing you, I’m never going to make it to work, so just get out and be ready by seven. I love you,” Ken leaned over and kissed Yuki, “Fine, I love you too…see you at seven.”

 

          Yuki spent the day cleaning the flat (and doing laundry), in the hopes that they would spend the night at his flat, and talk more about moving in together. He had hesitated when Ken suggested moving into his flat, the whole incident with Aoi had thrown him from ever wanting to do that.

          He was in the kitchen when Ayato knocked and walked in, “Hey, do you have any aspirin or something,” his hangover was still lingering from the night before. “Yah, top shelf in the medicine cabinet in my bathroom…still hungover?” Ayato waved as he went down to the bedroom. Yuki closed the dishwasher up and turned it on, grabbing a cola out of the fridge, “Want some caffeine, it might help?” Ayato nodded, “Anything to get rid of this headache before I have to go to work.”

          Handing his friend the soda, Yuki sat down next to him on the couch, a goofy smile on his face, “What’s up with that weird grin? Something happen?” Yuki nodded vigorously, “Um…right in the middle of sex, Ken and I confessed almost at the same time!” Yuki started to giggle. “You’re joking! At the same time?” Ayato turned to him. “Well technically I did first, but he did like two seconds after. Then we spent twenty minutes laughing about it.” Yuki went into some detail (not too explicit) about the conversation afterwards, “I think I’m going to have him move in with me…my flat is so much nicer than his, and I told him it’s a bonus because this is a music complex, how handy it would be considering Die and Akira are right next door.”

          “Wow, that’s great Yu, you deserve it big time and he’s such a nice guy, totally your type!” Ayato couldn’t be happier for his friend, after all the shit with Aoi, Yuki needed someone exactly like Ken. “Meh, I need a nap before work, text me tomorrow, I want the details about the dinner.” Ayato hugged his best friend, “Seriously, I’m so damned happy for you.”  Yuki was pretty damned happy himself, he thought as he decided he needed a nap as well, he wanted to be wide awake and refreshed for his dinner date. “He loves me…fuck!” he giggled as he climbed into bed.

 

          Ken was more than a little distracted at work, with everyone noticing…especially Pon. “What the hell is wrong with you today? You’re all goofy and shit, pay attention…you’ve erased that three times already.” Pon shoved him with his shoulder. “Sorry, won’t happen again,” Ken smiled at Pon. “When we have a minute…” Aoi heard the exchange, but was more worried about the re-recording of his section in a song. “Um, can we not chit chat while we’re trying to get this finished?” Aoi said annoyingly. “Yah yah, keep yer shirt on boyo.” Ken laughed.

          Two hours later, Ken called for a break, quickly texting Yuki reminding him to be ready at seven. Waiting until everyone left the room, he quickly turned to Pon, “Sorry, it’s just that we um… well he confessed to me last night, and it was sorta funny because he beat me to it! I was going to confess too.” Ken was wiggling in his chair, “Dude, you’re acting like you’re in high school,” Pon laughed, “Sorry! I just can’t believe that he loves me…Pon you don’t understand! I’m old and shit, he’s super cute, young and sexy as fuck, what does he love about an old fart like me? I mean I’m glad he loves me as much as I love him, it’s just kinda surreal…like I got the prettiest girl in the entire school weird.”

          Pon grinned, “Good for you, Ken… can we just get this over with please? I’m still tired from the party, all I want to do is go home and sleep.” With a sigh, Ken turned to the mixing board, ready to start again.

 

          He was sitting on the edge of the couch, not wanting to crease his long shirt anymore than it already was, it was 6:50 and Ken would be there at any minute. Yuki couldn’t understand why he was so nervous, they had already confessed to each other, this was supposed to get easier after that, yet here he was with the butterflies as if it was a first date. He had taken extra care with everything from his shower to his clothes, hair and makeup, he wanted to look perfect for Ken.

          With a quick knock, Ken peeked in the door, “Ready…holy shit you look fucking hot!” Ken’s jaw dropped, “Um…maybe we should just stay home tonight?” Yuki frowned, “No way mister, you said we’re going to dinner and that’s what we’re doing. You can drool over me later…let’s go.”

          Ken kept sneaking glances at his boyfriend on the drive to the restaurant, “What are you doing weirdo?” Yuki giggled, “Looking at my hot fucking sexy ass boyfriend who I love with everything I have.” Ken said softly, as he reached over and picked up Yuki’s hand in his. “Sorry, it’s just different now, I’m kind of like excited and shit…cut an old man some slack.”  Arriving at the restaurant and giving the keys to the valet, Ken and Yuki made their way into the dining room. “Good Evening Ken-sama and to your guest as well, please enjoy your dinner.”

         

          Everything seemed different that night. The food tasted better, the conversation was deeper and sweeter. Neither one drank anything that night, Ken had a strict policy of not drinking at all if he was driving, which always reassured Yuki. Ken went all out with the meal, ordering for Yuki and waving him off when his boyfriend complained that he was spending too much. “You said yourself, that I’m a famous musician. I have money and all that shit, let me spend it on you please…and get used to it, because it’s going to happen a lot from now on.”

          Sitting next to Ken, Yuki felt safe and loved, something he had never felt with anyone else, not even Aoi. At this point he felt bad for the guitarist, he had failed in his attempt to have a relationship with Uruha, and from the looks of things at the DCR party, Uruha and the bassist for Umbrella were getting cozy. “What do you know about Hal?” he asked.

          “Not much really, good or bad. The band was with Star Wave records for the first part of their career, but I’m sure they’ll be doing bigger things with DCR. Hal seems to be the most open of the group, I just haven’t interacted with any of them much.” They talked about the others that were at the party, “Now that Ruki’s been tamed, there’s no more Ruki rampages, I kind of miss that.” Ken joked, “From what I hear, it’s not something that we should miss, although Reita says he’s good in a fight, almost as good as Kyo.”

          “We should get going, I don’t want to um... wait much longer,” Ken wiggled his eyebrows, “You’re a pervert, a dirty old man…but I love you.” Yuki leaned over and kissed Ken deeply, “I love you too,” Ken whispered back. Ken paid the bill and helped Yuki on with his coat, being the total gentleman, “You’re going to spoil me if you keep doing this,” Yuki leaned against his lover, “I plan on spoiling you a lot more than just this, wait until later.”

          The valet brought Ken’s car around, holding the door for Yuki, “Thank you,” the valet bowed and Ken pulled away from the restaurant. “Oh, I’m so full, we might need to wait an hour before any strenuous exercise, kind of like not swimming for an hour after you eat.” The conversation that ensued was about who had come up with that ‘rule’ anyways, “Like an hour makes a differe… KEN!”

 

          The sound of screeching tires and a huge explosion jolted Pon off the couch, ‘What the fuck was that?” Die came out of the bedroom, “Did you hear that? Shit…probably another damn accident, let’s go check it out, bring your phone in case we need to call 119.” Putting on their shoes, Die and Pon walk out to the front of the complex and look down the street, “Yep, better call 119 babe, I’m going to down to see if anyone is hurt.” Die started to walk towards the accident, other people were looking out of their houses and flats, and Die could hear sirens in the distance.

          He could see smoke rising from the two cars…well the car and the lorry. “Shit, head on, damn it!” Die groaned as he made has way toward the cars, “Has anyone checked on them yet?” he asked a man standing near him. “I was just going to, but it looks bad.” As Die and the man approached the lorry, Die looked at the other car…then he noticed a familiar blue sedan…with a sticker on the side window. “Oh, fuck no… please…” he moaned as he grabbed his head. He slowly walked closer… “Mother fucker…NO!” The man that was walking with him, stopped, “Do you know the driver?” he asked, Die just nodded. Before he could get any closer, police cars skidded into the scene, ordering people to get back on the side walk. Die walked up to one of the officers, “I think the driver of the blue sedan is Yokoyama Ken, there may be a someone else with him, his name is Yukimura.”

          Die backed up onto the sidewalk, squatting down on his heels, his fists in his hair grabbing the sides of his head, “Die?” he heard his name and looked, “Fuck…Pon go back, right now! Do not come any closer,” he yelled at his boyfriend. Getting up he ran towards Pon and grabbed him in his arms, “Don’t look, I think it’s Ken and Yuki, we have to move away…I don’t want you to…” Pon’s face was paler than he’d ever seen it, “Yuki…Ken? That’s not possible Die... THAT’S NOT FUCKING POSSIBLE!” Pon screamed.

          They watched as the passenger was taken out, the familiar bright red hair flashed in their eyes, “Die…no, please tell me…it’s not…” Pon was sobbing, clutching at his chest. “Stay here! Don’t fucking move!” Die shook Pon’s shoulders, he was numb, just shaking his head. Die ran up to a fireman, then ran back to where Pon was standing. “We have to go, they’re taking them to the trauma center, come on Pon…we need to go!” Die took Pon by the arm and dragged him back towards their flat.

          “Hey, what’s going on, I heard what sounded like an explosion.” Reita was standing in the hallway of the complex in his slippers, “Die…what’s wrong?” Reita started to shake, “Die answer me! What the fuck is wrong?” Die shook his head, “Where’s Ayato?” he whimpered, “He’s at work, why?” “You need to go pick him up, there was a wreck…it’s Ken and Yuki…go get Ayato and bring him to the trauma center, I need to call DCR.”

          “Ken…and Yuki? What … wait… a wreck?” Reita didn’t understand, his brain wasn’t grasping what Die was saying, then he looked at Pon who was stumbling towards their apartment. “Akira, just go get Ayato, meet us at the trauma center, hurry up.” Die snapped at him. Reita ran back to his flat, grabbing shoes and the keys to the small car that they all shared.

          “Baby come here, we need to get dressed,” Die took Pon by the hand and pulled him into the apartment. “I have to call, get your jacket…” Die was numb, he wasn’t doing this, this wasn’t… “Hi, um, this is Die. There’s been an accident and Ken Yokoyama was involved, can you contact people please, they said the trauma center, yes we’re leaving now.”

          Die grabs a coat and his keys, ‘Pon babe, let’s go.” Holding his hand out, he grabs his lover by the hand, as Pon can barely move on his own. They get into Die’s car and pull out of the lot with Reita right behind them as he drives to the HBG. Reita’s mind is flashing, how could it be Ken and Yuki? This must be a huge mistake, but Die said… no, it’s a mistake and when they get to the hospital, it will already be cleared up.

          Parking his car illegally, Reita runs to the counters, “Hey babe…” Ayato smiled as Reita as he stopped to catch his breath, “Get your stuff we need to go…there’s been an accident with Yuki and Ken, I don’t know anything else, just get your shit and let’s go!” Ayato grinned, “Ha ha! So not funny…” “DAMN IT AYATO I’M NOT FUCKING JOKING LET’S GO!” Reita screams. Ayato stumbles backwards, “oh…I um,” Taka pokes his head out of the office, “Reita, what the hell is wrong with you?”

          “Taka, Ken and Yuki were in some kind of accident, I’m taking Ayato to the trauma center, Die and Pon are already on their way…” Ayato runs from around the building, Reita reaching out and grabbing him by the hand and dragging him to the car. “Where are we …where did they take them?” Ayato’s mind was starting to cloud, he wasn’t hearing things right, “Die said the trauma center,” Reita mumbled as he pulled out into traffic. It took them fifteen minutes to get to the hospital, another five minutes to park.

          Running towards the emergency room, Reita sees Die, he has Pon in his arms and the boy is almost hysterical, Die is keeping him from falling to the floor. “Where…” Ayato whimpered, “I don’t know about Yuki…they haven’t said anything…but…” Pon’s sobs turn into wails of grief as he slips through Die’s arms and onto the floor, “Die…” Reita doesn’t want to ask, he doesn’t want to hear what he knows Die is going to say.

          “Rei… Ken’s dead.”

Chapter Text

 

          The weeks following the accident that took Ken’s life and seriously injured Yuki, were married in grief and silence. DCR’s practice rooms and recording studios were vacant, the restaurant had fewer diners, which for some only left Ojisan’s ramen hut as a place where they could share their grief and comfort each other. The owner of the HBG, out of respect for Ken, had cut back on the hours of operation, so the grieving employees wouldn’t have to worry about coming into work. Taka had instructed Pon and Ayato to take time off, the others filling the extra hours without being asked.

          Ken’s funeral and memorial service were the first difficult hurdle to overcome, everyone in varying degrees of shock as the whole of the music industry in attendance, Ojisan, Davina and Kato were there in support of their friends. There were some American musicians that had worked with Ken in the past, that flew in just for the service, as well as Yoshiki and the members of X.  Before the service, Ken and Yuki’s parents met each other in a private room, both family’s grieving for each other’s loss.  

          Yuki’s body was starting to mend, but his brain activity was still sluggish. He was not responding to outward stimuli and he was still on a ventilator to help him breathe. The young man’s prognosis was uncertain, there was still a chance that Yuki may die. Yuki’s parents were by his side every day, his sister Aiko making sure that their parents ate and taking them home to sleep. Yuki’s mom, Kimiko was almost paralyzed with concern that drove her to the edge of passing out unless Aiko took her back to Yuki’s apartment.

          Ayato and Pon had become close to Yuki’s parents, and Ayato especially close to Yuki’s mom, sitting side by side next to Yuki’s bed, with no need to speak. For Die and Reita, they were each other’s moral support, learning how to come to terms with how Pon and Ayato were dealing with the tragedy of Ken’s death and the almost zero improvement of Yuki’s condition, each of them watching their lover’s closely.

          To Tatsu’s relief, Koichi was holding up better than he had expected, taking it upon himself to act as an assistant manager at the HBG, making sure that his best friend didn’t overwork himself. If Taka wasn’t working, Koichi was and the others were grateful for that constant.

          Hal had put the brakes on in his relationship with Uruha, telling the guitarist that they should wait to move forward until the depressive grief had passed, though he held Uruha close when the man would break down in tears. Aoi was struggling with a sense of misplaced guilt, his belief that had he been a better boyfriend to Yuki, the accident would never had happened and Ken would be alive, or so his mind told him.

          Ojisan’s small ramen hut was a soft place to crash when the grief was too overwhelming, offering kind words to his small family. Uta had spent some time alone with Davina, the memorial service for Ken brought back haunting memories of Teiji. Davina held Uta during the service as he cried for Ken and Yuki, Sakurai had his arms around both of them.

          As it was with the death of Hide, it would be some time before the music community would return to any semblance of normalcy, life was put on hold as nothing was that important at that moment. There would always be a hole in the collective community’s heart, a hole where Ken Yokoyama should be, and for some, the widening hole of fear, for Yuki’s recovery.

Chapter Text

 

          “You need to come home and get some sleep babe, you’re going to get sick and you’ll be the one in the hospital bed.” Reita was struggling to get Ayato to understand that he would be doing Yuki no good if he collapsed from exhaustion by sitting next to his bed in the hospital without a break.

          Kimiko, Yuki’s mom reached over and squeezed the young man on the knee, “Ayato-kun, listen to Akira and go home to get some rest and eat a decent meal, Aiko will be here soon and you know we’ll call right away if there are any changes.” She too was worried about her son’s best friend, Ayato having not left Yuki’s side for more that a few hours at a time.

          Ayato had to admit to himself that he wasn’t feeling well, his eyes wouldn’t focus anymore and he could barely stand without shaking, but the last thing he wanted to do was leave Yuki alone. “Fine, but only long enough to eat and take a nap, then I’m coming back,” he turned to Kimiko, “you promise you’ll call me if he wakes up, right?” Kimiko leaned across her chair and kissed Ayato on the cheek, “Yes dear, I promise.”  

          Ayato sighed and tried to get out of his chair when his vision started to white out, Reita’s voice sounding like an echo. “Ayato! Shit!” Reita grabbed his boyfriend just as he started to topple over onto Yuki’s bed, scooping him up and carrying him from the room. “Put me down Aki, I’m fine…I’m just tired.” He snapped. “You’re not fine, you feel like you’ve lost weight and you look like hell, so shut up and let me take care of you.” Reita snapped back. Ayato’s obvious weight loss scared Reita, the boy felt like nothing in his arms as they walked to the car. “Can you stand up for a minute?” Putting Ayato down next to the car, “Yah, I’m fine…sheesh you worry too much,” he lightly hit Reita in the shoulder.

          “No, I don’t worry too much, and besides you’re my boyfriend, I love you so I’m allowed to worry, just shut up and get in the car.” Reita snuck a quick kiss to Ayato’s cheek. “Weirdo,” he mumbled as he slumped in his seat, his eyes closing as the movement of the car lulled him to sleep.

 

          There was some improvement in Yuki’s condition, but he was not yet awake. It had now been almost a month since the accident, a month gone by that Yuki didn’t know that Ken was dead. Ayato and Pon had been by his side almost constantly, switching out vigil duties with Yuki’s family, Aiko bossing both boys around like a mother hen scolding her chicks. “You both need to go home! I don’t need either one of you falling apart at the seams in front of my parents, do you want to hurt them as well? Just go home or I’m going to call both of your boyfriends and have them physically haul you out of here.”

          Pon listened to Aiko, but Ayato ignored her completely. “Shut up, I’m not leaving,” he would tell her in a low nasty voice. “I’m not going anywhere until he wakes up, or at least tells me somehow that he can hear me.” Ayato talked to Yuki all day; what was going on at the HBG, what he had seen on television or read online. He talked about videos he wanted to watch with Yuki when he woke up…anything but telling Yuki that his lover was dead.

          “Babe, we’re home.” Reita gently shook Ayato’s shoulder, “Hmm? Okay.” Once again as soon as he tried to stand, his vision started to white out, but this time Reita was ready for it. “Nope, you’re not walking, come on.” He lifted his slender lover in his arms, “Do you want to eat first or sleep?” Reita got no answer other than the even breathing of Ayato. “Guess that answers the question.”

          Just as he turned the corner, Die had just stepped off his porch when he saw Reita, “Die, can you get the door for me please? Keys are in my back pocket.”  Die quickly grabbed the keys and opened the door to Reita’s flat, “Is he okay?”

          “Yah, just exhausted. Kimiko finally convinced him to come home to eat and sleep, but it was a fight.” Reita took Ayato into their bedroom and gently laid him on the bed, covering him with a blanket, “I love you.” He whispered as he kissed his boyfriend, then quietly left the room.

          “Man, I’m glad I got Pon to finally come home, he slept for like twelve hours, then got up and ate a huge meal then went back to bed for another six hours.” Die flopped down on the couch, rubbing his face roughly. “Any change on Yuki?” Die leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, “I guess he’s responding to anyone talking a little, but nothing major.” Reita hated that he was even thinking this; “Die, what are we going to do if he doesn’t…” his thought trailed off.

          “I don’t know Rei…I just don’t know. Ayato’s going to lose it completely and Pon won’t be far behind, I can’t even think what it would do to his family.” Die felt defeated, “I’m going home, gonna sleep with Pon until he wakes up.”

          Reita decided to do the same, going into the bedroom and changing into pajama pants and sliding in next to Ayato, spooning him and holding him tightly.

 

          The reaction he would get upon asking to see Yuki, Aoi was sure would be a combination of ‘hell no’ and ‘fuck off’, by most of the people that they knew. Deep in his gut he knew he had to speak to the boy, to bare his soul in an attempt to rid himself of the nagging guilt he had over Ken’s death. Everyone kept telling him that he was a fool for believing that if he had been a better boyfriend to Yuki, that Ken would still be alive, Ruki telling him “You have no way of knowing that Yuu, it’s not your fault.”

          Now he was standing outside Yuki’s hospital room, praying that the family was gone, or at least taking a break. Slowly opening the door just enough to see in the room, he could see Yuki’s sister Aiko, watching the monitors.

          “Um, sumimasen? Can I come in?” he whispered as he opened the door. “Aoi, right? Sure, come on in.” Aiko smiled, she knew the entire story of Aoi and Yuki’s relationship, with Ayato and Pon filling in the blanks that Yuki had left open.

          “Um, I just wanted to talk to him…I mean I know he’s not awake yet but I figured it couldn’t hurt, is that okay?” Aoi was stuttering and stumbling over his words. Aiko felt sorry for the man, she knew he was suffering from guilt, that he was beating himself up pretty badly right now. “I think he’d like that, go ahead and sit down, I’m going to go run and grab a cup of coffee.” With a smile and a pat on Aoi’s shoulder, Aiko left the room.

          Aoi got closer to the bed, his heart wrenched when he saw Yuki’s face for the first time, “Oh baby, no…” he whined. The broken nose and orbital bone had the boy’s face bruised and with multiple stitches crisscrossing, he could see that both of Yuki’s legs were in casts, but what was under the blanket, he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

          Sitting down in the chair, Aoi slid his arm through the rails of the bed, picking up Yuki’s hand in his, leaning down to kiss it, then he started to speak. “Yu, babe… you need to wake up, you’re scaring the shit out of everyone, I’m sure Ayato is worried sick…and he’s so puny you know that Akira is going to be upset as well. You’re so special to so many people who love you, everyone is asking about you, even Ojisan.”

          Aoi’s tears fell without him even noticing, “I’m so sorry Yuki, I’m such an asshole, I was a horrible boyfriend, I’m a horrible person really. I need to tell you how sorry I am.” At the end of his sentence, one of the monitors started to beep a little quicker, Aoi turning his head to watch, “Yuki baby, your sister is here. Your mom and dad are staying at your flat until you wake up, I know Akira and Ayato are here all the time, so is Pon.”

          The beeping increases, Aoi takes a chance and bends down to whisper in the boy’s ear, “I love you Yuki, please come back to us…to me, I need to tell you something.” As he softly kissed the boy on the forehead, a different noise from the monitor started, scaring Aoi enough that he pushed the nurse call button.

          “Aoi, what’s wrong?” Aiko pushed open the door and heard the monitors going off, “I was just talking to him, holding his hand and telling him that everyone loves him and that we want him to wake up and the thing just started beeping faster.”

          “Excuse me please.” A nurse walked into the room, moving quickly to Yuki’s bed, Aoi and Aiko stepping away. “What was going on when this started?” the nurse turned to Aoi and Aiko, “I was talking to him, whispering in his ear… did I do something wrong?” the guitarist paled. The nurse grinned at him, “No dear, you didn’t do anything wrong, but I do believe that Yuki heard you or at least heard something, his heart rate and blood pressure spiked, but now it’s back down to normal, could you try again?”

          Aoi shook his head, “No, let Aiko do it.” Yuki’s sister moved to the other side of the bed, “Yuyu, honey can you hear me? Mom and Dad are at your flat sleeping, did you hear what Aoi had to say? I’m sure he told you that we all love you.” Nothing.

          “Can I try again?”

          Aoi stood next to Aiko, picking up Yuki’s hand, “Hey baby, you need to wake up, Ayato’s going to be here soon, Akira just took him home, we need you to wake up so we can tell you how much we love you,” Aoi held his breath, “how much I love you.” The heart rate monitor started beeping again, the nurse watching. “Again please.”

          Aoi’s tears returned as he leaned down close to Yuki’s ear, “I love you, please wake up, I need to tell you, come back to us, come back to me.” Both the blood pressure and heart rate monitors started to beep faster. “That’s enough, I’m going to go call his doctor. Don’t talk to him too much,”

          Aoi stood up, “I…I should go and leave you guys alone, thanks for letting me see him.” he bowed deeply and started out of the room, “Aoi…I know you still love my brother,” Aiko said as he reached for the door, “I’m not saying you’re going to replace Ken, but I want you to still be there for Yuki, please.” Aoi couldn’t look at Yuki’s sister, he just nodded and then left the room.

          He stumbled through the hallways of the hospital, half running by the time he hit the front doors and sprinting the final yards to his car, unlocking it and yanking the door open. Once inside, he locked the door and leaned his head back and screamed at the top of his lungs, not caring who saw or heard him. Beating on the steering wheel, his mini melt down lasted a good ten minutes before he got himself under control enough to drive away from the hospital.

          As he wound his way through the city back to his flat, Aoi argued with himself over what Aiko had asked of him, to stay by Yuki’s side as he healed, “There’s no way he wants me anywhere near him.” He couldn’t do it…he wouldn’t put the boy he had loved through that sort of torture, “no, don’t even think about it Yuu.”

          Climbing the stairs to his flat, Shiroyama Yuu had truly never felt this hopeless in all his life, even the problems with Akira and their relationship, and the abuse of Pon paled in comparison to his current internal struggle. He knew he still loved Yuki, and was fully aware of the huge glaring mistakes he had made. In his heart he knew Yuki would have never even looked at him again, as long as he was with Ken. Now Ken was dead, and Aoi was beating himself up over what he wanted to do; prove to Yuki that he was worthy, and possibly give him another chance at a relationship.

 

          Aiko watched Aoi leave the room, then turned to Yuki, “Yu-kun, he’s so sad…I think he still loves you. You need to try to wake up, we have so much to talk about, can you try and open your eyes for me?” Nothing. “it’s okay Yu-kun, I’ll stay here with you.” Reaching for Yuki’s hand and giving it a squeeze, Aiko watched the heart monitor spike again. “Yu…squeeze my hand if you can hear me,” she waited and watched the monitor spike yet again. “Yuyu, I know you can hear me, open your eyes for me please.” Aiko stared intently at Yuki’s face, looking for even the slightest sign that he was trying to open his eyes.

          The tiniest flutter of eye lashes, the pulse monitor spiking, “That’s it, Yuki, you can do it…open your eyes for me.” Aiko felt Yuki squeezing her hand, she leaned down to whisper in his ear, “Aoi was here, he said he wants to tell you something, you’re going to have to open your eyes first, try again.” Watching the heart rate and pulse monitors start to spike again, Aiko kept up a steady stream of encouraging murmurs in Yuki’s ear as the young man’s eyes continued to flutter open.

“That’s enough Yu-kun, rest for a bit, I’m going to call mom and dad.” Aiko kissed her little brother on the forehead and pushed the call button for the nurse. Quickly calling her parents, Aiko gave them the news they had been waiting for,

He’s trying to wake up, you guys should come down. No, I don’t think so, he looked pretty bad when Akira took him home…maybe in a few hours, he needs to sleep.”

The nurse entered the room, “He’s trying to open his eyes, I know he can hear me for certain.” Aiko told the nurse. “I’ll call his doctor,” Aiko nodded then turned back to her brother, “How am I going to tell you about Ken?”

Chapter Text

 

          Propped up on his elbow, Taizo gazed at the young man who was sleeping peacefully beside him. The soft contours of his face, the wisps of hair that fell across his eyes, it was a complete turn around from what happened the night before. Taizo could feel the burn in his heart; he was falling for Byou much quicker than he had with any other submissive before him, including Constance. He knew it would be a challenge to love the young man, but he was confident that Byou would become the most important person in his life.

          After the shopping trip and the hair salon, Taizo had taken Byou to an upscale restaurant high in a tower in the Ginza neighborhood, “Are you sure? I mean this is really fancy,” Byou objected, “If I have to tell you one more time that I have money to spend, I’m going to put you over my knee and spank you.” Taizo snapped. The entire day had been filled with hesitation from Byou on what Taizo was doing for him, at one point at the Armani store, Taizo had taken Byou aside and reprimanded him.

          “Drop the crappy attitude right now, this is becoming an issue. Just stand there and be fitted for a suit, I don’t want to hear another word while were here, is that clear?” Taizo’s voice left little room for debate and Byou did as he was told. “Yes Sir.” Byou’s Dominant led him back to the tailor, “I want him fitted for those three, two shirts for each with ties. He’s to have the Prada and Tom Ford shoes, six pair each.”

          Byou tried to do a quick calculation of the amount of money Taizo was spending on him, and when he figured an estimate, he gasped loudly, “Is there a problem?” Taizo quipped, “No Sir.”  Once he had the completed outfit on, Byou looked at himself in the full-length mirror, the vision that looked back was one that he didn’t recognize, it stunned him into silence, he looked like a model. His face flushed in embarrassment as he ran his hand through his hair and turned to Taizo, “I look so different, Sir.”

          “You’re very handsome Byou, there is no doubt. And I have to say I very much like your hair with the natural color, the blonde just didn’t suit you at all.” Byou blushed at the compliment. “Let’s finish here and get the rest of the shopping done, then I’ll take you to dinner.”

          Dinner was another struggle for Byou, though he knew to keep his mouth shut and not saying anything, which Taizo noticed immediately. “You’re allowed to speak, love. Tell me what’s bothering you.” Byou looked down at his plate and shook his head, “It’s nothing, Sir. I’m fine.”  With a sigh of exasperation, Taizo glared at Byou, “You have only one choice; tell me what’s bothering you or I will void our temporary contract.” Byou’s head snapped up, “Why? Why would you do that?”

          “Because you’re hiding something and I do not tolerate secrets or lies from my submissives.” Byou could tell that Taizo meant what he said, “I’m not hiding anything and I’m not lying. It’s hard for me to accept all of this, that’s all. Nobody’s ever treated me this good, except for Isshi and even then, it wasn’t this extravagant. Please, I mean no disrespect Sir.”

          Taizo shook his head, “Why is it so hard to accept? Do you not understand our situation now? You will be contracted and collard by me in a few weeks…are you having second thoughts?”

          “No, but I’m scared.” 

          Not what Taizo expected to hear, “Of what? And why?”

          “Everything and nothing. I’ll fall in love with you and you’ll leave me. You’ll fall in love with me and I’ll fuck things up like I did with Isshi. That we won’t work well together as a Dominant and submissive. You’ll find someone better, and you’ll throw me away. Someone will ask you to let them have me for a night, then you won’t take me back because then I’d be ruined.”

          “Fall in love… leave you? Give you … wait, what?” Taizo leaned forward in his chair, reaching out for Byou’s hand, “You believe these things of me?” he asked earnestly. Byou shook his head, “Not of you, but of me. I’m not a good submissive, I’m not even a good person. I hurt Isshi beyond what anyone should ever do to another, and now you’re treating me like I’m something special…it’s hard for me to accept that without thinking you’re just doing it…” he didn’t finish.

          He wasn’t hearing this, the beautiful boy sitting across from him had so little self worth that he was ready to sabotage the relationship before it even started? “I am none of that, and neither are you.” Taizo waved for the waiter, “Please put this on my account.” The waiter bowed, “Yes Nakamura-sama.” Taizo stood and reached for Byou’s hand, “We’re going home, and were going to talk all of this out.”  

         

          Byou rolled over and mumbled Taizo’s name, nuzzling his pillow as he snuggled deeper into the bed, Taizo reaching over and pushing the young man’s hair behind his ear. After talking about Byou’s trust issues and his lack of self esteem, Taizo put what he had on the table. “Here is how it will work; you will say thank you anytime I buy you something or do something for you. You will not question how much it costs or where it came from, you will accept it with gratitude.” Byou tried to speak, but Taizo reached up and covered his mouth with his hand.
          “For your part; you will wear what I tell you to wear, my submissives are dressed according to my status, if you absolutely hate something that I have asked you to wear that is considered anything other than club wear, I will hear you out then decide. I expect you to be attentive to your personal grooming and hygiene. Within the sphere of our contract, you must tell me if something is not working for you. If there is some part of our play that you are uncomfortable with, then we stop and discuss it. Do you have any questions?”

          “Are you sure you want to do this?” Byou was giving Taizo the opportunity to back out of their contract before the end of the trial period. “Yes, I am sure I want to do this.” Taizo stood up and took Byou by the hand, “And I want to do this…” he wrapped his arms around the young man, sliding his hand up and fisting the boy’s hair gently, pulling it back so Byou’s neck was exposed. “I want to do this too,” gently biting the tender flesh.

          Taizo showed Byou exactly what he intended on doing, step by step as he led the boy to the bedroom.  Undressing Byou and laying him back on the bed, Taizo spent the rest of the night convincing his young submissive that he was indeed worthy of validation and most of all, worthy of love.

         

          The voices were mixed up in his brain, there were so many of them talking at the same time; he could pick out his parents and Aiko, and Ayato…but where was Ken? The struggle to open his eyes left him weak and exhausted, who would have known that something so simple could be so tiring. He heard Aiko’s voice, telling him who had been to see him, asking to squeeze her hand, which he could…but just barely. He so desperately wanted Ken to hold his hand, he couldn’t figure out where he was and what had happened.

          Every hour Yuki seemed to perk up, not awake or speaking, but he could hear people talking to him. The nurses that came in during the night to check his vitals and record what the monitors said, they talked to him as well, “Your parents went home for a little while to get some rest, I’m sure your sister or Ayato-kun will be here in a few hours, they hate leaving you alone. Just get some rest so you can talk to them in the morning.”

          Exactly one month to the day since the accident, while his mom and Ayato sat next to his bed, Yuki finally opened his eyes enough to see the ceiling of his room. The pulse monitor started beeping faster, “Yuyu?” Kimiko stood up and looked down at her son, “Yuki…that’s it sweetie, open your eyes all the way.” Yuki looked towards the voice, seeing his mom for the first time in a month. Standing next to his mom was Ayato, and he looked like shit, Yuki thought.

          “Hey,” Ayato whispered, “Glad to see you awake, we’ve been so worried about you.” Kimiko was pushing Yuki’s hair out of his face, kissing his forehead and crying softly. Ayato pushed the call button, “I’m going to go outside for a minute, I’ll be right back.”

          Leaning against the wall and slowly sliding down, he put his head on his knees and started to sob, crying for joy that Yuki was awake, and in pain for what his best friend would hear, that Ken was dead. After a few minutes, Ayato got up and walked outside, got out his phone and called Reita, “Aki…he’s awake, no just now…go ahead and tell everyone, but no visitors yet, not until the doctors say it’s okay. Can you come and get me please? I love you too.”

          Wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his shirt and taking a deep cleansing breath, Ayato went back to Yuki’s room. Kimiko was standing against the wall as the doctors went through an exam to determine whether they could take Yuki off the ventilator. After the exam, the doctors asked Kimiko to step into the hallway, just as Yuki’s dad and sister came trotting down the hall.

