Chapter 1: Avoiding Ryuichi?
SHURYU: More than Rivals?
A GRAVITATION FANFICTION
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Gravitation, its plot elements, or characters. They all belong to the wonderful Maki Murakami and I am only borrowing them. No infringement is intended.
WARNING: This, like almost everything else related to the Gravitation series is boy's love. If you have a problem with BL or anything dealing with same gender relationships, I strongly recommend and request that you don't read. Any "damage" which may result from your reading of this, is now not my problem.
Also, this story contains swearing and adult themes (mentions of abuse/ acts of questionable natures), so if for any reasons these things bother you or act as trigger topics, I also advise not reading this story.
A/N: When I first started this story, it was a little after volume 12 of the manga was released. Elements of this story were inspired by Ryuichi's actions during certain chapters in volumes 11 and 12 (the song battle). As I continued writing, I was able to read some of the Gravitation Remix Doujinshi (see end of volume 6 for Ryu's scary face), and the beginnings of Graviation EX. I have always been fascinated by the duality of Ryuichi's personality and wanted to write a story focusing on that. This is the result.
"Shuichi! Shuichikun!" Click clack, click clack. Space. Bang! Click clack, click clack.
"Shuichi! Kumachan's really cold out here! (Pound! Pound!) C'mon, open up! (Bang!) Please?"
Click clack, click clack. Enter. (This time faster) Unidentified sound from outside…
Click clack, click clack. Nothing.
Now there was nothing but the sound of long, thin fingers hitting the miniaturized keys of a grey laptop and the ever even tempo of a common hanging wall clock.
Ah, finally. Semi-silence, a beautiful anti-sound of the Ryuichi Sakuma-free variety…
Click, clack, click- "Shuichi!"
Slam! With that, the famous romance author, Eiri Yuki, finally snapped after nearly an hour's worth of audio abuse.
After seriously contemplating whether or not to continually bang his head on the rounded corner of his desk, he sighed loudly, and Yuki saved his work. Come to think of it, where the hell was the damn brat,he wondered as got up from his comfortable leather seat and started towards the door.
"Shuichi! Where're you? (Sniffle) Do you hate me, now, Shuichi? (Sob!)"
Passing the designated living room- like area, Yuki looked in to have his suspicions confirmed.
He really isn't here. They must have made him stay late at work, the thought of the his younger lover actually working bringing a small snicker from his lips and a shake of the head as he finally made it closer to the front door.
Stepping easily into leather loafers, he slowly opened the aluminum door to be greeted by what seemed to be a teary eyed brown-haired boy holding on to a pink stuffed rabbit, oblivious to the fact that someone had finally opened the door.
"Shuichi (Sob!) Do you hate me, Shuichi?! Did I do—you're not Shuichi."
No shit. Repressing the strong urge to smother the brunette with his stuffed rabbit, Yuki calmly answered, "No I'm not. Now, why are you banging on my door?"
After a moment of seemingly intense contemplation, the brunet happily answered.
"I wanted to see Shuichi." He nodded as to affirm his statement. He then held up the rabbit under the arms and all but shoving the plush form into the author's pale face. "Kumachan too!"
Yuki could do little but stare at the wiggling pink thing in front of him and then the childish man behind it. Ryuichi Sakuma. And people actually idolize this idiot?
He was in no mood for Sakuma's stupidity. He had enough of it in his life already. Let Tohma deal with the moron as he was surprisingly good at it.
And speaking of mentally challenged pop icons, the damn brat could have called, especially if he knew his doppelganger would be stopping by for a friendly visit. At almost midnight…
Shaking his by now pounding skull at their antics, he trudged back towards his office and tried his best to ignore the idiot outside his door.
Hic! Fabric shuffling. Sniffle.
What the hell? Don't tell me he somehow got inside. Passing the darkened living room and small bathroom, Yuki could swear he heard a series of sounded like someone's choked sobs from deep within the small hallway closet. Carefully, he opened the door.
"Yuki…" There, sitting crumpled on the floor of his closet sat his lover, Shuichi Shindo with his eyes red, face messy, and with his arms wrapped around himself. "Yuki, I…"
"What are you doing in my closet?" Yuki asked with no small amount of annoyance in his voice.
"They….I mean…(racking sob) YUKI!" the pink haired singer attached himself to Yuki's waist in a blink of an eye. The writer just stared down at the younger man and sighed. There was going to be no peace until this was dealt with. And as much as the blonde hated to admit it, he did not actually like seeing his lover cry like this.
"Alright, alright, what happened?"
It took almost an hour, and three fingers of scotch on Yuki's part, for Shuichi to finally calm down enough to explain what was on his mind. Between all the side comments and sniffles, it took another twenty minutes for Shuichi's rambling to start making any sense. In a way Yuki was glad he suggested they move their conversation to the couch.
"And then, K said that I'd be good publicity…" Shuichi continued, crossing his arms and looking up at the blonde, who stared down at him impassively.
"But I don't want to!" he gesticulated, his arms going wild.
"So let me get this straight," Yuki said, blowing a puff of smoke from his cigarette and shoving one of the vocalist's arms away from his face. "NG wants Bad Luck to do a joint movie with Nittle Grasper, but you don't want to because…?"
"Because Sakuma-san will be there!"
"So? I thought you liked him. Wasn't he your idol? I would've thought you'd jump at the chance to do a movie with him."
"He was, but…" Shuichi closed his eyes tightly and leaned his head against Yuki's thigh, while trying to force away the headache which had formed from his crying. "I just can't…"
A long moment passed though the house as the two collected their thoughts and seeped in their emotions. For Yuki it was annoyance, which still lingered from earlier. After several long minutes of stewing, Yuki had enough.
"Why the hell not? You've given me nothing but grief since I met you, you know that?" Yuki rubbed a hand over his face tiredly. "I don't know what else to tell you; either do it and be done with it or don't do it and shut up."
The blonde quickly got up in a huff, ignoring the fact that Shuichi had nearly fallen off the couch, and went back into his office. He made sure to slam the door.
It was quite for quite a while after that, save for the distant click clack of Yuki's keyboard.
Curled up, Shuichi thought about what the other man had said.
"You don't understand, Yuki." He mumbled, falling into what would most likely be a troubled slumber.
"I just can't be near him anymore… not after today…"
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 2: Something Afoot!
SHURYU: More than Rivals?
DISCLAIMER: Please see chapter one.
A/N: As always, thank you for the reviews.
It was a beautiful night to go riding, as the sky was a cross between a cobalt blue and black with sight grayish whips of clouds, and the air was crisp and free, but not cold. Hiroshi loved these nights more than any other.
He had only stopped once while riding, while at a red light close to the NG building. The red head guitarist had worked late that night, perfecting a new song, while Fujisaki tried to fix the damage to his synth caused by Shuichi earlier that day.
That day's events were troubling, but whatever it was that had happened to make Shuichi act as though possessed lay at the core of redhead's concerns. Thinking logically, the announcement should have been met with excitement and fever, seeing as it was the chance of a lifetime. In all honesty, Hiro would have seriously thought Shuichi would be thrilled at a chance to do a movie with a Ryuichi Sakuma, not only because the man was a living legend in the music community, but also because how famously the two had always seemed to get along. Almost as close friends, or even brothers…
He leaned into his right turn.
Had something happened between him and Yuki again? If that had indeed happened, Shuichi would have said something. It was in his nature, no matter how much he tried to hide that aspect of himself. It was near impossible for the boy to hold his tongue or his feelings, but that was one of the things that attracted people to him. It was gravity.
It was what attracted Yuki to him, wasn't it? Regardless, though it was really odd behavior for his best friend, Hiro tried his best to shrug it off. A good night with Yuki and he'll be just fine in the morning.
That is what the tiny digital numbers in the lower right hand corner of Yuki's laptop's clock read. He took off his glasses and stared into nothingness for a bit. He had decided to try to get some work done as Shuichi had fallen asleep on the couch and Sakuma has ceased his banging on the door. Sadly, Yuki still had yet to write little more than a few lines of useless dapple describing something along the lines of a crowded city and smog filled air.
He pushed his chair back and got up. Time to get another beer, no wait, scratch that out, time to get rid of all of the beer from his body. He walked to the bathroom, but not without catching a quick glance at his lover on the couch.
He had been no more than a quarter meter away from the bathroom when the door bell rang. Yuki sighed and tried to ignore it. He opened the bathroom door.
Ding dong! He sighed loudly as he unzipped his pants.
Ding dong ding don ding dong ding dong! Now beyond irritated, Yuki zipped his pants and walked to the door to give whatever idiot who was ringing his bell at 2:30 in the morning a piece of his mind. I had better not be Sakuma or help him god…
He flung the door open, only wishing it opened the other way so he could hit the idiot with it and stared at his door step. A cool breeze blew against his skin and he fought back a shiver.
He looked around. No one.
He looked down to see if maybe it was a package. Nothing.
He inwardly sighed. If someone was going to annoy him by ringing the door bell continually so late at night, Yuki wouldn't expect any less than a letter bomb!
He closed the door and turned to head back to the bathroom. Ding dong! Yuki spun on his heals and prayed to whatever deity that loved to mess around with his existence that who ever it was, he'd get away with beating the hell of them and leaving their broken body somewhere they would never bother him again without getting caught.
He opened the door. This time there was a small white envelope sitting on his door step, a small rock placed on top of it. It was addressed to Shuichi. He stared at the small white rectangle wishing to set it on fire before he picked it up. He looked around once more on the off chance that someone was still there but was disappointed to find no one to take his annoyance out on. He closed the door.
Ryuichi yawned grandly as he and his stuffed rabbit companion Kumagoro walked down the nighttime streets of Tokyo towards their small apartment. He stretched and looked around, spotting his favorite candy stop a little ways down the street.
He ran towards the small colorful shop, halting only as he reached the large window, before looking as well as he could into the darkened store's window display. Although hard to see, the brunet singer could make out the forms of the super-sized plastic replicas of some of his favorite sweets.
Scanning the larger than life selection of sweets, Ryuichi's eyes fell over the small sign, which during the daytime hours would undoubtedly be colored in the brightest of hues.
The SWEETEST MEMORIES
100 percent pure sugar candy
One hundred percent sugar? Ryuichi smile increasing ten fold before he continued reading the small blurb of text beneath the large headline.
Give us your most precious memories and we'll make them into eatable art.
Submit up to A4-sized photographs.
"What do you say, Kumagoro? Should we get one?" He looked up at the rabbit riding atop his head for an answer, though already coming up with one himself already. "I was thinking of getting one done of us and Shuichi."
With that, Ryuichi and his faithful lifetime companion Kumagoro continued on their way down the street. "…but wait, we don't have any pictures of us with Shuichi, Kumagoro."
TO BE CONTINUED
SHURYU: More than Rivals?
"Ughn…" Shuichi shifted in an attempt to roll over so that he had his back to the window while trying not to fall off the couch. It was morning which meant that soon, Shuichi would have to get up and go to work. However, that was something that he really didn't want to do.
He cracked open one eye to greet the back cushions of his couch and debated calling in sick. Instead, he merely covered his face with his pillow and hoped that by some act of god he'd somehow smother himself and avoid ever setting foot in the NG building again.
After ten minuets so attempted self affixation with a feather pillow, Shuichi turned his body away from the back of the couch and nearby wall when he heard his cellular phone ringing. It was probably K, no wait, scratch that out. K would probably be climbing the adjacent building getting into his usual sniper position and setting up to fire off a few shots right now. It was probably either Hiro or Sakano wondering where he was. After trying to remember where he left the phone, Shuichi decided to let it ring.
"Answer the phone, you damn brat!" So much for letting it ring.
Shuichi slowly sat up on the couch and brought his hand to his head. He had a headache and the phone was not helping. Was this how Yuki usually felt? He stood up but almost ended up back on his backside but caught himself.
"Answer the damn phone! I'm not going to say it again!" Yuki hollered from the bedroom, undoubtedly covering his head with his beloved pillow. Shuichi walked through the apartment in search of his phone until the other party decided to hang up and the phone ring tone ended.
He stood next to the entryway, dreary eyed and still no closer to finding his phone. On impulse, he looked down to spot the corner tip of a small white envelope next to his sneakers. He looked at it for a moment, curious as to what it was.
Something from Yuki?
He reached down and picked it up, studying the writing. It was in his name but it definitely wasn't from Yuki. His name was sloppily written in hiragana and Yuki would never in a million years do that. Shuichi was almost positive the older man prided himself on how many complicated, and probably very much out of date, kanji characters he knew.
He ripped it open and froze…
"So, where do you think he is?" Fujisaki asked his fellow band member and managers. Hiro leaned back in his chair, causing it to sway dangerously on its two back legs.
"My money's on the bathroom. I'll head there now and fire a few shots to motivate his lazy sprit." said K.
"I'll be back…"He headed towards the door, cocking his gun and carrying it like a cowboy.
"There's no need for that." Hiro interrupted, hastily putting his two hands up defensively as though as in a sign of peace. K turned to him, golden eyebrows raised.
"Oh, and why is that?" He asked though his thick accent. In response, Hiro only began rocking his chair back and forth and looked up at the ceiling. After a moment, he answered.
"Because he isn't there. He probably won't be coming in today. After whatever happened yesterday…" He trailed off, still watching the ceiling. There was a moment of silence.
