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Can't Let Go

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“You’ve done pretty well for yourself.” Kazuki lifted the can to his lips and took a slow sip before offering it to his friend, accepting the offered cigarette in return. “That band of yours is a good bunch of guys.”

Kenta nodded with a smile and took a sip of beer himself. “They are, aren’t they?” He said, watching the rapper entertain SHU-I with an impromptu rap, Shogo sitting beside him and providing him with a backing track on his guitar. “To think I almost turned this down…”

Kazuki tilted his head back, slowly blowing a cloud of smoke towards the roof. “Groups are your calling,” He pointed out and glanced at him. “Yeah, you can command a stage by yourself, but you’ve always been the kind of guy who needs someone to play off. And that’s what you’ve got with these guys. Especially in that show of yours.” They swapped over again and Kenta took a slow drag as he listened. “The reason it’s so great is because you all play off each other really well.”

“And you’re still all alone because you’re an egotistical asshole who needs to be the center of attention all the time because you’re so great.” They both laughed and Kazuki lifted a hand to softly swat the shorter man over the head.

“Shut up, Shishido,” he scolded playfully. “Jealousy makes you ugly.”

“That’s not the only thing that does.” The playfulness fell from Kenta’s tone, his eyes fixed on his fellow band members, and he sighed, slowly letting the smoke waft from his mouth.

Kazuki looked at him with a worried frown and shifted a little closer along the wall they were leaning against to hook an arm behind him, fingers slowly running over his back. “You’re still the most beautiful, Kenta,” he said quietly.

Kenta turned his head away, looking down at the floor. “Kazuki…”

The singer gave another small sigh and finished off the can in his hands. “Who is it now?” He asked quietly, gaze traveling over the other artists who had gathered for today’s rehearsal and recording and were enjoying an evening break. He picked out each of Kenta’s bandmates; Takuya and Shogo still entertaining SHU-I, Kei sitting at the table with Kyohei and watching the two younger members, and Kousuke sitting with Mugen Danshi’s Poseidon, talking about something Kazuki couldn’t quite make out. “Or,” his gaze returned to the man beside him. “Is it still Kouji?”

For a long moment, there was no reply. Kenta simply focused on the cigarette in his hand and the cloud of smoke that he let go of after each drag. Once the cigarette was finished, he snuffed it out in the ashtray on the table beside him then gave a slight nod of his head.

“Then you do still keep in contact with him.” Kazuki’s hand found its way into Kenta’s pocket, slipping out the lighter there as he lit another cigarette. He didn’t normally smoke, only when he was sharing with a friend, usually this one. “He’s dropped off the radar, hasn’t he?”

“He’s gone back to tennis between his music,” Kenta explained, taking the cigarette from the other man before he could even attempt to get a proper taste. “His reputation’s still a bit screwed but a lot of the people who hated him for that have sort of… forgotten it in favour of more recent things, so now he’s just a small time musician who did some stage stuff with some really famous people.”

“Yet you’ve never mentioned anything about meeting up with him on your blog or even told any of your friends.”

Kenta sighed and gave Kazuki a pointed look. “Think about it.” He offered him the cigarette. “If it got out that I was meeting up with Kouji even after what happened, even this long afterwards, I doubt it would go down well with the fans.”

“So you’re still stuck on him?”

“He’s got a girlfriend.”

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

“Screw you, Kazuki.”

“You aren’t drunk enough to let me do that.” The hand still on Kenta’s back slipped a little lower, stroking over the curve of his ass.

The shorter man shot him a glare and looked away when someone called his name. “Coming, Shogo.” He gave the guitarist a smile then looked back up at Kazuki, handing him the cigarette. “We’ll just have to fix that later, won’t we?” A mischievous smirk appeared on his lips briefly before turning away and moving to join Shogo and Takuya on the couch.

Kazuki continued to watch him from his place leaning against the wall, slowly working his way through the cigarette, unable to help himself from picturing the man with the longer, darker hair he’d had when they first met and Kazuki had first felt something beyond friendship.