          “He’s following commands, his vitals are good and his oxygen is at a high saturation limit, I’d like to keep him on the ventilator for a little longer, we should know by the end of the night if he’s awake enough to breathe on his own.”

          While the doctors were speaking to Yuki’s family, Ayato crept back into the room. Walking up to the side of the bed, he sees tears in Yuki’s eyes. All Ayato could do is nod, and hold his best friend’s hand, “You understand, don’t you?” he whispered to Yuki, who just nodded carefully. “I’m so sorry Yu.”

          Yuki understood why Ken wasn’t there, why he hadn’t run into the room when Yuki opened his eyes. He could see the lorry coming over the hill, he remembers screaming Ken’s name, the intense pain before he lost consciousness. And now he’s opened his eyes and Ken’s not there to hold him and tell him everything would be okay.

          Before Ayato could say anything else, Yuki’s family came back into the room. Turning to look at Kimiko and her husband, Ayato’s face told the story, “He knows…he understands what happened to Ken.” Turning back to Yuki, Ayato bent down and kissed him on the forehead, “I’m going to go home for a little bit, I need to get some sleep. I’ll be back in a few hours, I love you,”

          Bowing to Yuki’s family, Ayato left the room and walked down the hall towards the front of the hospital. He held it together for the five minutes he had to wait for Reita.  Reita didn’t say anything to his boyfriend as he got in, he just watched him carefully as they drove the ten minutes to their flat. Helping Ayato out of the car and into the flat, he still hadn’t said anything to Reita.

          “Do you need anything?” Reita asked, “No, I just want to go to bed.” Ayato walked to the bedroom. He stripped down to his boxers and got into the bed, pulling the covers up. Reita was still in the living room, when he heard the first wail, “Shit,” Quickly locking the front door, Reita ran down the hall to the bedroom, “Oh babe… no…” he murmured as he got into bed next to Ayato, pulling his lover into his arms. “Babe it’s okay, I promise… Yuki will be fine.” Reita gently rocked Ayato.

          “Aki, he knows about Ken…” he said between sobs, “he must have heard us talking about it before he was awake, he’s figured it out, he knows Ken’s dead…Aki how can I help him with this?” Reita kissed Ayato’s head, “We listen to him, hold him when he’s falling apart, you support him when he needs it, and we love him as much as Ken did. We’ll help Yuki get through this babe, I promise.”  Reita wasn’t sure he believed his own words.

 

          The information that Yuki was awake spread quickly through the community, everyone finally breathing easier. Everyone agreed to wait to visit the young man in the hospital, mostly because they weren’t sure how well Yuki would take the news of Ken’s death. Uta cried in Sakurai’s arms, out of relief and a bit of pain, knowing what Yuki was going to go through in the next few months. “I hope he doesn’t react the way I did,” he confided in Sakurai, “Babe I think it’s a bit different, you saw Teiji murdered in front of you, his life was taken on purpose by someone else. Ken died in a car accident.”

          “But the man driving the lorry was drunk, so it is the same! Ken’s life was taken on purpose, there is no accidental drunk driving.” Uta snapped angrily, and Sakurai had to agree. “Then you sit with him, you help him in anyway you can and you offer to listen when he starts to cry and, you stand by him as your friend.”

          The members of the Gazette were also very relieved, though like everyone else, they worried about Yuki’s sanity once the news of his lover’s death hit him. Reita had called Kai and asked him to pass on the news to the rest of the band, “No visitors yet, we’ll let you know when it’s allowed.”

          “Do you want me to tell Aoi?” Kai wasn’t sure how he felt about telling the guitarist. “Yah, he deserves to know just like everyone else, just remind him no visitors.” Reita hoped that maybe the seriousness of what had happened, had opened Aoi’s eyes to let him see that it wasn’t always about him.  Aoi listened as Kai told him about Yuki, the blood rushing from his face and causing him to feel light headed, “What about Ken? Does he know yet?” he asked anxiously. “I don’t know, Rei didn’t say anything about that but I doubt it, that’s nothing you just spring on a person.” Aoi thanked Kai for the call, he was thrilled that the boy had finally opened his eyes. “I’m sorry Yu…” he whispered to himself.

 

          “I’m so happy you’re awake, Yu-kun.” Aiko was sitting next to her little brother’s bed while his parents were speaking with the doctors about what they would need to do for Yuki once he was discharged from the hospital.  “You’ve had so many visitors already, Die and Pon were here almost every day, and Ayato…I almost had to beat that boy in the head to get him to go home and sleep. Mom and Dad and I have been staying in your flat, it’s so cute! Uta has great style.”

          Aiko reached out to hold Yuki’s hand, “Aoi came to see you. He was the first one to notice that you could hear us talking to you. I don’t know what he said but your monitors would start beeping like crazy.” Yuki turned his head and looked at his sister and frowned, lifting his hand he pointed at his heart, “Yu-kun…you were in a bad accident, a drunk driver in a lorry hit you head on,” her voice was shaking.

          “Both of your legs are broken, and one of your vertebrae in the middle of your back.” Yuki’s face paled, he pointed at his heart again, “Yu…no, Ken didn’t make it. The police said he saved you by turning the car at the last second…he took most of the impact.” Aiko started to cry, “Your right lung was punctured and you have a skull fracture and…and your left orbital bone is broken too,” Aiko was shaking, “…I’m so sorry Yu, he…he loved you so much…he saved you.”

          A knock at the door and two doctors and a nurse came into the room and approached the bed, “Yuki, I’m going to have the breathing tube removed, if your sister will wait outside, it will only take a minute.” Aiko wiped her tears and left the room. Taking out her phone she called Reita.

          Aiko wondered how she would be able to help her little brother get through the next few months, how she could help him grieve for Ken, how she could help him recover physically. She knew their parents wanted him to go home and live with them again, but Aiko wasn’t sure that was a good idea, she knew he needed to be around his friends, “They’re the one’s that are going to help him heal,” she argued with her father, “He needs to be around his friends, not stuck at home and dwelling on Ken’s death, if I have to I’ll stay with him, my job isn’t so important that I can’t quit, he’d be better off with me than both of you who would just turn him back into a little kid.”

          This hurt Kimiko, and Aiko knew it, “Mom…seriously, Yu-kun needs to live on his own, the worst thing possible is to have him move home and be coddled by you and dad. I’m not trying to be mean, but look at it from his point of view, he’s going to want to be near Ayato and Pon, so let him heal in his own home.” Kimiko looked at her husband, “She’s right…you know she is,” turning back to Aiko, “We will go with whatever he wants, if he wants you to stay with him, then dad and I will help cover the living expenses, but we will wait to see what he wants.” Aiko smiled then hugged her parents, “We’ll get him through this, everything will be fine.”

Chapter Text

          Ken’s mom sat in the chair next to Yuki’s bed, his dad standing behind his wife, with his hand on her shoulder. He had asked Aiko to call them, “I need to talk to them please,” he asked in a harsh whisper. His parents had honored his wishes, not pushing to talk to their son until he had been able to talk to Ken’s parents.

          “I’m so sorry, I loved Ken so much…we were going to move in together and he wanted me to meet you.” Yuki whispered through his tears. “We know all about you Yu-kun, Ken called us a few weeks ago, he was so happy and excited. He said he didn’t know what he did to deserve you, but that he loved you so much.” Ken’s mom was crying softly, her husband struggling with his own tears. “Ken wanted us to meet you, we had a special dinner planned for you…then the accident…” her thoughts trailed off.

          Ken’s father stepped next to the bed and picked up Yuki’s hand, “We want you to live for our Ken and never forget how much he loved you, you were everything to him…we hadn’t seen him this happy in a long time.” They talked to Yuki for a little while, Ken’s mom kissing Yuki on the forehead before they left, Kimiko and Aiko thanking Ken’s parents for visiting Yuki.  Aiko held her mom back, “Let’s give him a few minutes, I’m sure he’s upset.”

          After an hour, Aiko carefully peeked into Yuki’s room, “Yu-kun, can we come in?” Yuki’s eyes were red from crying, but his face showed a sign of relief. Kimiko kissed Yuki on the forehead for the hundredth time, Aiko sitting on the bed next to him. “What happens next, when can I go home?” Yuki’s voice was still raspy with pain an emotion.

          “The doctors haven’t said yet, but they did give us a list of things we’re going to need to do to the house before you can come home, ramps and grab bars and the such.” Yuki’s dad said. Yuki frowned, “Um, I’m not going home with you, I want to go back to my flat.” Aiko raised her eyebrows, “I told you so.”

          “Yuki how can you take care of yourself at your flat? You can’t walk right now…you’re going to need help.” Kimiko still didn’t like the idea of her son living in his flat, she wanted him home where she could care for him. “No mom, I don’t want to go back to your house, I need to be in my own flat, I’m sure Ayato and Pon will help me, so will Reita and Die.”

          The argument ceased when the doctor knocked on the door and entered the room, “How do you feel Yuki? Any pain right now?” The doctor looked at his clipboard. “My throat hurts but nothing else,” Yuki didn’t waste time, “When will I be released?” The doctor looked up, “Well that depends a lot on how you’re feeling. Your breathing tube was just removed today, you won’t be going anywhere for at least five more days. We need to check your lungs, I need to look at how the bones that were fractured are healing. Once we get the results back, then we’ll talk about you going home,” the doctor paused, “Do you have anyone to help?”

          Before Yuki’s parents said anything, Aiko spoke up, “I’ll be staying with him until he can take care of himself, which I’m guessing will be after his casts are off.” Yuki’s jaw dropped, “Nee-chan, you have a job…you can’t just quit.” Aiko waved her hand at Yuki. “Hush Yuyu, don’t even try to argue the point, you need help and as your big sister, that means me.”

          Nobody said anything for several moments. “What? I’m the only one that can do this, mom and dad, you guys still work. My job isn’t my career…it’s just a worthless job that I can quit to take care of my baby brother,” Yuki hated when she called him that, but didn’t say anything. “As soon as we know when he’s coming home, Dad you can help me with whatever we’ll need. I know he’s going to need a ramp into the flat, and some grab bars in the shower.”

          Like a general, Aiko pushed her parents to the side and took charge. “Doctor, you’ll have a list of what we’ll need, right? Any dietary restrictions and all that, I want to have everything in place before he gets out.”

          The doctor chuckled, “Yes ma’am, we’ll certainly get that list to you ahead of Yuki’s discharge. Today Yuki, I just want you to rest, tomorrow I’m going to order a scan of your head to check for the broken bones in your face.” With a stiff bow, the doctor left the room.

          Yuki looked at his sister, “You’re going to take care of me? Seriously Aiko? Um, I’m not letting you bathe me that’s for damned sure, I’d rather stink.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “No stupid, I’m not going to give you a bath, I’ll have Ayato come over or even Pon, they can do it. But I will help you with everything else, so just don’t even argue about it, ne?”

         

          Regretfully he knew he had to wake his boyfriend up soon, if he didn’t…Ayato would probably smack him good for it. “Babe, you need to get up,” Reita gently shook the man’s shoulder. “Mmmfff…” was the mumbled response, “Babe, Yuki’s breathing tube is out,” Ayato sat up quickly, knocking Reita’s arm off him. “Why didn’t you say so! When did this happen? Is he okay…what has he said?” Shoving the blankets off, Ayato jumped out of bed and ran to the closet grabbing clothes without even looking, “I need to take a quick shower, then you’re going to drive me to the hospital, make me a cup of tea while I shower.”

          Reita smirked and shook his head, “Yes dear.” Going into the kitchen, Reita started to boil water for tea. “Hey Reita…what’s up?” Die poked his head in the door without knocking, they had all grown so comfortable with each other that it wasn’t necessary any longer. “The doctors removed Yuki’s breathing tube, so I guess he can talk now. You might want to tell Pon, Ayato’s in the shower now and we’re leaving in a few minutes.”  

          Die sat down at the small kitchen table, “You think he’ll want to see us?”

          “Probably, I mean he’s been awake for awhile now, I’m sure he’d want to see you and Pon at the least, maybe others later.”

          “Is my tea ready?” Ayato walked into the kitchen, shirtless and still wet, “Hi Die. Hurry up, I want to leave in like ten minutes.” Taking his tea with him, Ayato went back to the bedroom. “Guess I’m leaving in ten minutes.” Reita smiled.

          “Can’t you drive any faster? Seriously Akira, you drive like old people fuck!” Ayato snapped at his boyfriend, “I drive what?” Ayato cracked a smile, “You know… old people like you… they’re slow at everything, even when they have sex they’re slow.”

          Reita laughed, “Don’t make me stop this car and prove your perfect little ass wrong about how fast I can fuck…don’t get me started or we’ll never make it to the hospital.”

           “Promises, promises. Just drive old man. You can show me later how fast you can fuck me.” Reita’s heart almost burst over having Ayato back to his normal cheekiness after going through a long month of worry and depression. “Yah yah, I’m driving already.”

          Pulling into the parking lot, Ayato jumped out of the car before Reita had turned it off. “Ayato!” with a slam of the door, the young man sprinted to the entrance of the hospital, and jogged down the hall to the elevators. “Hurry up!” he repeatedly punched the button. Sliding out of the doors before they were open all the way, he ran down the hall, skidding to a stop in front of Yuki’s room.

          Taking a deep breath, Ayato pushed the door open, “Yu…” he cried out, then rushed to the boy’s bed and threw himself over his friend’s chest. “Oh my god, seriously…I love you Yuki!” he sobbed into Yuki’s chest, “A bit dramatic, aren’t you?” Yuki petted Ayato’s hair, “Hey, I’m okay. Look at me please.”

          Ayato shook his head, his face buried in the covers. “Noffmmf,” Yuki smacked the back of his head, “Look at me dumbass!” Ayato sniffed, and raised his head to look at his best friend. “I’m going to be okay…really.” The tears in Ayato’s eyes told Yuki all he needed to know, that the man was just as devastated as he was over the loss of Ken.

          “Ken’s parents were here earlier, and we talked. Once I can get around, I want to go to the cemetery. Will you go with me?” Ayato nodded. “Hey, Yuki…it’s good to see you without that tube in your mouth.” Reita walked in, with a huge grin on his face, “Hey Akira, have you met my parents?”

          “Um, yes I have, at Ken’s memorial.” Reita bowed to Kimiko and her husband. “Memorial? There was a memorial?” There was no way Yuki could have known. “Yes, there was, it was at the restaurant and there were so many people there Yu,” Ayato told him. They talked about the memorial, Yuki crying but also there were smiles, “Wow, I guess I didn’t think about all those people, they worked with Ken over the years…Yoshiki and X? Damn, that’s a huge deal.”

          “He flew in from Los Angeles just for the service. Mistress Davina was there with Uta and Sakurai Atsushi, remember she’s the one that gave Uta the flats, that’s why she came, to support Uta and you too. Ojisan was there as well.” Ayato explained. Kimiko sniffed, “It was a lovely service, Yuyu, Ken was loved and respected a great deal in his community.”

          Without a warning, the door to Yuki’s room slammed open, “oh god, Yuki!” a second young man came running in, crying and flinging himself on his friend’s bed, “Hi Pon,” As it was with Ayato it took Pon a few moments to compose himself, just in time for Die to walk in, “Hey Yuki,” Die walked around to the other side of the bed, bending down and giving Yuki a kiss on the top of the head, “Glad to see you awake,” he said somberly. “Thanks, Die, it’s good to see you too.”  With his friends surrounding him, Yuki’s parents left to go back to Yuki’s flat and start to pack their things.

          “Aiko is going to move in with me, to help until I get my casts off. Um… this sounds a little weird, but do you think you guys could help when I need to shower n stuff? I don’t really want my sister doing it.” Yuki blushed hard, “Sure, I’ll help, I’ll tell Taka I still need to take time off.” Ayato offered.

          “Wait… you took time off?”

          “Uh, duh…of course I did! It’s not like I would have been able to work anyways, he told me to take the time off, and Pon didn’t work either. We’ve been with you since the accident.”

          Die explained about DCR basically shutting down, “They shut down? But what about the Gazette’s album?” Yuki looked at Reita, “Don’t worry about it, we made the announcement to the fans and what not, they were totally understanding, they even sent you get well cards, they’re at the studio.”

          “They didn’t find out about us, did they? Oh my god…” Yuki started to panic, “No, they just know that you were with Ken, not that you guys were dating. I doubt that they’d care to be honest, our fans aren’t that petty.” Reita reassured him, “The cards are at the studio, when you feel up to it, we can go get them.”

          As soon as Yuki started yawning, Aiko pulled rank and shooshed everyone out of the room. “Come back later tonight. I know the doctors want to run some tests and get an idea of when he can come home. I’ll call you, Ayato and let you know.” Everyone hugged Aiko and went home.

          “Nee-chan,” Yuki had his eyes closed, “Nani?”

          “You said Aoi came to see me? What did he say?”

          “I don’t know, I went to get coffee, but he was whispering in your ear, he said the monitors were going off like crazy. He said he was holding your hand and talking to you, it scared him, Yu.” Yuki nodded, “I heard him, but not what he was saying, just him talking to me.” This wasn’t entirely true, he had heard one thing…Aoi telling him that he still loved Yuki. “Will you see him if he askes?” Aiko hoped her brother would. “Maybe, I don’t know, maybe after I get home.” Yuki’s voice started to get softer as he slipped off to sleep. “He still loves you, Yu-kun.” Aiko whispered.

 

          Over the next few days, Yuki was rarely alone, either Ayato or Pon was with him, along with his sister, and the stream of visitors was continuous. Uta and Sakurai were two of the first, with Uta doing the same as Pon and Ayato; throwing himself over Yuki and crying.

          Yuki brought up the fact that they were going to have to make some adjustments to the flat so he could go home, “Don’t worry about it, it will be done when you get there,” Uta said gruffly, “and you’re not paying rent either, the last thing you need to worry about is rent,” Yuki started to object, “shut it Yuki, you know my situation with the flats, and I’m the landlord AND the owner, so my rules.” Uta was secretly going to stock the flat with food and anything else he could think of.

          The members of the Gazette (except for Aoi), Koichi, and Taka and their husbands, people from DCR and Ojisan, all came to see him in the days after he had regained consciousness and had his breathing tube removed. There were tears and pain, but there was mostly support for him. “You have the industry behind you, Yuki, even without Ken. You are part of DCR now…it’s a weird family, but we support each other no matter what.” Kai told the young man.  

          Kai wanted to text Aoi once he had returned from seeing Yuki at the hospital, he knew the man wouldn’t ask for any information on the boy. “Should I text him?” he asked Yukke while they were eating dinner. “Text who?”

          “Aoi, let him know how Yuki’s doing?”  Kai was fighting with himself over the problem. “What would Yuki want you to do?” Kai’s shoulders slumped, “I don’t know.” Yukke reached over and covered his husband’s hand with his, “I’m not sure Yuki would appreciate it, but I can’t tell you what to do. Maybe if Aoi asked you could say something, but to just text him randomly…no, I don’t think you should.” Kai smiled, “Okay.”

          Why was he doing this? He wasn’t sure it was the smartest thing he’d ever done. Walking in through the front doors of the hospital, he bargained with himself. He would just quickly peek in the door to see if Yuki was alone, if he was then he’d just take a quick look and then leave. “You’re a fucking idiot, he doesn’t want to see you.”

          As he reached for the doorknob, his heart pounded in his ears; he just needed to see the boy, make sure he was okay, then he’d leave. Pushing the door open slowly, Aoi carefully looked around the door. Yuki was sitting up, but his eyes were closed, Aoi saw that the breathing tube had been removed, “Good,” he whispered…or so he thought, Yuki’s eyes flashed open, his breath hitched.

          “Aoi?”

          Shit, Aoi backed away quickly. “Aoi wait!” he heard Yuki yell. Pushing the door open again, he stepped into the room. “Sorry, I just wanted to see you, I didn’t mean to wake you up.” Aoi looked at the floor. “You can come in, Aoi.” Yuki said softly. “I don’t want to bother you, I should go.” He didn’t move from his spot. “I told you, you can come in.” Yuki’s voice was a little testy.

          Aoi took a few steps towards the bed, he looked up at Yuki. “You…you look better.” He twisted the bottom of his shirt in his hands, “Thanks, now that the breathing tube is out, I feel pretty good.” There was an awkward pause. “Aiko said you were here, that you talked to me and made the monitors go off,” Aoi nodded.

          “What did you say to me?” Yuki asked. Aoi shook his head, “It doesn’t matter now, I’m glad you’re awake and doing better. I um, I need to go.” Aoi turned quickly and walked towards the door, “What did you say to me, Yuu?” Aoi shook his head again and walked out. Yuki slumped in his bed, “what the hell was that all about?”

Chapter Text

          Uta threw his head back and groaned in frustration, “No! That’s not the way I want it! Both sides of the tub need bars… here let me show you exactly how I want it.” Taking the bars out of the maintenance man’s hands, Uta climbed into Yuki’s bathtub and showed the man where he wanted the bars to be placed. “He needs to be able to lower himself in, so they need to go here and here.”

          The maintenance man smiled, “Yes sir…I understand.” Uta wasn’t intentionally being a troll, the man knew the circumstances behind Uta’s snippy attitude, Sakurai had been the one to call him. “Please excuse the small young man that will be bossing you around, he means well and this is very important to him.”

          There was no exact date for Yuki’s discharge from the hospital, but once his parents had gone home, Uta and Aiko got together and planned out what needed to be done to prepare the flat for Yuki’s home coming. Uta had made sure to ask Yuki’s parents, his sister and Ayato, what were some of Yuki’s favorite food, “I don’t want him to have to worry about anything, or Aiko for that matter. I’m also going to make a weekly delivery from Ojisan’s as well.” He told Sakurai, “Baby, he’s going to need to be self sufficient as well, don’t spoil him too much,” he gently chided his lover.

          Uta flipped Sakurai a middle finger and stuck out his tongue, the most childish things he could think of, “Don’t tell me that! Yuki deserves to be spoiled,” Sakurai grabbed Uta around the waist and pulled him down onto the bed, “I can think of someone else who needs to be spoiled,” he nuzzled Uta’s neck, a tiny nip on his collarbone, “Acchan…please, don’t start this now! I have way…” he didn’t get to finish, as it is rather hard to talk when your lover has his tongue down your throat and his hand down the front of your pants.

 

          The doctor sat next to Yuki’s bed, his parents and sister stood against the wall while the doctor read the report. “Your legs are doing well, you have about three more weeks until the casts are off. The bones in your face, and your ribs also are healing well, I am worried a bit about the fractured T-8 in your spine. It’s healing but not as well as I would hope, it’s a bit crooked.” Taking out a piece of paper, the doctor quickly drew a diagram. “It should be lined up like this,” pointing to the paper, “instead it’s a bit off…” he drew a line.

          “Okay, what does that mean for me?” Yuki’s voice shook with fear. “You’re going to need to wear a brace to keep your spine stabilized. After 6 weeks or so, we’ll do another x-ray and see how it’s healed, if there is a problem we’ll need to go in surgically and correct the displacement.” Kimiko gasped, “Surgery?” The doctor turned to Kimiko, “it’s not a terribly involved surgery but it would be necessary, or Yuki could experience other back problems throughout his life.”

          The doctor discussed all the test results, warning Yuki about what not to do when he gets home, “No wild parties, no dancing, no crowd surfing at concerts.” The last statement drew giggles from Aiko. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t do that.” The doctor asked about the preparations at home, stating that if everything was ready, Yuki could go home.

          Yuki turned to Aiko, “How goes the renovations? Are you close?” He just wanted to go home, to sleep in his own bed again. “Probably later today or tomorrow if Uta has his way.” This grabbed Yuki’s attention, “Why? What’s he doing?” Aiko laughed and went through the list of things that Uta didn’t like, Yuki alternating between laughing and groaning. “In other words, he’s been a little general, ordering the troops, but he means well, he just wants everything to be perfect for you, that’s all.” Aiko said softly.

          “Yu-kun, we’re going to go home today, I feel like you’re in good hands, and I’m sure you’re going to want to be on your own, but if you need anything, you’d better call me.” Kimiko sat on the side of Yuki’s bed, “When you want to go to the cemetery you just need to call us and we’ll take you.” Yuki didn’t remember saying anything about going to Ken’s grave, though it made sense that he’d want to.

          “Okay, probably when I get my casts off.” Kimiko kissed Yuki, “Call us when you finally get out, ne? I promise not to bother you too much.” Yuki’s dad kissed his son on the head, “Call your mom often please.” He whispered. “I will, I promise.” Aiko walked her parents out to the front of the hospital, “Make sure he eats well, no alcohol or anything like that, take good care of him for me, Aiko…” Kimiko was in tears. “Mom, I have it under control, don’t worry.”

          “Finally! Talk about over protective parents.” Aiko walked back into Yuki’s room, only to find her little brother crying. “Yu-kun, what’s wrong?” She walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, “I’m scared Aiko, what if I can’t walk again? What if my back is fucked up beyond what they can fix?”

          Aiko leaned her elbows on the bed, peering up at her little brother, “Yu, if there was a serious problem with your back, the doctors would tell you. It sounds to me like you need a brace, you need to be careful and do what they tell you, and everything will work out fine. Let’s worry about getting you home, ne?”

          “Can I come in? I’ve got a treat for you!” Pon poked his head around the door, “Depends on the treat!” Yuki laughed. “Is Ojisan’s good enough?” Die came in behind Pon. “Hell yes it’s good enough!” Yuki cheered. The serious conversation had now turned into a mini party, with Die being the host, “I figured you could do with some real food, Yuki…and since you can’t get to Ojisan’s yet, we brought it to you…though Ojisan wanted to deliver it himself.”

 The thought of going to Ojisan’s hit Yuki right in the heart, he tried to stuff the painful feeling of loss, back down in his throat. The memories of going to the ramen hut with Ken, were still fresh, as Ken’s death felt like it happened yesterday. “When are they letting you out?” Pon asked through a mouthful of ramen. “As soon as the flat is complete, have you seen it lately?”  Pon nodded his head and with a muffled ‘yes’ through his ramen, Die spoke for him, “Looks like it to me, at least when I was there yesterday, Uta did a bang-up job on it, you’re not going to have any problems.”

          “I hope he didn’t go overboard, I don’t need that much.” Yuki said sullenly. Nobody contradicted him, they didn’t want to expose exactly what Uta had done. “You’ll be happy with it, and Uta said none of it was permanent, he’ll change it all out again once you’re healed up.” Aiko smiled and winked at the others, “I’ll double check tonight when I go back, but you could be out of here at some point tomorrow, would that work for you?”  Yuki huffed, “I’m so ready to go home, you know that! Make sure to tell the doctor before you leave tonight, I want out first thing in the morning!”

 

          “This is extremely generous, and you’d like to put it in Yokoyama Ken’s name?” The President of the Tokyo School of Music and Dance held a check in his hand. “Yes, I’d like it to go towards the production part of the music program, Ken had a huge influence in the industry in production. This should get a few students through the course, yes?” The President smiled, “More than a few, I can assure you! Thank you again!”

          “That’s one down.”

 

          Waiting for the orderly to come to his room with a wheel chair, Yuki was excited and scared at the same time. Uta had come early that day to let him know that his flat was ready to go, and that he could sign off on the modifications with the doctor. Aiko had gone to fill out the paper work, leaving Yuki to sit alone in his room to wait. Leaning back in his bed, he closed his eyes. Visions of Ken coming through the door and scooping him into his arms, and walking down the hall out to the car, the strength in Ken’s arms comforting him, telling him everything would be fine.

          The visions made his life a little more bearable, though he knew he would probably fall apart tonight, sleeping alone in the bed he last slept in with his lover. He hoped that nobody had moved any of Ken’s clothes, Uta would understand the importance of leaving Ken’s things where they were. He knew that Uta had slept with Teiji’s things for almost a year after his lover was murdered, his scent lingering long enough to bring some bit of comfort.

          “Hey, are you ready to go?” Aiko gently shook Yuki’s shoulder, “Hmm? Yah…sorry. I’m ready.” The orderly placed the wheel chair next to the bed, and carefully lifted Yuki and gently setting him down, the one leg in a full cast stuck straight out, the other was a half cast, Aiko put a blanket over his lap, a nurse had helped him on with a pair of shorts.

          “I have all your meds and the paperwork is done. Reita borrowed a van from DCR, so we wouldn’t have to bend you in half to get you home.” Aiko giggled. “Any pain right now?” Yuki shook his head, “No they gave me some medication in the last IV, I should be good until tonight.” Wheeling Yuki out the front door of the hospital, he took a deep breath. The wind was chilly and it felt good on his face, the stuffiness of his room had become almost insufferable.

          It took Reita, Ayato and the orderly to get Yuki in the DCR van, “I hope Die’s home, you guys are going to need help getting me out of here.” Yuki laughed. “He’s waiting for us, don’t worry.” Ayato smacked his friend on the leg. With the van loaded up, Reita pulled away from the hospital, “I never want to go back,” Yuki mumbled.

          The ride back to the flat took a little longer than it should, Reita driving carefully, “Don’t say it Ayato…I know you want to.” he warned his boyfriend, “Say what? That you drive like old people fuck? I wasn’t going to say that…but since you brought it up,” Reita made a rude noise, “Would you like me to describe how I proved to you that I don’t fuck like an old man? I mean I’m sure Aiko would love…” Ayato quickly reached over and clapped his hand over Reita’s mouth.

          “Yah, Ayato, maybe I would like to hear about this!” Aiko laughed. The joking between Ayato and Reita felt good for Yuki, like all he needed to do was go home and call Ken. Closing his eyes to keep the tears hidden, Yuki laid his head back on the seat, biting the inside of his lip. Aiko noticed and reached out and patted her brother’s leg, “We’re almost home.” The young man nodded, not taking the chance on opening his eyes, not until he knew the tears wouldn’t fall.

          Pulling into the building’s parking lot, Die and Pon were waiting for the van, both wearing huge grins. “Yu, we’re home.” Ayato said cheerily. Looking up, Yuki see’s Pon, and Die is waving his arms like some sort of weird bird. “Die, you idiot!” Pon smacks his boyfriend across the stomach. “Hey! I’m just happy he’s home!”

          With Ayato directing the operation of getting Yuki in the house, and Die cringing at everything he thought might hurt the young man, Aiko’s heart thought it would burst, as she watched her brother’s friends, being so careful with him. Pon had run inside and retrieved the wheelchair they had rented, Reita and Die placing Yuki down carefully. “Okay, let’s get you inside so you can see what Uta has done.”

          Wheeling him up the short ramp and into the flat, Yuki looked around. “It looks the same…” he said softly. “Go look in the the bathroom,” Aiko pushed Yuki down the short hall way and into his bathroom. “Grab bars, a special floor mat so you don’t have to worry about splashing water everywhere, and a non-skid mat in the tub as well. He even put bars in the shower in the other bedroom, so once your casts are off you can shower by yourself.”

          Yuki wheeled himself around in his bedroom, looking for those few things he had hoped would be there. Uta had told Aiko what to expect, and she could see the look in Yuki’s eyes when he finally saw what he was searching for. “Hey guys, thanks a lot for bringing us home, I think he probably needs a bit of a nap, so I’ll text you later.” Aiko hugged everyone and sent them on their way.

          “Do you want to take a nap?” Aiko stood just outside the bedroom door. “Yah, I think so, could you just help me get in bed please?” Aiko pulled back the covers on the bed, and held out her arm for Yuki to pull up on. Once he was settled, she walked over to the chair by the window and gathered up Ken’s clothes and handed them to Yuki.

          “Yu, it’s going to be okay I promise, it’s going to be hard and you’re going to cry a lot, and honestly so will I, because I hate seeing my little brother hurting, I’ll wake you up in an hour or so…I love you, Yuki.” Bending down, Aiko kissed Yuki on the cheek, then turned and walked out, closing the door softly.

          Ken had left a t-shirt, a hoodie and a pair of pajama pants at Yuki’s, balling up the hoodie and t-shirt, he used those as a pillow and then wrapped the pajama pants around his arm and clutched it to his chest. He thought he was good, until it hit him full in the face; Ken was dead and he was alone.

          Aiko had just sat down and turned on the TV when she heard the first wail from Yuki’s room, she started to get up, then thought twice about it. This would be the hardest day to get through, the most difficult night of his life. He was home with his friends and family, but the one that mattered the most was lost to him. “Ken…I hope you’re listening, watch over him, he’s going to need you as his angel.”

Chapter Text

         

          “I’m sorry Shiroyama-san, Yuki was discharged earlier today.” Thanking the nurse, Aoi left the hospital and returned to his car. “Now what?” He knew he couldn’t just randomly show up at Yuki’s flat, “like he wants to see me anyways.” Taking out his phone he paged through his contacts.

          “Hey, I know Yuki’s home, is he okay?”  Reita would tell him the truth.

          “Doing as best as he can, it’s going to be a long haul. Did you want to see him?”

          Aoi choked, “No! Don’t even tell him I asked, I just wanted to know how he was doing. Thanks.” Aoi snapped his phone closed quickly. The last thing he wanted was for Yuki to know he was asking about him.

          Deciding he needed lunch and some advice, Aoi drove straight to Ojisan’s. He knew the mystic ramen maker might have something to say that could possibly shed some light on his problem with how to help Yuki, without looking like he was stepping over a dead man to get to the boy he loved.

          “Irasshai Aoi-san, please have a seat, what can I make for you today?” Aoi shrugged, “whatever you’d like, I’m not hungry for anything particular right now.” Ojisan crossed his arms over his chest. “I think omurice is what you need today.” The ramen maker went into his tiny kitchen and started to prepare Aoi’s meal.

          Aoi watched Ojisan, waiting for the man to approach him with his words of wisdom and advice, or so he hoped. “One omurice,” Ojisan smiled as he placed the plate in front of Aoi, “Thank you, itadakimasu.” He kept waiting for Ojisan to say something…anything, but the man had just gone back to his kitchen and was now washing dishes.