It had been a good day, considering that Shuichi had, that morning, brought to work finished lyrics. Rehearsal had been going as smoothly as ever, and the company as a whole seemed to be in high sprits; although it was a little bit strange to be greeted by almost everyone in the building.
"Yo, Shuichi! Mind going to the storage closet and getting me a blank tape?" Hiro had asked, still concentrating on the new set of cords for the song the group had been practicing. He had wanted to bring a copy home with him to listen to, in order to keep the arrangement fresh in his mind.
"No problem!" Shuichi had replied happily with a wave, before heading out of the room and towards what was dubbed the storage closet. It wasn't so much of a closet as it was a room filled with anything and everything an artist at NG would ever need, and then more.
"Be back in a second!" came the call from down the hall.
The two remaining band mates continued to rehearse for a good twenty minuets before realizing that Shuichi had not come back yet. It wasn't unusual for him to take a while just to go down the hall to get a drink, he was easily distracted, but something seemed a little off.
Maybe he had just bumped into Ryuichi Sakuma or something, lord knew that once together, one needed a crowbar to pry them apart.
"I wonder what's taking Shindo so long…" Fujisaki muttered from his place at his double keyboard when suddenly the thin metal E string on Hiro's practice guitar snapped, cutting his hand in the process.
Ah yes, foreshadowing.
The two looked at each other for a long moment, in alarm, forgetting the red head's bleeding hand for the moment.
"No way. Stuff like that doesn't happen in real life, does it?"
With great speed, the two set off in the direction on the storage closet.
"SHUICHI!" Unsurprisingly, the door to the storage closet was unlocked. Swinging the door open at dangerous speeds, the two Bad Luck members attempted to run though the door at once. As a result, the two almost became completely stuck, before maneuvering in what to others would be considered improper fashions. Eventually, however, they go through the door and into the storage closet.
"Let's split up." Fujisaki had said, sprinting off to the right, leaving Hiro to take the left. Quickly, sprinting past the various floor to ceiling shelves, he looked in each aisle for his friend.
By the time he had almost reached the back of the storage area, which had been discovered to be too big to be a storage 'closet', Hiro had become more than a bit anxious. That was when the red head heard the keyboardist call out to him.
Checking the rest of the surrounding area before quickly turning back the way he came, he still found no trace of Shuichi. "Fujisaki, what did you find?"
"That's the problem, nothing…" he answered, now just as sure as the guitarist that something was very wrong. Together, the two tried to think of possible places the cotton candied hair singer could be.
Both doubted, although to different degrees, that he'd just leave to go to Yuki's without telling someone just as much as they doubted the chance of Yuki driving over to pick him up. There was also no reason for the singer to go to Hiro's apartment. So, it was safe to assume that the singer was still somewhere in the N-G building, but if that was so…
If he had decided to take a walk around the grounds of the N-G building, the scream of fan-girls would have been clearly heard from anywhere within the building or the surrounding area. So, where was he?
Nittle Grasper? Maybe the singer had a run in with one of the members, be it a casual talk with Noriko, a stern lecture and an overly friendly smile from Tohma Seguchi, or even being abducted by the great Ryuichi Sakuma. At least with one of them, the singer's safety was pretty much assured. To an extent…
"Let's go ask if…" Hiro began before he was cut off by a familiar voice. It was feminine and cheerful.
"Hey ya!" The two turned around to come face to face with Noriko. She had been dressed rather professional that day, choosing to wear a navy blue dress suit instead of her usual rock idol style garbs. She also had her hair pulled back into a bun and not pig-tails. "Where's Shindo?"
"We don't know. That's what we're trying to figure out." Fujisaki said.
"We were hoping that maybe you'd seen him." Hiro added, gaining a 'We were?' from his remaining band mate. She looked at them with a sympathetic look before shaking her head.
"I'm sorry but I haven't seen him. I was looking for Ryuichi, myself." She answered. Fujisaki, Noriko, and Hiro looked at each other and nodded. "Maybe they're together?"
"I sure hope so." Hiro added absently, running a hand through long red hair, the fact that it had injured it not so long ago completely forgotten. It was a habit born of nervousness and restlessness.
"You're bleeding!" It dawned on Hiro that he still had yet to bandage it, as she gingerly took it and studied the extents of the damage. A shrug. There were more important things at the moment…
TO BE CONTINUED…
Hiragana = one of three styles of written Japanese used for purely Japanese words. Here, it is used to express the unsophisticated style of writing on Shuichi's letter. It's considered childish to write in hiragana alone. Think of the letter has being written in print and with misspellings.
Chapter 4: Thinking Back
Shuichi continued to stare at the characters written on the page. It was sloppy, as if quickly written, but the handwriting was familiar. That alone, should have been a dead give away but the boy was staring though the page more than directly at it. There were only a few people other than himself who preferred that particular writing style.
One person was Yuki's little bother, Tetsuha, who was just too lazy to write out the complicated characters and then there was the other option. The man who only knew one kanji character: Ryuichi Sakuma. He continued to stare at the misshapen characters when a voice shattered his thoughts.
"Some idiot left that outside for you." Shuichi looked up to see his lover. He stared blankly at the blond who only seemed to get more annoyed the longer he stared. When no words came, Yuki continued.
"So, who is it from? Sakuma?"
Shuichi silently nodded as his hand with the letter fell to his side. Yuki looked at the letter in his lover's hand intently before sighing.
"If it bothers you, throw it out."
"Yuki…" he began, as the blond crossed his arms and leaned against the nearby wall, waiting for an explanation. Even after a grunt in response, the vocalist didn't continue. Instead he seemed to be at war with himself and Yuki wasn't sure if he preferred this to the younger man's usual theatrics.
Shuichi on the other hand, tried to decide which was better; the anger Yuki was sure to display should he tell him the truth or the weight of wanting to tell someone- anyone- what had happened. The pressure built up behind his eyes in frustration. He wanted to say something- he really did!- but the words didn't form out of the miasma stewing in his chest. If he said it, it would make it real in a way...
And he wasn't sure he was ready for that...
Choking back his emotions, he looked up at Yuki, and forced a smile on his face. He crumpled up the paper and held it tightly. The wrinkles bit into his palm, grounding him.
"Yes and thank you." Hanging up the phone, Tohma Seguchi leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes, and sighed. He could feel a headache coming on, but in this case it couldn't be helped. Sometimes he missed the days when he was just a keyboardist in his band and not the president of a multi-million corporation. Things were much simpler then, he mused as he rested the back of his head against the fine grain leather.
There was a knock at the door. He opened his eyes and pulled himself back into a sitting position.
"Come in," he called, struggling to paste on his usual smile.
"Mr. President, sir." Sakano began, bowing to his superior. Looking up, he caught the ever smiling face of his boss and took it as a sign to continue. "You see, it's like this…"
Sitting with his hands folded and elbows on the desk, Tohma listened to Sakano's rendition of what had happened the day before, all the time silent. Picking out the relevant information from amid the panicked ramblings took an energy the young president wasn't sure he possessed, but from what he could gather, it seemed that Shindo had missed work because of something that may or may not of happened the previous day.
This was not new news to him, but he smiled and pretended that what Sakano was saying mattered.
"I see," he said when Sakano had finished. He bent his head as if in deep thought, although it was an act influenced more by his growing headache than by deep contemplation, but no one would ever know.
"Sir?" Sakano stood stock still obediently waiting for some explanation or set of orders from his employer.
Seguchi thought back on what Noriko had told him yesterday, in private, away from the ever vigilant ears of Ryuichi Sakuma. Also, he could vaguely recall thinking he saw the two vocalists together in the hallway. However, when he had turned back to look again, he was pretty sure he had only seen Shindo alone. It would add up with the concerns Noriko had expressed. She had mentioned that the two of them had disappeared for a while around the same time.
'I told him not to get involved,' he thought to himself.
"Sir?" Seguchi snapped back to reality and looked up to see an apprehensive Sakano. He must have been lost in thought longer than he realized.
"Ah, yes. I will talk to Shindo. You may go." He said with a nod.
"It's alright." He said with his trademark patented ever present smile. Tohma waited until Sakano had left before he reached over to the intercom on his desk and buzzed his secretary.
"Please forward all calls and messages to my voice mail. I do not wish to be disturbed."
Tohma turned his chair around and looked out his window at the city below, thinking. He had been sitting like this, watching the city nightlife when Noriko came in hours later.
"Hey, Tohma. You should really go home and get some rest. If you don't Ryuichi might find you here and send Kumagoro after you," she said with a laugh.
Ryuichi-no Kumagoro- would probably be popping up from the other side of his desk sometime soon, in an attempt to send him home. Ryuichi knew he was in trouble, Tohma was sure of it. And although playing the fool was one of Ryuichi's favorite pastimes, he had an uncanny ability to always know what was going on and how to mostly avoid it.
"True, true. Where is Ryuichi? I haven't seen him today." Noriko fell silent as she looked down in silent admiration of the carpet. When no one continued, Noriko leaned against the desk and hung her head in an uncharacteristic show of defeat. That got Tohma's attention immediately.
"Actually, that's what I came here to talk to you about," she said, not looking up.
"You see, Ryu hasn't been himself lately. You've noticed, haven't you?"
At his ascent, she continued, "Today, when I came this morning, I realized that I forgot something in one of the rehearsal rooms. On my way I noticed an open door, so I peaked inside. Ryu was inside, just sitting there. I don't think he even noticed me."
"What is so unusual about that?" He asked.
"That's just it! He was sitting alone in the dark listening to rehearsal tapes." She paused, looking up, imploring her friend to understand. "Bad Luck's rehearsal tapes, Tohma. Ryu's eyes, they were intense… just like when he's on stage singing."
The dread dropped into his stomach, but he tried not to let it show on his face. Noriko had a lot to think about as it was. She was married, with a family now, which meant that the responsibility of Ryuichi fell to him now. The brunette was trying at the best of times...
"You know just as well as anyone how fond he is of Shindo and his friends. I think, in some ways, they remind him of us… before we disbanded," he tried to come off as reassuring.
"Still…" It seemed Noriko would not let go of the topic so easily, "He disappeared from our meeting room, you know. And he didn't come back for a long time after. I went looking for him."
"He does that often. You know that he has a short attention span."
At Noriko's unimpressed look, Tohma let his shoulders slump.
"After we found Shindo, he seemed distant and a bit upset. He played it off well, though. I think Nakano-kun and I were the only ones to notice, but… when I said something to Ryu, he got that closed off look on his face- you know the one I mean. I'm worried, Tohma. What has he gotten himself into this time?"
"We'll soon find out, I think. Either way, let me handle it Noriko," the blonde replied, stepping around the desk to take the other keyboardist by the shoulders. He nodded once and turned her towards the door.
"But he's my friend too!" She called over her shoulder, trying to turn back around. She wasn't very successful and Tohma had little difficulty leading her to the door.
"I know. But, I'm long used to cleaning up after his messes. What's one more, hmm?"
"...you shouldn't be the one to have to say that."
"Still," he said, opening the door. "Good night, Noriko."
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 5: That Day, Part 1
"Never mind. It's nothing I can't handle on my own." Shuichi smiled at the blond standing a little off to his left, propped against the wall with his arms crossed. It was almost completely silent if not for the soft far-off ticking of the clock in the kitchen. It was nice.
Sighing, the novelist Eiri Yuki pushed himself off the wall with his foot and slowly walked over to his lover. Once he was close enough, he reached out a and ruffled the younger man's hair a bit before letting his hand fall to his side. "Cheer up, you're no good when you're like this."
And with that said, and his good deed done for the year, Yuki walked off towards the kitchen. He was hungry and in need of more alcohol. Watching the retreating back of his lover, Shuichi stood there silently, left to ponder what had just happened. Had Yuki just comforted him?
"Yuki really loves me. Yuki really loves me…" he said in a sing song voice as he did a strange little victory dance that resembled a thief that had just gotten caught by the police in mid action.
"Keep it down, you damn brat!" Yuki called from the kitchen, annoyed. That's what he got for being nice to the brat. He made a mental note to never do that again as he rummaged the fridge.
Dammit, he was out of beer. He looked up and sighed. He reached into his breast pocket and took out a pack of cigarettes. Nicotine: the next best thing to alcohol. He squeezed the soft packaging only to find it empty. No. No goddamn way. He swore then and there that one day he would get his vengeance on whatever god that loved using his existence as a plaything…
He was batting one hundred today. First, no booze and now no cigarettes, what a wonderful day this would turn out to be. He closed his eyes a moment and thought. If he wasn't mistaken, and according to him he never was, there was a convenience store only a few blocks away…
The fresh morning air felt good to Shuichi as he walked down the less crowded than usual streets, towards what Yuki had said was a holy place containing the staples of his existence.
Shortly after Yuki had left him standing in the hallway, the blonde reemerged with a quest for Shuichi and two one-thousand yen bills. Now exiled from their large apartment until such time that his task was completed, Shuichi made his way to the convenience store, all the time looking in the store windows and wondering about the people who lived in the various rooms in the surrounding buildings.
Things were starting to finally look up for the young singer as the events of the past day flew away with the cool breeze. This was a perfect day to write a song. He felt the music bubbling up inside of him and was about to start humming the first few notes when he caught sight of figure walking down the street, his way. Squinting his eyes against the sun, Shuichi tried to identify the familiar brown blur. When he did, his insides went cold. The figure was still a good distance away, but knowing this person, it wouldn't take long for him to see Shuichi and tackle him with a hug.