          “Irasshai,” Ojisan greeted the customers as the door chimed, Aoi looked up to see Die and Pon walk into the small ramen hut, “Daisuke, Pon-chan, welcome. What can I make you this afternoon?” Giving their orders, Ojisan placed a beer in front of each man.

          Aoi just says hello but doesn’t make eye contact with either man, with thoughts of the entire world hating him at that very moment, Ojisan says nothing to his customers, letting chance run its course. “Thanks, Ojisan,” Aoi paid his bill and nodded to both Die and Pon and quietly left the ramen hut.

          Pon let out an explosive breath, “Can we say awkward?” Die shrugged, “He’s brought all of this on himself, I don’t feel that sorry for him.” Die had had enough of Aoi and his bullshit over the last year and a half.

          Ojisan stood in front of his customers, “How is the young one?” Die and Pon explained Yuki’s situation, “He’s home at least and his sister Aiko is staying with him until his casts are off and he can get around by himself.” Pon added. “His sister loves him a great deal, it is better that she stayed instead of their parents.” Ojisan smiled.

          “That one though.” He nodded towards the door. “Aoi-san is at a turning point in his life. His sins are in the open for all to criticize and he can not forgive himself for his imagined part in Ken-chan’s death,” Ojisan looked down and shook his head, “he is slowly finding Shiroyama Yuu again, but it will take time.”

         

          He wasn’t sure where the grave was, but Aoi wouldn’t give up until he found it. Wandering through the cemetery, he thought about all that had happened up until Ken’s death. The insanity that was his unmerciful pursuit of Pon, the loss of his band mates as friends. He had cleared the air with Pon and they made their piece but with what had happened after, with Uruha…he wasn’t sure he could redeem himself in his friend’s eyes. “You fucked that one up as well,” he muttered as he searched the headstones.

          Seeing what looked like a fresh headstone, Aoi took a chance and walked towards it. It was the Yokoyama family plot. Standing in front of Ken’s picture, the hundreds of flowers and small memento’s, Aoi started to tear up. Squatting down to read some of the cards, the pain that he could feel coming through in the sentiments of people who respected and loved Ken.

          He sat down in front of the grave, laying his flowers with the note next to a picture of a smiling Ken. “What can I do to help him?” he murmured, “I don’t want to see him hurting, I’ve done too much to contribute to that pain.” Aoi bent over, resting his elbows on his knees, hiding his face in his hands and cried.

          “Ken you have to help me…tell me what to do about Yuki! What can I do to help him, to make him whole again? I’ll do whatever you tell me to do, if it wasn’t for me…you’d still be here, he’d be in your arms and happy!” Aoi’s ramblings continued for some time, the bargaining with the kami, his vow to help Yuki but not intrude in his life, he begged Ken to send him some sort of sign that what he was doing was good enough.

          After an hour, Aoi was cried out…there was nothing further he could do, he left his fate in Ken’s hands. “Ken…I’m so sorry,” he said as he got up and started back down the hill to his car. Leaving the cemetery, Aoi had no particular destination in mind, he was just driving, his mind flooded with images from the last two years; Pon, Reita, Ayato, Yuki, Ken, Uruha. Each image came with a great deal of pain and even more regret. Shiroyama Yuu didn’t exist anymore, just some self entitled prick musician…that title rang true in his heart.

          Without much surprise Aoi had driven to the studio, a last haven from accusatory eyes. Why the studio? It was fairly deserted now, none of the bands coming back in to continue with their work. He wandered the halls, nodding to the office staff that had walked back to see who had come in. Going into the Gazette’s practice room and picking up one of his guitars, Aoi sat on the couch.

          “Aoi? What are you doing here?” Seeing the light on in the room, Hal poked his head in the door, “Um…nothing really. Are you guys practicing or what?” He felt uncomfortable around Hal, he was sure that Uruha had told his new lover everything. “I just needed to pick up one of my basses, um is there something I can do for you?”

          Aoi smirked, “No Hal, I’m okay thanks,” he really didn’t want to talk to the man. “Uh, okay…well have a nice evening.” Hal let the door close behind him. “You too.” Aoi sighed, how ironic was it that the man who was making Uruha the happiest, asking him if he could help?  “Better not let anyone else…” Aoi got up and went over and turned off the lights.

          Putting his guitar back on the rack, Aoi felt the weight of the world on his shoulders as he sat back down on the couch. It was too much for him anymore, he’d lost everything and was now alone, and it was no one’s fault but his own. Falling over on the couch, Aoi curled himself into a ball…sobbing quietly, or so he thought.

          Aoi didn’t hear the door to the practice room open quietly, he didn’t see Shinya poking his head into the room after hearing an odd sound. The drummer didn’t even need to see Aoi’s face, he knew exactly who it was and why he was there.

          Without saying a word, Shinya closed the door and walked away from the room, he knew there was nothing he could say that would comfort Aoi, no words of encouragement or advice on how to deal with his emotions of guilt and regret, no empty platitudes of it will get better. Sadly, Aoi had to get through this rough patch alone, it was up to him how his life would change, for better or worse.

 

          Aiko didn’t hear Yuki wake from his nap, she hadn’t even heard him get out of bed and into his wheel chair by himself either. It wasn’t until he wheeled down the hallway and announced in a grumpy sleepy voice, “I’m hungry, feed me.”

         “Well hello to you too,” Aiko laughed, “what do you want? Soup, rice?” Wheeling himself into the kitchen, Yuki opened the door to the pantry. “Um… how about spaghetti?” Aiko wanted to ask how her brother had slept, but she was sure the answer wouldn’t be a positive one; the last time he slept in his own bed, Ken was with him.

         Yuki knew Uta had stocked the flat with everything they needed for at least a week, thankful that his sister didn’t have to worry about leaving Yuki alone to go shopping.

        “When is my next doctor’s appointment?” Yuki asked as he wanted for his food, “Um, in a week I believe, a week from today. I’m sure they’ll be checking your spine, that seems to be the biggest concern.” Yuki made a noncommittal noise. “Why is there something you need to do before that?” Aiko was sure she knew the answer.

         “I want to go to Ken’s grave…today. I don’t want to wait until my casts are off.”

        Aiko smiled, “I’m sure we can ask Die and Reita to help you into one of their cars, let me go see if they’re home.” Yuki needed to do this before his first night completely alone, he needed to see where Ken was resting, proving to himself that his lover was truly gone.

     “Yuki? Hey… heard you want to go to the cemetery?” Reita followed Aiko into the flat. “Yes please, can I fit in your car?” Yuki’s voice was shaking slightly. “I think if we put the front seat all the way back, we can get you in but it won’t be comfortable.”

     Waiting for Yuki to finish his lunch, Reita and Ayato got the car ready, “You really need to clean this out! It’s filthy, Aki.” Ayato grumbled, “Yah yah…nag nag.” Reita teased back. “Let’s just get him in and as comfortable as we can.”

     It was quite the operation getting Yuki into the car; between his broken legs and his broken back, Reita and Ayato were sweating by the time they got in the car. “Okay, all set?” Reita started the car, “I don’t want to hear a word about old people from you…” looking in the rearview mirror at his lover, who sat next to Aiko.

     Turning into the cemetery, Yuki’s breath started to become uneven, “Hey, it’s okay, we’re all here for you.” Reita reached over and patted Yuki on his thigh. “I know, it’s just…” Parking as close as he could get, Reita stopped the car and hopped out to open the trunk and get Yuki’s wheelchair out.

     Ayato was already helping his best friend swing his legs out of the car, and with his help, Yuki was able to stand and turn to sit in the chair. “Yus, all set?” Reita asked, Yuki nodded. As Reita pushed Yuki’s chair, Aiko walked next to him, her hand on his shoulder, and Ayato was on the other side. Yuki could see Ken’s grave as they approached, his stoic façade started to crumble. “Um can I just be alone for a bit?” Locking the wheelchair in place, Aiko, Ayato and Reita walked away to give Yuki some privacy.

     Looking at the flowers and the cards and candles, seeing the names of the people that had paid their respects, Yuki’s tears fell silently. The smiling picture of Ken stood in front of the headstone, someone had placed a small picture of Yuki with Ken next to it.

     “They told me you saved me…that you turned the car so you would take most of the impact. They said you died right away, I’m glad you didn’t suffer,” he sniffed, rubbing his tears away with his sleeve. “That’s so like you to put me first and you second, but now what do I do? How do I start to live without you? I just can’t see my life worth anything if you’re not in it. I love you so much, thank you for loving me and giving us a chance…I’m going to miss you like crazy though, now I have to learn to live alone.”

    A strong pair of arms wrapped around Yuki’s shoulders from behind. “You’re not alone Yu…you have me and Ayato, Die and Pon… Uta and all your friends, you’re not alone, Ken’s watching you. He wants to make sure you’re loved and cared for, that’s the responsibility he gave to us, to make sure you live every day to its fullest.” Reita kissed the top of Yuki’s head.

    “Yuyu seriously, Ken wouldn’t want you to stop living, he wasn’t that selfish. He’d want you to be happy, it’s not going to be easy by any means, but you’re surrounded by friends and family, and you have people you don’t even know pulling for you. Remember how Ken was always showing you off to his friends? Well, those people are also in your corner, they want nothing more than for you to be happy and healthy.”

    Ayato smacked Yuki in the back of the head, “Quit being a dumbass!”

    “AYATO!” Reita snapped, “Shut up Aki,” Ayato kneeled in front of Yuki’s chair, “Listen to me, you’re not going to stop living, don’t give me that shit about your life not being worth anything just because Ken’s not in it. I refuse to let you be a victim, so fucking stop it right now! You’re going to heal and then we’re going to get on with our lives, we can always remember Ken, we all loved him, but don’t play the fucking victim with me, because I was the king of being the victim, remember?”

     Turning to face the grave, Ayato bowed deeply, “Sorry Ken, he just needed to hear this from me. We all love you and I promise we’ll take good care of him, I won’t let him wallow in misery and self pity, if he tries, I’ll knock the shit out of him. I love him too much to fail.”

     With the daylight fading, Reita pushed Yuki’s chair back down to the car while Ayato and Aiko stayed at the grave for a moment, reading some of the cards that people had left with flowers. Picking a card with a music cleft on the front, Ayato gasped, “Oh shit…there’s no way!” He handed the card to Aiko, “Tell me what to do, I love him too.”  Aiko looked at Ayato, “you think?” The young man nodded, “Who else could it be?” Holding out his hand, Ayato took the card and put it in his wallet, “There’s going to be a time where he might need to see this,” Aiko smiled and patted Ayato on the cheek, “You’re an amazing friend to my brother, thank you.”

     “Hey! We’re ready to go!” Reita shouted from the car, “Okay…” Aiko took Ayato by the hand, “Let’s get him home, I think tonight might be rough.”

     Die and Pon had just arrived at home when Reita’s car pulled up. “Hey, we have Ojisan’s, are you interested in dinner?” Pon poked his head into the car to ask Yuki. “Yah, that sounds great…give me an hour to get in the flat,” he laughed. It took less time with Die’s help to get Yuki into the house, “I’ll be right back,” Pon ran off to their flat, coming back with a few beers and some colas. “No alcohol for you yet!” he teased Yuki.

     Reita had pulled Die aside and told him about the trip to the cemetery, “I think he’ll be okay, Ayato smacked him in the back of the head.” Reita told Die what his lover had said, Die laughing, “That sounds like him…he’s a bit of a brat isn’t he?” Reita smiled, “Yah, he is and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

     The impromptu party lasted a few hours, but it was obvious that Yuki needed to sleep, he had been nodding off in his chair. “Okay, party’s over,” Aiko announced. “If either one of you could come by at some point tomorrow and help Yuki bathe, I’ll make sure I’m not around.” She asked Ayato and Pon, who both agreed to help.

     “That was nice, wasn’t it?” Yuki asked as his sister helped him into bed. “Yah, it was. You have a lot of friends that I’m sure will become nuisances in the next few weeks, but you’re going to need that, especially once I leave.”

     With a good night, Aiko left the room, leaving Yuki in the dark to battle the loneliness. He was so tired from the visit to Ken’s grave that it was a matter of minutes before he was lost to the world, the comforting smell of Ken’s close lulling him to sleep.

     “Yuki…babe…hey it’s me.”

     “Huh? What? What time is it?”

     “Late, but that’s okay, I just wanted to see you and kiss you good night.”

     “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you to come and get me and take me home.”

     “Baby, I can’t do that anymore, you’re going to have to learn to take care of yourself again.’

     “NO! I don’t want to…I need you to take care of me, please I love you!”

     “Yu babe, I’m so sorry, I love you and I only thought of you. They were taking you out of the car, I was so happy you were alive! That’s why I could let go, I just needed to make sure that you were going to live.”

    “But I want to be with you, I don’t want to live alone, please take me with you!”

   “Babe you made me so happy, please, for me? I want you to find someone to love, don’t grow old and alone. I love you Yuki.”

    Ken hugged his lover and kissed him one last time. “NO!” Yuki sat straight up in bed, “no…” he whimpered, “don’t leave me alone.

    Aiko heard Yuki from the living room, getting up she peeked in the door. Yuki was lying down, Ken’s clothes in his arms. “Little brother, it will get better, I promise.”

 

     Unlocking his door Aoi shuffled into his flat, completely ambivalent to life at this point. He had laid on the couch in the practice room for what seemed like hours, at least until he could no longer shed any tears. Throwing his keys onto the table, he grabbed a beer out of the fridge and got his laptop. Parking himself on his couch, he turned on the tv just to have background noise and opened his computer.

     Doing random searches on depression and grief, he came across a picture that made him stop. Staring at the picture, he wondered… if it had worked for others, could it work for Yuki? It was worth a try, he knew he was taking a risk especially since he had no clue to what the young man liked.

     Quickly doing another search, he came up with several options, he just had to choose one or two. Looking at the time he knew it was too late to do anything that night, but it would give him plenty of time tomorrow to come up with a plan. “This might help,” he mumbled to himself. With a new outlook on what he could do to help Yuki heal, Aoi downed his beer and got ready for bed, “Get an early start,” Locking up his flat, Aoi felt some of the heaviness of his heart lift, “It won’t bring you back to me, but that’s okay, I just want to make you happy…that’s the most important thing.”

 

     The next day shined bright for Yuki, he had some relief from the dreams of Ken in accepting the dead man’s message and wishes for Yuki to be happy and live a full life. Breakfast with his sister was a bit annoying, Aiko hovering over Yuki like he was a small child, “Eat everything on your plate!” She snapped, “Yes, Kaasan…” Yuki muttered back. “Am I that bad?” Aiko’s shoulders slumped, making Yuki feel bad. “No, not really. I’m sorry, I know you’re trying to help.”

     After breakfast, Aiko went to retrieve Ayato and Pon to help Yuki bathe, “I’m running down to the store, is there anything you want specifically?” Yuki gave her a list, “the good ramen, not that instant stuff please.” Then Ayato shooshed her out of the flat.

     Bathing your best friend wasn’t something Ayato had ever thought he’d be doing, and the results of the act were a little less than hilarious, with more water on the floor than in the tub. “Should I get you some tub toys for next time? A boat or a weird wash sponge?” he teased.

     After helping Yuki get dressed and into his chair again, Pon and Ayato felt like they had run a marathon. “Thanks, you guys, I promise I won’t ask for this too often, it’s kind of embarrassing.” Yuki’s face was red both from the bath and embarrassment. “Hey, if it keeps you from stinking up the flat, I’ll be over anytime you need.”

     The remainder of Yuki’s day was filled with TV, video games two naps and random meals. Pon and Ayato had both promised to come over that night and play more video games, Ayato having to go talk to Taka about going back to work. “What are you going to do Pon?” Yuki was curious. “Not sure, DCR hasn’t called yet, don’t know what’s going on with the album, maybe Reita has some news.”

     Aiko made dinner for all of them, it seemed Yuki enjoyed the company during the evenings the most, avoiding sleep and the dreams that came with it. Die had come home and grabbed Pon, taking the boy back to their flat for an hour, “He’s such a pervert.” Ayato laughed, Reita raising an eyebrow, “And you’re not?”

     “I don’t need to hear about your perverted sex lives please!” Aiko called out from the kitchen, the three of them snickered like teenagers and returned to their video game. It wasn’t too long that Pon and Die returned, Pon with a deep blush and Die grinning like a fool. “Could it not have waited until later? Seriously Die?” Reita scolded his friend. “No, it couldn’t wait, and it still might happen again later, just put your headphones on like you already do.”

     Before anyone could start talking about Die and Pon’s sex life again, someone knocked on the door of the flat, “Who…?” Die went and opened the door, finding two boxes sitting on the small ramp up to the flat. “Die, what’s wrong?” Die waved his hand and went outside, walking towards the street he looked around.

    Going back to where the boxes were sitting, Die picked them up and carried them into the flat. “These were sitting on the ramp.” Yuki wheeled himself over to the table where Die put the boxes, “What the hell?” leaning over he opened the smaller of the two boxes. “Oh my god!” he gasped loudly. Reaching in the box, Yuki took out two very small black and white kittens. “Kittens?”

   Yuki looked to his friends, “Which one of you?” Everyone shook their heads, “Not me,” Reita put his hands up. Die had a peculiar look on his face, but said nothing. “They’re so tiny…look Aiko!” He held one up to his sister, “These are tiny babies Yu…maybe not even old enough to be away from their mom, what’s in the other box?” Ayato moved to open it and started removing the items; litter box, canned food, dry food, a small soft round bed and toys.

    Die took out his phone, “Hey, nice move…but why did you leave them on the porch? The kittens, you idiot! Why not just… wait what? You didn’t? Well then who did? Okay, in a bit, jaa ne.”

    Aiko had one kitten nuzzled up to her face, “Die, who was that?” Die shook his head, “Kyo. He’s notorious for giving people kittens if they’ve been hurt or sick.” Yuki gasped, “Shit you’re right, he gave Uta Saki and Luna…but he didn’t leave these?”  Die shrugged,  

     “Him and Mao are on their way over. They are cute though.” Die picked up the one in Yuki’s lap, “They look identical, how the hell are you going to tell them apart?” Yuki shook his head, ‘I don’t even know if I can keep them,” turning to Aiko, “Can you get my phone? I’d better call Uta before I even get attached.” The next hour was a confusion of who left the kittens if not Kyo, and could Yuki keep them.

    Kyo and Mao arrived and Mao squealed in delight, “Oh god, Yuki they’re adorable! Have you named them yet?” Mao held both kittens up to his cheeks. “Mao, I don’t even know if I get to keep them or not.” Yuki groaned. “Of course you’re going to keep them, Uta had his two cats here, why not you?”

    Another knock at the door announced Uta with Sakurai. Taking one look at the kittens, Uta turned to Kyo, “This is getting out of hand Kyo…now Yuki has kittens?” Kyo frowned, “I didn’t do this, you can’t blame these two on me, but now someone’s stolen my idea…but who? Has to be someone we know.”

    Die and Sakurai helped Yuki to the floor so he could sit with the two kittens, who after exploring a bit decided that taking a nap in Yuki’s lap was the perfect spot. “Uta, can I keep them?” Yuki asked in a shaky voice. “Duh, I had Luna and Saki, yes you can keep them, they’re too cute not too. I think the only way to tell them apart is one has a black spot on his chest.” Uta sat next to Yuki, gently petting the sleeping kittens.

   “Okay, now you know you can keep them, who gave them to you?” Kyo sat behind Yuki on the couch, secretly pleased that someone else copied his gift giving practices. Yuki thought about it for a second, “Aoi?” Die almost choked and Reita made a rude noise, “Aoi would never do anything like this, he truly only thinks of himself. It has to be someone else, maybe one of Ken’s friends?”

    They spent a good thirty minutes throwing out names of potential kitten gifters, but with no solid choice. “Guess I’ll just say thanks to the kami and go with that. But I need to get them set up, some place safe for them to sleep.” Kyo and Mao, along with Uta and Sakurai left the happy little family and went home. “Let me know if you find out who left them for you, I’d like to speak to them.” Kyo added as he closed the door.

 

 

 

 

Image result for twin kittens Rin and Sora.

Chapter Text

          Byou checked his appearance from all sides in the three-way mirror in Taizo’s bedroom, wanting to make sure that the outfit he was wearing that night to Vinyl Fetish covered his ass, and it did but just barely. How Taizo could go from wanting him to wear Armani suits during the day to basically looking like a B-rated movie hooker was beyond him.

          “Mmm, you look delicious in that my love,” Taizo leaned against the door, licking his lips as his eyes devoured Byou. “Thank you, Sir.” Byou blushed. Isshi had Byou wear provocative outfits, but none that had his ass showing as much as the tiny shorts did. “Are you ready?” Taizo stretched out his hand to Byou.

          During the elevator ride to the parking garage, Taizo could barely keep his hands to himself, rubbing Byou’s ass, sliding a finger in to rub over his hole. “We might not be at the club for very long, I just might have to bring you home early so I can chain you up and spank you for being naughty.” This was a new side of Taizo that Byou wasn’t sure he liked, gone were the impeccable manners of a wealthy businessman, replaced by someone just a little short of being seedy and creepy.

          During the drive to the club, Taizo kept sliding his hand up Byou’s thigh, and slipping his fingers into the bottom of the shorts, lightly pinching Byou’s cock and causing the boy to gasp, “You’re just aching for it, aren’t you?” Byou mewled softly, “Yesss, ssiirr.”  At a stop light, the man reached over and roughly grabbed Byou’s face, crushing his lips to the boy’s.

          Exiting the car and throwing the keys to the valet, Taizo snapped a short leash onto Byou’s collar. The boy stumbled as his Dominant pulled him up the stairs, he had never worn a leash with any of his Dominants in the past, so it was a new experience for him. “Come boy, I can’t have you falling on your face, pay attention.” Byou mumbled, “Yes Sir.”

          Vinyl Fetish’s owner, Niihara was at the door to greet Taizo, “Nakamura-san, a pleasure to see you as always. Will you be visiting with Mistress Davina and Madame F, this evening?” Niihara bowed deeply to the Dominant. “Yes, we’re meeting in Madame F’s room.” As the norm, Niihara had the tall American submissive girl Velvet, show them to Madame F’s private room.  Taizo gazed with an appreciative eye at the American girl, “You’re very lovely, Velvet.” He said to the girl in perfect English. “Thank you, Sir.” Velvet smiled demurely.

          Byou frowned, his Dominant praising another’s submissive in front of him, with no regards to his feelings. With a snap of the leash, Taizo gave Byou a dark look as to remind him who the Dominant was, the boy dropping his eyes instantly.

          They were the first to arrive, a habit Taizo had picked up over the years, the adage of being early is being on time, engrained in his mind. Removing the leash from Byou’s collar, Taizo drew the boy into his lap and proceeded to fondle and kiss the boy until his cock was so hard it was visible under his shorts. “A bit eager, aren’t you?” the Dominant kissed Byou roughly while manhandling the boy’s erection.

          “Taizo, my dear man…it’s a bit early for this don’t you think?” Madame F came into the room, glaring at the other Dominant. “No, I believe in ample time to prep for later, I want him begging for it by the end of the night.” Byou blushed hard and dropped his eyes to the floor in embarrassment. “I’d like him so hard he can’t move, it’s the easiest way to keep him under control.”

          Madame F tsk’d, she wasn’t in the habit of telling other Dominants how to treat their pets in public and especially not at a club. “Davina and Acchan will be here shortly.” Turning her attention to Byou, Madame F looked carefully at the boy, “Are you happy with your arrangement, Byou?” The hesitation in answering right away worried the woman, “Yes Ma’am.”

          Patting Byou on the leg, Taizo rose from his chair, “Stand with Ormond, Byou,” he ordered his submissive. “Yes Sir.” Taizo said nothing else and left the room. Ormond looked at his Dominant, she nodded slightly, “Byou-kun, is everything alright?” Byou didn’t look up, “Yes Senpai.” Before anything else could be said, Taizo walked back into the room followed by Sakurai and Uta, the former laughing at something Taizo had said.

          “You can’t be serious? At that age?” Sakurai laughed again, “As long as it works, who cares?” Taizo smirked, ignoring Byou as he returned to his chair. Without Sakurai’s permission, (in Taizo’s eyes), Uta walked over and bowed to Madame F and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek, the Dominant woman caressing his face. “Uta, how are you tonight? How fairs your young friend?”  Uta had been smiling, “Yuki’s out of the hospital and at home now, his sister is staying to take care of him.”  Uta moved to sit on Sakurai’s lap, Acchan sliding his arm tightly around Uta’s waist.

          “Well well, the gang’s all here!” Kato held the door opened as Davina and Isshi came into the room followed by Ruimaru and Karyu. Without warning, Uta lurched out of Sakurai’s lap and into Davina’s arms. “Mistress,” he sniffled as he buried his face in Davina’s breast. “Uta, my love, what’s wrong?” Uta shook his head, Davina looking at Sakurai for an explanation.

          “Yuki’s home now, we were over to visit him last night. There was a small gift left on his porch.” Sakurai explained. “Mistress, someone left Yuki kittens! Two of them and it wasn’t Kyo.” Soon Uta and Davina were on the small settee, Uta explaining the events of the previous night.

          Madame F was subtly watching Isshi and Byou, this was truly the first time they had seen each other in public, and as Dominant and submissive. Byou smiled as he looked over at Isshi, then nodded slightly to Ruimaru and Karyu, Ruimaru winking at the other young man. While Madame F was watching the interaction, Taizo was also aware of the looks that were being shared.

          “Byou, come here.” Taizo ordered the young man, Byou walking straight to his Dominant, standing just to the side of his chair. Taizo pulled him roughly into his lap, sliding his hand between Byou’s legs. “Isshi-san, was Byou always this mouthy and rebellious? He was whining quite a bit during our shopping trip, it was quite annoying. I’m guessing you didn’t teach him much in the way of manners, I know you treat your submissives a little too softly for my tastes.”

          Ruimaru gasped but held his tongue, Sakurai and Uta stared incredulously at Taizo, while Kato moved to Davina’s side. “Really Taizo? You’re going to chastise me about a submissive that has not been under my care in over five years? Are you blaming me for something? Speak man!” Isshi shouted at Taizo. The other Dominant waved Isshi’s concerns off, “I’m merely stating my observations, Isshi-san, not accusing you of anything.”

          Byou was burning with shame and embarrassment, his eyes closed to hold back the tears. “Byou, come with me.” Ormond moved to stand in front of Taizo. “Excuse me Madame F, I did not agree to let your submissive take my boy from me.” The situation was becoming more tense by the second.  Madame F stood up, “Ormond, take Byou to Davina’s room.” Ormond gently took Byou by the arm and led him out and into the room next door.

           Madame F walked over to stand in front of Taizo, “You sir, have over stepped your boundaries and insulted Isshi. What happened between Isshi and Byou is none of your business regardless of your current arrangement, with the boy. This is a formal warning, Nakamura-san, you will not question any Dominant about the treatment of a former submissive unless it is something life threatening, is this clear?”

          In the next room, Byou could hear the tone and volume of the voices, but not what was being said. Ormond sat down on a small settee with Byou. “I am your senpai, Byou, I want you to answer me honestly, is there a problem with your Dominant?” The young man nods, “He expects too much of me,” Byou didn’t look at Ormond, “He asked me about my background and how I’ve been treated in the past, and I tried to explain that him spending a lot of money on me is not what I’m used to, that it’s hard for me to accept, but he ignored everything I said! He wants me to wear Armani suits during the day, then he puts me in this at night?”

          “Do you think he means to harm you in any way?”

          Byou shrugged, “I honestly don’t know, but what he said to Isshi-san hurt, that man has done nothing but love me and I was the one that destroyed him. Nakamura has no right to say those things to Isshi-san.”

          Ormond sighed, “Would you like to void your contract?”

          Byou didn’t say anything but took off his collar and handed it to Ormond. “Could I stay with Madame F until I find someplace to live? I’m going to have to go back to his house and get my things…though honestly none of it’s worth keeping. But my documents are still there.”

          “I want you to stay here, lock the door when I leave. I will go and speak to My Lady and Mistress Davina.” Ormond patted Byou on the leg, then left the room.

          “Nakamura, it’s in very bad form to accuse Isshi of doing anything to Byou, he’s not seen the boy but three times in the last five years, how did you come to the conclusion that anything Byou has done is a result of Isshi?” Sakurai was leaning forward in his seat, an unpleasant look on his face as he spoke to the other Dominant. Uta along with Ruimaru and Karyu were now standing behind Davina and Madame F, next to Kato.

          Taizo was becoming irritated, “I have heard how Isshi treats his submissives and I am of the constituency that believes that Isshi’s methods of keeping submissives is perhaps not in the best interest of the community as a whole.”

          Isshi stood up quickly, “How I treat my submissives is NONE of yours or anyone else’s business! You are completely out of fucking line, you arrogant bastard!” Isshi’s fists where clenched and he started to walk towards Taizo, but was restrained as soon as Ormond opened the door and saw what was happening.

          Between Ormond, Sakurai also standing and Kato moving to stand in front of Mistress Davina and Madame F, the hostility in the room was at the boiling point. “Isshi, please sit down, your boys are scared.” Davina said in a soft voice, Isshi turning to look at Ruimaru and Karyu, who were both clinging to Uta who’s anger was flashing in his eyes.

          Uta pushed himself away from the two other boys, walking towards Taizo, “This is going to get me into trouble but I don’t give a shit. You’re a fucking pompous arrogant asshole, Nakamura. You don’t deserve anyone like Byou, so fuck off!”

          The volume in the room rose, with Taizo now screaming at Sakurai to curb his submissive’s behavior before he did, “Don’t even think you can lay a hand on him, Nakamura. I will kill you before you can even get close to Uta.” The growl in Sakurai’s voice must have pulled Taizo back to his senses, “Keep your fake submissive in check Sakurai.”

          “Nakamura-san, you need to leave now. My Lady does not wish you to stay any longer.” Ormond said in a deep voice that bordered on violence. “Where is Byou? I will leave once he is with me.” Taizo stood. Ormond turned to Madame F and handed him Byou’s collar, “He wishes to void the contract immediately.”

          “HE WHAT?” Taizo screamed, “He can’t do that alone! We both must agree. You will get him now and we will leave, I demand my submissive back!” Within a second, both Kato and Ormond were standing in front of their Dominants, with Isshi and Sakurai flanking them. “No Nakamura, you will leave now. I am the superior in our community, and high ranking in the world. I say that the temporary contract is now voided. I suggest you go home, you will be contacted in the next few days.”

          Madame F’s words were law, and with a final frustrated sound, Nakamura Taizo left the room, slamming the door behind him.

          A sudden explosive breath was released by all in the room. Madame F sitting down and reaching for a drink. “My lady, are you well?” Ormond kneeled in front of her. “Yes, my love, I’m fine. Please make sure Nakamura is out of the building and bring Byou to me.” With a caress of his cheek, Ormond got up and went to retrieve Byou. “What the fuck was that all about?” Sakurai moaned as he sat back deeply in his chair, Uta coming to sit on his lap.

          “I’m not sure what I just witnessed…this was more than unbelievable for a …” Davina couldn’t gather her thoughts together. Isshi had his arms full of young men who were still shaking, “My loves, are you alright? I’m sorry you had to see that,” he kissed each of the boys on the cheek.

          Ormond knocked once then entered the room with Byou who was looking a little wane. “Byou come here please.” Madame F patted the seat next to hers. “Tell me what’s going on with you and Nakamura.”

          For the next thirty minutes, Byou explained everything that had gone on once he was in Taizo’s house; the shopping trip, the hair salon, the dinner and the seduction afterwards. “Tonight, it was like he was someone completely different, there was no respect at all…it was like he was one of my ugly Dom…” he looked at Isshi, got up and stood in front of his former Dominant, dropping to his knees and bowing his head to the floor.  

           “Isshi-san, I’m so sorry I hurt you! I was so young and stupid…you were the best master I’ve ever had, I just want you to know that I’m deeply sorry I hurt you, I don’t expect your forgiveness because I don’t deserve it, but from my heart I am truly sorry.”

          Isshi’s face softened, “Byou, I forgive you. I now just want you to be happy.” A sob from the boy tore at everyone’s heart. “Byou look at me please.” Davina asked. “I want you to come home with me tonight. We will figure out how to move forward tomorrow, but tonight I want you with me at my manor. Don’t worry about clothes or anything, I have several rooms that are always ready for any of my young friends.”

         

 

          It was a miracle that Nakamura Taizo was not pulled over for speeding or aggressive driving on his way home from Vinyl Fetish, as the sleek BMW raced through the streets of Tokyo.  The anger filling his heart was close to being explosive, Madame F’s audacity to publicly warn him of his actions was beyond anything he’d ever experience in all his years in the community.

          Racing into the parking garage and skidding into his space, Taizo turned off his car, got out and slammed the door. The elevator ride up to the 26th floor of the building seemed to be slower than normal, Taizo’s anger reaching a boiling point as he punched the button over and over. “Fuck, hurry up!” he pushed the doors open as he reached his floor.

          “That little fuck! Whiney bitch complaining about wearing decent clothing.” Taizo walked straight to Byou’s room. “I should have known better than to take one of Isshi’s rejects, that faggot coddles his pets…they’re not even fucking proper submissives!” Yanking the closet doors open, Taizo started to grab everything that was hung up that he had just purchased on their shopping trip.

          “How can he fucking complain about this? Stupid boy…fucking go back to that piece of shit Dominant Isshi, go be a toy and play with his other faggot boys. I’m done with you.” Throwing the Armani suits on the bed, the shirts and ties, grabbing the boxes of shoes and piling them up on the floor next to the bed, Taizo’s fury was far from fading. “You want to be someone’s coddled toy, fine…don’t come begging me to contract you, I’m done with your pathetic ass.”

          He walked into his own closet and grabbed a large suitcase, “This should keep you looking decent while you’re homeless!” he growled as he shoved Byou’s belongings into the bag and without hesitation, Taizo rolled the bag out to the foyer. Taking his phone out and paging through the contacts, he found Madame F’s number.

          “Send your boy over to pick up the child’s belongings, they will be at the concierge’s desk in the morning.”  

         

          Leaving Byou to change out of his clothes and shower, Davina made her way into the kitchen to find Kato. “Mistress, how does he feel?” Kato was making them both a cup of tea. “He’s confused and hurt, I believe he had high hopes of being with Nakamura, it’s unfortunate for everyone that the man was not as we thought he was.”

          “It’s not my place to judge, but in my eyes Nakamura-san was being deceptive when he first came into town, though Madame F and yourself had no way of knowing of his true personality.” Kato placed a cup of tea in front of Davina. “I believe you are right; his mannerisms and overall attitude was one of a more sophisticated and well-mannered man. It says something that his true form came through tonight, I for one am glad we have Byou in our care.”

          Byou stepped out of the shower, relieved to have the last of the night’s tension washed down the drain along with the makeup and hair product. He was still in shock over the events of the last four hours; from going to Vinyl Fetish with his new Dominant, to now standing in Mistress Davina’s spare bathroom, homeless and alone. “I’m lucky to be here, she didn’t have to do this.” Byou felt nothing but gratitude.

 

          “Arrogant motherfucking prick ass asshole! The EXACT type of Dominant that shouldn’t be allowed to have pets!” Uta was on a tear in Sakurai’s car as they drove home from the club. “I can’t believe what he said about Isshi! Totally uncalled for and rude! That asshole should go back to fucking California, maybe they allow idiotic Dominants.”

          Sakurai had a sly smirk playing on his lips, “Babe, it’s okay now, Byou’s with Davina, she’ll keep him safe.” Uta’s head snapped around, “Who fucking cares about that? What the fuck are you and Madame F going to do about that…that… MAN?” Uta crossed his arms in a huff and roughly sat back in his seat.

          “I’m sure we’re not doing anything tonight, we all need to calm ourselves and think with a level head. I’m sure both Madame F and Davina, will be getting together with Byou, and perhaps Isshi. If I have time away from the studio, I will certainly be involved.” Sakurai hoped this would satisfy Uta for the time being.

 

          Ruimaru and Karyu were not quite cowering, but they were frightened in the change that had come over Isshi during and directly after the incident with Nakamura Taizo. Storming out of the club, Isshi took his boys by the hand and waited for the valet to bring round his car, muttering angrily under his breath. Just short of flinging each boy into the back seat of the car, Isshi slammed doors as he got behind the wheel. Karyu and Ruimaru held hands, both young men shaken by what had happened at the club. Ruimaru for one, felt sorry for Byou, he was sure that what had happened with Nakamura was not entirely his fault.

          Arriving at home, Isshi said nothing as he got out of the car and went into the house and walked straight to his bedroom, slammed the door and locked it, leaving Ruimaru and Karyu to lock up the house for the night. “Do you think Sir would mind if I slept with you tonight?  I really don’t want to be alone.” Karyu asked in a shaky voice.

          “I don’t think Sir cares about much right now, so I’ll take the blame if he is angry. Come on, let’s get Emi and go to bed, I want to be up before Sir, maybe surprise him with breakfast in bed!”

          Storming around the room as he went through his nightly routine, Isshi was beyond angry, he was borderline murderous, if Nakamura Taizo was in front of him now, he’d strangle the man to death. It was only because of Mistress Davina and Madame F that Isshi had reined in his anger, had it been only Nakamura and Sakurai in the room, there would have been blood and the police would had been called.

          Sitting on the side of his bed, Isshi leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, his face in his hands, as he closed his eyes he could see the fear on Byou’s face. The sight of the boy groveling on the floor in front of him had broken his heart, there was no ill will at that moment, only a strong desire to take Byou into his arms and comfort him. “What has happened to you in those five years you were away, my boy?”

         

           Madame F had been on the phone from the moment they had walked in the door, calling various associates in the community both at home and in America, searching for information on Nakamura Taizo, and what she was hearing was anything but pleasant.

          Ormond knew not to bother his mistress while she worked, instead moving quietly around her, helping her off with her shoes and rubbing her feet (something he always did when they’d been out and she had worn high heels), and listening for anything that she may need. “I want to speak to her tomorrow, I’d appreciate it if you kept this confidential. No, the details are being held in reserve in case there is any further actions required. Yes, thank you and I apologize for waking you so late, but this could not wait.”

          Snapping her phone closed Madame F leaned back in her office chair, “Ormond, do you believe that Nakamura has abused the boy or injured him in any way?” She had not had much of a chance to speak to Byou. “No Madame, I don’t believe so, at least not physically, we may have stepped in before that could have happen. If I may, Nakamura-san is a deceptive man, I no longer believe him to be a respectable member of the community, at least not in Japan.” Ormond’s statement spoke volumes, Madame F’s personal pet rarely spoke out against other Dominants, and when he had in the past, he was usually very accurate. “I’m not sure just how long he will remain a member of our community, my love. The next few days will be the deciding factor if he is to remain.”

Chapter Text

 

          Life was slowly returning to a normal routine for many of the people effected by Ken’s death; DCR was busy scheduling a replacement production technician in order to complete the Gazette’s new album, Pon was back in the studio as well, going through everything Ken had done and the members of the Gazette were trickling in for rehearsals.

          Uruha and Hal were officially dating; Hal had offered comfort and support during the trying weeks after the accident, not pushing the guitarist into any type of sexual relationship, something which Uruha was grateful for. “Are you sure? I’m not good at this kind of thing.” Uruha had stammered one night when their make out session had heated up, “You’re not a virgin are you?” Hal teased, “NO! Of course I’m not…that doesn’t mean I’ve slept with a bunch of people either…it’s just I’m not…” Hal shut Uruha up by shoving his tongue down his boyfriends throat, “You worry too much, just let me make love to you,” Uruha nodded and for the first time since he could remember, he actually enjoyed a night of gentle lovemaking.

          Aoi had been showing up in the studio most days, tuning his guitars, replacing strings and just generally to have some place to go that wasn’t his flat. Being at the studio kept him from dwelling on Yuki, he still wanted to see the boy but knew that he wasn’t welcomed, at least for now.

          Reita however, did approach Aoi with an accusation, “You gave Yuki the kittens, didn’t you? Why just leave them on the porch?” Aoi frowned, “Gave him kittens? You’re joking right? Like I’d do that… dude you’re mental.” Aoi scoffed, “Besides, that’s Kyo’s thing, go ask him.” Aoi’s attitude then convinced Reita that in fact the man didn’t give Yuki the kittens, as he would surely take credit for such an act.

          As much as he wanted to ask how Yuki liked the kittens, Aoi kept his mouth shut. He’d rather let his friends believe that he was much too selfish to do a random act of kindness, especially for Yuki, he was sure that anything he did would be seen as a ploy to get back into Yuki’s life.

          However, Aoi was being polite in asking how the young man was doing, “He’s healing physically, but emotionally I think he has a long way to go, the death of your lover isn’t something that you rebound from in a month.” Reita told him. “Well, next time you see him, just say hello for me please,” with that Aoi dropped the conversation.

 

         

          The two kittens Yuki named Rin and Sora, were screaming and winding around Aiko’s legs as she tried to feed them. “How could two such tiny babies make so much noise?” Yuki was sitting in the living room watching Aiko dance around the kittens. “They always think they’re starving, I wonder if they were taken away from their mom too early?”  Whomever left the kittens for Yuki, he was thankful for as they had helped him over the last week since they showed up on his doorstep.

          Aiko put the bowl of food down for Rin and Sora, “Are you ready to go when I’m done?” Today was Yuki’s first checkup since he’d been released and he was hoping to get the casts removed from both legs. “I’m ready…let’s get going.” Aiko grabbed her purse and the keys to the small sedan that was used by everyone. With the seat pushed all the way back, Yuki could just get in and sit semi-comfortably.

          Arriving at the doctor’s office and pushing Yuki inside, Aiko filled out the forms and sat with her brother to wait. “I hope they take these off today, I so want to have a regular shower.” Yuki thumped his casts. “It’s been six weeks now, so I bet today is the day.” Neither one of them wanted to think about the issue with the healing of Yuki’s back.

          The exam started with x-rays of Yuki’s legs and back, and then the removal of the casts. The doctor pulled the x-rays up on his computer, pointing out the various areas that were broken, “They’ve come together nicely, I won’t put you back in hard casts, but I still want you to take it easy for now.” Pulling up the x-ray of his back, the doctor studied it carefully before saying anything.

          “I’m not completely happy with your back, I know you’ve been very careful but the bone growth isn’t just there yet. I want you to continue with the brace for at least three more weeks, then we’ll x-ray it again and go for there.” Yuki’s shoulders slumped. “Can I at least take it off to shower?” Aiko informed the doctor that the shower had grab bars for Yuki to steady himself, so the doctor gave his approval.

          “I am going to give you more pain medication, not because I think you need it today, but because you’re a healthy young man that’s going to go against my orders. I’m not saying that you’re going dancing or to a concert, but in my experience young people push their limits frequently.” Yuki blushed in embarrassment, it was as if the doctor had read his mind. With a new prescription for medication and his casts off, Yuki leaned on Aiko’s arm as they walked to the car. “God this feels great! I want to take a shower as soon as we get home, and can you go get the medication for me please?”

          Helping Yuki into the house, Aiko returned to the car and drove off to the pharmacy, leaving her little brother to shower in peace. Using the walls to steady himself, Yuki undressed, carefully taking the back brace off, then gingerly stepped into the shower, glad for the grab bars Uta had installed. Turning the shower on hot, Yuki stood under the stinging spray for as long as he could before lowering the temperature.

          It felt so good to just stand up straight, the shower itself was just a bonus, he thought as he carefully washed himself for the first time in over a month. He was surprised to find a tinge of blood that must have collected under his casts, he knew that during surgery they didn’t bathe him, he hoped it was his blood and not Ken’s.

          After a long shower, Yuki slowly got out and dried himself off, slipping on some boxers, a t-shirt and some lounge pants, before putting his brace back on. Reaching up to comb out his hair, it was with an intense feeling of satisfaction that he finished getting dressed by himself. Now he had to convince his sister that she could go home, that Ayato or one of his other friends could take him to his next doctor’s appointment. He truly wanted to be alone with his grief, he wanted to cry without everyone freaking out over it. He needed to learn how to live alone again.  

          “Hey! Are you home already?” Ayato poked his head in the door, “Yah in the bedroom.” Yuki called back. Hearing Ayato’s voice, Rin and Sora ran down the hall towards the young man, “Hey troublemakers!” Ayato giggled as he scooped up both kittens, holding them close to his chest. “What? Wow you’re upright!” he gasped as Yuki walked out of the bathroom. “Yep, legs are healed, the bones in my face are almost healed and my ribs are good…just my back is not right yet.”

          Ayato could tell by the tone in Yuki’s voice that he was worried about his back, “From what I’ve read, back injuries take a while to heal, so don’t push yourself.” Yuki grinned, “I won’t, don’t be such a mom.” Walking carefully into the living room, with Ayato’s help, Yuki sat down on the couch. “God you have no idea how nice it is to be able to bend your legs…or shit, even taking a shower was amazing.” Sora ran down the hall and launched himself into Yuki’s lap, Rin taking his time as usual. “Now I can take care of my babies!”

          “I still think Aoi did this, I don’t care what Akira says,” Ayato picked up Rin, “what do you think?”  Ayato had been bugging Reita for days since the kittens appeared on Yuki’s door step, pestering him to speak to Aoi. “Well if he did, that’s fine I guess, but why did he? I never said anything about wanting kittens, not like Uta did. I don’t see Kyo doing this for me either, we don’t know each other that well.”

          Playing with the kittens, Yuki didn’t really care who dropped them on his doorstep, he loved the two little brats, and now that he didn’t have his casts on, he could let the two babies sleep with him. “Hey babe… what’s…damn Yuki has his legs back!” Reita had gone home only to find his lover gone, and knowing that where Yuki was, Ayato was, he just walked into the flat.  “Yep, legs are free, but not my back, not yet.”

          “What the hell? I go to the store and you start throwing a party?” Aiko walked into the house, not really surprised that Ayato and Reita were over. “No, we’re not having a party…yet.” Ayato snipped, “But we will if you guys want to go to Ojisan’s tonight for dinner? He’s been asking about you a lot lately,” Ayato grinned. “Oh, we can get Pon and Die and Uta too… just put out a general call?”

          Yuki looked at his sister, fluttering his eye lashes, “Pleeeasseee onee-chan? I want to go out!” Aiko put her hands on her hips, “If I say yes, then you have to agree to no alcohol, especially since you’re on pain medication!” Yuki clapped his hands, “YAY!” Aiko was all for getting Yuki out of the flat to keep him from dwelling on his grief, the nights were still hard for the young man, as she often woke to his crying. Agreeing to something as simple as a night out at the ramen hut, was just one more positive step in Yuki’s recovery.

 

          Ojisan stood in his small kitchen, watching the young ones come together for their first time out since Ken’s death. Uta and Sakurai had agreed to come, Mao and Kyo as well, though Kyo kept insisting that he didn’t leave the kittens, leaving that part to remain a mystery. Aiko enjoyed watching Yuki with his friends, her heart overflowing with gratitude for the love show to her little brother. “The young one is on his way to becoming whole again, ne?” Ojisan leaned over and spoke softly to Aiko. “Ojisan, I hope so, it’s still rough for him at night and I can’t help him with that, but every day is a step closer.”

          One thing that Ojisan noticed is that most of the guests were not drinking that evening, a sure sign that the reason behind Ken’s death weighed heavy on their minds. Everyone was drinking cola or water, even though the beer limit was waved. “Ojisan, we’re just drinking at home these days, or if we’re somewhere out, we call a cab. No one wants to risk anything.” Die told the ramen maker. “A wise choice Daisuke.”

          Without immediately noticing the new customer, Ojisan’s greeting fell a little short, “Irassh…” the man took a breath, “Irasshai, welcome.” Aoi had just walked in.  “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know it was a private event,” Aoi bowed, turned and walked out of the ramen hut, “Shit,” Reita whispered, “Akira, please, go talk to him.” Yuki pushed Reita’s arm, “Okay…I’ll be right back.” Reita ran out the door.

          “Aoi! Hey wait a minute.” Reita rushed towards his bandmate, “Hey, you can stay, it’s not a private party, we’re just all here tonight, Yuki got his casts off today.” Aoi shook his head, “No, Rei…he doesn’t need to see me, it’s fine really.” Aoi turned to walk off, Reita grabbing his arm roughly. “Dumbass, Yuki sent me out here, come on back please.”

          Aoi initially resisted, “Really? Um…I don’t know Rei… he doesn’t really want to see me…does he?” Reita rolled his eyes, “I wouldn’t have run after you if he didn’t, just come back, it’s fine really.”  Aoi smiled, “Um, okay but if he gets uncomfortable, I’m leaving.”

          Walking in meekly behind Reita, Aoi’s stomach was flipping, and his palms were sweaty as he sat down at the counter near Aiko, “What can I get you tonight Aoi-san?” Ojisan asked, “Um, just a cola please.” There was no way he could eat food right now. “I’m glad you came back,” Aiko said softly, “It’s okay…nobody here hates you.” Aoi huffed, “Don’t be too sure about that.”

          Sneaking short glimpses of Yuki, seeing that the boy was at least happy in the moment, Aoi turned to Aiko, “Do you think he’ll be okay? I mean with his injuries, he’s wearing a back brace…what happened?” Of course, there was no way Aoi would know about Yuki’s back injury. “He has a broken vertebra in the middle of his back, and the doctors are a little worried about that, so he’s wearing the brace for the next three weeks. Then if it hasn’t healed properly, they’ll have to do surgery.”

          Aoi nodded as he listened to Aiko, his heart breaking for his former lover. “Oh, okay. I guess Reita will let me know how he’s doing.” Drinking his cola, Yuki looked over at Aoi as he spoke to his sister. He wasn’t sure how he felt about the man at that exact moment, other than he knew he didn’t hate Aoi. They were both at fault (though more for Aoi) for the failure of their relationship, but that was in the past and Yuki knew he had to move forward past the new tragedy.

          Catching Yuki’s eye, Aoi smiled and nodded at the young man, then looked back down at the counter…he just couldn’t face him. “Thanks, but I need to get going.” He said to Aiko, “Tell him I hope he feels better.” Aiko patted the guitarist on the hand, “I will, don’t be a stranger Aoi,” Getting up he quickly left the ramen hut, walking down the street to where his car was parked.

          “Hey, where’s Aoi? I didn’t get to talk to him.” Yuki turned away from Ayato, looking over to where his sister was sitting, “Yu, I had to drag him back in, he didn’t want you to be uncomfortable,” Reita said. Yuki sighed, “I don’t hate him…I don’t want to get back together, but I don’t hate the man, why doesn’t he understand that?”

          Ojisan walked over and stood in front of Yuki, “Aoi-san blames himself for Ken-chan’s death and that’s something that only he can come to terms with. He hates himself and is trying to find his way, but nobody can help him, he has to make that journey on his own.”  Reita patted Yuki on the shoulder, “All you can do is wait until he pulls his head out of his ass, and it may take awhile, fair warning.”

          This saddened Yuki a great deal, even though they’d been at odds, he still cared for Aoi…well he cared for Shiroyama Yuu, not so much Aoi. “Well, let’s hope he figures out his life soon, would hate for him to screw up his life with the Gazette, that would disappoint a lot of fans.”

          With the departure of Aoi, the impromptu party wound down, with people having to go to work the next day, and Yuki needing his rest. Packing everyone into the car, none of them saw Aoi lurking in a clothing store near Ojisan’s, watching as everyone left. As the car pulled away, Aoi walked towards the ramen hut, “Ira…Aoi-san. What can I do for you?” Ojisan asked. “Could I have a pork cutlet ramen to go please? I just didn’t want to make Yuki uncomfortable with me being here.”

          “Young man, it is not Yuki you are making uncomfortable, be honest with yourself.” Ojisan busied himself with making Aoi’s food, “Ojisan, what can I do to help Yuki?” Aoi sat at the counter to wait. “What is your ending desire with the young one?” Ojisan had his back to Aoi, “For Yuki to be happy again, for someone to love him like he should be loved…how Ken loved him.”

          Ojisan smiled, “That’s not what I asked you, Aoi-san. What is your hearts desire with Yuki-chan?”  Aoi became flustered, stumbling over his words, “What I want isn’t important,” Ojisan boxed up the food and placed it in a bag, then turned to Aoi. “You love Yuki, but you do not love yourself, that is your first challenge. You can not help the young one until you find Shiroyama Yuu again, that much is clear. You can continue to surprise him with small gifts, but look into yourself on why you are doing it.” With a heavy sigh and a thank you, Aoi took his food and returned to his car, driving home to eat alone in the dark.

 

          The information she had gathered, was disturbing to Madame F, she had not anticipated what she was being told about Nakamura Taizo. Speaking to some of his associates, an some of the elite of their community in America and finally speaking to Constance, it seemed that what she had witnessed in regards to Nakamura’s treatment of Byou, was par for the course for the man.  “This will not do for Byou.”

          The email exchanges that Madame F had between various members of the American community at large were troubling. One associate said there were rumors of abuse, but no one had ever seen a mark on Constance, rumors of exhibitionism of a scene that should have been played behind closed doors, was one that was repeated frequently.

          Madame F was now charged with the decision on how to move forward with the information she had. Knowing that she would need to speak to other high-ranking members before contacting Nakamura, she sent an email to those members, plus Davina, Sakurai and Isshi, ordering a meeting be held at her manor, with mandatory attendance. “I had such high hopes for your involvement in our community,” she mumbled to herself.

Chapter Text

          “You don’t have to go back to work, why don’t you just stay home, then you can hang out with Yuki and the kittens.” Reita’s argument points didn’t really stand on their own. “What? You want me to stay home like a good little boyfriend? Why the fuck would I do that, Akira?” Ayato shot back. “Because maybe Yuki still needs you, or maybe because I want you to be safe and stay home…ever think of that? Ever think of someone other than yourself?” Ayato’s mouth fluttered between open and closed, his eyes were darkening by the second. “Fuck you,” he said calmly and walked out of the flat.  “FUCK YOU TOO!” Reita screamed at the door, as he heard the small sedan start and tear out of the parking lot. “Damn it!” he whined.

          “Why the hell should I stay home? He has no right to ask that of me, we’re not fucking married!” Ayato screamed as he drove, winding his way through the downtown district towards Tokyo tower. “Maybe I’ll fucking work full time, two jobs! Asshole.” Parking his car and walking towards the entrance of the HBG, he stopped to gather his thoughts before going inside.

          He pulled the back door open and stepped in, “Ayato!” Mao shouted as he saw the slender young man. “Wait! Don’t pick me up and swing me around!” Ayato threw his hands in front of him, “I’m just hear to talk to Taka about coming back to work.”  Mao pouted, “I wasn’t going to pick you up…” Ayato walked over and hugged his friend, “I’m happy to see you too, Mao.” Taka rolled his office chair out into the hallway, “You want to come back? How’s Yuki doing?”

          Ayato bent over and pushed Taka and his chair back into the office. “He’s okay, but he had both casts removed from his legs, so he’s mobile, but he still has to wear a back brace.” Ayato leaned against the file cabinet as Taka took out the schedule. “How many hours and when can you start?”

          Ayato wanted to go all out, “As many as I can get and tomorrow.” Taka looked over his shoulder, “How does Reita feel about this?” Ayato narrowed his eyebrows, “He doesn’t figure into this at all.”  Uh oh Taka said to himself. “Opening shift tomorrow soon enough?”

          “Yep, that’s great, I figure everyone’s been working to cover my shifts, now I can do it for everyone else, so max me out if you can,” Ayato smiled, “Thanks Taka,” without another word, Ayato turned and walked out of the office, “Bye Mao!” he waved as he walked out the back door. “This isn’t good…” Taka sighed.

 

          Mistress Davina sat in her parlor, shuffling through some paperwork for the renovation of her manor, “Madame F has arrived, Mistress.” Kato opened the door for the Dominant and her submissive, “Davina my dear, why are you buried under all that paper?” Madame F bent down and kissed her protégé on the cheek. “Oh, this is just all associated with the renovations to the manor, I’m just attempting to keep them in order.” Collecting the papers and placing them on her desk, Davina nodded to Kato and then turned her attention to Madame F.

          “It was a bit shocking on what you discovered about Nakamura, don’t you think? He definitely had us fooled.” Davina had read the emails between Madame F and the people from America who were familiar with Nakamura.

          “Indeed, especially from his own submissive, that was a shock actually. He had us believe that his relationship with Constance was a likened to yours and mine, obviously we were wrong.” Madame F was disappointed in the Dominant. “What I’d like to speak to you about now, is what to do with Byou.”

          As if on cue, there was a knock at the parlor door, “Come in Byou.” Davina smiled. “Mistress?” he smiled, “Madame F, Senpai,” bowing to the other Dominant. “Byou sit down please.” Davina pointed to a chair in front of her desk. “Madame F and I would like to speak to you about your future in the community. I’d like to know what you’d like to do, what would please you the most.”

          Byou blushed and stammered, “That’s not… I shouldn’t… why would you ask me that? I will do what you tell me to do, Mistress.” Davina sighed, “Byou, you have every right to decide on your future, you are not contracted under me, you have full control of your life.” Byou shook his head, “No, I shouldn’t be allowed that, it’s obvious I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m not smart enough to choose my own path.”

          This is exactly the problem Davina had encountered since the boy came to stay with her at the manor; Byou had no confidence and little self worth. “Boy, look at me.” Madame F said sharply. “You must voice what you want in your life, or you will end up hurt or dead.” Davina groaned, “Madame… so harsh.” Madame F waved Davina’s comment off.

          “Do you want another Dominant Byou? Do you wish to go home, or do you want to remain in the community? We can make arrangements if you choose to go home. If you wish to be placed with another Dominant, we will find one for you. Do not be so wishy-washy boy.” Madame F huffed in frustration.

          Byou was overwhelmed, afraid to speak his mind in worries that one of the Dominants would punish him for saying the wrong thing. “I don’t know, Madame. Truly I don’t think I’m good enough anymore. I never was a good submissive, just ask Isshi-san.”

          Davina looked at Madame F, so this was the problem…it’s Isshi. “Byou you may return to your room or whatever it is that Kato has you doing, thank you.” Davina dismissed the young man, waiting for the door to close before she spoke, “That is the key problem; Isshi.” She stated simply. “I agree my dear, I think it’s time for us to bring those two together and leave them alone to work out their little problem with their past.” Madame F rose, “I will leave it to you to schedule the meeting between them.”

          “Madame, what are the repercussions in regards to Nakamura? Is he to stay active in the community?” Davina still believed that Nakamura might have some redeemable qualities, “He has been censured and warned, Niihara as you know will allow him to attend Vinyl Fetish, but that he is to be watched. Any submissive that he may try to collar, will be meeting with me before I will allow a trial contract period.”

          “The problem I fear will be his reaction and subsequent actions at the club, Niihara of course will be able to control any disturbance, but I fear that Nakamura will still be trouble,” Madame F paused, “Try to find out what is truly bothering the boy. He’s much too sweet to just throw at any Dominant, he needs a special touch much like our Uta.”

 

          Relieved that Reita’s car was not in the lot, Ayato parked the small sedan and ran to his flat. Grabbing a backpack, he stuffed some clothes in it and grabbed his pillow. “You want me to be a little house boy…fuck you, find someone else.” He muttered as he left the flat. Not bothering to knock, Ayato walked into Yuki’s flat to find his friend on the couch watching TV. “Hey, I’m going to crash here for a few days, Akira’s being a dick.” This got Yuki’s attention quickly.

          “A dick? Why?”

          “He told me he didn’t want me going back to work, that I should stay home and be safe so he can protect me, and that you need me around 24/7 and I called bullshit on it.” Ayato threw his bag in the spare bedroom. “If he wants a little house boy, then he can find someone else.” He went to the fridge and grabbed a cola. “I’m going back to work starting tomorrow, and I asked Taka for as many hours as I can get.”

          Yuki didn’t like the way this was starting to feel. “Why so many hours? Not like you need the money, Akira pays the bills.” The fall out to that statement was quick and harsh, “Maybe I don’t want Akira to pay for everything, who gives a shit how much money he has? He has no right to tell me what to do! He’s being fucking controlling, I want to go back to work and have my own damn money!” Ayato’s shouting scared Rin and Sora who were laying with Yuki.  “Dude, you don’t have to yell at me, I just asked,” Ayato fell back onto the couch, “Sorry, he just pissed me off today.”

          They sat in silence watching TV, Yuki nodding off a bit and Ayato trying not to remain so angry, which was hard. “Why doesn’t he trust me?” he asked the kitten as Sora sat in his lap, just letting Ayato pet him slowly. “I can be on my own, I don’t need him to pay for everything.” Sora chirped at Ayato and crawled up his chest to sit on his shoulder, and with a nuzzle to Ayato’s ear, the small kitten curled up to sleep, the sounds of the kitten purring lulling Ayato into a nap.

         

          Reita parked his car, satisfied that the small sedan was also parked. Picking up the flowers and the ice cream, he quickly ran to his flat, pushing open the door with his foot, “Babe, hey I got you a little surpr… Ayato?” putting the ice cream in the freezer, Reita walked down to the bedroom, “Babe? Where the hell are you… Yuki’s.” He put the flowers in some water and took them to the bedroom, “Still a little of a surprise.”

          Sneaking up to Yuki’s door Reita opened it slowly, peeking in he saw both Yuki and Ayato asleep on the couch, one of the kittens curled up on Ayato’s shoulder. Reita didn’t want to wake them they both looked peaceful, so he slowly backed out and closed the door and went back to his flat. “He’ll be home later.” Reita chuckled.

          Later wasn’t in an hour or two, later was almost midnight and Reita’s anger started to build. “What the fuck?” Going back over to Yuki’s, Reita knocked first then opened the door…or tried to; it was locked. “What the fuck?” He knocked harder, just short of banging on the door. “Ayato open the door.” He growled. Nothing. He knocked again, harder this time. “Ayato!” now he was pissed.

          “Reita, is something wrong?” Die leaned out of his flat, “I’m trying to get my boyfriend to answer the damned door Die, what the hell does it look like?” he snapped. “What the fuck are you doing Akira?” Ayato yanked the door opened, “It’s fucking almost midnight, why haven’t you come home yet?”

          “Maybe because I didn’t want to? Ever think of that Mr. Controlling? Go home Akira.” Ayato tried to slam the door but Reita shoved past him before he could, “You’re coming home with me right now.” He grabbed Ayato roughly by the arm, “What the FUCK? Let go of me, I’m staying with Yuki, go home Akira!”

          The tussle started to get more physical, “What are you guys doing? Stop it!” Yuki was slowly walking down the hall, “Akira! Ayato! Stop it!” Yuki’s voice was shaking, he was afraid to get too close, “You guys stop please… don’t fight!”

          “OKAY! BOTH OF YOU STOP!” Die came up from behind and grabbed Reita around the waist, lifting him away from Ayato, “Stop it… come on you two, knock it off for fucks sake!” Reita struggled against Die, Ayato just backed away from his boyfriend, “You’re out of fucking control Akira, that’s all you care about is fucking control! Go home and leave me alone!” Ayato turned and ran down the hall to the spare bedroom, slamming the door and locking it.

          “I’m going to let go, don’t go running after him, Rei, I mean it.” Die growled. “Let go Die, I’m going home, that spoiled ass brat can fuck off for all I care.” Wrenching away from Die and pushing his way past Pon, Reita stomped off to his flat, going in and slamming the door. “What the fuck is going on?”  Yuki had walked back down the hall, “Ayato, open up please, Akira’s gone home…please?”

          The door unlocked, “Hey, what was that all about? What’s going on between you two?” Yuki carefully came into the room, sitting on the end of the bed. “He’s controlling me, Yu… seriously. He doesn’t want me working, he wants me to stay home and all that shit. I’ve worked since I was freaking 16 because I had to, now he wants me to just quit? What happens if we break up? Is this going to go the same way Uta and his boyfriend did? Is Aki going to kick me out and break up with me?”

          Yuki had never seen Ayato scared before. Angry, petulant, stubborn…but never scared. “Why would Akira break up with you? He loves you like crazy…he’d never do that.” Yuki reached out to his friend, “I think you guys need to talk this out, not tonight, but tomorrow.” Ayato nodded, “okay, I’m going back to bed, do you need anything?”

          “I’m going to get another pain pill, I got up a little too fast when all the shit started and now my back hurts.” Ayato carefully hugged his best friend, “Sorry for the scene, I promise I’ll talk to him tomorrow.” Yuki nodded, “Good night,”

          At Reita’s flat, Die is still trying to calm a pissed off bass player, “What the fuck is he doing at Yuki’s? Asshole! Fuck him, let him live with Yuki, I don’t give a rats ass!” Reita’s flinging things around the flat. “Dude, what the hell is wrong with you? Calm the fuck down already!” Die’s dodging flying pillows and shoes, “What are you guys fighting about?”

          “That little shit thinks it’s okay for him to go back to work and full time at that! He doesn’t need to work…I make way more than enough money for us to fucking live on, seriously! I’m not some fucking hack musician in a shitty band for fucks sake!” Reita’s still grabbing things and throwing them, thankfully nothing breakable.

          “Maybe he likes working with his friends, ever think… HEY!  DAMN IT AKIRA YOU ALMOST HIT ME WITH THAT!” Die yelled as he dodged a boot that then hit the wall next to him. That finally got Reita’s attention enough to stop his ranting tirade. “Sorry, this just pisses me off.” Die shrugged, “It’s fine, but why are you so upset over this? He just wants to go back to work, it’s the HBG, nothing ever happens there.”

          Reita gave Die a ‘really?’ look, “Nothing ever happens at the HBG? What the hell are you smoking Daisuke?” Die grinned “Okay, so some shit happens there, but it’s not like it’s deadly or dangerous, all those things are in the past.” Reita finally sat down on the couch, throwing his head back and covering his eyes with his arm.

          “I’m scared somethings going to happen Die, if he’s out working and stuff, what if he gets hurt or killed? Someone driving crazy and running him over, or he’s using the damn car and some asshole hits him and kills him like… I can’t do that Die…I can’t risk that.” The tears were sliding down Reita’s cheeks, the sobs building in his chest,

          “Akira, look at me please,” Die reached over and pulled Reita’s arm down, “Aki, we can’t stop living because of what happened to Ken and Yuki. We can’t just stay home because it’s safe, and you can’t tell Ayato what to do, he’s not a slave…he’s your boyfriend. You love him and keep him as safe as you can, but you don’t restrict him from living. Do you understand that?”

          Reita sniffed, “My brain does but not my heart…and now I’ve fucked it all up. He’s not going to want to come home, he’s going to stay with Yuki now.” Die could tell that what was going on was Reita melting down for the first time since Ken died, all the built-up emotions that he had suppressed in order to be strong for Ayato, had just spilled out all at once. “Aki, go take a shower and go to bed, talk to Ayato in the morning when you both have calmed down. He’s not that far away, like fifty feet, he’ll be fine for the night.” Die got up, patting Reita on the shoulder, and left the flat.

 

          But it wasn’t fine the next morning, it just got worse. Reita got up early and walked over to Yuki’s, politely knocking on the door. “Can I talk to Ayato please?”  Yuki smiled, “Come on in, I’ll go get him.” Yuki slowly walked down to the bedroom, “Hey, Akira’s here, he wants to talk to you.” Ayato looked at Yuki then rolled over, “I don’t want to talk to him, he made his position perfectly clear last night. Tell him to leave.”

          Yuki sighed, he hated being in the middle of this type of shit and it was the last thing he wanted to be doing; playing referee between his best friend and Reita. He closed the door and walked back to the living room. “He doesn’t want to talk to you, Aki. Sorry.” Yuki could see the blood boiling just below the surface, “He doesn’t, does he, then he can fucking live here with you. I’m done with him being a childish asshole. FUCK YOU AYATO!”     