Shuichi knew that he had mere seconds to react, to find a place to hide, but his legs were unwilling to cooperate. He had to hide. He had to find somewhere safe. He had to find a place away from him!
The sun was so bright today, too bright for Ryuichi's sensitive blue eyes. Walking down the street, he tried to ignore the fact that he had forgotten his sunglasses in the N-G meeting room on the table where he had left them the morning before. After what had happened with Shuichi, he hadn't felt like going back for them.
Instead, Ryuichi spent the rest of the day wandering the little used parts of the NG building.
Since Nittle Grasper's break up three years ago, the building had changed drastically under Tohma's rule. The building itself had not changed that much, not including the addition of a few dozen new entrances, but the interior was completely different.
During Ryuichi's stay in the States, Tohma had the old underground recording studios covered over and made into a parking lot and had all new "state of the art" studios built on the upper levels. Ryuichi, Kumagoro, Tohma, and Noriko had spent many an hour in those old studios, perfecting their craft, but now all those hours of fun were just memories…
And he hated the thought of it! At first, he thought that reuniting Nittle Grasper would be fun, but it wasn't the same anymore. Not even close. He would do anything to have those old times back and that is why he turned to the members of Bad Luck... and more importantly, to Shuichi.
He was supposed to be rehearsing with Noriko, but that didn't stop Ryuichi Sakuma from slacking off and wandering the halls of the NG building one bit! Walking down the brightly lit hallways, Ryuichi decided that it would be fun if he would stop in and see what his friends from Bad Luck where up too.
Turning the corner, Ryuichi collided with a warm and somewhat soft something, presumably a person that was moving in the other direction, sending Ryuichi and his faithful Kumagoro to the floor with a thump. Looking up, he saw what, or rather who exactly he had collided with.
"Shuichi!" Ryuichi called out happily, throwing his arms around his pink haired fan. Shuichi was just the distraction he needed. The energy the younger vocalist extruded made Ryuichi feel years younger and helped improve his mood. As of late, Ryuichi needed the pick-me-up, especially the more he thought about his life. For a man who had everything life had to offer, he sure felt empty at times.
"Sa-sakuma-san?" Shuichi stammered out, a bit surprised but not completely unused to his former idol and now semi-rival hugging him. "What are you doing here!"
Thinking for a moment, the brunette answered in mock seriousness, "Shuichi, I work here…"
Stifling a laugh, Shuichi pulled away from the older man and picked up the light pink Kumagoro off the floor. He handed it to its owner who hugged him lovingly. it was rather cute, Shuichi thought. Meetings with his idol usually cheered him up after a long day of practice.
'I guess it wouldn't hurt to spend a little while with Sakuma-san...' he though, not really feeling like returning to rehearsals. He glanced over towards the happy brunette who was hugging the non-existent life out of the stuffed toy.
"So, where are you off to, Sakuma-san?"
Ryuichi hummed loudly, as he continued to hug the stuffed bunny- twisting back and forth manically- causing Shuichi to laugh. Peaking with a keen eye from between the rabbit's ears, the older vocalist shifted though his words to find an answer that wouldn't bring an end to their conversation. Somehow he thought, 'coming to see you,' might be a bad answer.
"Well, nowhere right now. How about you, Shuichi?" he asked instead.
With a start, Shuichi straightened to his full height. Reminded of his mission, he replied, "Oh! That's right, I'm supposed to go to the storage closet to get a blank tape for Hiro! I completely forgot! Thanks for reminding me, Sakuma-san!"
Cursing his luck, Ryuichi placed a hand on the younger boy's shoulder as he made a motion to leave. Shuichi turned around and looked at his idol. For a moment Shuichi swore Ryuichi's serious expression flickered across his face, before he was grinning widely as usual.
Shuichi looked from Ryuichi's face to his hand.
"Let me." He said simply before he zipped away, towards the storage closet.
"Uh, Sakuma-san?" Shuichi called out, before Ryuichi could turn the corner in the hall, "It's that way."
"Oh." Turning on the non-existent heels of his sneakers, Ryuichi flew down the hall the other way. One day, he needed to ask Tohma for a map but until then, it gave him a valid excuse to wander around.
Watching Ryuichi depart, it dawned on Shuichi the fact that the great Ryuichi Sakuma would probably, no more like most likely, get lost. Sighting the shadow of the hyper brown haired singer cast on the wall, Shuichi took off, intent on catching up to his idol...
'Storage closet, storage closet...' Ryuichi repeated over and over in thought, both vocally and mentally. He was to find a storage closet, although he had absolutely no idea of where it would be. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure that Shuichi was still following. He had purposely not run at his normal speeds in fear of losing Shuichi who he had hoped would follow him. Luckily, it turned out that way and the two were now walking down yet another hallway in search for an elusive storage closet.
"Hey, here it is!" Ryuichi heard from behind him as well as the sound of an aluminum door being opened. He turned around and followed the younger vocalist into what was not a small closet but a large room! Stepping inside, he noted the large floor to ceiling metal shelves and the long set-in-ceiling halogen lighting above. The door closed behind him.
"Yeah, I know, why is it called a storage 'closet', right?" Shuichi said, continuing towards the back of the room with Ryuichi behind him, eyeing the items around him.
'How things had changed...' he thought, remembering their old excuse for a storage closet. It was more of a storage 'shelf'.
"Now, where are the blank tapes?"
Looking up and down and left and right, Shuichi and Ryuichi spotted everything but blank tapes. On the verge of giving up and returning to the recording studio empty handed, Ryuichi noticed out of the corner of his eye a single tape placed on one of the high shelves to his right. To get it, he would have to climb up the metal shelving unit. Shoving Kumagoro into the front of his tee, he placed his foot up on the third shelf from the bottom and got ready to climb.
"Hey, get down from there! That can be dangerous, Sakuma-san!" Shuichi yelled, but it was too late. Ryuichi was already half way to reaching the desired shelf that held the spoils. Reaching out his hand to grab the next shelf, Ryuichi swayed dangerously back and almost lost his grip, but he managed to steady himself.
"Close one, eh, Kumachan," he said, finding his next handhold. Pulling himself up, it was as he prepared to step up when his sneaker slipped. For a second Ryuichi thought he would be able to catch himself again, but his hands lost their purchase and he found himself suspended in midair for all of two second. In that time he was able to shoot Shuichi a troubled look before he was falling like a rock.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Chapter 6: That Say, Part 2
Warning: This chapter is rather long. If you need a bathroom break, I suggest taking it now. Also, this chapter is the where we start getting into the M-rate territory. This chapter and the next will contain adult situations.
Note: Italics are the continuation of the flashback from last chapter. Bold italics are describing an even that occurred before said flashback and is being remembered during which.
Shuichi barely had time to move away before the free falling form of Ryuichi Sakuma fell on top of him with a loud thud, the vibration of which had to have been felt through out the whole of the NG building. A few minutes after the back of his head stopped throbbing so much, Shuichi decided after a moment to open his eyes and see the full extent of the damage both to himself and his idol. Lifting his hands and wiggling his toes, Shuichi decided that he was okay, save for the dull pain in the back of his skull.
He turned his attention to Ryuichi Sakuma, who's head was nestled in the junction of Shuichi's neck and shoulder. The rest of him seemed spralled out over Shuichi's legs and torso like a blanket. Shifting to get a better look, Shuichi noticed the dazed look on the other's face. Still poking out of the older vocalist's tee shirt was Kumagoro, oddly looking just as confused.
"Ouchies, that hurt…" Ryuichi said offhandedly. The tone and the situation made Shuichi huff out the ghost of a laugh- the best he could do with a grown man laying on his chest- as he let his head return to the floor.
"You alright up there?" Shuichi asked. Secretly he was glad they managed to escape the cliche where he and his idol would have ended up tangled in each other's limbs and kissing through some strange twist of fate that ignored the fact that Ryuichi had fallen backwards.
"That didn't go like I planned at all!" Ryuichi groused once his wits returned to him. He shifted himself so that he was on his hands and knees over the younger vocalist and banged his fist against the floor to further state his point.
Before the younger of the two could say anything, the cassette tape landed hard and bounced off of the back of Ryuichi's already damaged cranium into Shuichi's hand. Prepared for the worse, Shuichi shut his eyes and cursed all things cliché.
Expecting lips on his, Shuichi was rather surprised when he felt Ryuichi's face bury itself into the crook of his neck. For a long moment the two just lay still with Ryuichi's lips softly touching the side of younger man's pulse point. With each breath, they could feel the other's heartbeat quicken yet a little more.
Opening his eyes, Shuichi found himself hyper-aware of the weight of Sakuma's body atop his own, the brown hair tickling his chin, the feel of warm lips, and the clean scent of the man pressed so tightly against him. Heart racing, Shuichi listened to the older man's shallow breathing, feeling the breaths fan against sensitive skin.
When the brunette showed no signs of moving, he began to wonder if his idol had been knocked unconscious.
"S-sakuma-san?" He called but there came no answer.
Resigning to this fate, he tried to focus on other things, more important things like if either of them were injured and what to do about it. He wondered if it could be considered harassment if he were to run his hands over his idol's body- purely to check for breaks, mind- and got as far as spraying his hands against the man's back.
'Oh good," he though to himself. 'I've officially become Tatsuha. Yay, me.'
Feeling the shuffling of the younger boy under him was an odd feeling, not at all like he thought it might feel like. For one, Shuichi was bonier than he looked, though Ryuichi had always known Shuichi was on the smaller side. It wasn't very hard to notice, with what the younger vocalist usually wore on stage. Still with all of Shuichi's boniness and Kumagoro's form digging into his chest, Ryuichi found he wasn't entirely uncomfortable.
In fact, he was far from it.
Feeling Shuichi's quick pulse under his lips sent an electric tingle through his body, much like when he took to a new stage in an unknown venue. The friction and weight of Shuichi's leg between his own made warmth pool in the pit of his stomach, just above the waistband of his boxers. Knowing that Shuichi's arms were around him, made his heart pound and his shoulder-blades twitch, half expecting to soon feel nails drag own his flesh. Shuichi's scent made him fall deeper into-
He had to get himself under control.
'Shame Shuichi makes such a good pillow,' he thought to himself, trying to will his heart rate to slow, using a technique he had learned years ago and frequently used when onstage.
To Ryuichi's relief, Shuichi made no attempts to move, and Ryuichi was able to reign himself in enough not to embarrass himself or the other singer. When he was sure he wasn't going to do anything questionable, Ryuichi pushed back against the arms around him and sat up. Straddling the other's hips, he stared down at Shuichi.
A big mistake.
Seeing the brunette's wince, Shuichi stared as Ryuichi rushed to get off the younger man. Looking away, Ryuichi struggled to clear his mind and adopt his normal nonchalance manner.
"Sakuma-san! How are you feeling? Think you need a doctor?" Shuichi asked, his voice soft. Ryuichi quickly found his stride one doctors were mentioned. "I'm sure K can take you."
"But I don't wanna go! I hate doctors!" the brunette countered, giving Shuichi his patented sad puppy dog eyes. Pulling Kumagoro out of his shirt, he held the stuffed rabbit like it could protect him from all the horrors of the world. With a whine, he buried his face in the synthetic fur and cried, "Shuichi, why do you hate me?"
"I-I don't hate you, Sakuma-san! I could never hate you!" Shuichi put his hands up in defense. Ryuichi stopped whimpering for a moment and looked up. "I swear it."
"Really?" The pink haired boy nodded.
"Shuichi, can I ask you something?" Ryuichi asked, his tone leaning more towards serious. Shuichi swallowed nervously So much for staving off the Nuclear Meltdown...
He waited for Shuichi to answerer before making any signs of continuing.
"Sure, fire away." Shuichi answered with an unsure smile- one that wasn't reflected on the older vocalist's face.
"We're friends, right?"
'Sleepy, sleepy, is Tohma sleepy?' asked Kumagoro from the corner of the desk belonging Tohma Seguchi late one night. Yawning, he added, 'Tohma should go sleepy, sleepy…'
'Well, actually yes, Ryu…Kumagoro, I am.' Tohma replied, careful to address the correct person in fear that Ryuichi would though yet another one of his 'I'm not Ryuichi, I'm Kumagoro' fits again. Sighing and leaning back, Tohma waited for a response from the pink stuffed rabbit but received none. Instead, he heard shuffling in front of his desk towards the floor. He leaned over his desk to investigate.
He came face to face with a sleepy looking Ryuichi Sakuma dressed in cogneto, sporting a red and white baseball cap, shades which had become completely useless seeing as it was night, an oversized brown jacket, torn-up blue jeans, and the shining grace: a black and white Bad Luck tee-shirt. Tohma couldn't help but raise an eyebrow.
"It's late, Tohma. You should go home and get some sleep." Ryuichi sleepily replied, stifling a indignant yawn at his now boss. He sat, Indian style on the floor in front of Tohma Seguchi's large wooden desk, Kumagoro on his lap. "What are you still doing here this late? Tohma should be at home with Mrs. Seguchi… making baby Seguchis!"