          Yuki watched as Reita stomped off to his own flat, slamming the door behind him. “We’re all going to need new doors if this keeps up.” He walked back down the hall to Ayato’s room, “Why won’t you talk to him? This is really starting to become a problem,”

          “Do you want me to leave? I’ll go back to the capsule hotel if you don’t want me here.” Ayato mumbled, still with his back towards Yuki. “No dumbass I don’t want you to leave, but I want you to talk to Akira, this fight is pretty damned childish. Talk it out like adults instead of putting me in the middle and screaming like freaking toddlers.” Yuki left Ayato pouting and went back down to his own room and crawled back into bed, “At least they have someone to argue with.”

 

          Reita’s pissy face was the first thing Ruki saw as he walked into the studio, later that day. “What’s wrong with you princess?” he sniped. “None of your fucking business.” Reita walked over to the rack where his basses were lined up. “Aki, what’s wrong?” Ruki asked with genuine concern. “Nothing Ru, just drop it okay?”  Waiting for the others, Reita busied himself with tuning his basses and generally avoiding eye contact with everyone. Speaking with the new technician, Reita was first to re-record sections of a few different songs, happy for something to focus on other than Ayato.

          Ruki was reading a magazine when he heard a familiar giggle just outside the studio door, he knew that Uruha and Hal were probably having a quick make-out session before Hal went to his own practice room. “Bye, I’ll text you when we’re done.” Uruha pushed open the door, blushing fiercely with flaming red cheeks. “Hey Uruha, looks like someone’s a blushing bride today.” Ruki teased. Uruha reached up and covered one cheek, “It’s not that bad Ruki, sheesh.”

          Kai and Aoi had met each other in the parking lot, walking in together. “Good, everyone’s here,” Kai went into leader-san mode, “With Taiji’s help, we shouldn’t be more than two more weeks for editing.” Taiji was the new technician taking Ken’s spot. “Pon should als…” Kai didn’t get to finish, “Pon is here! Sorry I’m late just had a little issue at home. I’m ready though.”

          “Can we just get this over with please?” Reita snapped, he was in no mood for socializing, he wanted to be done and leave. “What’s your problem?” Kai asked. “I don’t have a problem, I just want to get this done, I have other things to do.” Reita snapped again. “He’s got a problem but he’s not telling…” Ruki spoke up, “Guys really? I want to get this album done too.” Taiji sighed.

          Everyone stood and looked at Reita, waiting for an answer. “Fine, Ayato and I are… well, he’s living with Yuki right now,” his voice wavered, “I don’t want to talk about it, let’s just get to work please.”

          For the next three hours, it was all business in the studio, each member of the Gazette editing and rerecording parts in songs that needed work, Taiji being efficient and professional, Pon learning a little more each hour and asking questions along the way. Reita finished his part and was ready to leave when Aoi stopped him, “Akira, what’s wrong? Just tell us and we can help.” Aoi laid a hand on Reita’s arm, “It’s nothing Aoi, it’s between me and Ayato.”

          “Look, you guys need to get this out in the open, so I’m going to call for a break, get this taken care of.” Taiji got up from his spot at the control board and left the room. Kai turned to Reita, “Tell us what’s going on, we need to have no distractions right now.”  Reita slumped his shoulders in defeat. “Fine, Ayato is staying with Yuki, he’s mad because I told him to stay home instead of going back to the HBG to work. He doesn’t need the job, I make plenty of money to support us. He got all pissy and stormed out of the house. When I came home, he was at Yuki’s and well, things got a little physical.” Reita sat down on the couch.

          “Physical?” Kai bristled, “You didn’t hit that boy, did you?” Reita didn’t say anything, “No, he didn’t hit Ayato but he grabbed him by the arm, Die had to pull him away from Ayato.” The members of Gazette stared in horror at Reita, “You grabbed… what the hell is wrong with you?” Aoi snapped at the bassist. “Shut it Aoi, you have no room to talk about any of this.” Reita shot back.

          “The hell I don’t! You’re an idiot, you’re fighting with your boyfriend over his job? What the fuck is wrong with you?” Aoi stood up, “You have someone that you love and you’re trying to control what he does? Haven’t you learned anything in the last two years? He’s a damned adult Akira… and you are too, he’s not your damned child, you have no right to tell him that he can’t work! What the hell are you afraid of? That he’s going to run off with someone? If you keep acting like an asshole, he just might! God I can’t believe you!”

          Everyone was staring at Aoi in disbelief, the fact that of all people, he was calling Reita out on his behavior was stunning. “You need to go home and apologize to Ayato, then you need to back off. If he wants to go back to the HBG, who the hell are you to say he can’t? You don’t own him Akira, he’s not your damned property!”  Aoi was fuming, he glared at Reita one last time then he left the room.

          The fact that Aoi was defending Ayato’s position over what Reita wanted, was a shock to the other members of Gazette. “Did he just tell you… oh my god he did! Good for him! Reita you are acting like a control freak. Maybe take Aoi’s advice, go home and apologize to your boyfriend, kiss his ass and maybe he’ll come back.” Ruki laughed, he found this hilarious. Reita said nothing before putting his bass back on the rack and leaving the room. “He’d better kiss that boy’s ass or he’s going to lose him.”  

Chapter Text

          “You must speak with him Isshi, please. The boy is completely lost and can’t focus on anything, he’s just following Kato around like a puppy.”

          Isshi closed his phone quietly, tapping it on his chin. Byou needed him. Davina was at a loss to what she could do to help the boy, and as such she was asking him to help the young man. “What could I possibly do to help him?” Isshi wondered out loud. Shaking his head clear, Isshi got up and went in search of his Angel. “Ruimaru?”    

          “Sir? In the laundry room!” Karyu called out. Isshi started to walk towards the laundry room when a flash of a pale ass ran across the front of the hallway. “Ruimaru!” Isshi heard a loud giggle, then another flash of a pale ass as Karyu ran in front of him. “What are you boys doing?” Isshi tried to sound stern and possibly angry, but his smile betrayed his true feelings.

          “Sorry Sir! We have a good excuse!” Ruimaru yelled from his room, “I hope so for your sake my Angel, I need to know why my boys are streaking through the house.” As he turned down the hall and walked to Ruimaru’s room, he opened the door slowly. “What good excuse do you have?”  Both Karyu and Ruimaru were putting clothes on, “We were in the back garden, and well…we got into a sort of a uh…” Ruimaru’s face was beet red, “well, I turned the hose on Karyu, then he threw some dirt at me which of course turned to mud, then he got the hose away from me and well… we got sorta dirty.”  The evidence was clearly on their face, both smudged with dirt.

          “I didn’t think it would be wise to track dirt into the house, so we both stripped down and ran to the laundry room and put our clothes in the washer. You just caught us before we could change.” Karyu was embarrassed, of course Ruimaru was not.

          “Well it seems like an honest answer, and it was a lovely display of cute little naked asses, but I’m sorry I have to ruin the fun…or at least not join in at the moment,” Isshi frowned, “I need to go to see Mistress, and I will be there for a time. I would like you to have dinner ready, I will text you when I leave Davina’s. Everything is in the fridge ready to be heated.” Isshi opened his arms, both boys throwing their arms lovingly around his waist, “I won’t be long,” he whispered as he kissed his boys on the forehead.

 

          His stomach was a jumbled mass of butterflies, why was he so anxious about seeing Byou? This wasn’t the first time they’d been in the same room, what was so different today? Deep down he knew that today he would be facing his fears, facing the truth to why Byou screwed him over so badly five years ago.

          Kato bowed and held the door open, “Isshi-san, welcome. Mistress is in her parlor.” Isshi thanked the man and went in search of Davina. “Mistress, I am here at your call.” Davina smiled softly, “You know I wouldn’t ask this of you if I didn’t think it would help.” Davina waved for Isshi to sit down. “Is it truly that bad, Davina? Is Byou that lost?”

          Davina sighed, then explained what Byou had said when Madame F had questioned him. “He wants a Dominant but he has no self worth, when he was asked what he wanted, he deemed himself not able to answer it, that he doesn’t believe he has any right to choose his path and that he isn’t smart enough.  He said he wasn’t a good submissive and that all we need to is speak to you.”

          This was shocking information for Isshi, “Not a … oh Davina...” Isshi whispered. “The boy has been following Kato around, watching how he interacts with me, but the boy has no joy in his eyes, I believe that he feels even more worthless because he failed with Nakamura.” Isshi sighed, “Let me speak to him.”

          Taking a deep breath before knocking on the door, Isshi tried to steel himself for whatever he may hear or expect from Byou. “Byou? It’s Isshi, may I come in?”

          “Isshi-san?” Byou opened his bedroom door. “Why are you here?”

          “Come and sit with me Byou.” Isshi sat on the side of the young man’s bed. Byou looked at the floor but did what he was told. “Look at me, Byou.” Isshi reached out and with the tip of his finger, lifted the boys chin.

          “I want you to answer me truthfully,” Isshi knew this would hurt, “what happened to us, my boy? Was I so bad of a master that you felt you needed to leave? What happened to you?” Byou looked back down at the floor, closing his eyes tightly, shaking his head before answering.

          “I was a fool, young and stupid. Too immature to handle a real relationship with you, or anyone for that matter. I didn’t take anything we were doing seriously, and I didn’t think that it was a big deal when I left.” Isshi saw a tear fall. “I found some friends, the wrong kind of friends, and I listened to them when they said I shouldn’t be living with an old man, let alone letting him tie me up and fuck me.” Byou was crying, with no attempt to control it.

          “Now I’m a piece of shit. I can’t make anyone happy, not you, or Taizo or even Davina. Madame F called me wishy-washy and asked if I wanted to go home,” he looked up at Isshi, “I can’t go home, there’s nowhere for me to live, my parents…”

          Isshi reached up and pushed Byou’s hair out of his eyes. “What do you want, my boy?”

          Without a second of hesitation, “To be loved and to serve a kind master, someone like you that will keep me in line, but loves me. I want to have a kind loving Dominant, not someone that’s going to punish me for doing something wrong.”

          Byou covered his eyes as he sobbed, Isshi started to reach out to draw the boy into his arms, but stopped short, instead patting Byou on the leg. “I will help find you a Dominant, Byou. Davina, Madame F and I will work together to place you with someone that will care for you.” Getting up from the bed, Isshi walked to the door, turning and looking at the broken boy, he shook his head and walked out the door.

          Walking back to Davina’s parlor, Isshi stopped just outside the door, “Byou needs someone kind but strict, he wants someone like me.” Davina could see the obvious pain in Isshi’s eyes, she knew what the man was feeling. “We’ll discuss this later, thank you Isshi.” The Dominant nodded, then turned and left the manor.

          Davina quickly picked up her phone, “We have a problem.”

          Isshi drove home, his thoughts running through his mind like a hard rain beating on a window. Arriving at home, he didn’t call out for his boys, instead he walked to his room and closed the door. Ruimaru came out from his bedroom to ask about dinner. Stopping he could hear Isshi crying in his room. “What?”

          “I need to call Mistress!” he ran into his room where Karyu was sitting on the bed. “Why? What’s wrong?” Ruimaru took out his phone and dialed Davina’s number, “Mistress! Why is Sir crying? He just ignored Karyu and I! He’s locked himself in this room! Oh, I see. Yes Mistress, I will. I love you too. Thank you.”

          “Ru what’s wrong?” Karyu had drawn his knees to his chest, hugging them with his arms, “Sir spoke to Byou-kun,” Ruimaru said softly. “Karyu, what do you think of Byou?”

          “He’s pretty, he seems nice but kind of shy and quiet, even quieter than me. That Dominant he was with… I don’t like that man at all, he’s rude and mean. Why?”

          “What would you say if Byou came to live with us?”

 

          The sound of a bottle shattering drew Taka’s attention away from the office, walking to the counters, he finds Ayato on his hands and knees cleaning up the glass and spilled syrup, “What happened?” Taka reached around the corner for the broom. “I turned too fast and it flew out of my hands, sorry.” Ayato muttered. During Ayato’s shift that day, a miasma of anger had blanketed the young man. “When you’re done cleaning up, come see me.” Ayato knew now, that his anger towards Reita, had finally crossed the line.

          “Have a seat,” Taka was looking at the computer, he wanted to let Ayato suffer for a few minutes. Turning in his chair, Taka faced his employee. “You’re acting like a dick.” Ayato’s head snapped up, “What did you just say?”

          “You’re acting like a dick, you’re pissed off at your boyfriend for stupid reasons and you’ve brought that shit to work, knock it off.” Taka folded his arms across his chest. “He’s trying to control me! How is that me being a dick?” Ayato snapped. “He’s not trying to control you, dumbass. He’s trying to control the environment, he’s trying to keep everything away from you, he’s scared that you’re going to get hurt. He’s not expressing his concern in the right way, but he’s scared that some outside influence or action will take you away from him.”

          “How is telling me to stay home protecting me? He doesn’t want me working, he wants me to stay at home and obey him, that’s fucking controlling.” Deep down, Ayato knew Taka was right, but he had way too much anger invested in his feelings to admit that.

          “Go home.” Taka said with some finality, “Go home and apologize to your boyfriend and quit being a spiteful dick. I’m not trying to be mean, but believe me when I say, I know exactly what you’re going through. Sato tried to keep me home after Morrie attacked Koichi, and he was doing it for the same reason, he was scared and that’s what Reita’s doing. Go home and work this out. You can come back on your next shift.”

          With a deep sigh, Ayato got up, “Fine…I’ll go home.” Leaving the office, he went and grabbed his bag and left the building. “Taka?” Tomo poked his head in, “You’re going to help if it gets busy, right?”

 

          Ayato and Reita were sitting on opposite ends of the couch, Reita having been forced to come home from the studio, nobody wanted to deal with his pissy attitude either. Reita looked over at his lover, the boy he had fallen so hard for when he was in California, the boy who meant so much and yet now Ayato wouldn’t even look at him.

          Reita knew he’d have to start the dialogue. “I’m sorry babe, I shouldn’t be telling you what to do.” Ayato turned his head, “I’m sorry too. It was just that your words hurt, you made it sound like you wanted me to be a prisoner, you wanted to keep me from being happy.” Reita scooted closer to Ayato, “After what happened to Ken and Yuki, all I could think about is what would my life be if you died, if some asshole was driving drunk and hit you, or some lunatic came to the HBG and I don’t know… kidnapped you or raped you.”

          Ayato picked up Reita’s hand, “I know that you love me and you just want to protect me, but making me quit my job and stay home, that’s not love, that’s control and I can’t live like that. All I can do is make sure that I’m careful and aware of my surroundings when I’m out. I can’t stop the actions of others, you’re just going to have to trust me.” Staring into each other’s eyes, Ayato had a sly grin on his face, “So we’re good? You’re not going to tell me how much I can work?”  Reita nodded, “I love you and trust you.” Ayato stood up, bending over he whispered in his boyfriend’s ear, “How about a little dance?” Reita started to smile, he then got up and scooped Ayato into his arms, “I don’t have any money to tip you with, but I have something else that’s just as good.” Ayato laughed, “You’re a dork, but I love you.”  The dancing went on for some time that day and into the night.

 

          Mistress Davina sat at Ojisan’s counter, waiting for Madame F and Sakurai Atsushi to arrive. “Is this a serious meeting, Mistress?” Ojisan asked as he prepared enough ramen for the group. “Yes, it is. I need the other’s input on a touchy subject.”

          “Irasshai, welcome my friends.” Ojisan greeted Madame F and Sakurai cheerfully. “Hello Jin Koba, I see that you’ve anticipated our dinner, I’d like a beer please.” Madame F sat down next to Davina, “I’d like the same Ojisan.” Sakurai greeted Davina with a kiss on the cheek. “This must be a serious matter if you told me not to bring Uta, he was a bit miffed… Ojisan, could I have a pork cutlet to go please, it’s the only way I can pacify Uta.”

          “It is unfortunate, but yes, it is serious. We have an issue with Isshi and Byou.”  Madame F filled Sakurai in on what had transpired since he last saw the boy at Vinyl Fetish, and the recent turn of events. “That boy… what happened during those five years? It’s sounding more like a repeat of Leda-kun,” Ojisan placed their meals in front of them. “This boy, he was abused at some point between when you last saw him and now, severely abused. He seeks to return to the one who loved him the most, and is desperate to return to his side. Look to the two boys to heal his heart and accept the lost one into their family.”

          Madame F chuckled, “Jin Koba, why do we even bother to come together when you then tell us exactly what needs to be done five minutes after we sit at your counter?” She turned to Davina and Sakurai, “Maybe it’s time Isshi and Byou were together, I don’t see any other option as I can not come up with one decent Dominant that could handle the boy with kid gloves, and if he was abused so badly as Ojisan says, we might be dealing with something other than low self-esteem. This may be something that only Isshi can cure.”

 

          Rolling over in bed, he picked up his phone to check the time, “Shit…dinner.” Dragging himself out of bed, he first went into the bathroom to splash cold water on his face to calm the swelling and puffiness around his eyes. It seemed that crying had become his new go-to reaction to problems. He had cried too much these last two years, and frankly he was disappointed in himself.

          Opening the door to the bedroom, an overwhelming scent of braised beef hit him full in the face. “Hmm, my Angels have been playing again.” Isshi walked into the dining room, to see the table set, with flowers and candles, Ruimaru and Karyu dressed nicely and sitting quietly. “Sir, please sit down. I’ll be serving dinner tonight.” Ruimaru got up and went into the kitchen, bringing back a large serving tray filled with food. With Karyu’s help, they served the meal and poured the wine, then sat down and smiled at their Dominant.

          “What is the reason for all of this?” Isshi asked, “We love you Sir, but we want you to enjoy dinner first, then we’ll talk.” Ruimaru blushed. There was little conversation between the men, mostly small talk about the mud fight, a little concern over Emi throwing up her food, and pointedly no conversation about the reason for Isshi’s crying jag.

          “That was excellent my lovelies.” Isshi folded his napkin and put it on this plate, “Sir, would you please go wait for us in the living room while we clean up a little?” Karyu asked shyly. “Of course, my love.” As Isshi made his way to the living room, he could hear the whispers of the two boys, which piqued his curiosity as to what they had planned, “The naughty things,” he smirked thinking the boys were going to ask for a special scene that night.

          With a tray of tea and cookies, Karyu and Ruimaru joined Isshi in the living room, pouring the tea for their Dominant, then both sitting on the floor at his feet. “What are you two hooligans scheming? What do you want from me?” Isshi teased.  Karyu nudged Ruimaru.

          “You may be angry with me and punish me, but that’s okay.” Ruimaru’s hands were in his lap, “When you came home and went straight to your room, I heard you crying. It scared me, so I called Mistress.” The young man looked up at Isshi, “Sir, please…bring Byou-kun home, he needs to be here with us, he’s so lonely and he can’t go back to that nasty man again! He loves you and I’m sure he’s sorry and won’t ever do anything bad again, but please… can’t you please go and bring him home to live with us?” Karyu looked up, “Please sir? He’s sweet and cute and I think he’d like living here with us.”

          Isshi could not believe what he was hearing, “You both have no idea…” yet they did, they knew at least the basics of the story of Byou and Isshi’s first relationship. “Why would you allow this? Wasn’t losing Leda-kun hard enough? What if Byou decides to run away again? I’m not willing to go through that one more time.” Isshi was shaking his head, he was saying no but his heart was screaming for him to retrieve the boy from Davina’s.

          Ruimaru and Karyu both stood up, wedging their way into Isshi’s lap, “Sir, I don’t think Byou-kun is going to do that. You saw him at the club with that horrible man, he was scared and confused, he kept looking at us and pleading with his eyes, he wanted you to save him. Please sir…let’s go see Mistress and at least ask Byou-kun?” Karyu was the first to kiss Isshi, then Ruimaru. “Pleassseeee Isshi-san!” Ruimaru whined in the voice that always went straight to Isshi’s cock, “We could have some lovely scenes, Sir… just think about it.” the boy was now whispering in Isshi’s ear, “What would you have us do to him, Isshi-san? Mmm, I bet he’s sooo sexy.” Ruimaru shifted a little on Isshi’s lap, “You my angel are truly a devil.”

          With a few soft kisses and a little groping, Isshi was finally convinced that he should at least speak to Byou about the arrangement. Deep in his heart, he truly understood that Byou would only be happy if he was with Isshi again, and if he was honest with himself, he knew that he’d be happy as well.

          “As soon as this disappears, “Isshi looked down at the obvious tent in his robes, “I will call Mistress and we will all go talk to Byou-kun. Does that satisfy you?” With two squeals and a few more kisses, Ruimaru and Karyu were just short of ecstatic, “Yes sir!” Isshi sighed, what the hell was he getting himself into?

Chapter Text

 

          While he was relieved that Ayato and Reita had cleared up their asinine misunderstandings, Yuki wasn’t relieved to be alone…again. Rin and Sora at least gave him some sense of other bodies being in the flat, but it wasn’t the same as having your lover next to you in bed, laughing with you while you watched tv, or making love to you. Pile all that on top of his frustration at the slow progress he was making in his recovery, and Yuki wanted nothing more than to scream at the world how unfair his life was.

          Instead, he decided after a particularly restless night, that when he went to bed again, he was going to take his brace off while he slept. “What harm could it do? I’m not having sex or anything, I’m just sleeping,” was his justification, though he knew that if Ayato or Aiko found out, he’d have hell to pay. He made his way through the afternoon, watching tv, playing stupid games on his computer and napping, “This sucks…” he muttered after he woke from his nap, more tired than when he went to sleep. Ken still visited him in his dreams…more memories than fantasy.

          Aiko had called her little brother to check on him; asking all the big sister questions. “Have you left the flat at all? Why not? Where’s Ayato? You should make him take you to Ojisan’s or the HBG, you need to socialize. Don’t make me come down there and drag you to the movies or something.”

          After promising her that he would ask Ayato to go to the movies with him, she was satisfied enough to hang up. “Pain in my ass.” He muttered. While it was the truth, he knew he needed to get out, he just couldn’t get himself to commit to anything. Dinner was all he could handle, ordering take away to be delivered, he looked to Ayato and Pon’s flats, both dark and silent. “Great, guess it’s dinner alone.”

          Taking a hot bath to help relax his body and mind, Yuki went through the evening routine of feeding the kittens, cleaning the small kitchen and watching for Ayato or Pon… hell even Die would do as a visitor, but they had their own hectic lives, and Yuki understood. Putting on his pajamas and calling for Rin and Sora, Yuki climbed into bed, without his brace, he just wanted one good night’s sleep. With Sora sitting on the pillow curled up near his shoulder and Rin tucked in under the covers, Yuki closed his eyes and prayed for a dreamless night.

         

          “Babe, you shouldn’t be doing that, it’s not going to help.”

          “I’m tired Ken, I just want to sleep…don’t bitch at me please.”

          “I’m not bitching at you, I’m just warning you to be careful, I love you.

          “FUCK!” Yuki cried out as he tried to turn over, it hurt…scary hurt. “Damn it.” Carefully getting out of bed, Yuki shuffled to the bathroom and got one of his pain pills, swallowing it quickly. “This better work.” Shuffling back to bed, Yuki sat down on the side of the bed, slowly falling over and letting his legs come up to rest on the bed, then pulled the covers up, Rin and Sora whining softly, Yuki slid back into a restless slumber.

          “Didn’t I tell you? You’re going to fuck up your back that way! I can’t help you anymore, babe please…”

          The pain woke Yuki again, not more than three hours later, “Okay Ken, I get it.” Carefully rolling onto his side and swinging his legs over, Yuki got up and took another pain pill, this time putting his back brace on again. Drinking almost an entire bottle of water, the pain medication making his mouth dry and sticky, Yuki decided to try to sleep sitting up on the couch, “This might work better.” Grabbing a large comforter, Yuki dragged it along with his pillow down to the living room, putting the pillow behind him and putting the foot rest up. “Happy now, Ken?”

          The drugs kept Yuki from hearing Ayato knocking on the door, the drugs kept him from hearing the phone as Ayato tried to call and kept him from hearing when Reita an Ayato used their key to get in. “Shit, he’s probably dead tired, I’ll call him later.” Ayato whispered as they saw the young man asleep on the couch. “I’m sure he’s probably not very comfortable sleeping in that brace,” Reita pointed out. The truth was, Yuki had woken up again in a great deal of pain and took yet another pain pill. “This is fucking stupid.” He muttered as he returned to the couch to try to go back to sleep.

     He was unhappy, lonely and generally miserable. When he was awake, he cried, and if he wasn’t crying, he was trying to forget all the pain. Ayato was back at work, as was Pon. Reita and Die both at the studio, leaving Yuki alone and bored and susceptible to stupid temptations.

     With another take away delivered meal, a random dumb tv show on, Yuki went to the fridge to grab a cola, “Wait a minute, what’s this?” There was a beer sitting in the back of the fridge, “Well this is better than a fucking cola.”  Balancing the beer on the arm of the couch and a take-away container in his lap, the relief he felt from just one beer was significant, “a perfect lunch.”

     There was still enough of the pain medication in Yuki’s system to react with the alcohol, even something as light as a beer. Once he was done eating, he slowly staggered to the kitchen, putting the leftover take-away in the fridge. Turning to face the living room, the last thing he knew he wanted to do was to sit back down on the couch and stare at the fucking television.

     With Aiko’s words ringing in his ears, Yuki decided to take it upon himself to leave the flat. “Just go for a walk.” Grabbing his keys, he left the flat, walking carefully down the small ramp that was still in place. “Where to go, left or right?” Turning to the right, he slowly made his way down the street, enjoying the sunshine and mild temperatures. As he crested the small hill, he had a sense of déjà vu, something was nagging at the back of his mind.

     It was a flash in his subconscious, a scream and a jolt of severe pain that hit Yuki just as he started down the small hill. What was this? He walked about forty more feet then stopped. On the sidewalk against the wall was a small milk bottle with some fake flowers peeking from the top, and the remnants of candles around it. This was… Yuki searched the street, looking for traces of blood, glass…anything tangible to solidify what he knew to be true.

     His knees started to shake, this was where Ken died, he didn’t need anything physical to know this in his heart. Leaning against the wall, he slowly slid down, his back brace scraping and jostling around him. Yuki stared at the spot he believed was the impact zone; the spot where his life changed forever, and Ken’s life stopped. His eyes blurred with tears, this was too much…he should have never left the flat, he should just stay inside never to be reminded of what he had lost and what his life had become; empty.

He drew his knees to his chest, leaned his head on his arms and cried. The flashes of his and Ken’s life up to that point, flooding his mind. But this was where everything changed, there was nothing past this spot in the street. Yuki stayed like that, he had no reason to move. There was no reason to go home, there was no reason to live as far as he was concerned, the combination of pain medication and alcohol scorching his resilience.  As is typical for Japan, people driving or walking by, ignored the sobbing young man sitting on the sidewalk, except for one driver.

     Aoi did not usually travel this route to the studio, but had been at a store nearby, he knew this was the area where Ken died and close to Yuki’s flat, but he never guessed he’d see the one thing that hurt his soul the most. Driving up the small hill, he looks at a young man sitting on the sidewalk, “Shit… no way! It can’t be…” he whined aloud. Topping the hill and turning into Yuki’s apartment parking lot, Aoi parked his car. He trotted into where the flats were and looked around, it appeared that no one was home.

     Turning to walk up the hill, Aoi had no idea what was going to happen, but he had steeled himself to make sure not to hurt Yuki, if the boy yelled at him, he would just turn and walk away. As he approached Yuki, he could see Yuki’s shoulders shaking, as he got closer, he could hear the sobs and the cries of ‘Ken’. He quietly sat down next to Yuki, not reaching out or saying anything. 

     Yuki sensed there was some one next to him, but he didn’t have the courage to look up, it was easier to hide his face and his tears, he figured whomever it was would leave quickly. When the person remained, he looked up. Aoi. The man smiled sadly and nodded, but said nothing, returning his gaze to the street, knowing that Yuki had figured out that this was the site of the accident.

     Yuki waited for Aoi to say something, something stupid and regretful, but he said nothing, just smiled and nodded. This pushed Yuki to his limit, he just needed someone…anyone to acknowledge his pain, and if it was Aoi at that moment, he would take it. He slowly leaned against Aoi, until the man slowly put his arm around Yuki’s shoulder, holding him as he continued to cry. The unlikely pair sat on the sidewalk for some time, Yuki crying himself out, Aoi just holding him.

    When Yuki was done, he sat up and looked at his ex-lover. Aoi smiled again and got up, helping Yuki to stand. Holding out his hand, they walked back to Yuki’s flat, still not a word passing between them. Aoi stopped at Yuki’s door, kissed the boy on the forehead, smiled and then turned and went back to his car, leaving Yuki to watch as Aoi drove away.

 

     Nakamura Taizo was holding court at Vinyl Fetish on it’s regular Thursday night event. He had schmoozed enough lower ranking Dominants into believing he was in fact, a highly regarded (in America) well respected Dominant that treated his submissives as well as any other. The issue that was at hand is that at that moment, Nakamura was speaking with a female Dominant who was fawning all over him, Madame F and Sakurai were watching from across the room, Uta sputtering in disgust and Ormond carefully placing himself in a strategic location in relation to his Lady…just in case of course.

     Niihara had been informed of Madame F’s edict on Nakamura accepting another submissive, “He is not to collar anyone without my express permission, I don’t give a rats fuck what he says.” (To Niihara, the fact that Madame F used that kind of language, sealed the importance of her edict).

     “He’s such a fucking fraud! What the hell is his problem? He comes off as sophisticated and it’s a front…why does he do it?” Uta was sitting on Sakurai’s lap, his Dominant’s arm tightly holding him around the waist. “My dear boy, the man is insecure in his own position, I’m not even sure he’s a proper Dominant, I have my doubts.” Madame F answered. “Baby, money buys a lot of things, I was the same way myself, before you came into my life.” Sakurai nuzzled Uta’s neck, sending a shiver up the boy’s spine.

     “This is quite true Acchan, you were deplorable and incorrigible, but even in those days you were, as you are now… a proper Dominant.” Madame F chuckled. “Was it money or power, that you used?” Uta loved hearing about his lover’s past, because it was just that…his past. “Both, I was the Dark Prince, I was Sakurai Atsushi of Buck Tick, and I was a Dominant of high rank. I used those things to my advantage, I had the most beautiful boys and women in my bed as I chose,”

     “Were you happy?” Uta wiggled in Sakurai’s lap, “Sex covered or masked my emotions, I thought I was happy. But compared to what I have now? With you, I was nothing more than a caricature of my own shallow self. Nothing compares to what I have now, with you,” a passionate kiss was shared, “Taizo’s young, he hasn’t found the one yet, that one person that will change him forever.”

    “Am I that one?” Uta whispered. If passion had a face, it is what Sakurai Atsushi showed Uta at that moment. “You are my forever.”

    “Madame,” Ormond murmured and nodded towards were Nakamura was standing. The animated angry face of the Dominant was showing that he had heard something unpleasant, but Madame F bide her time until she approached.

    Nakamura Taizo did in fact hear something that he didn’t like, something about Byou. Standing with another male Dominant, Taizo heard in a voice that was not quite a whisper, “That beautiful boy, Byou? Isshi’s former submissive… he’s available again, living with Mistress Davina.” Nakamura whipped around, quickly stepping next to the person who’s voice he heard, “What do you know of Byou? Tell me!” he got right up in the man’s face.

    “Nothing! I don’t know anything about the boy…it’s just a rumor going around,” The man stepped back, bringing his hands up to ward off Nakamura, “Who told you he was living with Davina… TELL ME!” Before the other man could speak, Ormond was there, blocking him from Nakamura’s advance. “My Lady does not wish you to speak to this gentleman any further, Nakamura-san.”

     Whipping his head around, he glared in the general direction of Madame F and Sakurai. “I don’t give a fuck what your Lady wants,” Pushing past Ormond, Nakamura stomped over to Madame F, Ormond stepping ahead of the man and placing himself in front of his Dominant. “Get out of the way boy,” Nakamura snapped, “I have every right to know where Byou is and with whom!” he demanded.

    “You have no right whatsoever, Nakamura, none. Byou is not your submissive, nor will he ever be again.  Go and return to your little scenes, go on pretending you have any status in this community,” Madame F sneered, waving her hand dismissively. Nakamura growled, “You have no right to say anything against me, woman.” At this point, Sakurai patted Uta, the boy standing and moving behind the chair.

    “Taizo old boy, I believe you’re on the very edge of being thrown out of our community, if you do not change the tone in your voice, and remember who it is you’re speaking to.” Sakurai’s presence changed in an instant, Nakamura taking a step closer to the older man.

    “You….you have…” Nakamura started to speak, Sakurai narrowing his eyes at the man, “What I have is the ability to create such havoc in your life, what I have is the absolute power to make your life so miserable,” an evil smile spread across Sakurai’s face, “need I remind you of Natsu and his fate, hmmm?” Nakamura froze, he did know the fate of Natsu, everyone in the BSDM community world wide knew.

    “Let me spell it out for you, Taizo old boy. You have the right to live, you have the right to eat, to have a place to live, to breathe. What you don’t have a right to is anything else, period. You do not have the right to anything remotely concerned with Byou, he is no longer your submissive. What he is doing and who he is with is none of your fucking business. Your rights in this community, begin and end with Madame F, Mistress Davina and myself. Keep your nose clean and we’ll all live peacefully, put that nose where it doesn’t belong, and I’ll make sure you share Natsu’s fate, ne? Now have a nice remainder of your evening.”
          Sakurai turned his back on Nakamura Taizo, effectively dismissing the man, in front of everyone at Vinyl Fetish. “Nakamura Taizo, this is your only warning, do not cause any further problems in MY club, if you do, you will no longer be welcomed here.” Niihara had listened to it all, giving his only warning.  Smartly, Nakamura said nothing further, but bowed deeply to Madame F and Sakurai, then quietly excused himself and left the club. “The audacity of that man,” Madame F huffed.

 

          Once again, Nakamura Taizo drove his sports car too fast for the streets of Tokyo and again, evaded being pulled over by the police. He was not quite as angry as the night Byou was taken from him, but the anger was simmering just under the surface. “He’s with Isshi again? Fucking faggot, what the hell does Byou see in him? He does nothing for that boy, lets him live as a pet, not a submissive.” The angry muttering carried on for some time that night, along with a bit of scheming. He wanted Byou, that was his boy, HIS submissive, and he had every right to do what was necessary to get the boy back.

Chapter Text

           The ride back to Isshi’s house was filled with the silly chatter of mostly Ruimaru, with Karyu saying something every three minutes or so, and Byou saying nothing, as he was still in a state of shock. It hadn’t been but an hour between living at Mistress Davina’s and being a uncollared submissive, to now going home with of all Dominant’s, Isshi.

          “You can’t be serious? How could you even want me in your home let alone as a submissive, Sir?” Byou had been brought to Davina’s parlor to find Isshi with both of his boys sitting in front of Davina’s desk. “Byou, have a seat please.”

          With her face set seriously, Davina spoke, “Byou, we have found you a suitable Dominant, and I really do not want you trying to weasel your way out of the situation, is that clear?” Byou gulped and nodded, “Yes Mistress.” He whispered.

          “You will be going home with Isshi and his boys. There is to be no trial period or temporary contract, Isshi has expressed his desire to have you in his home again, as both Ruimaru and Karyu have persuaded him to take you in.”

          Byou looked incredulously at Isshi, “Byou-kun?” Ruimaru leaned forward in his chair, then looked at Isshi who nodded giving his permission. Ruimaru got up and kneeled in front of Byou, “We know that you and Sir had a bad start, but you were young and stupid. You didn’t really mean to hurt Sir that bad, did you?” Byou shook his head vigorously, “Karyu and I talked about it before we went to Sir, this is mostly my idea…but once I convinced him that it was a good idea, Sir agreed.”

          Now it was Isshi’s turn, “Byou, my angel is right, we did have a bad start and yes you were young and stupid, but I was at fault as well. Perhaps we do belong together, there’s a reason you came back into our lives and I’m grateful for it. Will you agree to be collared by me again and come to live with us?”

          Byou’s entire body was shaking, he couldn’t hear what anyone was saying, it was just muffled noise. Looking between Davina and Isshi, all Byou could think of doing was getting up and running from the room. He ran down the long hallway past the bedrooms on the left, turning right at the end and going outside to the koi pond. Bending over at the waist he breathed hard, gasping for air and trying desperately not to vomit.

          Standing up, he walked over to the low stone wall and sat down, splashing his fingers in the water to call Zeus. He knew the story about Hercules and Davina’s father, the long history of the koi pond and now the beautiful blue koi that was the reigning king of the pool. Zeus swam slowly over and leaned against the wall of the pond, waiting for either food or someone to pet him.

          Why was Isshi agreeing to do this, was the man insane? Offering to collar a submissive that abused and abandoned him, this just wasn’t done in the community as far as he knew. The fact that Ruimaru and Karyu were the ones to even suggest it? Wouldn’t they be jealous of the time he spent with Isshi?

          “Byou-kun?” Ruimaru stepped outside and walked to the other side of the pond and sat down. “Isn’t he beautiful? I helped Mistress pick him out, he’s now the ruler of the pond, just like Hercules was.” Byou stared at the young man with the bright yellow hair.

          “Why would you agree to letting Isshi-san collar me again?”

          “Because I knew he still loves you.” Ruimaru said simply. “What? Love me? That’s absurd, he doesn’t love me.” Byou huffed.

          “You didn’t hear him crying in his room all day when he came home from talking to you here at the manor. You didn’t see how torn he was when he had to help Mistress find you a new Dominant, and you did not see how really mad he was when that asshole Nakamura treated you so badly that night at the club, he was so mad!”

          Byou’s jaw dropped, “He…he was crying over me?” Ruimaru nodded, standing up he walked over to sit next to Byou, and picked up his hands. “I don’t think Sir ever stopped loving you, you know how he is…he’s soft and gentle and sweet. He was just so hurt, but once you told him what had happened, I think the love just came back.”

          “What about you and Karyu? How can you agree to have a third person as a submissive?” This was beyond anything Byou could understand. “Did Mistress tell you about Leda-kun?” Byou nodded. “Did she tell you about Uta and Teddy and their arrangement with her?” He nodded again. “Three can work as well as two or one.” Ruimaru scooted closer to Byou, “Can I kiss you please? You have the most kissable lips I’ve ever seen,” he purred. Byou’s eyes went wide, but he surprised himself and nodded.

          Ruimaru’s kisses had always worked magic on both Leda and Karyu, and this kiss for Byou was no different. The soft lips and the gentle probing tongue had Byou leaning into the kiss after the first few seconds, his heart started to beat just a little faster and there was a slow burn starting in his groin.

          After a few moments, Ruimaru pulled back, “I can see why Sir loves you, you taste amazing!” the young man murmured, “Come back with me and we can talk to Sir again, ne?” Byou nodded, and as Ruimaru stood, he reached out for the other boy’s hand, “I’m sure you’re going to love living with us, the scenes Sir has us play out are always amazing.”

          Byou was now going back to the house that he had run from so many years ago, the same house that when his relationship with Isshi was still new and fresh, he loved being in, and now he was returning. “We’re home!” Ruimaru bounced in his seat. “Quietly my angel,” Isshi chided, Ruimaru looked down, but wearing a sly smile.

          It was surreal walking through the front door of Isshi’s home, considering he ran out the back door that night, five years ago, with Isshi’s cat in his arms. Now he was coming back in through the front door, and there was even a cat there to greet him. “This is Emi, she’s Sir’s cat, but she loves Karyu the most. Say hello Emi,” as if on cue, the cat meowed sweetly.

          “My angel, you and Karyu show Byou-kun to his room, then I want you to prepare dinner. Byou, after you’ve put your things away, come into my office please.” Isshi dismissed the boys, Ruimaru grabbing Byou by the hand and leading him to his room. “Your room is next to Karyu’s, don’t be sneaking in there at night though!” the boy giggled. “Um, I won’t.” Byou blushed.

          Leaving Byou to put his things away, Karyu and Ruimaru left him and went to prepare dinner. Byou emptied his suitcase, but only putting away the casual clothes. He wanted no reminders of Nakamura, so the suits were left in the bag and stored in the back of the closet. Now he had to go and face Isshi.

          “Come in my boy, please.” Isshi had Byou sitting in a chair in front of the desk. “I want to discuss our contract, even though we went over everything with Mistress Davina,” he smiled at Byou, “I know this was a bit of a surprise, but let me explain why I chose to do this.”

          “When you told me what type of Dominant you wanted, and you were so adamant about it, the fear I had in failing you was very real for me. The guilt I’ve had over sending you, or at least agreeing, to let you be collared by that asshole Nakamura,” he sighed, “I felt it was my fault that you were placed with him, mostly because I was being stupid and petty and not listening to my own heart.”

          Isshi pushed back from his desk and came around to stand in front of Byou, “It did truly hurt when you left me as you did, but now that I know the circumstances, I understand better. Come here…” he opened his arms, and Byou couldn’t move quick enough, throwing his body into Isshi’s, his face into the crook of the Dominant’s neck.

          “I don’t know what I did to deserve you, to deserve any of you but I promise I won’t fuck things up again,” he looked at Isshi, “Nakamura scared me, I don’t think he’s what everyone believes, I think Madame F and Mistress should be very careful when dealing with him.”

          Isshi placed a delicate finger under Byou’s chin, tipping his face up, “I will keep you forever my boy, I will love you as I did before.” The kiss sealed everything for Byou, it was as if he had returned to love, and he sighed happily.

 

         

          “What was this all about?” Sakurai Atsushi was breathing heavily after a weird round of raucous, middle of the night sex. Rolling off his slender lover, who was also breathing quite hard but almost shining in the afterglow, Uta just shook his head, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

          It began with Sakurai being dead to the world, but somewhere in his subconscious, he could feel something almost dry humping his thigh. Pulling himself up from a dead sleep, only to find Uta with a leg thrown over his hip and has arm clutching Sakurai’s t-shirt, all of this as he was grinding his stiff cock on Sakurai’s thigh.

          It was all so confusing at first, until he finally got Uta to wake up, “You…you need to fuck me now, please…just fuck me now!” he pleaded, his eyes still hazy with sleep. Sakurai Atsushi never needed to be asked to do something as wonderful as fucking his lover, so he tore off his t-shirt and sleep pants and well…fucked Uta, and it was nothing short of amazing.

          “Try me, why were you humping my leg in the first place?” Uta started to giggle. “Um, I had this dream… see if you can follow.” Sakurai rolled his eyes, “Okay…I’ll try.”

          “I was at Lunatic Fest, but it was outside. I’m walking around with this tiny black kitten, like only two weeks old, in my arms. Then the scene, like changes, and I’m having sex with Orlando Bloom.”

          “Orland who?” Sakurai thought he knew who Uta was talking about, “The elf guy from Lord of the Rings.” Sakurai frowned for a moment, trying to picture the man.

          “Anyways…after having sex with Legolas, then the beer truck we were in exploded and killed a bunch of people. I’m running around with Legolas, with a kitten in my shirt then the scene changes and I’m having sex with him again…which by the way was amazing, probably why I was grinding on you.”

          They laughed over the dream, wondering why of all people that Orlando Bloom was in Uta’s dream, “And where’s the black kitten? Maybe it was Teo?” Sakurai shrugged, “Do we go back to sleep or get up and take naps later?”

          Uta had a better idea that didn’t involve getting up or going back to sleep.

 

          The death knell of boredom was ringing in Yuki’s ears. Not only was he bored, the incident with Aoi had him troubled. Why the man had sat with him on the sidewalk and never said a word, churned in his mind. After Aoi had walked him home, kissed him on the forehead and walked away, Yuki just stood and stared at the man’s back. Going into his flat, he spent the remainder of the day staring at a blank tv, with the images of his day playing in a loop in his mind.

          The dreams that haunted him that night overlapped; Ken holding him in his arms, promising him the world. Aoi sitting on the floor at Reita’s flat, playing guitar. Aoi telling him he loved him for the first time, then trying to molest him as he got ready for work. Ken smiling sadly telling Yuki to live and love again. The turmoil was almost too much for Yuki to handle.

          “You look like hell, what’s wrong?” Ayato had come over before work, bringing Yuki coffee from the local shop, “I didn’t sleep very well, something happened yesterday.” He mumbled. Ayato sat up straight, “Okaayy… what happened?” Yuki went through the events leading up to his leaving the flat and going for a walk.

          “You drank a fucking beer? On top of pain meds? Are you fucking stupid or what?” Ayato yelled at him. “I’m stupid.” Yuki muttered. “Is that all that happened?” Yuki shook his head, “I went for a walk, and I um…I saw where the accident happened.” He looked up at his best friend, “There was a bottle with fake flowers and some burned out candles, I just knew that it was where Ken died,” the tears had started, “I just sat down on the side walk and hid my face and cried, I don’t even know how long I was there.”

          Ayato’s heart was breaking, he now regretted screaming at Yuki. “I don’t know how long it was, but someone sat down next to me but didn’t say anything.” Ayato moved and sat on the couch next to Yuki, picking up his hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.

          “I finally looked up and it was Yuu.”

          “What did he say?” Ayato was trying his best to keep the edge off his voice, he was biting his tongue so hard he thought it may bleed. “He didn’t say anything, he just smiled and nodded at me, then looked out to the street. I sort of leaned into him, and he put his arm around my shoulder and just held me while I basically fell apart.”

          The surprised look on Ayato’s face made Yuki smile, “I know, not what you’d expect from him. After that, he helped me up, took my hand and walked me back to the flat, then he kissed me on the forehead and left. He never said one word to me, Aya…not one word.”

          “Um, I’m going to sound like a shrink, but how did it make you feel?”

          “That’s just it, I don’t know. I’m freaking confused, my dreams last night were like flashes between Ken and Yuu, like memories and shit.” Yuki ran his hand through his hair roughly, “I kind of feel like I’m losing it, I want to call Yuu and talk to him, but he’s going to think I want to get back together with him and that’s not what I want!”

          “Call him, or at least text him. Demand an explanation and then go with whatever he tells you. He won’t try to come on to you, not with Akira and Die having your back, don’t worry about that. Just see what he says, then thank him and that’s it.”

          “That easy? Just text him? Pfft, like that’s going to work.” Yuki shook his head, “What do you have to lose? Just do it. I gotta get ready to leave for work, text me if there’s an issue, I can leave any time.” Standing up and ruffling Yuki’s hair, Ayato walked to the door, turning back to look at his friend, “I don’t think Yuu is going to try anything, I don’t get that vibe from him anymore.”

         

          It took Yuki another hour before he even picked up his phone, then another twenty minutes trying to decide what to say;

         “Come over, I need to talk to you, please.”

         “Sorry, I’m busy at the studio.”  

       Bullshit. He texted Ayato, asking what they were doing in the studio, “Just editing and finishing touches to the album.

          Yuki called Aoi out, “Liar, come over to the flat, I need to talk to you it’s important.”

          Yuki waited, giving Aoi an hour to show up, if the man didn’t have the balls to come and see him, Yuki had planned on hunting Aoi down. Thankfully it was only thirty minutes and there was a knock at the door.

          “Come in.” Yuki yelled from the couch. The door opened, “Um, what did you need to talk to me about?” Aoi wouldn’t cross the threshold, “Just come in and sit down.”

          “No, it’s not right for me to be in your flat.” Aoi stammered. “You’re a fucking idiot, Yuu. Fine, sit outside…give me a minute.” Aoi watched Yuki struggle to get off the couch, the pain squeezing his heart.

          Yuki walked outside and sat down in one of the patio chairs, then he looked at Aoi.

          “Why?”

          “Why what?”

          “Don’t fuck with me Yuu, why?”  Aoi sighed, “You were sitting on the sidewalk alone, it’s not like I’m going to just keep driving, of course I’m going to stop.”

          “But you didn’t say anything to me, why?”

          “I didn’t need to, words would not have helped.” Aoi stared at the ground in front of him.

          “I have to go.” Aoi stands up and turns to leave. “Hey Yuu?” Aoi turned, “Yah?”

          “Um, thanks… for, you know.”

          “You’re welcome.”  Aoi walked back to where Yuki was sitting, and kissed him on the top of the head, “Take care of yourself.” Aoi turned and walked out to the parking lot, Yuki could hear his car start and drive away, leaving him more confused than ever.  

Chapter Text

 

          “Pon, do you have time to stop by later this afternoon?

          The phone call Yuki just finished had him in a panic, he needed support from someone that knew what he was about to go through; hearing from the lawyers of the man driving the lorry that killed Ken. Pon had dealt with the lawyers from his ordeal with Akinori, he had some experience with understanding legal terms. It wasn’t long before he received a text back from Pon, “I’ll be home in like twenty minutes, is that good enough?”

          This was the one issue in which he hadn’t thought he’d need to deal with. Obviously, Ken’s parents would receive any money that was due for Ken’s death, so why were the lawyers wanting to speak to him? Ayato tried to tell him, “Ken had car insurance, you were in the car and you were seriously injured, of course there will be some sort of compensation.”

          “What difference does it make? None of it brings Ken back, does it?” That was the truth, he wanted no money from anyone. Ken was dead and nothing would bring him back, let alone money. “Stop being an idiot,” Ayato smacked him on the back of the head, “Nobody says you have to keep it, donate it or something.”

          Walking around the flat, with Rin and Sora trailing behind him, Yuki did the small amount of housekeeping he had. Since he wasn’t going anywhere, there were no clothes to be washed, he wasn’t cooking, just getting take away and his dishes were all clean.  He wasn’t living he was just existing, he needed something else besides waiting for his body to heal.

          “Hey, did you need something?” Pon had tapped on the door and let himself in, “Yes please!” Yuki looked at the time, “Can you stay with me for like another two hours, or at least come over when I text you?”

          “Sure, I wasn’t going to do anything other than wait for Die, what’s going on?”

          Yuki slowly sat down on the couch, Pon reaching over to adjust his back pillow, “The lawyers from the trucking company are coming over, they said they needed to discuss something with me, and I don’t want to face them alone.”

          “I can have Die be here as well, he should be home in like forty-five minutes, let me go get some dinner ready for him…I’ll bring you some as well. Don’t worry, we’ll deal with this together.” Pon patted Yuki on the shoulder then went back to his flat.  

 

          “Breathe Yuki!” Die had the small broken young man in his arms, the shock of what the lawyers had told him had yet to leave his mind. “I’m calling Ayato!”  Pon took out his phone and started to text Yuki’s best friend, “No Pon…I’ll be okay, just give me a minute.”

          Much like Pon, the amount of the settlement from the accident was staggering, the trucking company paying for everything. The amount of money Ken’s parents was receiving was nothing short of absurd. “I don’t understand why I’m getting any money. It wasn’t my car or anything.” Yuki was puzzled. The lawyers explained that the trucking company was at fault, Yuki had been severely injured and as a result still had not returned to work.

          “You also lost your loved one, your companion and that was considered in the settlement. The driver of the lorry was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, due to Mr. Yokoyama’s death.” The lawyer explained. “We understand that the settlement is not to replace Mr. Yokoyama, but we do hope that it will ease the financial burden.”  

          Letting Yuki sit up, Die looked worried, “Are you sure you don’t want us to call Ayato?” Yuki waved off Die’s concern. “No, it’s okay, it was just a shock,” Yuki looked at Pon, “Who helped you with your settlement? I don’t mean to pry but what did you do with your money?”

          Pon smirked, “I talked to Uta, who then talked to his friend Mistress Davina. She came over and we talked about managing the money correctly, then I um…” Pon’s cheeks turned a soft pink, “you know that apartment complex across the street? I own it.”

          “You own that building?” Yuki was surprised, “Yep, Mistress Davina sold it to me. I wanted to do something good with the money, but not just throw it at a charity, so we went over to look at it and I bought it. I had money left over so the flats are now totally renovated and are full. I did like Uta, reduced rates for young people or others that are struggling.”

          Die put his hand on Yuki’s thigh, “Do what you want with the money, Yuki. There’s nothing saying you have to spend it on anything.” Pon and Die went back to their flat, leaving Yuki to ponder what he would spend the money on. One thing he did want to arrange was a small gathering of the DCR people, to thank them for everything they’d done for Yuki and Ken’s parents. “He deserves that much.”

 

 

          He stood in the boy’s room watching him sleep, he looked so relaxed and worry free. Isshi had told Byou that he would not have the young man come to his bed that first night. “You need to have a decent night’s sleep and adjust to your new life. This room is exactly how you left it, I never wanted to change anything.” Isshi was a sentimentalist at heart, Byou knew it all too well. “I hope you at least washed the sheets, Sir.” Byou giggled. “Yes, you silly boy, everything is clean.”

          There was a reasonable doubt on who was more excited that Byou had joined their small family; Ruimaru or Isshi. Ruimaru of course whispered naughty things in Isshi’s ear through out that first day, “Sir can you imagine me riding you, as I suck his cock and maybe Karyu’s doing something nasty to me?” Isshi scolded Ruimaru gently, “Angel, do not rile me up so soon, or you will be punished.”

          For his part, Karyu mostly looked at the floor when he had any interactions with Byou, leaving the new submissive to believe that Karyu didn’t like him. “Sir? Can I ask you something?” He had approached Isshi after failing to engage Karyu in small talk. “Does Karyu not like me, Sir? He never looks at me and doesn’t even talk to me. Have I done something wrong?”

          “Sit with me,” Isshi took Byou by the hand and led him into his bedroom, then explained Karyu’s life before he came to Isshi. “Sakurai-san? How could he not want to be with him? Not that I’d want to, but the man is…” Isshi put his fingers across Byou’s lips, “Uta is truly the only person in this world that matters to Acchan. He felt like he was cheating on the boy.”

          Then the story of Leda, which is what Isshi believed was the problem. “He’s anxious and scared. The last time I had three boys, Leda-kun got too close to Karyu.” Isshi explained the suicide and the aftermath. “So, you see, his mind is fragile, I’m sure it’s nothing personal my love, the only constant strength he has is Ruimaru.”

          The story of Leda and Sakurai cleared up a lot for Byou, he knew he’d have to approach Karyu in a different way. “Karyu-kun could you help me please?” Byou called out from his room, “Would you please hold Emi? I need to trim her nails, she caught me pretty good while we were playing.” Byou showed the young man a deep scratch.

          “You would think she was a wild cat! So little manners, Miss Emi.” Byou teased the cat as Karyu put her in his lap, “She was a wild cat when we found her, Sakurai-san and I.”  Byou asked Karyu to tell the story, “Were there any other cats out at his property?” Karyu shook his head, “if there were, we never saw any.” Once finished with Emi’s nails, Byou thanked the boy, “Let’s go find Sir.” Byou held out his hand, Karyu still looking down at the floor, but wearing a smile as he took Byou’s hand.

          Coming around a corner at a dead run, Ruimaru crashed into Byou and Karyu, almost knocking them down. “Ru!” Karyu yelped, “Sorry! Hurry up…come on!” grabbing Karyu by the wrist, Ruimaru dragged both boys into the foyer. “We’re ready Sir!”

          “Where are we going?” Byou asked, “Shopping then to lunch! Sir wants you to have some regular clothes, and maybe a special outfit for tonight!” Ruimaru was giddy, he loved pampering Karyu, and now he could do the same with Byou. “I asked, um… suggested that maybe you could use a few pairs of jeans and some track pants, then I begged him to take us to lunch!”

          “My Angel has his ways to persuade me into doing things I hadn’t planned on.” Isshi walked into the foyer, “Sir, I don’t need anything, really. I have enough…” Ruimaru quickly clapped his hand over Byou’s mouth, “Just let Sir do this for you, please? You don’t want those nasty suits that that ugly man gave you, do you?”

          Pulling Ruimaru’s hand away, Byou muttered “no, I don’t even want them in the house.” Isshi crossed his arms over his chest. “I am not buying you Armani suits, Byou. I’m buying you every day clothing; jeans, t-shirts, a few dress shirts, probably a pair of trainers and a nice pair of boots. Do not worry…I am not taking you shopping as did Nakamura.”

          “Thank you, Sir,” Byou looked up, “do you think we could give the suits to the recycle shop? I’m sure there are guys out there that would like a nice suit.” Isshi agreed, “I think that’s a perfectly reasonable request, when we come home, I’ll get a box and you can load them up.” Rounding up his young submissives, Isshi herded them into the car and started towards down town.

         

          “They’re leaving the house, looks like their going into the city, perhaps to Harajuku or Shibuya. Yes, all three boys. I understand, yes, I’ll contact you later this afternoon.”

 

          Isshi’s heart swelled and tears fought to fall from his eyes as he watched Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou go through the rows and rows of clothing, Karyu acting as the pack horse, holding everything that Byou wanted to try on. The day had been full of laughter and teasing, gentle scolding at times and a promise of a lust filled night if the three young men behaved themselves during the shopping trip, lunch and later that evening, at Vinyl Fetish.

          Bags divided between them, Isshi lead his band of silly young men back to the car, “Let’s put the bags in the trunk.” Isshi instructed them, “Now, I had planned on a fancy lunch, but I think I have a better idea, and this I believe will be Byou’s first time.”

          “Irasshai, Isshi-san.” Ojisan stood behind the counter, his arms crossed over his chest and wearing a broad smile. “Ojisan, I’d like you to meet someone.”  Before Isshi could say Byou’s name, Ojisan greeted the young man, “Byou-kun, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I can see that Isshi-san has a full heart once again, I’m happy for both of you. You deserve this much more than you believe, let it happen.”

          Byou’s mouth dropped open, “How did you… wait I’ve never…” he stared at Ojisan as if the man had two heads, “Byou love, Ojisan knows things… let’s just leave it at that.” Sitting down and ordering lunch, the small family shared more stories and jokes.

          “Irasshai,” the door chimed and a man in a dark suit walked in, “Pork ramen please, and a beer.” He sat at the end of the counter, nodding at Isshi and the boys. The man didn’t say anything, just ate his meal, asking for the check when he finished and he left the small restaurant.

          “Ojisan, that was delicious as usual, thank you.” Isshi gathered up his boys and paid his tab. Just as he was getting ready to open the door, Ojisan stopped him, “Isshi-san, please take care of your boys, you mean everything to them, and they as well. Please, be careful.” Isshi smiled and nodded, thinking that this was an odd gesture by Ojisan, but he knew to listen carefully to what the mystic ramen maker had to say. “I will, Ojisan.”

 

          The butterflies danced like a polka party in Byou’s stomach as they followed Isshi up the stairs to Vinyl Fetish. This was his debut, the announcement that he was back with his original Dominant, collared and contracted, for the first time in over 5 years. With Isshi holding Karyu’s hand, and Ruimaru’s arm around Byou’s waist, the little family made their way into the club.

          “Isshi-san, welcome! It’s nice to see you again, and your boys as well. Madame F and Mistress Davina have already arrived, they are in Madame F’s room, Velvet will escort you, please enjoy your evening!” Niihara was pleased to see Isshi with Byou again, though he had not owned a club back when Isshi originally contracted Byou, he did remember how much the man seemed to care for the boy. “Thank you, Niihara-san.”

          “Isshi my dear, you’re just in time!” Davina had opened the door just as Isshi had reached the room, “I’m sure you’re dying to take a turn around the club, ne?” Davina kissed her friend on the cheek, “Oh my, your boys look quite fetching tonight,” Davina held out her hand for Byou, “Are you happy Byou? Truly happy?”

          Byou blushed as he took her hand, “Yes Mistress, thank you.” Davina of course could not go without kissing both Ruimaru and Karyu, though the latter turned a deep shade of red. “Oh, Karyu…you’re still such an innocent, aren’t you?” Davina laughed. Taking Isshi’s hand in hers, they slowly walked towards the dance floor at the front of the club, “Is Acchan coming tonight?” Isshi kept Byou and Karyu next to him, Ruimaru was holding Davina’s hand, Kato following just behind.

          “He said he was if Uta wasn’t working the closing shift, I don’t think he’d ever come alone these days, it’s just not the same now that he has Uta, but it’s for the best.” Davina did miss the old days; her Teddy by her side, Sakurai wolfing around and teasing the single young men and women who were not in the community, Madame F and Ormond always the imposing couple. But those days were just a distant dream, not even a memory, these days there were threats of violence against them, threats of violence against their community. They had to be so very careful and watchful, the carefree days of their youth were gone.

          “Davina? You look upset, what is it?” Isshi reached up and caressed her face, “Oh, reminiscing really, how it was years ago, how free we were…that’s gone, Isshi.” Isshi gave his friend a kiss on the cheek, “I know my dear, but we have to make the best of what we have, and right now…this is the best life for me.”

          Before Davina could fall further into melancholy, a very slight boy had grabbed her around the waist from behind, “Uta love, what are you doing?” she laughed. “I tried to sneak up on you, but I should know better, like Kato would ever let anyone but me do this.”

          “That is where you are correct, Uta-kun, I would let no other do that…not even Sakurai-san.” Kato bowed lightly. “Lighten up Kato…you know me well enough.” Uta winked at the tall submissive. Shooting a quick glance at both Sakurai and Davina, Kato quickly wrapped his arms around Uta, “Yes I do know you and I know what a brat you can be!”

          The mood for the evening was light, the Dominants agreeing to letting the four young men dance together, “They seem so very young, don’t they?” Madame F mused, “They are young, but it is so good to see them all happy.”

          With refreshments waiting for them in Madame F’s private room, and the boys heading to the bathroom to freshen up from sweating while dancing, Madame F brought up a sore subject, “Have either one of you heard anything more on Nakamura? If he’s been out, he’s flying under the radar, or has paid someone to keep his activities secret.” 

          “I haven’t given the man much thought, although we boxed up the suits that he had bought for Byou and sent them to a recycle store,” Isshi giggled, “I’d love to see his face when he finds out that the $3000 suits are now for sale for $10! I wouldn’t be surprised if he raced down there and bought the suits back!”

          The laughter died down the moment the boys came back into the room, wearing very worried looks, “What’s wrong Uta?” Sakurai was on alert. “Um, I’m not sure but Byou thinks someone’s watching us.” Isshi reached out for his submissive. “What makes you think that love?”  Byou shifted uneasily, “Earlier today when we went out to lunch at Ojisan’s, the man that came in and had lunch too? He’s here at the club, Ru remembered him as well.”

          “What’s this Isshi?” Madame F asked. “I took the boys to Ojisan’s for lunch this afternoon, after we had a day of shopping. A gentleman entered and ordered some lunch, didn’t say anything and finished and left before we did, though…” Isshi’s thoughts trailed off. “Isshi, what did Ojisan say?” Davina asked, she had known Jin Koba for too long.  “He told me be careful, that I am everything to my boys, as they are to me. That’s not much to go on,” Ormond leaned down to speak to Madame F, “Give Ormond a description, or better yet, take one of the boys… I think Uta should go, this is beginning to feel very suspicious.”

          Sakurai stood up, “No, I will take Uta, I’m sorry Madame, but I will over rule you on this. If Ormond wants to follow, I will not deny you that, but I want to see this man myself.” Madame F nodded. “Go with him Ormond but stay back.”

          Davina’s face had worry written all over it, “I don’t like this, Madame,” she started to say. “If it’s Nakamura and he tries anything, he will be arrested and placed in prison, I will not allow him to harm anyone, especially not the boys.” Madame F leaned over and placed a hand on Isshi’s knee, “Look at me Isshi, if it is Nakamura, we will not let him get to Byou, Ruimaru or Karyu, is that understood? It will not happen.”

Chapter Text

         

           Yuki and Ayato watched as the doctor slid the x-rays on the back lit frame, both holding their breath as they waited for the verdict. “It’s healed, not as perfectly as I was hoping for, but you don’t need surgery at this point.” The doctor sat in a chair and flipped through Yuki’s chart. “I’m going to advise you to do several things, to prevent surgery in the future.”

          Yuki reached over and held Ayato’s hand. “I want you in a soft brace for another 4 weeks, it’s precautionary at this point. No, and I mean no strenuous exercise or um, other activities. Steady diet, no alcohol, and pain medication to be kept at a minimum. You can take the brace off at night while you sleep, but put it on before you get out of bed. You can wear a t-shirt under it to help from chaffing.”

          “Can I drive?” Yuki asked, “Yes, but no long road trips, anything over an hour, you must stop and stretch, but don’t over do it. I know how young people are, they feel better so they forget,” the doctor looked up at Yuki, “I don’t want to see you again, young man…I never want to see any of my patients again.” The doctor winked.  With a new prescription for mild pain meds, Yuki and Ayato left the hospital, Yuki breathing a little easier.

          “Let’s drop this prescription off first, I can go and pick it up later, but I want Ojisan’s!” Yuki sighed as he leaned back in his seat. “This feels so much better than that other brace, at least this one moves with me.”

          “You’d better follow those instructions, seriously Yu, don’t fuck with it, chronic back pain is not what you want to live with.” Ayato scolded, “I don’t want you ending up in a damned wheelchair for the rest of your life.” Yuki giggled, “I promise Kaasan, I’ll be a good boy.” Dropping the prescription off at the drug store, Ayato drove them to Ojisan’s.

          “Irasshai gentlemen!” Ojisan greeted them with a warm smile. “Yuki-kun, it is good to see you.” Coming around the counter, Ojisan hugged the young man, “I think of you often and always offer prayers to the kami for your Ken.” Yuki sighed, “Thank you, Ojisan.”

          “What can I get you gentlemen today?” It was all business as soon as they ordered their food, Ayato getting serious as well. “What are you going to do now? You can’t go back to work yet.” Yuki shrugged, “It’s not like I need the money or anything, though I’m going to start paying rent again, I don’t care what Uta says.”

          The teasing and insults flew back and forth between them, Ojisan’s heart swelling at the sound of laughter again. “Here we are gentlemen, one pork cutlet, one miso ramen, and 2 more colas,” with an itadakimasu, Ayato and Yuki dug into their food. “Oh god this is so good!” Yuki mumbled through a mouthful of noodles, Ayato just grunting. Ojisan went back to his kitchen to clean, when the door chime sounded, “Irasshai…” turning to greet his new customer, his heart caught. Aoi.

          “Oh, I’m sorry…I’ll um, I’ll come back later.” Aoi slowly backed out the door, closing it gently. “Do you want me to go get him?” Ayato asked, “I don’t care, it’s not like I’m keeping him from doing what he wants.” Yuki was apathetic about Aoi today, an emotion that changed by the hour.

          “Aoi-san, please, return so I can cook something for you.” Ojisan had left through the back of his restaurant and hurried out to catch up to Aoi. “No, Ojisan. I don’t want to make Yuki uncomfortable, I’ll come back later today.” Aoi just waved Ojisan off and kept walking, leaving Ojisan standing with his hands on his hips, shaking his head. “You’re going to have to face him eventually, Aoi-san.”

          “You should really talk to him Yuki, he’s pretty miserable from what Akira tells me, he hardly speaks at the studio and always leaves right away.” Ayato was trying to bridge the gap between Yuki and Aoi, even just in friendship. “No, Aya…I don’t need to talk to Yuu, I don’t have anything to say to him.” Yuki tried to get his friend off his back.

          Ojisan came to the counter, “But you do have something to say to him, young one. You need to tell him what to do, whether to continue to live as he is now, or to forget you and move on.”

          “What do you mean live as he is now? What’s so different about the way he’s living? I have nothing to do with that, I have no feelings for Shiroyama Yuu, so both of you leave me alone.” Yuki got up from his seat and walked out of the restaurant. “Ojisan, what the hell are we going to do?” Ayato pleaded, “I don’t know how to help him move on, I mean I’m not telling him to go out and get another boyfriend, but he needs to heal…he’s going to be miserable if he keeps holding on to Ken.”