Had Tohma been drinking anything at that moment upon hearing the last part of the sentence, it would now be covering Ryuichi. Tohma stared a moment before realization hit him and he realized how much sense his friend made. He was married to her, after all, and it was only natural that they would be up at this hour…making baby Seguchis. "Well, yes…" Tohma tried to come up with an answer that wouldn't led to anymore questions. "About that, Mika is currently in Kyoto, visiting her father and brother."
"Oh." Ryuichi nodded in understanding and then added "But I thought her brother lived in Tokyo…"
Tohma remained silent for a moment before replying, "She has two brothers. She is visiting with the youngest male of the Uesugi family, Tatsuha."
"What about the other one?" he asked, although already knowing the answer. The other brother, Eiri, lived with Bad Luck's lead singer Shuichi Shindo. From what he understood, Tohma seemed quite fond of Eiri, but not of the relationship between him and Shindo. Ryuichi had a strong hunch that Tohma only married Mika-san to be close to Eiri, but that was none of his business, seeing as she had actually gone along with it and it wasn't his place to interfere. She was a nice enough woman and Ryuichi really had no qualms with her.
"He lives in Tokyo." Tohma replied simply. Ryuichi nodded and dropped it.
Trying to change the subject, Tohma asked, "Interesting choice in clothing, as usual, Ryuichi."
"Yeah, like it? I just got the tee-shirt yesterday. I was looking around for Shindo so he could sign it, but…"
"I see. How is young Shindo lately?" Tohma asked, folding his hands atop each other and waiting for a response that would confirm his suspicions. Lately, Ryuichi's fondness for the boy and the boy's fondness in return in had been developing into something that, Tohma's opinion, would end badly. Especially for Ryuichi...
"Well…" Ryuichi said, carefully tip toeing around the whole situation. Tohma interrupted by simply raising a hand from its perch atop the other. After doing so, he looked Ryuichi straight in the eye and that said,
"Because I am your friend, I am telling you this…" the blonde cautioned.
Ryuichi for his part just nodded, though inside he felt himself growing genuinely angry.
As much as he loved Tohma, he hated the side of Seguchi that would do anything to succeed in getting what he wanted done, although he had to admit that he shared a similar trait at times. The difference, Ryuichi felt, was that Ryuichi didn't hide behind the pretense of doing things for 'another's own good'. He knew he was selfish and hand no issue in stating as much. He even acknowledge that he could be spiteful, but Tohma on the other hand...
Somehow managed to keep his happy-go-lucky look plastered on his face as he wanted to deck Tohma and walk out.
"… it is for the benefit of everyone that you do not get too involved in Shindo-san. In the beginning, it was alright. You were there too push him along, motivate him to do better, but now…"
'But now you don't want to see your precious Eiri get hurt…' Ryuichi though, surprising himself with the amount of venom contained in that statement.
"Please understand, Ryuichi…" But Ryuichi was once again lost in his own thoughts.
Nodding, he walked out of the room as if nothing had happened, probably making Tohma think his words were taken to heart. When he closed the door behind him and walked a good ways down the hall, he pulled his fist back and let it fly into the wall. It was easy to ignore stinging pain in his hand.
Shuichi stared at his idol for a moment that seemed to drag for an eternity. Finally, he nodded, not sure what else to say. It was too good to be true. Friends, to be real honest-to-goodness friends, acknowledged and accepted by Ryuichi Sakuma himself? Shuichi couldn't have stopped the grin if he tried.
Immediately, Ryuichi stood up and grabbed his hand.
"S-sakuma-san, where are we…" he didn't have a chance to finish his sentence when Ryuichi cut in.
"Ryuichi, call me Ryuichi and I'm taking you some place special…" and with that, Shuichi was dragged off by the hand toward what would forever change his life…
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 7: That Day, Part 3
Warning: This chapter contains mature themes, including questionable conduct between two characters, which can be construed as non-consensual. I will attempt to approach these topics tastefully, but if any of these things (see full warning in first chapter) are triggers for you, I suggest not reading this chapter.
Note: As like the previous chapter, plain italics represent a flashback.
Looking around, Shuichi took note of the large square cement columns- each of which was at least twice as wide as he was- the white arrows and lines painted onto the cement floor, and the lack of natural lighting. Above him, there shone row after row of naked light bulbs, which somehow managed to dispel the surrounding gloom and dye things in a soft gold-yellow.
Why they were standing in the NG parking lot Shuichi had no idea.
Odder still, there were no cars parked on this level, so the asphalt seemed to stretch indefinitely into patches of darkness where bulbs had either blown out or into what Shuichi could only assume were the corners of the wide underground room. This was hardly what Shuichi expected when Ryuichi had mentioned his 'special place.'
A knot of nervousness began to grow in the younger vocalist's stomach.
For a good portion of their walk, Ryuichi was unusually silent. It was odd. After the whole incident in the storage closet, Ryuichi had practically dragged Shuichi through the building, talking the entire time, but became unusually quite once they had entered an elevator that President Seguchi had exited a few moments earlier. It was like the president had flipped a switch in the brunette and Shuichi was wondering what it would take to return the singer into his normally cheery self.
Thinking about it, it had been a close call when the two singers nearly bumped smack into Tohma Seguchi while on their way towards the NG parking lot. It had been while patiently waiting- or at least as patiently as Ryuichi could manage- for the elevator that the president came strolling out.
Ryuichi barely had time to hide himself behind a potted plant as the president exited, but as soon as Seguchi's back was turned, he pushed Shuichi and himself into the elevator and pressed the down button. Although, at the time, Seguchi made no moves to acknowledge if he noticed Ryuichi or not, Ryuichi didn't doubt that his attendance had been noticed by the blonde.
"Say, Sa-Ryuichi, where are we going, anyway?" Shuichi finally asked. Sure, it was fun traveling to the ends of the NG building with his idol, but he though really should to get back to the recording studio soon. And besides, the knot in his stomach wasn't dissolving like he had hoped it might.
"I already told you, Shuichi." Ryuichi said with a smile over his shoulder. "Somewhere special." He added as he continued to walk. Shuichi sighed as quietly as he could and smiled at the back of his idol and continued following. Fingering the cassette in his pocket, he idly wondered if Hiro would forgive him for wandering off.
Finally, after five more minuets of walking, Ryuichi stopped and turned around to face Shuichi, who nearly hadn't stopped himself in time. Ryuichi and Shuichi stared at each other for a moment, Ryuichi with a small smile on his face and his arms held wide and Shuichi simply looking confused.
Looking around, young searched for some sign to tell him where exactly 'here' was. It looked like the rest of the parking lot they had traversed. Pasting an unsure smile on his face, as not to insult his idol, he looked he looked at Ryuichi and asked "Where are we?"
"This…" Ryuichi began, as he too looked around merrily, spinning in place with his arms still held wide. Watching him, Shuichi had the distinct feeling the older vocalist was seeing something rooted firmer in memory than in reality.
"This used to be Nittle Grasper's old stomping grounds, before Tohma had it covered up," he stated simply as he took a few steps away from Shindo and sat down on the cold hard cement floor. "This is also the place I come to think."
"Wha?! Really?! This is where you…wow! I mean…" Shuichi tried his best to form a complete sentence. "You know… this is just…so…I dunno… wow, Sakuma-san!"
It was just too amazing! According to Ryuichi, this was where history took place. Spinning in place, much like Ryuichi had done not moments before, Shuichi tried to envision what the now deserted parking lot must have one time looked like long ago. He tried to form a mental picture from his memories of pictures he had seen in magazines from around that time combined with what his recording studio looked like, but the more he thought about it the harder it was to imagine.
He stopped abruptly and frowned.
And President Seguchi just covered it all up? To make a parking lot?
That was depressing...
Shuichi turned to look at his idol and Ryuichi gave him a sad sort of smile, as if to say, 'I know, right?'
"Yep, this is the place where I write my lyrics, think about just about anything, and almost anything else. If you ever need to find me, I'll most likely be here," he elaborated, his voice serious but not unkind. It was sobering, that Ryuichi was sharing this part of himself.
Determined not to ruin the moment, Shuichi racked his mind for something half-way decent to say. Coming up with nothing, Shuichi just decided to look around a little bit more. Since Ryuichi's revelation, the cold barren seldom used patch of parking lot morphed into a pseudo-hallow ground.
"Sit with me, Shuichi!" The child like tone returned to Ryuichi's voice. Shuichi looked at his idol, who had been patting the empty cement next to him, and nodded before slowly settling into a sitting position next to Ryuichi. The ground was cold and hard but it didn't matter to Shuichi. He turned his head slightly to face his idol and smiled.
"Thank you, Ryuichi."
His smile was like magic and the words reached something in Ryuichi which hadn't been touched in a long time. There it was- that something- which drew people automatically to Shuichi. Having no other name for it, Ryuichi called it the only thing he could, 'Shuichi's sparkle.'
It was absolutely dazzling.
And Ryuichi wanted to keep it all to himself.
There within lay the problem.
Maybe that was part of the reason why he disliked Shuichi's lover so much. Eiri Yuki; Ryuichi hated the man. He hated him in a way he had never hated anyone before and to be honest, it frightened him a little. Deep down, Ryuichi wanted the younger man all to himself. He wanted him badly.
"Sakuma-san…" Shuichi waved a hand in front of the older man's face.
"What?" Ryuichi turned towards Shuichi with a blank look.
"You weren't kidding when you said this was the place you come to think," Ryuichi finally noticed the hand on his shoulder. "It must have been some heavy stuff, going by the faces you were making."
"Uh, sorry 'bout that!" he laughed, trying to lighten the mood. He went back into his usual energetic mode. "Sorry. I kinda zoned out there for a moment."
Stretching his arms behind his head, Ryuichi sank backwards as his back, followed by the rest of the singer, hit the floor. He looked up at Shuichi with a false smile, all the while lamenting, 'As long as he belongs to that bastard, Yuki, that sparkle isn't going to be for me.'
He was surprised to see Shuichi follow suit and lay on the concrete floor with his eyes cast upwards towards the cracked cement ceiling. For a long while the two of them lay side by side, staring at the circles of light cast by the handing bulbs above them. Each of them were lost in their own thoughts.
"Shuichi…" Ryuichi quietly said, in a voice no more than a whisper. He continued to look at the young man next to him, thinking about that alluring sparkle and nice it would be if it could only be his. He thought about how well he would treat the other vocalist and about how well they complimented each other, both in personality and physically. Ryuichi couldn't help but think about how nicely his and Shuichi's bodies fit together. He could only imagine how it would feel without all the clutter between them.
The more he thought about it, the more his body remembered exactly Shuichi's legs felt between his, how he good smelt. The liquid heat started in his abs and drained south little by little. The longer he allowed his body to entertain hope of such desires being achieved, the tighter his boxers felt.
'No, Tohma's right for once, this can't be allowed to continue. I'm just torturing myself,' he thought, shutting his eyes tightly. 'Why did I think it was a good idea to bring him here?'
When Shuichi let out a sigh of contentment, Ryuichi couldn't help but groan. He threw an arm over his face in embarrassment.
'I can't have him so close to me like this. I was being stupid. This was a terrible idea...' he trailed off.
'But I want him so bad...'
From the crook of his elbow he risked a peak at Shuichi. As soon as their eyes made contact, hot, burning lust swept through him like a tidal wave.
Shuichi turned his head when he heard what that sounded a moan slip from his idol's mouth. The older man had an arm draped over the upper half of his face. Ryuichi's mouth was slightly pulled down slightly in the corners in a frown. Shuichi wondered what could cause such a reaction in the usually cheery man.
Leaning over slightly, Shuichi studied what he could of the brunette's face. Not seeing much, he swept his eyes over the rest of his idol and was taken aback slightly when he noticed the slight straining of material at the man's fly. He looked away, blushing.
'Hey, wait a minute here. Why am I so embarrassed? He's a guy, so it's only natural, I guess. I get hard-ons all the time! In the damnedest of places too!' he rationalized.
Deciding to return to studying the older vocalist's face- it wasn't this often he got to get so up close and personal with his idol, and not have it be considered rude- he noticed a bright blue eye staring back at him. Shuichi blushed the color of his hair.
"Shuichi?" Ryuichi asked, his voice light but missing much of the childish quality it usually held. It was both physical and atmospheric as Shuichi the other adopt his stage persona.
"Yeah?" Shuichi replied, swallowing thickly. The arm came down and Ryuichi fixed him with his full attention. The predatory smirk that stole across the brunette's face was the same one he had seen thousands of times before on posters and videos, but never before had it the effect it held in that moment. Shuichi couldn't have moved if he tried.
The look of Shuichi's face was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. A cross between awe and lust, the look helped to fuel the tongues of red hot desire that boiled Ryuichi's blood as it pumped strongly from his heart and almost painfully between his legs.
He didn't give Shuichi time to disagree before he pulled the younger vocalist into a hot and demanding kiss with an arm around his neck that pulled him downwards into Ryuichi's gasp.
A wave of hot pleasure swept through Ryuichi and he had to fight the urge to shutter with all he had. Instead, he arched up, trying to gain more contact with the youth that had come to straddle him. He knew that with this, he had officially chose his fate. Rational thought left him. All he wanted was Shuichi.
Truth be told, he couldn't stop if his life depended on it.