          “There is nothing you, nor anyone else can do, Ayato-kun. Yuki and Aoi-san need to find themselves again, they do not know how to live as their true selves yet, and it may take some time, they are both rather stubborn if you haven’t already noticed that.” Ojisan smirked.

          Yuki had walked to the parking lot and leaned against Ayato’s car, still fuming over the pushiness of both his best friend and the old man. “Can’t they just leave me alone? I don’t want to be friends with Yuu, he fucked me over and…” Yuki looked up, “Um, I’m sorry that I ruined your lunch, I didn’t know you would be there.” Aoi was standing a few feet in front of Yuki, “You didn’t ruin anything,” Yuki huffed, crossing his arms over his chest and looking at the ground.

          “I know you hate me, you have every right to. I just want you to know that whenever we see each other, it’s not planned, I swear I’m trying to stay away from you, but since we know the same people, there’s going to be times that we’re going to be in the same room or whatever, and I promise I will not try to talk to you.” Aoi’s words were just running on their own, stumbling over themselves.

          “I’m not worth anything to you or anyone else, I’m a shit person and I know that, I just want you to know that I am trying to find Shiroyama Yuu again, and I think I’ve been doing better, but it’s obvious that you hate me, so as of today, I promise never to speak to you again unless you speak to me first. I just really hope you recover and get strong again, and at some point, I hope you’ll be happy.” Aoi bowed deeply then turned and walked away.

          “That sounded so fucking high school, Yuu. You can’t do any better than that? Seriously, you sound like a fucking teenager in heat.” Yuki snarked as he watched Aoi’s back. “I don’t hate you, by the way. I just don’t think we can be friends, it’s too much, there’s too much shit history between us. But I don’t hate you.” Yuki scuffed his shoe on the pavement, Aoi had yet to turn around.

          “So yah, if we happen to be in the same place, or at a party or something, you don’t have to leave, especially if it’s a DCR thing…you’re in Gazette, not like I have the right to tell you where you can be if it’s … you know a thing.”

          What Yuki couldn’t’ see was the smile that was spreading across Aoi’s face, the stuttering beat of his heart, “he doesn’t hate me,” he whispered softly to himself. “Thanks, Yuki. I have to go.” Without looking back, he continued walking towards the train station.  Ayato had just come around the corner when he saw Aoi talking to Yuki, he quickly backed up and hid, straining to hear what was being said.  “I knew you didn’t hate him,” Ayato whispered, “so damned stubborn, both of you.”

          He waited until he could no longer see Aoi before he started for his car, “Ready to go? Ojisan apologizes, and um, so do I… sorry buddy. I just want you to be happy.” Ayato slung his arm around Yuki’s shoulders, “I know, but you guys all need to back off, it’s not even been two months, not like I’m going to just go back to being all happy and shit.”

          “Come on, I’ll take you home, you look beat.” Because you talked to Aoi, that’s why you look so miserable.

 

 

          “Jiji! Where are you?” Karyu came bouncing up the steps and into the house where he had grown up with his grandparents. “Karyu? Is there trouble in your life?” It seemed that whenever Karyu came home, there was some sort of problem to be had. “No, nothing like that,” he pulled his grandfather into a warm hug. “Isshi-san is borrowing Sakurai-san’s estate for a few days is all,” Before Jiji could ask where Ruimaru was, the boy with the bright yellow hair came through the door, with another boy behind him, “Jiji!” Ruimaru happily threw himself into the old man’s arms. “Hello you little scoundrel, have you been causing headaches for Isshi-san?”

          “Hello Jiji,” Isshi walked into the store, wearing a broad smile, “Of course he’s causing headaches, but I don’t mind,” he held his hand out for Byou, “Jiji, this is Byou.” Jiji noticed a collar, “Hello young man, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Jiji bowed his head, Byou quietly said hello and bowed as well. “Jiji, we’re in need of the basic supplies please,” Isshi patted Byou on the butt, “Go help them find what we need,” Byou nodded, then went in search of Karyu and Ruimaru,

          “This one is different, isn’t he Isshi?” Jiji never missed a thing, not even with a lifestyle that he did not totally understand. “Yes, he is different. Five years ago, he ran from my home and disappeared, evidently, he went through some abuse and we are putting him back together, he is living with me and the boys now. He lived with me as my only boy for a year. It’s a long and drawn out story but we are now here to help the boy recover.”  

          Jiji knew in his heart that Isshi was a good, kind and caring man and he had no right to judge his lifestyle. His grandson had never been happier, being accepted for who you are was worth whatever minor issues Jiji might have had. “If you need anything Isshi, you know where I am, please just send Karyu down.” Isshi hugged the older man, “Jiji, you’re such a wonderful man, I now know where Karyu gets his kindness from.”

 

          “Your grandfather seems very nice; does he understand about all of this?” Byou waved his hand at Isshi. Karyu chuckled, “He said he and my grandmother both knew I was gay when I was in middle school, even before I knew what the word meant,” he looked at Isshi who was walking ahead of them with Ruimaru, “He understood what was going on when I was with Sakurai-san, and then when that didn’t work out, he was happy I found Isshi-san.” A dark frown came across his face, “He knew about Leda-kun, he tried to tell Isshi that it wasn’t his fault, and it wasn’t! Leda had other issues besides me… and Sir.”

     Isshi had barely touched on the topic of Leda, when they first started talking things out, all he really knew was that Leda committed suicide. “It’s nice to have family that understands you… mine don’t at all. Even my brother thinks I’m some sort of freak.” Karyu reached out and took Byou’s hand, “We’re your family now, so don’t worry about anyone else. Ru and I really wanted you to come and live with us, it was really the only choice, and I think Sir knew that deep down too.” Byou watched as Ruimaru was describing something, waving his arms about and laughing, Isshi keeping his steady pace, not in a hurry to do anything.

          Isshi stopped and turned to look back, “What are you two plotting? You’re very quiet…should I be worried?” Karyu looked at Byou, “No Sir, we’re just talking, not plotting anything.” They both trotted up to where Isshi was waiting, Ruimaru had already run ahead and opened the gate, “We still need to make dinner Sir…but what are we doing for the rest of the evening?”         

          Taking Byou by the hand, Isshi looked at the other two boys, “I think tonight we’re just going to talk, Byou needs to know more about our little family before we jump into all the fun and games.” Byou blushed, “Talk about what?” Isshi stopped, turning Byou to face him, “I want to know everything that has happened to you in those years you were gone, it is the only way we can move forward in our relationship, I want Ruimaru and Karyu with us, to support and comfort you.”

          Dinner was enjoyable, the three young men teasing each other and Isshi. They were boisterous and loud, knowing that the discussion they would soon have, would be somber and tear filled. Clearing the table and washing the dishes, Isshi went into the living room and made sure there was at least two boxes of tissue close at hand. “Sir, we’re done cleaning, is there anything else we should do?” Ruimaru dried his hands on a towel.

          “I think you should change into pajama pants, this will be a conversation that is going to need you all to be comfortable.” Isshi himself had changed into pajamas and brought out two large comforters. “Come and sit with me,” he patted the couch, Byou sat next to Isshi, Ruimaru and Karyu on the other side. “When you’re ready Byou, just begin.”

          Byou went through the first part of his story, some of which Isshi had already heard; Byou sneaking onto the internet late at night, meeting a group of other guys that started telling him that living with Isshi was gross. “I didn’t have the balls to defend you, Isshi…” he sniffed.

          The group of friends convinced Byou to leave Isshi’s house, offering him a place to stay. “They didn’t tell me it was an old store front that they were squatting in. There was no power or heat, just water. It was filthy and rat infested.” Karyu shuddered, “Rats? Oh my god.”

          “It would have been okay I guess, until one of the guys started to bring marijuana back to the flat, then everyone started smoking. I tried it once and it made me so damned sick, I told them I didn’t want to smoke any…of course they started calling me weak and a fag.”  Byou continued, explaining that after the marijuana was brought in, then someone else brought in some meth. “That was it for me, smoking weed is one thing, but that stuff? Nope, I left that same night.”

          Byou explained that he went to his brother’s home, which was less than comfortable. “He basically hates me, calls me a faggot all the time. I just slept and showered there, if I didn’t have to be in the house, I wasn’t.” Byou spent a lot of time at internet café’s, searching for some sort of job, “Of course the requirements of having work clothes…well not like I’ve ever owned a suit, until Nakamura bought them, that’s what made me so uncomfortable.”

          It was while Byou was at an internet café, looking at websites that cater to the BSDM community, that he found an ad, asking for a submissive. He was so fed up with being nearly homeless and with no one that cared for him, that he contacted the man and arranged a meeting.

          Byou sighed, “He was so nice, handsome, about 45, his house was amazing and he kept telling me how beautiful I was…nobody had said that to me since I left your house.” Looking up at Isshi, Byou had tears falling, “It didn’t last though, he was just like Nakamura, he lied to me.” Byou was with the Dominant for almost four years, the first three were idyllic, “He told me he loved me, and wanted to keep me forever. I signed a contract after three months, I thought I had found the one.”

          Ruimaru and Karyu were hugging each other, both wearing sad expressions as they listened to Byou’s story. Isshi was constantly reaching over to touch and comfort his boys, all three of them. He knew what was coming next, he had heard too many horror stories in the past.

          “One morning he said that we were invited to a wealthy man’s estate out in the country, and for me to pack all my clothes that I normally would wear during scenes or when we went out. I didn’t even think to question him.” They drove out to somewhere in Mei, pulling into a large compound. “Before we got out of the car, he told me that I would follow all directions as if they were coming from him.”

          Byou described the dinner event, there were five other submissives at the party, one was a very young woman. He went on to describe the topics of conversation, “It was weird, they were talking business and not even paying attention to us, but we were being treated as equals by the servants.”

          It wasn’t until Byou started feeling strange, a floating sensation in his mind, and his body starting to feel numb, that he knew something was wrong. “I must have passed out, I don’t know for how long but when I woke up, I knew…” a sob caught in his throat, Isshi pulling the boy into his arms. Trying to speak through the sobs, Byou continued, “Whe…when I woke up, I was lying on what I thought was the floor, but I couldn’t move, I tried to raise my head, but it was strapped down. I looked around as best I could and it wasn’t until I felt something pinch my cock hard, that I realized I was naked,” he looked up at Isshi, “Nantaimori…” he said softly through his tears. Ruimaru gasped, “noo…” he whimpered, Karyu looked to Isshi, “I don’t understand…”

          Ruimaru quickly leaned over and whispered to Karyu, whose face grew paler by the second. “Byou-kun…” Isshi sighed. “It was as if I was a thing, not a person. These ugly old men were biting me, licking the food off me, sucking my cock and pinching me hard, I screamed for my master and I got back handed across the face for that. I could taste blood in my mouth, then my master was there. He told me to shut my mouth or he would shut it for me.”

          He explained that he was given another drug, a pill placed in his mouth with water poured from a pitcher, “I must have passed out again because when I woke up next, I was standing, but with my arms over my head.” The remainder of the story was so upsetting, Karyu ran from the room, slamming the bedroom door hard.

          “I don’t know why, what did I do to deserve this? My master was fucking me so brutally, telling me what a worthless piece of shit I was and calling me ‘Taka’, I don’t know why he was calling me by another name, he’d never done that before.” Byou tells of other men who abused him roughly, causing an anal tear and severe bleeding.

          “I was finally unhooked from the ceiling, then my master grabbed me by the arm and dragged me into a room, then left me there. He told me that now that I had let others fuck me, I was useless, a worthless piece of shit.”

          Byou explains that he fell asleep, “Or passed out, I’m not sure, but when I woke up the house was empty. I got up and found my clothes and a few dollars tucked into the pocket of my pants, with a note saying that my master had voided our contract, because now I was damaged goods.”

          Ruimaru gasped, then just as Karyu did, ran from the room, slamming a bedroom door. “My boy, I can not tell you how absolutely horrified and saddened I am, you that what happened to you is not the norm in our community.” Byou nodded, he knew Isshi would never do that to him.

          “This is what I want to do for you,” Isshi cupped Byou’s chin and kissed him chastely. “I will not enforce or require you to abide by any contract until you are ready. I refuse to put you into any sexual situation until you are ready for it and you come to me first,” Isshi pulled Byou into a tight hug, “I will protect you and keep you for as long as we are happy.” Byou muffled a cry in Isshi’s chest. “I only have one question; do you know the name of this man?”

          “Masamoto Umeji”

Chapter Text

          His life had just turned into one big nap; he either needed one or he was waking up from one. The high light of a nap is whether he dreamed of Ken…or specifically what kind of dream. There were the dreams that were romantic or sexual, (those he loved), the dreams of Ken scolding Yuki for not taking better care of himself, and then the nightmares, the visions of Ken reaching out to him, calling his name and begging Yuki to save him. After seeing Aoi earlier that day, during his nap he was visited by Ken…urging him to find love again and be happy, not to dwell over his death.

          Dragging himself out of bed, making sure the back brace was on tight enough, Yuki wandered into the kitchen, opening the fridge, he hung on the door, “There’s nothing to eat,” Apathetically he closed the fridge, repeating the process for the pantry cabinet, “really? I went through all that food Uta bought?”

          He knew he could drive himself to the store, if the small sedan that they all shared was in the parking lot, but he just didn’t have the ambition to do anything more than sit on the couch and sulk. Leaning his head back, he thought about the dream he had that afternoon, Ken as usual was pushing Yuki to be more social, to get out and enjoy his friends, not to sit at home. “I don’t want to socialize with anyone, I want to be with you,” was his standard answer for everything. Rin and Sora took advantage of any time Yuki sat still, crawling into his lap to play fight.

          “What should I do guys?” He picked up Rin and nuzzled the now healthy sized kitten. “How the hell am I going to get through this shit?” Rin let out a tiny cry. “I know, I shouldn’t be asking you, but I don’t have anyone else to talk to.” Putting Rin down, he picked up Sora and head booped the kitten, “Do you have any ideas? What would Ken want me to do?” Sora swatted at Yuki’s nose, “Yah he probably would, he’d smack me in the back of the head and tell me to get on with life.”

          What would Ken want him to do? What about the money he received from the trucking company? Yuki knew Ken wouldn’t want him to spend it frivolously, “Pfft, like I would do that anyways.” He knew he wanted to donate some of it to one of the local schools, for their music program, maybe set up a scholarship in Ken’s name, but that didn’t even begin to put a dent in the money he was awarded.

          “Hey…” Ayato knocked once and opened the door, “What’s up?” Yuki shrugged, “Nothing, that’s the problem…I don’t have any plans, I have Ken scolding me in my dreams, telling me to get out and live… I don’t know what to do with all that fucking money that was dumped on me…I’m just so apathetic about everything.”

          Ayato sighed as he walked over and sat down next to Yuki, “Would you like cheese with that whine?” Yuki glared at him. “Look, you need to stop throwing a pity party for yourself every hour. Maybe you should listen to Ken…and before you throw it in my face that it’s only been two months, I realize that and I’m not telling you to go out and find a new boyfriend, far from it.”

          Yuki swallowed hard, “What can I do to make sure nobody forgets him? I feel like if I move on…I’m going to forget who he was, how much I loved him…how much he loved me! What can I do to make sure that doesn’t happen?” Yuki fell over onto the couch, he was fighting the tears, “I can’t let that happen, he was too fucking special to let everyone forget him.”

          “Why don’t you ask Taka? What if you take some of the money and throw a huge party at the HBG in Ken’s memory… like a celebration of his life? You could invite his parents, everyone from the industry, heck, invite your parents too. Go talk to Taka, I’m sure he’d loved to host a party like that.” Ayato reached over and moved Yuki’s hair out of his eyes.

          Yuki thought about the idea, “If I was going to do that, I don’t want any speeches, or shit… I don’t want another memorial, it would have to be a party, with everything that goes with that.” Yuki sat up, “Maybe I should go talk to him.”

          Ayato got up and walked to the door, “I have to go to the studio, Akira left something at home that he needs. Go see Taka, please, you need to start to live again, I know Ken’s telling you that in your dreams, but this is reality now, and you should listen to what he’s telling you, I’ll see you later tonight.”

          ‘He’s right, go see Taka’,

          Yuki whipped around, the cold whisper in his ear making him jump. “What….? Great now I’m hearing things. Fine! I’ll go see Taka, quit being so pushy!” he laughed as he got up and grabbed his bag and left the flat. Ayato watched from the kitchen window as Yuki walked to the parking lot, “Good, thanks Ken.”

          Taking his time and being overly cautious, Yuki made his way towards the center of town, and to Tokyo Tower. Parking in front of the HBG had been a bonus, Yuki noticing that his back was a bit tender after driving. Taking care of getting out of the car, and walking down the sloped pathway, he walked to the front counters, “Hey, Yuki…hopefully you’re not here to drink because I’m not selling you any alcohol,” Mao teased. “No, but I need to speak to Taka, is he here?”

          “Whatever it is, I didn’t do it!” Taka called from the back of the building, “Hey Yuki, come around to the back door.”

          “What’s up? You know Ayato’s not working…or did you come to see me specifically?” Taka gave Yuki the soft office chair to sit in, while he leaned against the desk. “I want to hire you for an event, a special event that only the HBG can do.”

          Taka smiled, he knew what was coming. “Okay, what’s the event?”  Yuki took a breath, “I want to throw a party, a celebration of Ken’s life. I don’t want it to be a moody depressing memorial, I want it to be a party that all the industry is invited to, I want Ojisan here, I want Mistress Davina here too. I’m going to ask Ken’s parents and my parents as well.”

          Taka shrugged, “Sure, we can do that.” Yuki frowned, “I just don’t know how to plan it, I mean I’m going to pay for it of course, but how do I set this thing in motion? I’ve never planned a party, let alone a huge celebration.”

          “Let’s call Koichi, he has experience with planning things when he worked for DCR as a tour coordinator for MUCC. I’ll check with the owner; do you know a date for this yet?”

          “Can I see a calendar?” Taka grabbed one off the desk, “How long do you think it will take to set this up?”

          “From the HBG time frame, not too long. But you need to take into consideration what bands are touring or recording, as well as sending out invitations if you want to do this formally. If you want just a party with a general invite, we can do flyers and emails, it’s your choice.”

          “If you have time tonight, why don’t you come over to my house, I’ll have Koichi there, bring Ayato as well. Then we can sit down and plan this out properly, ne?” Yuki heaved a breath of relief, “That would be perfect! This is so out of my comfort zone.” Taka set up a time, gave Koichi a call to make sure he was available as well, “Here’s my address, it’s not hard to find. Come over around six, and I’ll make Sato cook for us.”

          Yuki’s heart felt a little lighter for the first time in weeks, as he drove away from the HBG, “A party will be perfect, everyone can have fun and tell stories, I want this to be something that everyone remembers.” The unseen presence sitting next to Yuki in the car, smiled, ‘I love you, Yuki.’

          “We’re going to plan a party; can you be back at the flat by five? I want you to go with me to Taka’s.”  Ayato smiled as he read the text, “I’ll be there.”

 

          Walking into the DCR studios always felt a little strange to Ayato. He wasn’t a musician, and he really had no business there, but Reita had left a stack of music notes and didn’t have time to come home to get them, “Just come to the practice room, you know where it is, thank you.” Walking down the long hallway to the practice room, he passed Hal and Uruha standing next to the door. “Hi Ayato, um…I don’t think you’ve met my uh…” Uruha stammered, “Hi, I’m Uruha’s boyfriend, Hal. Nice to meet you.” Hal bowed lightly then shook Ayato’s hand. “Nice to meet you too.” Ayato could tell that Uruha was nervous, so he quickly entered the practice room.

          Searching the room quickly, he finds Reita sitting next to Ruki on the couch, “hey babe, thanks… keeps me from being yelled at by Kai.” Reita pulled Ayato into his lap, “How’s Yuki? I hope he’s at least physically doing better?” Ruki asked, purposely not looking over at Aoi who was sitting at the sound board.

          “He’s better, still struggling and still lonely, but his back is healing, he won’t need surgery at least.” Ayato leaned his head on Reita’s shoulder. “Well, that’s good to hear, I can’t imagine how hard this is for him, please tell him that Tomo and I are thinking about him.” Before the conversation could continue, Aoi abruptly got up and left the room, “Shit.” Kai got up and ran after the man. “Why is he still doing this shit?” Ruki snapped.

          “Uru, which way did Aoi go?” Uruha pointed down the hall towards the back of the building, where the parking lot was. “Damn him!” Kai sprinted down the hall and pushed the door open with a slam, just quick enough to catch the back of Aoi’s car turning into traffic. Kai slumped against the door, “Why do you always have to fucking run!”

 

          Aoi couldn’t hear anything more about Yuki, even if it was good news, it tore his heart to pieces to envision the young man hurting and lonely… he still believed in his heart that Ken’s death was his fault in some way, or at least that Yuki’s pain and injuries were his fault. Without even thinking of where he was going, Aoi stopped and parked his car…at the cemetery.

          Running up the short hill to Ken’s grave, he growled at the head stone. “Why are you letting him suffer? Help him, damn it! I can’t fucking do anything for him, none of us can! You should be here, not me, you’re the one he loves.” Aoi collapses to his knees, “You still haven’t told me how to help him! This isn’t fair, Ken! TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” With his hands on his thighs, his shoulders up in his ears, Aoi hunches over and sobs, the tears staining the pavement.

          “What are you doing here?” Yuki had heard the screaming from the parking lot as he walked up to Ken’s grave, seeing Aoi had shocked him. Aoi froze. “What are you doing here? Why are you screaming at Ken?” Yuki asked again.

          In typical Aoi fashion, the man just stood up and started to walk away, not even looking at Yuki. “Why do you always run away?” Yuki asked loudly. “Every time you see me, you just take off, why?”

          “Because I’m a coward.”

          “Are you afraid of me?”

          “No, I just don’t want to upset you any more than you already are, if I could leave town, I would.”

          “Why were you screaming at Ken?”

          “Ayato came to the studio, Ruki asked about you. I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, so I left.” Aoi didn’t dare look at the young man, instead choosing to continue to walk away.

          “You need to stop being a coward, Yuu. Stop running away every time you see me, it’s not helping either one of us.”    

          Aoi continued to walk away.

          Turning to Ken’s grave, Yuki moved to sit on a small stone bench, “Why is he being so weird? Like you deserved to be screamed at? You haven’t done anything to him, damn he can be so fucking stupid…and weird!” Yuki told Ken about the party they were planning, what he wanted to do with some of the money, “get some instruments for one of the schools in the neighborhood.”

          Closing his eyes and listening to the birds, the wind rustling the long grasses and the wind chimes at various graves, the cemetery was one of the few places Yuki felt at peace, that he could feel Ken sitting with him, his hand in Yuki’s. “When will this stop hurting so much?” he whispered as if Ken were sitting next to him. ‘Some day you won’t think about me, it won’t hurt anymore when you do think of me. Just remember I loved you beyond words, and I’m grateful for having you in my life.’

          A flutter of softness brushed Yuki’s lips, as if Ken was giving him a teasing kiss, “I love you too.” He sighed, then got up and made his way down to the parking lot, looking forward to going to Taka’s and planning the party for Ken. Pulling out of the parking lot, Yuki didn’t see the black sedan that had moved from its original spot, he didn’t see Aoi sitting behind the wheel, leaning forward on the steering wheel and sobbing. He was a coward and he knew it. Maybe he should leave town, call everything quits, if it would help Yuki recover, Shiroyama Yuu was desperate enough to try anything.

 

          Sato was just short of stomping around in the kitchen. When Taka informed his husband that he would be preparing a meal, it wasn’t met with excitement, “Wait…I have to cook for you and your friends? What about me? Maybe I had something planned tonight, you didn’t even ask!”

          Taka sat at the small kitchen table, “What did you have planned? Let me guess, Fortnight? Lego Star Wars?”  Sato’s mouth hung open, “Maybe! Now I’m expected to cook for you and how many others? Eight or nine?”  Taka laughed, “Four, where the hell did you get eight or nine? It’s me and Kou, Ayato and Yuki, you’re going to be cooking for six, if you include yourself and Tatsu, that’s still not eight or nine.”

          “You’re getting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that’s it. Nothing fancy.” Sato pretended to be hurt, turning his back to Taka. “PBJ huh, I don’t think so.” Taka quickly got up from his chair and attacked his husband from behind, kissing Sato’s neck and shoving his hand down the front of the man’s pants…which of course got Sato’s attention.

          “Don’t start with me Taka, or your friends are going to be embarrassed when they see me walking around with a freaking stiffy.” Taka’s hand stopped, “A WHAT? What the hell is a ‘stiffy’?” Taka started to giggle, when Sato turned around and was pouting, that giggle turned into a belly laugh, “Oh my god, you’re so fucking weird.”

          The teasing when on until the doorbell broke up the play fight, “Hide your stiffy!” Taka hissed, “Why? Don’t you want to brag about it to your friends?” Sato pulled up his shirt, “NO! Yuki doesn’t need to see that!” Sato grumbled and re-adjusted himself and pulled his shirt down, “I’ll will it away…into the cornfield…” Taka turned and stared at Sato, “You’re what? Where the HELL do you get these things?”

          “Hi, come on in.” Ayato and Yuki toed their shoes off in the genkan, “Just ignore Sato, something’s really wrong with him tonight.” Yuki and Ayato looked at Sato, both with a raised eyebrow, “Do we want to know, Sato-san?” Ayato smirked, “No, you don’t want to know and don’t use honorifics with me, you know better than that.”

          Coming through the door at the exact right moment, Tatsu called out to his friend, “What do I get to call you then?” Koichi got in on the game, “Can I call you Sato-sama? Or are you my senpai?”

          Sato started to get flustered, “You… stop it!” Giving Koichi a quick kiss, Tatsu went to the kitchen to help Sato, “Don’t burn dinner…” Koichi added. He got a rude middle finger from Tatsu for that remark.

          “Let’s go into the office, it will be easier…and quieter.” Taka led the way down the hall, everyone taking a seat. “Okay, we need to plan a party for Ken… a celebration of life as it were.” Taka then gave the control to Koichi, who took out a notebook. “Let’s start with the guest list.” For the next forty-five minutes, the four men went over who Yuki wanted to invite, “Everyone who knew Ken, but I want Ojisan and Mistress Davina and her um…” Koichi giggled, “Pet…Kato is Davina’s pet.”

          Discussing things from food and decorations of any type, “I think we need a good sized picture of Ken to put on a table or something…what do you think Yuki?” The young man hesitated, “Yah, I think that would be nice.” He was worried that seeing Ken’s face all night might upset him, but this party wasn’t about him…it was about Ken.

          Taka knew he’d have to bring up a touchy problem. “Yuki, what are we going to do about people drinking? That’s sort of an underlying problem, don’t you think?”  Yuki had thought about the issue of alcohol at the party but had come up with and idea.

          “Everyone turns over their keys on entry, I don’t care who does it but there will be someone that’s sober, that will be in charge of giving keys to the designated driver, or they have to call a cab or take the train, this will be strictly enforced. Drinking is part of the fun at a party, but nobody will be allowed to drive.” Yuki was firm in his decision, which pleased everyone.

          Yuki had one more request, “I don’t want any speeches, no break during the party for people to say things, I just want a party, this isn’t about me, it’s about Ken. I know people spoke at the memorial and I’m thankful for that, but this is just a party.”

          “Hey, are you guys hungry?” Sato stuck his head in the door, “Dinner’s on.” With a soft cheer, they took a break for food. “We still need to talk about invitations and a date.” Yuki reminded them.

          Tatsu was placing the food on the table, then turned to Yuki, “If you’d like, I can ask Miya if he would DJ for you, it’s something Ken would really have liked.” Yuki agreed, “That would be amazing, Ken always talked about Miya’s ‘second career’.”  Sato had prepared spaghetti with garlic bread, one of Taka’s fave meals, and it was obvious that Yuki and Ayato were enjoying it, with little to no conversation while they were eating.

          “How are we inviting people? Do you want to do formal invitations?” Koichi asked. “No, I think a general email to DCR, maybe a few flyers at the studio, word of mouth. I’ll call Ken’s parents and see if they want to come, mine won’t, but my sister Aiko will, how much notice do we need?”

          “I took the liberty of printing off the schedules of some of the bands, see if there’s a good common date on a Friday or Saturday night.” Tatsu handed the paper to Yuki. “Hmm, looks like most everyone is available on the Saturday, in two weeks… that gives us like eighteen days. If we get the email and the flyers up, that should give us plenty of time.”

          “Do you want food available, Yu? I’m thinking if you’re going to allow alcohol, there better be food to soak it up.” Ayato pointed out. “Hmm, true.” Koichi leaned back, “One of two places, either Ojisan or the restaurant, I’m pulling for the restaurant only so Ojisan can have fun.”

          Yuki’s face paled, “I um…” Ayato reached over and covered Yuki’s hand with his. “We can pick someplace else, there are hundreds of places.” Yuki’s eyes were filling with tears, he pushed back his chair and got up, bowed slightly and went into the office. “Shit.” Taka moaned.

          Koichi covered his eyes, “Yep, I fucked that up.” Sato and Tatsu were confused, “They were at the restaurant the night of the accident.” Ayato explained, both men groaning. “I’ll be right back.” Ayato left the table.

          “Hey, Koichi is so sorry.” Ayato walked into the office, finding Yuki sitting in a chair, “It’s okay, it’s just sometimes certain things are like triggers, I hear or see something that reminds me of Ken and I sort of lose it a little.” Ayato shook his head, “That’s totally understandable, but he’s still sorry for suggesting it. I’m sure Ojisan would be happy to cater the party.” Yuki nodded, taking a tissue and wiping his eyes. “Let’s go finish dinner.” He smiled and left the room.

          “Sorry guys, I’m still kind of a weenie about this.” The others murmured their objections and apologies, “I’m going to ask Ojisan, I’m pretty sure he’ll agree.” Dinner was over and Sato and Tatsu were cleaning, Koichi was finishing the meeting. “So that Saturday night, start at like eight? I’ll shoot an email to DCR so they can send out an official letter, and I’ll print up a few flyers to post at the studio as well.”

          Group hugs and promises of texts and phone calls closed the night, Ayato and Yuki leaving to go home, Koichi and Taka hanging out together for a little longer. “He seems to be coming back, but I don’t see that he’ll be back 100% any time soon.” Tatsu noticed. “Hopefully the party will help with some closure… god I hate that word, like there’s ever any closure when someone suddenly dies.” Tatsu and Koichi went home an hour later, Sato and Taka going to bed and holding each other close, both couples hoping that the party would help ease Yuki’s grief.

 

Related image Picture of Ken for the Party.

Chapter Text

          “His name is Masamoto Umeji.” Isshi closed his phone and sighed, leaning his head back on the couch. Byou’s story had both touched and horrified him, though the name of his former Dominant was unknown to him. Once he had the boys settled in that night, Isshi had phoned Madame F and retold Byou’s story. “Masamoto Umeji? I don’t ever recall hearing that name before, but that doesn’t mean anything, Isshi. You know that there are private sectors that are not involved in the community.”

          To think that a Dominant could treat his submissive in that way, luring him into a false sense of security for two years, only to destroy everything in one evening, was beyond anything Isshi could fathom. With this new information, it was now clear why Byou and Nakamura were not a good fit, and the simple reason the young man wanted to return to Isshi.

          As he walked down the hall towards his bedroom, he looked in on the three young men he had come to care for deeply. Ruimaru was crunched up in a ball, his normal position when sleeping alone, and Karyu had his head buried under the covers. When he quietly opened the door to Byou’s room, he could see the young man was sleeping quietly, but perhaps not peacefully, his eyes still red-rimmed and swollen from crying. “My sweet boy.”

 

          Isshi and his boys spent their days relaxing at the estate, most every afternoon walking down to Jiji’s store for some sort of treat, and to let Karyu visit his grandfather. The old man had taken an interest in Byou, seeing that the boy was deeply troubled and asking Isshi about the young man. “Jiji, he had another man he lived with for several years, that in one night tore the boy’s heart to shreds, by abusing him and letting others do the same. He is recovering but it is a slow process.”

          “Byou lived with you several years ago, but ran from your house, ne?” Jiji guessed. “Yes, he was with me for just a few years, then we had a falling out. It’s been five years since I had seen him, when he returned to the city. I’ve taken him in again, as I still have feelings for him.” Isshi was always amazed by Jiji’s innate ability to see what was not spoken of.

          “You’re a good man with a large heart, Isshi-san. It pleases me to know that my Karyu is in your life, and that he will be able to live as true as he can, without any harm.” The old man patted Isshi on the shoulder. “Thank you Jiji, it means a great deal to know you entrust Karyu to me.” Just as Isshi stood to walk into the store to find his boys, Ruimaru came bouncing into the room, “Sir, can we bake a cake tonight?”  

           Byou held back, walking with Isshi hand in hand while Ruimaru and Karyu went ahead to the house in anticipation of baking a cake that night. “Are you feeling better today love?” Isshi pulled the boy a little closer. “Yes Sir, a little.” Byou answered shyly. “Sir? What was Karyu’s grandfather saying about me?” Byou didn’t want to admit he’d been eavesdropping. “Just that he understood the situation at home, and that you’ll be happier in our little family. Jiji has some knowledge about our lifestyle, probably not details, but enough to understand.” Byou leaned his head on Isshi’s shoulder as they walked. “Isshi-san! Hurry up!” Ruimaru and Karyu had stopped at the gates to the estate, “We need to start cooking!” Isshi laughed, “Yes dear…” 

         

          “Madame, you’re scowling again.” Ormond kissed his Dominant on her forehead, the woman had been on the phone for over two hours trying to hunt down any information on Masamoto Umeji, and frustration was building with the lack of results. “Please take a break, I’ll get you a cup of tea and a piece of that delicious pie I made for you this morning.”