Within seconds, Shuichi's body automatically returned the kiss with equal ferocity. Ryuichi ran his tongue skillfully along the other's lower lip before nipping lightly. When the mouth against his opened to complain, he slipped his tongue inside. Around Shuichi's shoulder, his hand gripped hard, turning his knuckles white.
It was a good while before Ryuichi pulled away and took a breath. He knew that they could have kept going, seeing as they both could control their breathing, but Ryuichi found himself wanting to taste other parts of the singer. So, after a beat, he focused his attentions of the younger man's neck, going for the spot his lips had been before. This time he greeted it with open mouthed kisses, nips, and licks. The sounds Shuichi made was the best music Ryuichi had ever heard and they helped steady his focus.
His other hand trailed down the other vocalist's body to the front of his pants and nimble fingers slid into the closest belt loop. He tugged upwards, hard. The friction was mind-blowing. For a second Ryuichi feared he might blackout, though his eyes did roll back for a second. The jolt was staggering.
"I can do this. I shouldn't do this. I'm sorry!" Pushing away, Shuichi was pushing away, Ryuichi's mind sluggishly supplied. Fingers slid away from belt loops and the younger man attempted to scramble to his feet. For the life of him Ryuichi didn't understand. Grabbing the other's thighs, Ryuichi pulled him back down onto his lap. Hard.
Shuichi jerked as he made contact with Ryuichi's body. The groan the sprang from Ryuichi's lips was obscene and they both knew it. Sitting ramrod straight, Shuichi tried to ignore his obvious arousal, but his idol knew it wasn't easy. He could feel the evidence in the pulse and tension under his hands.
He wasn't going to let Shuichi go so easily.
"This isn't fair to Yuki," the younger man grasped out. The hands on his thighs rubbed up and down in a way that made it hard to think. Chills ran up and down the length of his spine as talented finders worked his body in ways he didn't think possible. The hands worshiped him in ways Yuki's never did. Being with Ryuichi, it almost felt that they were equals, in the field of artists and lovers. With Yuki, there would always been submission and dominance.
Thinking of the blonde, he felt ashamed and guilty, but for the life of him, he couldn't pull away. When the hands massaging his thighs slid to his backside and squeeze, he shuttered violently.
"But what about me?" Shuichi didn't know what to say to that so Shuichi did his best to hold in his groans. He became even more speechless as Ryuichi rubbed his need against Shuichi's backside as to prove his point.
"What about being fair to me? You give me a taste of something I've wanted for a long time, and then, just like that pull it away. That isn't fair at all, is it?"
"So, you're saying I should cheat on Yuki, just so you could get off? Is that all I'm ever good for?" The burn of indignant anger replaced that of desire. He leaned over the form of Ryuichi Sakuma and gave him his best glare.
"You're wrong. I do care about you. Please, Shuichi, just let me show you how much."
"Ryui-" his voice died in his throat when swift fingers found themselves caressing the warm budge encased in denim before letting palms give a very sensual message until the flesh burned. Eventually, slim fingers daftly unhooked the button and slid down the zipper. The sound made his mouth go dry.
After being released from the confines of his denims, Shuichi barely registered it when Ryuichi shifted his position so that he could sit up and re-positioned Shuichi so he was sitting on the brunet's raised knees. When the wet warmth engulfed him, Shuichi almost lost his mind.
By this time, Shuichi found it almost impossible to restrain the sounds spilling out of his mouth, so he didn't even try. His body craved this terribly. Looking down, seeing Ryuichi Sakuma of all people in front of him, so intent and focused in is attentions, Shuichi was hard pressed not to loose it then and there. Instead he continued it litany of obscene vocalizations, which seemed only to spur the brunette on and caused the older man to express his own pleasure in a way that traveled up their connection. Panting hard, Shuichi want nothing more in that moment than to be stated in a way that Eiri Yuki had not be able to in a very long time.
Realization hit him like a ton of bricks as he came closer and closer to his peak as soft lips worked around him. Grabbing at the brown hair, he tried to stop Ryuichi's ministrations. He was so close but this had to stop, his panicked mind supplied. This was wrong, majorly wrong. Not only was it unfair to Yuki, but it was unfair to everyone else involved as well. He had to stop it, now! Using all of his strength, he yelled, "Sakuma-san!"
Pulling away, Ryuichi locked eyes with Shuichi, craning his neck so he could from his angle.
"That's right, Shuichi, sparkle for me. Sparkle like you never have before."
Never had words alone brought Shuichi over the edge before, but when coupled with the look in Ryuichi's eye- the same one that had brought him to his knees before- it was too much for the young singer. His world banked out, over come with white and he though he was going to die. No, he was sure he was already dead.
After what seemed an eternity where his body refused to stop shaking, Shuichi looked down at his idol, unsure of what to do or say. He knew somewhere deep down that if he didn't leave then, although he would never admit it, he would not want to and the next bit of interaction between the two would much more intimate.
He already had enough to be guilty about.
Ryuichi placed a hand on Shuichi's knee, but Shuichi pushed him away, jumping to his feet. Startled by Shuichi's sudden movements, Ryuichi pulled his hand back and continued to stare up at the now standing Shuichi.
"I'm going, Sakuma-san." And with that, Shuichi turned around and ran away from the leader of Nittle Grasper. Letting his feet run on auto pilot, he pushed his exhausted body, trying puzzle out what he had just done. He had cheated on Yuki. With Ryuichi Sakuma. In the NG parking lot of all places!
Disgusted with himself, Shuichi didn't care where he ended up, so long as it was far way from Ryuichi Sakuma.
Meanwhile, Ryuichi just continued to sit where Shuichi had left him, his desire long forgotten. He didn't feel like walking around the NG building anymore and he defiantly didn't want to have any run-ins with Tohma Seguchi for a good long while. What had he done?
He just continued to sit and stare blankly in the direction that Shuichi had run off in until there came a ring on his cell phone. He decided to let it ring.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 8: Candy
Shuichi ducked into the first store he saw, a candy store to his left. After closing the door swiftly behind him, he moved about the small store in search for a place to hide. Sadly, as with most small and overly cramped stores, his options were limited. He contemplated asking the store keeper, a kind looking old man, if he may be allowed to hide under the counter.
As time seemingly moved slower than that of a snail's pace, Shuichi was hoping that Ryuichi would not chose this particular store to go shopping. The seconds passed like minutes and the minuets passed like hours until Shuichi finally let out a sigh, happy there was no sign of Ryuichi Sakuma. Allowing his shoulders to fall, he was startled when he heard the dull ring of a ceramic wind chime signal someone's arrival. Slowly turning backwards to face the door and his one time idol, Shuichi was relieved when the face to greet him was that of a young girl, no older than four or five. Letting out another sigh, he turned around…smack into a smiling Ryuichi's embrace. "S-Sakuma-san!?"
"Hey, Shuichi, what are you doing here? Do you come here often?" Ryuichi asked innocently as he gave the younger a tight squeeze. Almost instantly, the younger man tensed. Not wanting anymore bad karma between them, Ryuichi let go and stepped back a step, keeping his ever present smile plastered on his face, although the boy's reaction did hurt him. "So, Shuichi, where have you been? Kumagoro is sad that he hasn't seen Shuichi around lately."
Shuichi continued to stare at the older singer. Had he forgotten what had happened not all that long ago in the NG parking lots? It was only a day ago. Was he oblivious to what he had done? From the expressions on Ryuichi's face that day, Shuichi thought it safe to assume 'no'. Was he oblivious to how Shuichi felt? Did he not realize that he was with Yuki? How would Yuki react if he found out?
Would he get mad? Yes.
Would he kick him out again? Probably.
Would that end their relationship? Most likely.
Was he going to tell Yuki? He didn't know…
Shuichi blinked for the first time in almost a minute. "Huh? What?" He looked at his one time idol. If he was smart, he would just leave and never talk to the brown haired performer again. If he was really feltviolated, he would call the cops and file a lawsuit against Ryuichi Sakuma. If he truly was upset with what had happened, he should be mad or even hateful, but the truth was he was none of these. He felt scared.
"Shuichi…" Ryuichi placed his hand against Shuichi's forehead to see if the younger was running a temperature. Luckily, he wasn't. Although, he had an idea what was troubling Shuichi, Ryuichi decided it best to play his energetic self and try to sooth over what had happened the previous day. "Shuichi, are you hungry?"
Shuichi just blankly stared at the older man in a mix of disbelief that he was glazing over the scars of yesterday and a little twinge of hope that things could go back to what they were, even though he knew they could never. He opened his mouth to protest and even give Ryuichi a piece of his mind when he tasted something overly sweet and hard in his mouth. He glanced down and saw a thin white stick poking out from between his parted lips. Grasping the stick between his fingers, he pulled to find that it was a purple lollipop. He looked up at his mentor for an explanation.
Facing him was a happy Ryuichi with another white stick protruding from his lips as well. After a moment, Ryuichi withdrew the stick, this one with a red lollipop attached, and replied, "Sorry, but I like the cherry ones. Grape is good too, but I like cherry better."
Shuichi looked at his brightly colored lollipop. Grape? He thought grapes were supposed to be green. Also, grapes weren't this sweet. The candy tasted more of sugar and some other unknown, definitely not grape, flavoring to Shuichi's definitely Japanese palette.
"Good, huh? This store sells everything from all around the world. You can get anything here." Ryuichi said, pointing. "But, Ryuichi still doesn't understand why Shuichi is here?"
"Sakuma-san…" Shuichi began with a sigh, pulling the candy from his mouth. Ugh, it tasted way too sweet. Enough games, they couldn't just pretend nothing happened yesterday. Things were different now. Shuichi should have gone to the store, got Yuki his cigarettes and beer, and been home already. He groaned inwardly at the thought of returning home to an unhappy Yuki.
Hearing the barely audible groan, Ryuichi fought the urge to shutter and allow his mind to wonder. That was for home. Finally, he asked, "Shuichi, do you hate me?"
Startled, Shuichi looked up and their eyes locked for a moment.
"Cuz I don't want you to hate me, but after yesterday, I guess you have a reason to…" Ryuichi's voice held a childish tone that was laced with sorrow, regret, and even a little hope. Shuichi knew this was the adult talking, although not totally. In any other situation Shuichi wouldn't have minded, but this time he felt a little annoyed by it.
'Can't he be serious about anything?' he though before another though hit him, 'You've seen him serious and look at where that got you.'
It was true. But when he looked at the brunette, who was nibbling on the stuffed rabbit's ear, he tried to return to the question at hand. He thought hard about weather or not he hated the vocalist and answered as honestly as he could.
"I… I honestly don't know…"
With that, he turned around and walked out of the store, leaving Ryuichi to his own devices.
Ryuichi watched Shuichi go, all the while hugging Kumagoro tightly. It was strange how much the plush bunny could comfort him at times. He fought back urge to cry and scream until he heard a voice.
'All I wanted was to see Shuichi sparkle...'
"Now, now, Ryu. No need for that. My store is supposed to be filled with smiles, not tears. You seem good friends, so don't give up just yet, got that? Whatever it is that has set you apart can be resolved with time and a little effort."
Ryuichi turned to see the owner, a man who by appearance looked to be in his late seventies, with a crooked back that made an already short man even shorter. He carried himself with an air of great knowledge and understanding, causing Ryuichi to instinctively trust his advice. With such a sagely look, how couldn't he?
"Three?" Holding out three large lollipops- a red, orange, and blue- he motioned Ryuichi to take them. With a smile he did. Ryuichi wasn't one to turn down candy. The old man smiled and turned away with a nod when the door chime signaled the entrance of another customer.
Looking down, he noticed that Kumagoro too was holding an pink colored sweet.
'When did he?' Ryuichi absently wondered. Shaking his head, he decided that he would sort out this mess with Shuichi- one way or another- before he lost Shuichi's sparkle for good. Planning how he would return things back to normal, Ryuichi slipped out the door, but not before he called his thanks over his shoulder.
As the door closed, Kamimura nodded and silently wished both boys luck and went back to sorting sweets.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 9: Dreams of Warped Fantasies
Warning: This particular chapter contains very adult situations much in the same vein as chapter 7, if not worse. If you wish to avoid reading it, please scroll down until after the italics. Otherwise I warn you, there are some heavy topic discussed in this chapter.
A/N: Fifty five percent more 'tactful smut'. Oh who am I kidding?
How Ryuichi ended up lying on his large oak bed, with the pink haired Shuichi Shindo leaning sensuously over him, was beyond him, but at the moment, he found himself not really caring all that much. Instead he focused on the other man's hungry expression and the feeling of the younger pulled his body up- roughly- by his shoulders. Nails bit into the tender skin and drew white lines up and over the raised flesh towards his collarbone. Not one normally for pain, Ryuichi was surprised when it pulled satisfied moan from his chest rather than a whimper.
Shuichi chucked. Once Ryuichi's body was positioned the way the younger singer wanted, Shuichi took his time sliding his lower body over Ryuichi's legs and into his lap. The only thing separating the two bare bodies was a thin white sheet. Ryuichi's arms automatically moved to embrace the other and find purchase on that lovely backside, but his hands were swatted, so he settled on using the appendages to hold himself up. He almost found himself on his back when Shuichi started to grind against the brunettes lap.
"S-shui...?" Ryuichi was silenced by Shuichi's lips on his own in a not at all gentle kiss.
When Ryuichi managed to finally pull away, he looked into Shuichi's violet eyes in confusion. The younger boy looked up at him with unrestrained lust, but Ryuichi found he could not find love. He pulled back in alarm.
"I thought this was what you wanted, Ryuichi." Shuichi pushed Ryuichi back down on to the bed, roughly. Nails scrapped against his chest and Ryuichi arched his body into the the cotton and human barrier above him. His chest vibrated with the low moan that spilled from his lips. As his mouth opened to accommodate the sound, Shuichi used the opportunity to kiss the older man again.
Ryuichi found that his tongue was quickly subdued under the dominance shown by the object of his affection.
Finally, Shuichi pulled back and instead attacked Ryuichi's neck and collarbone with kisses, licks, and nips. Ryuichi squirmed beneath him in pleasure, relinquishing in the power the boy had over him. Between attacks, Shuichi breathed huskily into the flesh between chin and shoulder, "I... thought this was... what you... wanted..."
"It is..." Ryuichi sighed, finally allowing his hands to wonder the smooth skin under his fingertips. It was so incredibly soft, just like he had imagined.
"Then just let me... make you sparkle... like you did for me."
His heart skipped a beat before Shuichi bid down hard on Ryuichi's shoulder, drawing blood and a cry from the singer.
"This isn't real... right?" Shuichi shook his head slightly and Ryuichi felt relief overcome him. Dreams and fantasies he could deal with. If that was the case, he could let go and enjoy himself. He let the wall of fog cut him off from any cognitive thought that didn't concern bringing himself or his bed-fellow more pleasure.
Tangled in one another, Ryuichi worked to wipe both his and Shuichi's minds with carnal bliss. He wanted his lover to soar to new heights of pleasure, even if it was at the expense of his own body. Especially if it was at the expense of his own body.
Was it because he felt guilty for his actions in the real world?
What should he feel guilty about? What he did in the parking lot with the real, flesh and blood Shuichi?
It was Ryuichi's personal philosophy: pleasure was never wrong.
So, why should he feel guilty? Shuichi seemed to enjoy it enough. If he had allowed it, Ryuichi would have shown the young singer much more pleasure than a simple blowjob. How Ryuichi would have gone the whole way; really make Shuichi shine... brighter than the sun, brighter than a supernova!
Yet, he couldn't help but ask.
'Shuichi, do you hate me?'
"What would it matter if I did?"
Ryuichi shuttered against the form draped against his back.
"That isn't right, though…" Ryuichi managed, letting his body be moved along with his lover's steady rhythm.
Shuichi leaned forward, making Ryuichi wince, until his face was next to the older man's. His violet eyes were filled with anger and confusion, "If it isn't right, then why did you make me do it?"
The pleasure began to dessolve as Ryuichi stared back in confusion and even a little fear. "Do what, Shuichi?"
Instead of an answer, Shuichi continued, "If this isn't right, then why did force yourself on me? Back then, why did you touch me like that even though you knew?"
"You knew I loved Yuki!" he shouted, pressing hard into Ryuichi. The pain stole his breath away.
"I-I'm sorry, but I just couldn't help it. You were right there! I mean, you just… and I thought…"
"Like that time when you thought I was asleep on one of the couches in the recording studio? The time you thought I was asleep when you leaned over and began to touch me? You thought no one was looking when you unzipped my sweatshirt and let your hands wander over my skin? You thought no one knew of your sick little fantasies where..."
"Enough!" Ryuichi screamed, placing his hands over his ears. No, no, this wasn't right! Shuichi couldn't have known about that time! He was asleep! Shuichi only knew about that one time in the parking lot.
"Were those things right? Was it alright that you violated me when I didn't know or couldn't defend myself? When I thought you were my friend? Were any of those things right?" Shuichi asked coldly, ignoring the protest falling from Ryuichi's mouth and the tears from his eyes. "Was it? How about that time when you..."
Bolting from his couch, Ryuichi let out a strangled cry and grasped his hands over his face. It was a dream. It was just a dream.
He looked around his dark apartment and allowed the remaining tears flow free. He needed someone and looked around for Kumagoro, who had fallen to the side of the couch along with the sheets and almost into the now empty bowl of soup on the other side of the glass table.
Sheets? Empty soup bowl?
He stopped crying. Someone was there with him, but before he could do anything, a shadowed figure stepped into the already dark room. Ryuichi knew who it was without having to see the face. He could practically feel the sickeningly fake smile plastered on the other's lips.
"Good to see you are up, Ryuichi." said that familiar sickeningly sweet voice with a nod. Ryuichi instinctively fought back his glare. This was not the someone he wanted to see.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 10: Confrontations and Going Back to Normal
A/N: Violence and foul language ahead. Also, Ryuichi's an ass. But Tohma's a dick, so it evens itself out.
Through the darkness of of the living room, Ryuichi stared at the blonde, waiting for him to continue. Forcing the feeling of dread to the back of his mind, the brunette did his best to keep a neutral expression despite there not being much light in the room. Having a feeling of control, at least over himself for the moment, made Ryuichi feel the tiniest bit better. He would need his wits about him if he was going to deal with Tohma.
"I already told you before not to interfere with Eiri and Shindo-san's relationship," he began. "My sources tell me that because of you actions, whatever it is you've done this time, things have become a lot more complicated. Unnecessarily so, I'll have you know."
Ryuichi heard the russle of fabric from the blonde's direction. Knowing the other man's mannerisms, he assumed Tohma was crossing his arms, disapprovingly.
In truth, Ryuichi was sorely tempted to tell Tohma to have his 'sources' shove it, but he figured going of the defensive would prove a sign of a guilty conscience- not that his dream hadn't done just that- and that going on the offensive would only make matters worse. Normally, Ryuichi would play at incomprehension of the matter or try to direct the conversation elsewhere, but this rarely worked with Tohma. The keyboardist knew him too well for that, being one of the few knowing Ryuichi's true nature. Tohma wouldn't underestimate him, so he would do the same. However, Ryuichi knew this was going to tricky, especially something precious to Tohma- Eiri Yuki- was involved.
"What do you have to say for yourself, Ryuichi?" the blonde prompted when no reply was forthcoming.
It seemed the best thing he could do at the moment would be to try and find out exactly how much Tohma really knew. Depending on that, Ryuichi could tailor his strategy from there. Unfortunately, however, Ryuichi had a sinking feeling that Tohma knew a decent amount about his transgression.
"Well?" Tohma sighed, clearly annoyed.
"Well what?" Ryuichi asked innocently.
Ryuichi recoiled almost violently when Tohma turned on the light.
Son of a-
Shaking his head to try and clear his vision of spots, Ryuichi only heard as Tohma sat down on the love seat adjacent to the couch. When his vision cleared, he glared at the blonde, who had the grace to look away.
"Ryuichi," Tohma started, his tone firm. "What did you do to Shindo?"
It came more as a statement than a question. Ryuichi huffed and ran a hand over his face. It was mostly to hide his smile at the irony. There once was a time where Tohma may had encouraged Ryuichi into running off with the younger singer, just so he would not have to deal with either one of them again.
If only he arrived a month or two earlier. Shuichi could have easily been all his.
"Tohma, what makes you think I-"
"Don't play games with me, Ryuichi. I know you have feelings for Shindo, so drop the dumb act and tell me what you did so I can fix it before it gets out of control."
Ryuichi watched passively as the blonde said his piece, unblinking even as the man's voice rose in volume. When he was done, he looked Tohma in the eye and asked, "Who said I wanted you to fix it?"
There was a sense of satisfaction for Ryuichi as he watched the blonde's head jerk back at his tone.
"What's the matter Tohma? Now you get your bastard back. Then, I get Shuichi and everybody wins," he said with a grin. At the keyboardist's irate look he continued, "And don't give me that, Tohma. I'm quite aware of the fact you and the bastard have a past. Don't forget, I'm a part of it.
"Hell, I thought you'd be glad. But no, you've turned into an old fart. It's always; 'Ryuichi, don't do this, don't do that.' or 'Shindo, put that down. Stop bothering Yuki.' It's always Yuki, Yuki, Yuki. You sound like a broken record."
"Ryuichi..." Tohma warned.
"But you know what? He doesn't even like you!" At this Tohma's face drained of its color.
"You've done nothing but bend over backwards for him and the only thing he has to say to you is 'fuck off'! I say, fuck him too!" Ryuichi thew up his arms in frustration. So caught up was he in his rant, he didn't notice the red spots high on the blonde's cheeks or the stiff way he was sitting. Thin, pale fingers, gripped his pant fabric covering his knees tightly.
"So, pull you head out of your ass, Tohma!"
Ryuichi stared up as his hand automatically went to the sting in his cheek. The confident grin which had stretched across his face just a moment ago slid off and was replaced by a look of surprise.
"You think it'd be so easy, don't you?" the blonde spat, glaring down. Hazel eyes burned with a rage that made even Ryuichi, who normally wasn't easily intimidated (unless it served him), pause. It was a dangerous calm, slow burning rage, that was directed his way.
"You really think me so petty?" he asked, drawing himself to his full height.
"Sometimes you don't give me the choice," he anwered, swallowing, looking for scraps of the familiar anger associated with the topic to use as a shield. "I thought you'd be happy to see Shu-chan go. I distinctly remember you trying to block their path, every step of their way. What changed?"
"Nothing. I still don't approve of Shindo, but he does make Eiri happy. So, for now I allow it."
"And that's it? What about Shuichi's feelings?"
"What about them? So long as he continues to do his job I don't care about anything else. To me he was put on this planet for two reasons: make Eiri happy and sell records. If he can do neither, I have no use for him."
Turning, the blonde made leave, but Ryuichi flung himself off the couch and over the glass coffee table in time to grab his wrist.
"So that's it? That's how you treat the people around you?!" Ryuichi slipped between Tohma and the edge of the love seat to stand in front of the blonde. His hands found their way to the other man's shoulders and blue eyes met hazel angrily.
"You tell me."
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 11: With this a War Begins
"Get out of my house."
Tohma stared blankly at the towering form of Ryuichi Sakuma as his mind began to process what had happened.
After an evening of trading insults and insinuations, tempers flared and his implications about Ryuichi's true nature had angered the man. It was only natural the vocalist lashed out. Hell, only moments before Tohma himself had done so when Ryuichi had questioned his character, so Tohma wasn't so upset at that.
He was upset, however, that when the vocalist acquainted his fist with Tohma's jaw, it hadn't been someplace else. Because of his close proximity to the surrounding furniture and the force of the blow, the blonde found himself careening into and then through Ryuichi's glass coffee table.
Wincing, Tohma shifted his weight to his elbows to try to keep pressure off of his back. Still, shards of glass bit into his tender flesh. Blood ran in sticky rivets down his back. Shifting again, he managed to haul himself to his knees.
"Ryuichi, my last comment was out of line. We were both out of line tonight," he struggled to pick himself up.
A hand came down to offer assistance but he didn't take it. Once he was standing, Tohma brushed some of the smaller shards from his clothing, before looking up at Ryuichi. Ryuichi for his part looked cowed, with his arms drawn across his chest and his hands under his arms. Still, Tohma could tell some of his anger still smothered underneath.
"However, I'll say this one more time: this has nothing to do with you. Shindo's happy, that should be good enough. Leave well enough alone."
This time, when Tohma tried to leave, Ryuichi made no move to stop him.
Grabbing his jacket and hat from their place by the door, Tohma looked over his shoulder at his long time friend.
"I hold a lot of power, Ryuichi. I would hate to have to use it, so please, don't make me."
Pulling the door closed behind him Tohma just caught Ryuichi's parting words.
"You are not the only one with power, Tohma. Remember that."
The next morning, when Shuichi arrived at work, he found the members and staff of Bad Luck convened around the meeting room table and muttering in low voices. Hiro and Fujasaki were exchanging expressions of disbelief, while Sakano seemed to be nodding to something K was saying while he polished his revolver.
"I still can't believe it," Fujisaki whispered, shaking his head."It just doesn't make sense."
"What doesn't make sense?" He asked, unsure if he wanted to know. He looked between his band mates, wondering if he should have stayed home again, when Hiro gave a small half smile and a shrug.
"The president scrapped the plans for our movie," the redhead elaborated.
"It looks like you got your wish, Shuichi," K said somewhat bitterly as he clapped the younger man on the shoulder. " It was canceled as of this morning. Why the President would scrap a guaranteed box office smash I have no idea, but lucky for us, none of the details ever reached the media."
"So, it will be like it never existed," Shuichi supplied.
Now there was no reason to be upset or dread coming to work. His problem solved itself it seemed. He no longer had any reason to see or talk to Ryuichi Sakuma- at least until he made up his mind on how he felt about what happened between them- and the knowledge was freeing.
Shuichi couldn't help but start laughing.
"What's gotten into him?"
The bubbling laughter died in his throat. Slowly, he turned around.
"Ryuichi," K didn't sound impressed.
"The one and only! I just came to say, I can't wait to start shooting with all of you! This is going to be so much fun!" he elaborated, looking over the members of Bad Luck before settling on Shuichi.
"What are you talking about?! The project was canceled!"
Ryuichi didn't seem to register K's outburst, instead going through the pockets of his cargo pants. The brunette's face lit up once he found what he was looking for. Pulling his hand out, he thrust the fist-full of candy at Shuichi, who didn't immediately take it. " For you, Shuichi."