          Madame F took off her glasses and rubbed the bridge of her nose, “Thank you my love, I’m sorry I’m such a bear this evening, I just can not find any information on this Masamoto man and it’s irritating.”  The call from Isshi with the disturbing story had hit Madame F hard; the single fact that there was someone outside of their collective community wreaking havoc in guise of a legitimate Dominant, angered her greatly.

          “I don’t ever remember hearing the name myself, and I don’t recall any of the other submissives mentioning it to me during our retreats, I would have brought it to your attention immediately if I had.” Ormond was just as disgusted; no submissive deserved that type of humiliation and treatment. “Have you spoken to Mistress or Sakurai-san?” Ormond sat on a low ottoman next to Madame F’s desk. “No, it’s late and I did not want to worry them over night…in the morning.”  Ormond smiled, “Madame, let me run a hot bath for you, and get you ready for bed early, my gut is telling me that the next few days will be trying, and I don’t want you over taxing yourself.” He knew of course, the best way to help his Dominant relax…he was sure she’d agree to it with very little convincing.

 

          Isshi had sent the boys down to the barn after dinner, leaving him to clean up the colossal mess they had made as they cooked. “Go and amuse yourself while I clean, this may take me an hour at least.” Ruimaru and Isshi had shared a look, and the barn comment left Ruimaru with no need of an explanation, happily grabbing Byou’s hand and leading him into the night, with Karyu following. “Work your magic, my Angel,” Isshi said wistfully.

          Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou searched through the barn, looking for any feral cats, “Sakurai-san would want us to at least feed them, and let him know that they’re here.” Byou was terrified of Henny and Penny, both of whom pecked at his shoes looking for something to eat. “Will they bite?” he was backing away from the two chickens, hiding behind Karyu. “Chickens don’t bite, silly! They peck… but they won’t hurt you, just ignore them.” Karyu teased. Ruimaru chased the two hens into one of the pens and closed the door, he didn’t need any spectators for the surprise attack.

          Ruimaru sighed and sat down in the soft straw that was laid out near one of the pens, leaning against the door, “Karyu, remember when you first met Leda-kun? How scared you were?” he patted the spot next to him, Karyu coming to sit down. “Yep, I thought I’d end up living in this tiny town forever.” Byou walked over and sat down next to Ruimaru, “What happened between you and Sakurai-san?”

          Karyu told his story about how he was hired by the singer to help around the estate, and the failed attempt for Sakurai to be his Dominant, “It wasn’t anyone’s fault really, he was just so in love with Uta, that nobody could ever fill that place in his heart. It’s all good though, I got to meet Ru, and Leda-kun.” Byou knew the story of Leda, so he asked nothing more.

          “Are you happy to be back with Isshi? I know it’s sort of weird, but I believe Sir truly loves you…” Ruimaru leaned his head on Byou’s shoulder. “Yes, very happy and thankful that Isshi-san is such a kind man, I don’t really deserve such kindness after what I’ve done.” Byou stared at his hands.

          “Do you want to play with Sir?”

          “Eventually, yes… of course.” Byou’s cheeks were turning red, he was still staring at his hands in his lap. Ruimaru leaned over and whispered in Byou’s ear, “Would you like to play with us…right now?” Without warning, Ruimaru crawls into Byou’s lap, straddling his hips. “Ru,” Karyu whined, “You’re going to get into trouble.”

          Ruimaru wiggles his ass a bit, Byou responding with a breathy moan, “Do you want to play with me, Byou?” another small wiggle, Ruimaru could feel Byou’s cock getting stiff. “I uh, are we…?” he raised his hands and grabbed the other boy’s hips, pressing down into his lap, “We are,” Ruimaru whispered, his lips brushing lightly over Byou’s. “How does he taste, Ru?” Karyu whined. “Mmm, I don’t know yet,” Ruimaru slid his hand under Byou’s shirt, searching for a small bud to tease.

          Isshi took a sharp breath as he watched the three boys play, hiding just on the other side of the barn door, peeking through a knothole. Dirty old man, watching these boys. He knew what he was doing when he told Ruimaru to ‘go amuse yourselves’, his Angel could see the look in his eyes, he understood what Isshi was telling him to do.

          And it appeared to be working, watching Ruimaru grind his tiny perfect ass into Byou’s crotch, Karyu kissing both Ruimaru and Byou, leaving the new submissive moaning with every roll of Ru’s hips. Isshi’s hand drop down to his cock, massaging it as he listened to the soft moans and watching the boys grabbing and teasing each other. “Shit…”

          Pulling himself away from the barn, Isshi walked (with some difficulty) back up to the house, going straight to the bathroom and jerking himself off to the still fresh visions of his three boys playing. Leaving the bathroom and still breathing hard, Isshi made sure his clothes were in order and there were no lingering smells or smudges, before he sat down on the couch and steadied his breathing.

          Twenty minutes had passed and Isshi was close to getting up and going back down to the barn to see what his boys were doing, when he heard the giggling and laughing coming in through the back door. Ruimaru was the first to come into the living room, wearing a cheeky grin and bright red cheeks, Byou and Karyu followed sheepishly and all three wearing very guilty smiles.

          “I assume you found something to occupy your time in the barn? I was worried, I almost came down to fetch you.” Isshi tried to sound stern, failing miserably of course. “We just played around in the hay, Sir.” Ruimaru giggled, “Ru!” Karyu whispered sharply. “What? We didn’t do anything we weren’t suppose to,” he winked at Isshi, “I’m tired though, can we go to bed please Sir?”

          Isshi stood and held out his hand for his Angel, “Yes my love, and if you two would like to spend the night together, you may…my Angel though is coming with me tonight.” Isshi gently kissed Byou and with a little more force, kissed Karyu, patting them both on the ass and sending them off.

          As Isshi went through and locked up the house, Ruimaru ran into Isshi’s bedroom and quickly undressed, making sure everything was in its place before his Dominant joined him. He watched Isshi go through his own nightly routine getting ready for bed, leaving Ru wiggling in anticipation. “Sir…” he whined.

          Dropping his robe before sliding in to bed, Isshi stood for a moment and gazed down at Ruimaru, “My angel, tell me about your little adventure in the barn this evening.” Ruimaru sat up on his knees, “Sir…he’s sooo sweet! I don’t have to tell you about his cock, I’m sure you remember THAT!” Isshi laughed, “Yes love, I do remember it quite vividly. What were you boys playing out there?” The next fifteen minutes were spent with Ruimaru almost bouncing on the bed, telling his Dominant everything and with every bounce the boy’s cock hardened. “Sir, he’s going to be ready soon, I just know it! I’m sure he and Karyu are having fun right now,” Ru stopped bouncing and looked down at the bed, “Um, Sir, could we please have some fun tonight, even just a little? I’m so horny, I wanted to ride Byou tonight but you didn’t give me permission to do that.”

          Isshi grabbed Ruimaru by the waist and threw him down on his back, leaning down to bite the boy on the neck, “A little fun? No love, I’m going to fuck you into the mattress.”

 

 

          It didn’t take long for the word to get out for the party celebrating Ken’s life, the buzz at DCR was mostly positive, save for one person. Aoi. Kai had been talking with Ruki and Reita about the party, when Aoi walked into the practice room. “Hey guys, are we still waiting for Uruha?” he smirked. Uruha and Hal’s relationship had steadily become more serious in the recent weeks, with Uruha often late to practice.

          “No, we’re talking about the party for Ken.” Kai said. “Party?” Aoi’s gut tightened. “Yah, next weekend Yuki’s having a celebration of Ken’s life at the HBG, pretty much all of DCR is going, which of course includes The Gazette.”  Kai paused; he knew Aoi would object to going. “All members of Gazette will attend, no excuses.” Aoi said nothing, picking up his guitar and tuning it as they waited for Uruha.

          “Oh, sorry I’m late,” Uruha rushed through the door, walking straight to pick up his guitar, “I’m ready, we can start.” The man’s cheeks were bright red, and his lips appeared to be kiss swollen. “Are you sure you don’t need a few moments to collect yourself? You do look a little um… rumpled.” Kai giggled. “No, I’m fine, let’s just start.” Ruki and Kai got up and went to their positions, both sharing a look that spoke volumes, both men knew that Aoi would try to get out of going to the party. Kai sat down at his drum kit, “Okay, let’s do this.”  

          The churning in Aoi’s stomach left him feeling like he was going to vomit at any second, as he worked his way through practice that day. A party for Ken? Shit. He knew that Kai would enforce the attendance of the entire band to the event, leaving him with a feeling of dread. He was going to have to face Yuki and all his friends, family and relatives of Ken, certain that someone would confront him on his part in the man’s death. The only saving grace was that the party would be at the HBG, and he could drink himself into not caring about anything or anyone else.

          During a break, Ruki approached Aoi, “I know you don’t want to go.” He stated, “but this isn’t about you, this is for Yuki and for Ken. If you want, I can come and pick you up, Tomo is working that night, at least you could drink as much as you wanted.”

          Aoi hesitated, “Sure Ru, that’d be fine… thanks.” Ruki smiled broadly, “Good, I’ll pick you up at eight, we don’t want to be fashionably early.” Ruki patted his friend on the back, maybe Aoi was coming back to them.

          Driving home after practice, Aoi stopped at the corner konbini, grabbing a bento and a six-pack of beer for his ‘dinner’. Sitting alone in his flat with the tv muted, Aoi’s mind worked overtime, creating all sorts of unsavory scenarios that could happen at the party. The visions of Yuki telling him that he still loved Aoi, or that he hated the man and banished him from his life completely, were the two most vivid of scenes. “He’s not ever going to tell you he loves you…asshole, he hates you.”

          Now he would be forced to go to a party, to sit and pretend to be enjoying himself, socialize and fake his way through the night, was looming over him like a man with a scythe. Without question, he knew he’d be avoiding Yuki at all cost, no more confessions of being a coward, just making sure he was never within eye sight of the boy he still loved. “Nope, not happening, just leave.” Aoi mumbled to himself as his eyes slowly closed.  

 

          With an arm full of containers, Ojisan stood in front of the large picture of Ken, “Ken-san, you would be proud of Yuki-kun, he’s doing all this for you.” The mystic ramen maker bowed lightly to the picture then returned to setting up the table for the food. When Yuki had come to him and asked him to cater the event, Ojisan agreed even before the words left the young man’s mouth. “You don’t need to ask, Yuki-kun. I will do this for you, at no cost…this will be my tribute to Yokoyama Ken, you spent many nights at my counter, always making me smile.”

 

          “Drop your keys here please.” Mao and Kyo stood at the entrance of the HBG with a basket, “You can pick them up after the party, or if you’ve been drinking you get to call a cab or take the train, no exception.” Kyo growled. The idea of taking the keys from everyone gave Yuki some sense of responsibility, to the point of having it printed on the flyers and added to the email. “You can pick up your keys at the studio tomorrow morning.”

          Koichi, Tora, Aki and Tomo were all working the party, but this time the rules had been relaxed a little by Taka, “I don’t care if you drink, just don’t screw up the cash registers tonight please.” He knew that it wasn’t fair to make everyone work, not for this event. Miya had set up a table for his DJ equipment next to Ken’s picture and played music from the various bands Ken had been in. Yuki asked for a lot of Hi-Standard, since that was his favorite.

          A certain buzz sounded when Uta and Sakurai walked in, with Davina and Kato in tow. “Uta!” Yuki ran over and gave his friend a tight hug, then turned to bow to Davina, “Mistress Davina, thank you so much for coming tonight.”

          “You’re very welcome Yuki-kun, though I am surprised I was invited, I did not know your lover,” Yuki smiled, “I know you didn’t, but you’re important to Uta and Sakurai, you’ve been connected to the industry in different ways for years, I just thought you would enjoy a good party…and Kato as well.”

          The scope of musicians who attended the party was huge; the members of X Japan, minus Yoshiki, with Sugizo explaining that he had to go back to Los Angeles, “He sends you his blessings, Yuki-kun and hopes you are healing.” Yuki was so shocked at someone like Sugizo speaking to him, that he went over to where Pon and Die were sitting with the other Diru members. “You okay Yuki?” Die leaned over, “Yah, I um, I just met Sugizo, Toshi, Pata and Heath, it was a little intense.”

          Die chuckled, “Except for Acchan, you don’t get much higher in the ranks than X, but they’re all very nice guys.” Yuki blushed; he knew that they had all been at the memorial.

          Members of another band drew a little unwanted attention when the members of Lynch walked in, though the offending member had chosen wisely not to attend. They stayed away from Pon and Die, though Reo made sure to speak to them and reassure Pon that Akinori would not be there. “I made sure that he stayed home.” Pon thanked them for the effort, he had been a little nervous about the possibility that they would attend the party.

          When the Gazette arrived, Ruki went straight to Yuki and hugged his friend tightly, “Yuki-kun, I love you. I’m so glad that you got to love Ken… he adored you, but you already know that.” Yuki kissed Ruki on the side of the head, “Thanks Ruki, I appreciate that.”

         

          Yuki made the rounds, speaking to everyone he could, even those he didn’t know. He was drinking but knew that Reita wasn’t, he was giving Yuki a ride home. “Don’t drink too much, I don’t need you puking in my car.” Yuki slapped him across the chest, “Don’t worry Akira, I’m not that stupid.”

          Ojisan’s table was a popular spot for everyone, balancing drinks and bowls of ramen was a new sport, with some epic fails, “Tatsu really? How many drinks have you had?” Koichi was scolding his husband for dropping a drink while trying to balance two bowls of ramen. “I’ve only had one…uh, two. Sheesh Kou, you make it sound like I dropped a priceless vase or something.”

          Waiting until the line was gone, Aoi walked up to Ojisan and asked for a chashu pork, “Thanks for doing this for Yuki, I’m sure he appreciates it.” Ojisan smiled, “It is equally nice of you to do what you did in Ken-chan’s name.” Aoi stiffened, his face paled, “Please don’t say anything to Yuki about that. I don’t want him to know.”

          “Don’t tell me what, Yuu?” Yuki had seen Aoi and wanted to talk to him, but away from others. “What are you hiding now?”

          “Nothing, it’s not important.” Putting down his drink and the food, he turned to leave, but Yuki grabbed him by the arm, Aoi jerking away roughly causing Yuki to fall backwards.

          “YUKI!” Ayato had seen his friend talking to Aoi and knew that it wouldn’t end up well, but for Yuki to fall? That was more than he could handle, running over to his friend, “Oh my god, are you okay? What the hell did you do to him Yuu? Seriously?” Hearing the ruckus, Miya stopped the music, walking over to check on Yuki.

          “Hey, are you okay? Does anything hurt?” Miya squatted down next to Yuki, “No, I’m fine, really.” Miya helped Yuki stand, “Are you sure? Your back doesn’t hurt?” Yuki shook his head, “No, I’m fine really.”

          Kyo had seen what happened, he knew that Aoi didn’t mean to make Yuki fall, but when the man tried to sneak out of the party, Kyo stopped him, “You don’t need to leave, it was an accident, I’m sure Yuki’s not mad.” Aoi shook his head, “No, all I do is hurt him, I don’t want to ruin the party for him, it’s best I go home.” Kyo sighed, “Okay, whatever.”

          Ayato was still hovering over Yuki, pissed off at Aoi, “What happened? Tell me the truth Yu,” Yuki shook his head, “I’m not even sure. Ojisan said something to him, then he asked Ojisan not to tell me. I asked him what he was hiding and he tried to leave, I just grabbed him by the arm, and he jerked away…it’s my fault I fell, not his. Where is he now?”

          “He just walked out, told me he didn’t want to ruin the party.” Kyo wanted to make sure Yuki was uninjured, and to tell him what Aoi had said. Yuki snorted, “Typical, he’s an admitted coward, he ran away, it’s all he knows how to do.”  

          The party went on for another hour or so, with everyone needed to catch late trains or taking a cab, Kyo and Mao giving the key’s back to the designated drivers. Yuki helped Ojisan clean up and re-pack his car, giving the man a tight hug before leaving with Reita and Ayato. Once in the car, Yuki felt like he could relax, “Did you guys like the party?” he asked. “It was great, I heard a lot of new stories about Ken, makes me wish I knew him better in the early days of Hi-Standard, he sounded like he had a lot of fucking fun.” Reita laughed. They shared different things they heard from people at the party, ending the night on a high note, Yuki shoving the incident with Aoi to the back of his mind.

          Hugging both Ayato and Reita, Yuki said his good nights and went to his flat, tired but happy. The incident with Aoi came back to the present, Yuki still wondering what it was that the man was hiding from him, but believing he most likely would never find out. “Too much of a coward to tell me.”

          Across town, a very drunk Aoi was sitting on the couch, the tv on but muted, slipping back into more drunkenness, tears silently falling as he replays Yuki’s fall in his mind, “Why did I do that? Fucking lowlife, he’s never going to forgive me…I don’t even forgive me,” he rambled on about different things, talking to himself in the dark.

          Checking his phone, he saw it was nearly 2:30 am. He’d been drinking since he got home at 1:00, he was out of beer and had not restocked his vodka cabinet, deciding that it was just best for him to pass out in bed.

          Staggering to the bathroom and grabbing a few aspirin that he knew he’d need in the morning, Aoi stripped down to his boxers and climbed into bed. The room started to spin wildly, making Aoi sit up and lean against the head board of the bed. “Pathetic,” he mumbled. Opening his phone, he scrolled through the pictures that he had of him and Yuki when they were dating, this was not a random act, he did it almost nightly.

          What possessed him to do next, he’d never understand, “I’m sorry I hurt you again, I love you.” Sliding down into the bed, he pulled the covers over his head and closed his eyes.

          He heard the phone chime but he didn’t understand what he was hearing. Reaching over and fumbling around the night table, Yuki opens his phone, 2:32 am? “What the fuck?” He opened the text, read it and then stared at it for a good five minutes. “What the hell, Yuu, what do you want from me?”

          Now that he was wide awake, he was unsure what to do next. Ignore the obvious drunk text? Text him back and chew him out? Call him? Go see him? The last option was not happening, he’d been drinking so he couldn’t drive. Texting him wasn’t going to prove much, so he opted for calling the man.

          Aoi heard the phone ring, and like Yuki, fumbled around on his night table until he grabbed his phone, answering it without seeing who it was.

          “’ello?”  

          “Yuu, it’s Yuki.”

          This caught Aoi’s attention, almost to the point of sobering him up in seconds. “Um, yah?

          “Tell me what you’re hiding, Yuu, tell me what Ojisan said.” He didn’t want to bring up the confession.

          “It’s nothing…are you okay? You didn’t get hurt, did you?”

          “Quit changing the subject Yuu, tell me what Ojisan said to you. What did you do?”

          Aoi threw his arm over his eyes, he didn’t have a solution for this. “Fine, I’ll tell you, then I want you to lose my phone number, you don’t need to call me or even speak to me.”

          “Tell me, Yuu.”

          “I donated one hundred thousand dollars to the Tokyo University music program for production in Ken’s name.” There was silence on Yuki’s end, Aoi figuring that the man didn’t care, hung up and turned his phone off, rolling back over and covering his head with the blanket.

          Yuki couldn’t believe what he had just heard, one hundred thousand dollars in Ken’s name? When the phone disconnected, Yuki dropped it in his lap. “Why would you do that?”

Chapter Text

 

          Madame F had put out the call to all available Dominants and their submissives, to attend a meeting at her manor, to discuss some important information on Nakamura Taizo. The report that had come to her was more disturbing than she had expected, the man was out of control within the community, and actions had been taken though the issue had not been completely resolved.

          By mid-afternoon there were multiple Dominants and submissives seated in Madame F’s large open parlor. Niihara, and the owners of the Fetish Club and Club Scream were also present, as this information concerned their businesses.

          “Thank you all for attending, I brought you here to discuss the issues with Nakamura Taizo and his problems within the community. I have received a report that the man has violated our covenants, and as of right now is banned from our collective community, how you each deal with this censure within your own clubs, is your right, though I suggest at this point that he is banned from all community associated clubs.”

          The first incident involved a young woman, not a submissive, that Nakamura picked up from the Fetish Club, and convinced her to go home with him. Once they were in Nakamura’s home, he became aggressive and rough, and the woman walked out.” Madame F looked at Jun, the owner of the Fetish Club. “Jun-san, this does not reflect badly on your establishment as this woman was not part of our community, and even if she was there would be no repercussions facing you, please be at ease.” The man nodded, still embarrassed that the woman was at his club.

          “The second incident was far more serious, as it involved a young man whom Nakamura held captive for six days before he could escape.” The gasps and murmurs in the room were of fear and disgust. “Nakamura had found the boy at Club Scream…” a small groan was heard from the owner of the club, “as with the woman, he took him home and abused him over six days, only able to escape in a t-shirt and underwear while Nakamura was showering. He went to the concierge of the building and had the police called in. They interviewed the boy first, then Nakamura who was snake like and was able to convince the police that the boy agreed to stay with him. There were no charges brought against him or the boy.”

          “Is he that convincing that he could worm his way out of this?” Niihara asked. “Yes, unfortunately he had all of us fooled. Yes Velvet?” The tall American girl raised her hand, “Madame F, Nakamura-san has approached me on more than one occasion and asked who my Dominant was, and if he could steal me away from them, I never told him that Niihara-san was my Dominant, in fact I never answered him…he always scared me, there was something about his eyes.” Niihara cupped the girl’s chin and kissed her softly, “You’ll never have to worry about him again, love.” Velvet smiled and nodded.

          “This last incident happened two nights ago,” Madame F continued. “It appears that Nakamura went to an exclusive high-end host club, throwing money around like it was trash and eventually ended up in a private room with two young men. Per the police report, one of the boys was sexually assaulted, with the other had been slapped around rather violently. The police came and the club had Nakamura arrested.” A sigh of relief was heard throughout the room.

          “But,” a collective groan, “It seems that Nakamura Taizo has posted bail and has left the country, most likely headed for America. I have already taken the liberty to call several of my American associates and fore-warned them about Nakamura and what havoc he had done in our small close-knit community. I do not believe that he will be running for long, or very far.” There was some discussion about what the community could do further to keep out these types of Dominants, and this is when Madame F asked about Masamoto Umeji, at the sound of the man’s name, Byou whined and buried his face in Karyu’s shoulder.

          “As you know, we are still looking for Masamoto Umeji and his associates, I am fearful that what has happened to Byou, might have happened to others. Byou had mentioned that the man kept calling him ‘Taka’, I feel it is critical that we flush…” Madame F stopped, her eyes growing wide, she looked at Sakurai, “Taka…”

          Sakurai looked puzzled, “No! You can’t mean?” Madame F nodded, “You need to speak to him Acchan, and the sooner the better.” Sakurai nodded, “I will call him once we get home. I’m not sure he can shed any light on where the man may be, but we can at least link the man to Taka.”

          “What’s this about Taka? Does he know the Dominant that hurt Byou?” Uta knew that Sakurai had a very short relationship with Taka, but didn’t understand the connection to Masamoto Umeji.  “When Taka and I were … well what we did wasn’t dating, but anyway… he told me he had a very abusive Dominant, and some of the things he told me, were very close to what happened with Byou-kun, I never asked Taka the name of the man who was his Dominant.”  After a nice lunch and Uta deciding he needed a nap, Sakurai called Taka and asked for a meeting. “I’m at work, I can speak to you if you’d like to come down.”

 

          “Masamoto Umeji… how do you know that name?” Taka’s face turned ghostly white, his voice quivering. “Is that the Dominant that abused you so badly, Taka-kun?” Sakurai reached out and took Taka’s hand in his, “Yes…” Taka whimpered, instantly turning into that cowed abused submissive that had been shoved down and out of his soul for so long.

          “That is the man that apparently did the same thing to Byou, the estate, the nyotaimori, letting the other men abuse him sexually and even the ‘worthless piece of shit’ comment. He left Byou alone in that house, with money and a note saying that now Byou was damaged goods.”

          Taka started to shake, his ears filled with a rush of blood and his vision blurred, “I never thought I’d ever hear that name again, not after all these years.” He looked at Sakurai, “He…he’s not coming here is he? Please, Acchan, don’t let him see me! Hide Uta, oh god, hide Byou! No!” Taka lurched to his feet, stumbling towards the office of the HBG, “Taka…” Sakurai called out as he grabbed the young man by the shoulders, turning him and wrapping his arms around Taka tightly. “He’s not coming here… breathe Taka, take a deep breath.”

          “There better be a damned good reason you have my husband in your arms, Sakurai.” A growl came from behind them, “SATO!” Pushing Sakurai back, Taka rushed into his husband’s arms, “Babe, what’s wrong?” the young man was sobbing into his husband’s chest, “Did Sakurai…” Taka shook his head, a muffled ‘no’.

          “Sato-san, it’s not what it appears, he is upset from some information that we just exchanged, please sit and let me explain.” With Taka in his lap, Sato sat down with Sakurai and listened to what the man had to say. “You’re fucking joking? The same… that asshole! Is Byou alright? I know he’s with Isshi, but mentally is he okay?”

          They spoke for a while longer, until Taka was ready to go back to work, “What will you do if you find him?” he asked Sakurai right before he left. “I’m not sure what Madame F has planned, we haven’t heard anything from any of our sources. I will let you know if more information is uncovered.” Leaving the HBG, Sakurai had a little guilt weighing on him, scaring Taka so badly, “Should have had Sato here the entire time.”

 

 

          The morning after the party, and the drunk text by Aoi, Yuki woke in a foggy haze, slightly hung over and more than a little confused by Aoi’s actions of donating a large sum of money in Ken’s name. Still not understanding the motive behind it, Yuki went through his early day with the question hanging over him. Making a cup of tea and some rice, Yuki went over their conversation, or really… just his confession. “He hung up on me, so no reason was given? I deserve an answer, it’s my right…I’m Ken’s lover, I should know who’s doing things in his name.” The internal dialogue was the same, arguing with himself over Aoi’s right to do things in Ken’s name. “That’s bullshit.” Getting dressed he decided, “He’s going to have to face me, no running away.”

          Leaving the flat and getting in the small sedan that everyone used, Yuki carefully pulled out of the parking lot and headed downtown, as he thought of the best way to approach the subject, how to discuss this without it turning into a huge fight. “You’re going to have to listen to me just this once, Yuu.”

          After parking his car as close as he could, (his back still hurt) Yuki made his way up to the third floor, and down the hall to Aoi’s flat, ringing the doorbell twice. Nothing, not a sound. Yuki knocked, and waited. “Yuu, I know you’re home, open the door, we need to talk.” He pressed his ear to the door, “Damn.”

          “Fuck this, I’m just going to sit here and wait, he can’t be too far, his damned car is in the lot.” As careful as he could, Yuki slid down the door and sat down, his legs stretched out in front of him. “You’re going to have to tell me everything, I don’t care if we have to do this all night…I’m not leaving,” he muttered to himself. Leaning his head back and closing his eyes, Yuki tried to shut out the traffic noise coming from the street and focus instead on the sounds of the birds in the courtyard, the hum of the cicada’s and enjoy the breeze that was flowing down the long hall.

         

          As he climbed the stairs, Aoi’s mind wasn’t on anything but getting into his flat and to start drinking, and hope that Yuki didn’t call him again and chew him out for the night before. All night his dreams were variations on Yuki’s fall at the HBG party; Yuki’s back breaking in half, Yuki’s skull being crushed, as he died in front of everyone who were then running after him with guns and knives. The dreams persisted until the early dawn, when he finally was able to sleep peacefully for a few hours. Now he was just dead tired and didn’t want to think of anything, another day with his mind dulled by alcohol.

          Getting to his floor, he turned the corner to walk down his hallway and stopped dead. “What the fuck?” As he got closer to his front door, he could see that Yuki was asleep, not quite snoring, but asleep. “Why are you here?” he whispered as he squatted down next to Yuki and tapped him on the shoulder.

          “Hmm? Oh, you’re back, help me up.” Yuki yawned and held his hand out, Aoi taking it and making sure Yuki didn’t strain his back. “Um, why are you here?” Yuki brushed off his butt and looked up, “You and I are going to talk, and I’m not leaving until I get some answers so just open the door, you can’t run or hide from me forever.” Aoi sighed and unlocked his door, “Fine. After that you’re leaving.” He muttered.

          Yuki gasped when he saw Aoi’s flat, “Did you have a party or something?” Aoi’s usually tidy flat was a mess of empty beer cans and vodka bottles, mixed with take away containers and ramen bowls. “No, I didn’t have a party. Ignore it, it’s none of your business.” Aoi walked over and put his beer in the fridge, keeping one out for himself, “You want one?” Yuki shook his head, “No,”

          Yuki sat down carefully on Aoi’s couch, waiting for the man to sit next to him. “What do you want Yuki?” Aoi muttered as he stood on the other side of the coffee table, “I want you to sit down and act like a damned adult first, then I want to ask you some questions.” Aoi frowned, but sat down on the end of the couch, as far away from Yuki as he could get. They looked at each other for awhile, each one trying to come up with the right words to say. With a sigh Yuki started the conversation.

          “I miss Shiroyama Yuu, that’s who I fell in love with.”

          “Yah? Well I miss him too, he’s somewhere…but I don’t know where anymore.”

          They looked at each other for a moment.

          “Why were you at the cemetery yelling at Ken?”

          Aoi looked at the floor, “I um…Ayato had come into the studios to give something to Reita, and Ruki was asking about how you were doing. Ayato said you were healing but you were lonely…honestly, I can’t listen to anyone speak about you anymore. I didn’t even realize where I was going until I parked my car. I was yelling at Ken because he was letting you suffer, and um… that he hasn’t told me how to help you, how anyone can help you.”

          This stunned Yuki, Aoi was actually thinking of someone else, “Ken can’t do anything, Ken’s gone…he’s dead.” Yuki’s lower lip started to quiver, “There’s nothing anyone can do, you can’t give me my life back.”

          “If I could give you anything, if I could fix this I would, I should have been a better boyfriend, hell…a better human.”

          “You can’t keep thinking that way, it’s not doing anyone any good, you didn’t kill Ken, it’s not your fault that he died, that’s all on that damned asshole who decided to get behind the wheel after he’d been drinking, he’s the one that ruined my life and took Ken’s, not you.”

          “He loved you, I could see it every time he looked at you, you meant the world to him, I wish I could have been that person, but I’m glad it was Ken.”

          Yuki was trying hard to keep it together, not to break down, but now that he was sitting in front of Aoi, talking about Ken, there was nothing he could do and for the first time since the accident, Yuki fell completely apart and Aoi was there to catch him.

          The gut wrenching sobs, the high pitched wails that came from Yuki, were everything that Aoi didn’t want to see, he didn’t want to see the boy that he still loved, in so much pain, and the only thing he could do was to hold Yuki in his arms, slowly rocking him and rubbing circles in his back. Once the tears had dried, and Yuki sat up again, Aoi went and got him a glass of water and a box of tissues. “Thanks.”

          Finishing the water, Yuki looked to Aoi again, “You still love me, don’t you?” This wasn’t really a question as much as a comment. “Yah, I do.” Aoi answered simply.

          “Why?”

          Aoi chuckled, “You’re loyal to your friends, even when you disagree or argue. You can make anyone smile or laugh just by being in the room, you help people when they needed it, like with Reita and Ayato, or even Pon and Die. You’re a good person, Yuki…what’s not to love?”

          “Did you leave the kittens?”

          “Yah…I did, are they okay? What are their names?”

          “They’re fine, teenagers almost, I named them Rin and Sora. Why did you leave them for me?”

          Aoi shrugged, “I thought it was weird that Kyo gave people kittens to make them happy or feel better, I know he gave Uta and Koichi both kittens. Then I saw the two babies in a box, some random skeezy looking guy was in front of a konbini, just giving them away. It pissed me off, it was like he was just throwing them away, so I took them both home. I was going to keep them, then I remember Kyo giving kittens to people and I figured you could use two cute babies to cheer you up.”

          “Why didn’t you just knock on the door? I would have taken them regardless, but you just left them…why?”

          “Because I figured people would see it as me using them as a way to get to you, when all I wanted to do is make you happy, I didn’t want you thinking it was some sort of grand gesture to weasel my way back into your life.”

          The silence stretched out again, Aoi getting up and getting Yuki another glass of water. “Why do you keep running away every time you see me? Like at Ojisan’s, you’ve done that twice, why?”

          “If I’m honest with myself, it’s guilt. My brain tells me I had nothing to do with Ken’s death, but my heart breaks every time I see you, had I been a better boyfriend, maybe we’d still be together, and Ken would be alive. I can’t stand the thought of causing you any more pain than I already have, I told you…I’m a coward.”

          Aoi sighed, rubbing his face and laying his head back on the couch, “Can we ever be friends again?” he asked without looking at Yuki. “Maybe, I don’t even know what we are right now. I will tell you; I don’t hate you, Yuu, but right this second, I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. It’s day by day for me.”

          Aoi sat up again, and looked at his former lover, “I understand, I don’t expect you to ever be my friend again.”

          “I need to get going, my back is starting to hurt a little.” Yuki slowly got up from the couch, and made his way to the door, “Um, thanks for finally talking to me,” Yuki hesitated for a moment, then hugged Aoi tightly, “Thanks for the kittens, they do make me happy.” With a wave, Aoi watched Yuki go down to the parking lot, waving as he got into his car and then left the complex.

          The two men had similar thoughts as they separated; Aoi was hopeful for at least friendship with Yuki, he was certain that he’d never be in a relationship with the young man again, and Yuki now understood that it was guilt that had been driving Aoi’s actions.

          Walking into his flat, Yuki went straight to his bathroom and got another pain pill, noticing that he was low, “Shit.” He could hear the doctor’s voice ringing in his head, “young people don’t always follow directions.” His next appointment was a week away, and he was hoping that he could stretch the pills out that long, “Stop moving around so much.”

          Going back into the living room, Yuki stopped and grabbed a cola out of the fridge, “wish I had a damned beer,” Looking out the kitchen window, he see’s Pon walking into his flat, “Hmm,”

          “Hey what’s up?” Yuki knocked and poked his head in Pon’s door. “Nothing much, just getting home…hey want a beer?”