"Umm, I'm good, Sakuma-"
The name was said by both K and its owner.
"Ryuichi. I told you before to call me Ryuichi," the candy was once more offered.
"Damnit, Ryuichi! Just what are you going on about?!"
Easily, Ryuichi used the hand not holding candy to pat down his pockets again. Pulling a folded newspaper out, he held it up and over his head to K, who snatched it out of his hand in a blur. Spreading it out on the table, he read the headline out loud.
'Nittle Grasper X Bad Luck Movie Set to Start Filming This Week!
Lead singers Ryuichi Sakuma and Shuichi Shindo team up to make a musical explosion of epic proportions! N-G is planning for a nationwide release sometime this fall. As of yet, the details are fuzzy but everyone can look forward to the smash hit! Continued in section 2-A…'
"Isn't it great?!" Ryuichi cried out happily, grabbing Shuichi's hand and depositing the candy in it.
"Something's fishy." Hiro stated, earning a nod from Fujisaki.
"Tohma told me personally the plans were canceled, unless…" K locked eyes with Ryuichi.
"Anyway, why doesn't everyone take a break for now." He suggested, he tone of voice brightening.
He waited for everyone to leave the room before he pulled the retreating Ryuichi back into the room.
"Now what exactly is going on?"
Tohma tried his best to ignore the stinging pain in his back as he continually lent forward in his leather chair. He interlaced his slim fingers and rested his chin on them as he stared forward, poignantly trying to ignore the newspaper on his desk. His shades were closed and he basked in the darkness of his office.
"You are not the only one with power, Tohma."
So this is what Ryuichi meant?
Tohma was sure Ryuichi had been the one who leaked the information to the media.
Sighing, Tohma rolled up the paper and threw it into his trash can. Ryuichi knew there was not much he could do about it now. If the company backed out now, that would mean bad publicity for all involved, but he wondered. How far was Ryuichi willing to go?
Well, whatever the answer, this little stunt meant war…
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 12: Getting Along and Getting in Trouble
"Don't lie to me, Ryuichi; I want to know the truth." K closed his eyes and began to message the bridge of his nose, between his eyes as he placed the paper face-down behind him on the conference table. He wanted answers: now. When there came only silence, the blonde haired American opened his eyes and sighed. "Ryuichi, I know that you were behind this mess. I know you; I was only your manager for god knows how long. What is going on?"
Ryuichi took a seat next to his former manager on the hard wooden table and stared at the floor as if thinking of something to say. Considering all the two had been through, it was only fair that he told the blonde what was really at play, but that may hinder his plan later. Sighing, he moved his glance from the floor to the wall. It was white and very plain. There was no sense in lying, seeing as K would know in a second. It was time for some 'beating around the bush' as the Americans said. He answered his friend's question slowly and deliberately leaving Shuichi's name out of the mix. "It's between me and President Seguchi."
K seemed to ponder this in silence for a few moments before saying anything. "Ryu…"
He did not have time to finish as Ryuichi's attention focused on the conference room door and the face poking through the door crack. Standing there, afraid he may have disturbed something important and not meant for his ears, Shuichi stared at the two older men with a look resembling a cross between a deer in headlights and a schoolgirl caught oogling her first crush.
"S-Sorry." He quickly muttered before attempting to close the door and leave, but Ryuichi would have none of that. In a flash, Ryuichi had his foot in the door and two hands grabbing at pink haired singer as to drag him inside.
"Ryuichi…" K began in attempts to tell the older singer to let the boy go and to return to the topic at hand but Ryuichi just ignored him. Shuichi, on the other hand, was attempting to ignore the hands grabbing at his body. It was all innocent, right?
"I-I just forgot something in here. I can come back later. It's no big deal. Sorry about this." The younger boy said, making the words sound like one long muttered sentence as he attempted again to close the door. They were in the middle of something important, he was sure of that, thought he didn't really want to know what it was. He thought it probably had something to do with the movie.
"It's okay, Shu-cha, er, Shuichi. I was just going to walk to the vending machines. Want to come with me?" the older singer asked, almost pleading. He began to push the door open in attempts to leave the room when he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder and a bit of cold steel against the back of his head. K was faster than he looked. K pulled on the fabric of Ryuichi's shirt, a black cotton tee-shirt with a single white word: wanted.
"Ryuichi." There came the harsh warning and the cocking of a gun. Ryuichi had to fight to suppress a shutter. "I'm sorry Shuichi, but could you give us a minute? We were in the mist of discussing something important."
"Uh, sure." Not sure what to say, he favored Ryuichi with an apologetic look before adding, "Maybe next time, Ryu- Sakuma-san." Before closing the door, silently glad for once at K's interference. He didn't think his was quite ready to start going places alone with Ryuichi again just yet. After what happened in the parking lot, he wasn't sure that he would ever be ready, although he hoped to be wrong.
Banishing all thoughts of Ryuichi out of his head, he turned his back to the door. He walked no more than a meter before he heard "Ryuichi, you idiot! You're in way over your head and you know it! You really can't be pulling stunts like this!"
Deciding it wise to leave before either Ryuichi could come out and drag him off to loose whatever was left of his quickly fading innocence or K could fire off a few rounds for eves-dropping on a decidedly personal conversation, Shuichi took off towards the elevator and began a search to find his best friend.
"So, Shuichi, calling your idol so familiarly now, are we?" Hiro teased as the two sat in the NG lobby eating various snacks from the cafeteria. Shuichi couldn't help but blush at the implied meaning as his mind began to wonder. Looking over, Hiro noticed that his best friend's face complemented his hair perfectly. After popping a vanilla pocky stick into his mouth, Hiro added "Hey, it's all fine and dandy if he gave you his permission and everything."
"Yeah." Shuichi said, sounding a bit like a giddy schoolgirl who was lost in her romantic daydreams, which he essentially was, minus the uniform (it was still in his closet at Yuki's) and female anatomy. "He gets so angry whenever I him Sakuma-san, but calling him by his given name is just so…"
"Strange? I don't think so. Come on, you're both adults in the same business. It's natural." Hiro answered. "You two have been tight since our debut performance, right? So what is the big deal?"
"I don't know. Maybe it's just…" Shuichi struggled with to say next. He couldn't tell Hiro of what happened in the parking lot, seeing as it could wreck both their careers and not to mention that it was technically 'cheating'. It wasn't that he didn't want to tell his best friend, but he knew it would make things a whole lot more difficult. He just wanted things to go back to the way things were.
Seeing his friend's abnormal loss for words, Hiro decided to tease the pink haired singer a little bit. From the way Shuichi was making it sound, Hiro would think the boy had a crush on the older man had he not known better. "Heh, it's not like you're cheating on Yuki with him."
Yuki paused in his typing as a series of sneezes hit him. After the last of them, he shook his head in an attempt to relieve the congestion and decided to take a break. He had to use the bathroom anyway. He pushed his chair back and stood up. He left his office and headed for the bathroom, stopping when he saw a figure standing in the kitchen next to the stove. Was it the brat? No, he wouldn't be home until later, Yuki reminded himself. He stepped closer, noticing that this figure had short light blonde hair and was wearing a pink apron over what seemed to be business attire. "Seguchi?"
Turning around at the sound of his name, Tohma looked at his brother-in-law with a look of surprise, but it was quickly replaced with his usual soft smile. "Ah, Eiri-san. I am sorry, did I disturb you? I had not intended to."
Surprisingly enough, Yuki was not as annoyed as usual. For once, he didn't feel like booting the NG president out as soon as his eyes befell the man. Maybe it was because he was progressing greatly with his novel or maybe the fuzzy memories the great sex from last night were still in his head, but whatever it was afforded him a some small amount of patients with his sister's husband, so long as he didn't begin to lecture.
"So what do you want?" Yuki's voice came out rougher than intended but it didn't fade the other's smile in the least. Tohma turned and just continued to boil the water on the stove top before he answered.
"I am just here to see how you are doing." Oh well, so much for avoiding a lecture and maybe even laving a civil conversation with the keyboardist. Yuki shot the other man a glare that went unnoticed. Maybe Tohma was just used to it by now. Tohma turned off the heat and poured the hot liquid into two class cups, one for coffee and one for tea. He then set the pot back on the stove to allow it to cool.
"Well, if you're here to lecture me on how I should live my life…"
"I am not." Tohma uncharacteristically cut in as he turned around with the two cups with saucers in his hands. It was when the older blonde began to walk that Yuki noticed how his stiffly his friend was walking. It was as if each movement caused him pain, but Tohma just smiled. "I just want to have a nice cup of tea with an old friend."
Under normal conditions, Yuki would have suspected something right then and there and probably would have booted the older blonde from the house but something was telling him not to. It was something about how the other was acting. Was it the way he was walking? Was it the fact that Tohma claimed not to be interfering? No, he had done that before. Was it the slightly purple mark on the other man's face…?
"What happened to you?" Yuki asked with his amber eyes focused on the other's face. He was trying his best to sound uncaring. He stifled a snort as the image of Tohma Seguchi getting decked for being nosey passed through his mind.
"Oh, it is nothing to be concerned about." Tohma answered with a smile as he attempted to put down the two cups on the table set in the living room. As he bent down, he tried his best not to wince.
"Who said I was concerned?" Yuki asked, grabbing the cups and setting them on the table and sitting on one of the two couches. Tohma slowly took a seat on the other.
"Why else would you ask then, Eiri?" Yuki noticed how the other did not lean back into the couch, like he always did. Tohma avoided trying to pick up his tea from the table and instead decided to sit and smile as if content. "Usually, a person will ask such a question when…"
"Yeah, I get your point. Now, are you going to tell me what happened and why you are here or continue to lecture me on the usage of word order in the Japanese language?" Yuki asked annoyed, his patients for his brother-in-law was beginning to wear a little thin. Why did he ever think they could have a normal conversation? He mentally smacked himself.
"Well, I came to warn you."
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 13: Questions, Warnings, and Tohma Clones!
"I came to warn you." Tohma said finally after being unable to come up with a more indirect way to put it. When Yuki did little more than raise a golden eyebrow, he added, "I want to warn you about Ryuichi and his… feelings concerning Shuichi."
Yuki remained silent for a moment considering what the other was saying. When the younger blonde looked up in a scowl of masked confusion, Tohma took it as a signal to continue. "Ryuichi has developed romantic feelings for young Shindo-san. I had repeatedly told him not to pursue these feelings, but I fear he may do as he wishes regardless."
Yuki's brow knitted in concentration as he absorbed the information he had just been given. Ryuichi Sakuma was after his Shuichi and Tohma was telling him this because? Tohma, as well as the rest of Eiri's family, had been against the relationship from the being, so why was Tohma now trying to salvage his brother-in-law's love affairs? It was not an unknown to Yuki that his brother-in-law, Tohma Seguchi, harbored romantic feelings from him. "Why are you telling me this? I would think that this would be your chance."
Forcing the frown from his lips and ignoring the painful blow, Tohma struggled with what he was going to say next. Sighing, he just came out with it.
"It is because I love you that I want to see you happy." He said simply before attempting to lean over and pick his tea cup up off its saucer on the table but finding that he could not. His back just hurt far too much. Sighing, Yuki leaned over and did his second good deed for the year. He handed the tea cup to Tohma who smiled in appreciation.
"So, Sakuma is in love with my Shuichi, is that right?" Tohma just nodded as he sipped his tea. Yuki thought for another few moments. Thinking about it, Ryuichi had all the qualities that Eiri thought himself to not possess. Though he would never admit it, the thought of Shuichi running off with his idol did make him uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.
"Shuichi? Shuichi, earth to Shuichi, come in Shuichi!" Hiro continued to wave his hand in front of his friend's blank face for sometime before adding, "Shuichi, it was a joke…"
He trailed off remembering Shuichi's earlier question.
"Is it possible, I mean… can a person stay friends with a person they know has… feelings for them?"
In the auburn haired guitarist's mind, his now decidedly bad joke echoed in his head and he winced, wanting to kick himself for being stupid.
"It's not like you're cheating on Yuki with him, right?"
Something definitely happened between Ryuichi and Shuichi, during that time the both of time were missing a few days before, but what exactly had happened was anyone's guess.
Ryuichi wouldn't, no way, Ryuichi knew Shuichi was with Yuki! Even though Hiro felt horrible just thinking about it, it did answer a lot of questions. Had Ryuichi asked Shuichi to be more than just friends? More than just rivals?
"S-Shuichi, did something happen between you and Sakuma-san?" Hiro asked, uncertainty coloring his voice. He couldn't believe that he was asking his friend this, but he had to know. He knew that Shuichi would never cheat on Yuki but he was for once a bit unsettled by Ryuichi's overly friendly behavior towards the pink haired singer.
When Shuichi neglected to answer, Hiro strongly encouraged a response by asking again. He had to know. "What exactly did you mean when you asked me this morning if two people could be friends even if one of them likes the other? Did Sakuma ask you something? Did he try to do something to you?"
Still no answer.
"Shuichi, answer me!"
Finally, Shuichi looked up at his friend and did his best to smile as he said, "It's okay. It's really nothing, Hiro. I'll deal with it."
"Shuichi…" Hiro watched as his friend looked down and began to fiddle with the candy Ryuichi had given him earlier that morning. Slapping the candy from the pink haired boy's hands, he stood up and cried, "That doesn't answer my question! Did he say or try to do something to you!?"
"It's okay, Hiro." Shuichi mumbled, looking down at the bland tiled floor where the candy lay like colorful confetti. After bending down to retrieve the sweets, he whispered more to himself than to Hiro "I know he doesn't understand. He didn't mean it like that. Yuki doesn't have to know."
The rest of the day went pretty well as Bad Luck practiced their new song single, the members of Nittle Grasper seemingly disappeared, and Shuichi worked to keep himself busy as not to spend too much time thinking.
"So, what are you going to call the new song, Shindo-san?" Fujisaki asked, carefully avoiding any conversation that could steer towards the movie plans, Nittle Grasper, or Ryuichi Sakuma in any way, shape, or form as requested by Hiro and K.
Looking down at the lyrics, Shuichi shrugged and crumpled the paper into a little ball before throwing it at the trash bin and missing horribly. Shocked, K and Fujisaki screamed "Why'd you do that for?!"
"They suck. I'm going home. I'm tired." Shuichi said before he stood up, grabbed his things and walked out the door. Before anyone could do anything though, Hiro stepped towards the door to halt anyone from following his best friend. His managers and band mate looked at him, startled.
"Let him go. He has a lot on his mind right now."
"Yuki, I'm home!" Shuichi happily called out from the doorway as he removed his shoes and came inside. The apartment was dark, save for one blue tinted light emanating from the living room. It was the undoubtedly the television. "Yuki?"
Walking into the living room, Shuichi was greeted by not only Yuki, who was sitting watching the news, but a tired looking Tohma Seguchi who actually waved as the young boy entered. Weird. Stepping closer, Shuichi could hear the news from the television. He looked from Yuki to Seguchi and back to Yuki, clearly confused.
"Welcome home, Shindo-san." Seguchi greeted warmly. Super weird. Shuichi swore up and down that Seguchi hated his guts but here he was welcoming him home and watching the news as if part of the family, which technically, he was. Shuichi just smiled and nodded, unsure what to do or say. Maybe the real Seguchi was abducted by aliens and they sent this clone to replace him or maybe Shuichi was transported to some alternate universe where Seguchi was nice or maybe…
"Sit down." Yuki said finally, motioning for him to join them on the couch. Shuichi tried to think of where to sit. He knew it would be rude to sit between them, although there was more than enough space to fit two people, and debated who to sit next to. He finally picked a spot next to Yuki. It wasn't too close but not too far either. He turned his attention to the television. They were watching the news.
"Today in entertainment, the plans for a Nittle Grasper and Bad Luck joint movie have been released by NG productions. Although the specifics are scarce, the…" Shuichi tuned it out and looked at president Seguchi, questioningly.
"Is it really true?" Shuichi asked, tilting his head to one side, a motion relative of a puppy.
"It would seem so." Seguchi answered, his voice relatively neutral but with a slight hint of annoyance. The words echoed in the boys mind. It really was as if the decision was made not by the president himself, but if that had been true, who would have the power to do it then Shuichi wondered. Before he could loose himself too deep in his thoughts, Yuki's voice brought him back to reality.
"Ryuichi Sakuma, I don't want you around him anymore than you have to." Yuki said, never turning his attention away from the television. Shuichi stared for a second but then turned his glance to President Seguchi as if to ask 'What?' Before the older blonde could do or say anything, Yuki added, "Just stay away from him. For me."
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 14: Confussion and Meeting with Sakuma
"Yuki?" Shuichi stared at his lover for a long moment as though the blonde just asked him why the sky was green and how Shuichi had become a dancing pink elephant. It just didn't make sense. Shuichi stared and stared as if that by staring long enough, he would somehow be able to understand. Somewhere in the pit of his stomach, he tried to ignore a tense feeling knotting his stomach together and a sense of dread that was rising through him. There was something that happened that Shuichi desperately was trying to block at that moment. It was something that he didn't want to remember, but was powerless to block. Trying his best not to falter, and failing, he added, "Yuki, I don't understand…"
The younger blonde leaned over to the coffee table in front of him to retrieve his cigarettes. Reaching out for them, his hand was dyed a blue color from the television. Once the desired item was in his hand, Yuki leaned back against the couch and sighed. Although he would never admit it, there was a nervous feeling just below his chest and right above his stomach. He tried to sound nutral but knew that he could not. So, he waited until his lit his cigarette and took a few puffs before answering. "What's so hard to understand? Don't go hanging around with Sakuma. Is that so hard to understand?"
"Eiri…" Tohma intervened before the other blonde could get to angry. "Shuichi, you have to understand…" Shuichi tuned him out almost instantly after his boss called him by his first name. There was something certainly wrong and Shuichi was hoping to whatever deity that existed and watched over the world that it wasn't what he thought it was.
There was something very unsettling about having the president of NG, who your lover distinctly dislikes very much, sitting on the before mention lover's couch, welcoming you home, and calling you by your first name, not to mention the lack of bloodshed on the furniture or an overly angry Yuki. It felt like being a child who came home to a household of people who knew you had done something wrong and were teamed up… wait, Yuki didn't know, did he? How had he found out? Shuichi had not mentioned what had happened with anyone… except for with Hiro, but Hiro wouldn't go and tell Yuki! Would he? And besides, he hadn't given Hiro a straight answer, so how could he go and tell Yuki about something he didn't know about?
All different thoughts, ideas, and feeling swam through the young singer's mind as he attempted to sort out the situation. Yuki couldn't know, could he? If he knew, he would have acted much differently when the pink haired boy came home, right? Or was it because Seguchi was there? Wait, why was President Seguchi there to begin with? Shaking his head, the boy was tempted to scream bloody murder until the pain in his head caused by over excessive thinking went away.
But that would only imply guilt, wouldn't it?
That last thought surprised the young singer. Not only was it very mature and the type of thought that those people in control of the situations had, but more importantly, it implied that he was indeed guilty.
He kissed Ryuichi Sakuma, his idol and god, which meant that he had cheated on Yuki, his one and only love! 'No' screamed the young man's mind. He hadn't! Sakuma kissed him, not the other way around! So why did he feel so guilty? Why?
Because he enjoyed it?
Too much thinking made the young singer's head hurt! He struggled to return to the discussion at hand. Yuki wanted him to disregard Sakuma-san, but hadn't he been doing that for the past few days since that incident in the parking lot?
"Just do it, you…" Shuichi lifted his head and retuned back to reality to be greeted by two unemotional amber colored irises. Yuki was cut off by a disapproving Tohma Seguchi who needed only to shake his head and mutter the writer's given name.
Sighing, the writer continued, choosing his words carefully. He would have to avoid all of his colorful nicknames for the singer while in the presence of the almighty Tohma so he settled with, "Just do it for me."
Hiro couldn't help but pace back and forth his apartment. What Shuichi had said before disturbed him. Had Sakuma done something to upset Shuichi. The auburn haired guitarist doubted it. He didn't think it was in the older singer's nature, but then again he did not know the man very well. He was almost certain that there was more to Ryuichi Sakuma than met the eye, as certain times in Bad Luck's career had shown him as much, but was perverted stalker one of them? Did Sakuma have it in him to be cruel or to use people?
Hiro shook his head trying to get the thoughts out of his head. It was clear that Shuichi didn't want to talk about what had happened, if anything, so that meant the only other person he could ask would be Sakuma himself. How exactly he would do this he didn't know but, wait a second…
Removing is cellular phone from the charger stand on the dresser, he quickly and hastily punched in a string of numbers. There was only one person in all of Japan, hell, in all the would that kept constant dibs on Sakuma's every movement during every waking moment of the day.
The phone ringed a few times before a voice answered. "Hello?"
Ryuichi Sakuma had just woken up from one of his dreams about his rival and went into the bathroom to clean himself up when there was a knock at the door. In too much disarray to answer it at the current moment, he called for Kumagoro to answer it but suddenly realized that the pink rabbit was just much too short to reach the lock. He quickly ran to his bedroom and pulled on a new pair of pants. It was the best he could do at the moment.
As he walked to the door of his rather large apartment, he attempted to make himself more presentable and rub the sleep from his eyes. Stopping at the door, he ran both hands through his now sweet slicked hair and began to undo the multiple locks, not even bothering to ask who it was.
He peaked from behind a slightly opened door and was rather surprised by who stood at his doorstep to greet him. It was none other than the auburn haired guitarist of his favorite band. The read head stood dressed simply in tattered old jeans, an old white tee-shirt, and a heavy jean jacket that looked a tad too small but very much broken in. "Hiro-kun."
"Sakuma-san." The tone of the younger man's voice did not seem pleased. The red head ran his hand through his hand, although this time he remembered his injury (although he choose to ignore it) but did not flinch. He looked the older man in the eye before adding, "Can you come with me for a while? There are some things we need to talk about."
TO BE CONINUED…
Chapter 15: Hiro Takes Action
Ryuichi closed his normally sparkling blue eyes as he leaned back and draped his arms over the back of the park bench. Both he and Hiroshi Nakano had been sitting in the deserted park for a while in total silence. Ever since Nakano knocked on Ryuichi's door (almost a full hour before) and dragged Ryuichi downstairs to where his precious bike waited, the red head had not said a word to the singer. Ryuichi had been too dazed by sleep and the repercussions of his dream to argue and did nothing except pull on clean pants, that he would have to wash later, and a thin button up shirt he had found next to his pile of laundry. It looked clean enough.
The park was just as beautiful, if not more so, during the night as it was during the day and the two seemed to be content on focusing on that rather than anything else, at least for the moment. Ryuichi had a strange feeling that he knew what Hiro wanted to talk to him about, but decided to let the red head make the first move. If he didn't, it would imply guilt and at the moment, he had plenty of it.
His 'fascination' did not begin or end with secrets shared between himself and Shuichi in a special place. Ryuichi had much more to be guilty about: stolen glances at inappropriate times, triple x-rated dreams that resulted with not only messy sheets, not to mention the touches between himself and the younger singer. Worse yet, a healthy deal of said touches occurring without the younger vocalist's knowledge. He knew there was something wrong with him, but he couldn't help it. Ryuichi wasn't a hundred percent sure he wanted to.
"So…" Hiro began, unable to come up with a better way to start what would be a touchy conversation. For the past few hours, Hiro was trying to think of a way to find out what was bothering Shuichi so, but came up with nothing. The only thing he could do was to ask for answers from the two singers and seeing as Shuichi was not going to divulge his secret, he would have to ask Ryuichi. One problem: how exactly do you ask such a question? You can't very well just ask, "What did you do to my friend?" It would more likely start a fight, rather than answer anything. Sill, hours later, Hiro was no further in his investigation than he had been that day. He knew something happened, but…
"Say, when was the last time you've seen Shuichi, besides today, Sakuma-san?" That worked. It was indirect, didn't imply blame for something the singer either did or didn't do, and best of all, it could explain what happened that day.
"Well…" Ryuichi looked up at the sky in thought. Being that they were in Tokyo, a brightly lit city, there were few stars to be seen in the blue-black sky above. While thinking over the question, Ryuichi came to realize what the guitarist was really asking: 'Were you with Shuichi when he disappeared from the recording studio and what did you do to him?'
Ryuichi struggled to keep the smirk off his face. "Let's see, I think it was a day or two ago in a candy shop not to far from here." He wasn't lying.
"Really?" Hiro cursed mentally as the older man so nimbly evaded the question. Hiro didn't really want to find a reason to be angry with the rock legend, but it had to with Shuichi and Shuichi took top priority! He would have to rephrase the question.
After thinking for another few minuets, he finally asked, "How about before that. As you may or may not know, Shuichi was missing for some time after he went to the storage closet to get me a tape."
Ryuichi seemed to deeply ponder this for a second, well as much as deep as Ryuichi could without seeming suspicious and wondered just how much the red head actually knew. To his knowledge, only three people knew of what happened and those people were Shuichi (obviously), Tohma, and himself. As for people who suspected something, he would have to name Noriko, K (he still wasn't sure about this one, but it's better to be safe then sorry) and now Hiro.
Glimpsing quickly at the red head, Ryuichi noted that he looked a little irate, not to mention a little nervous, among other things. He had heard long ago that Hiro once 'warned' the blonde not to hurt the pink haired boy and even threatened violence when the before mentioned boy had come into work sporting a nice bruise on his cheek. Shuichi mealy claimed it had been an accident resulting from his clumsiness. Ryuichi would have liked to assume the red head shared his dislike for the blonde, but he would make no assumptions at that moment. If the red head did, then that would help Ryuichi in his standings a bit. However, it also seemed that he was out for anyone who hurt Shuichi in any way, shape, or form. Ryuichi currently belonged in this group of individuals, at least until he made up with Shuichi. Until then, he did not wish to invoke the guitarist's fury.
Ryuichi carefully constructed his response in his head before replying, "Yes, I did see him. We went to the storage closet together, but it's a bit silly to call it a storage closet. It was more like a room, or even an apartment, you know? We got lost so many times. It was so funny! You should have come too. It would have been fun!" Ryuichi began to ramble until Hiro stopped him with a slight glare, a hand on the shoulder, and an exasperated sighting of the singer's last name.
"Sakuma-san, please try to stay on topic." Ryuichi was glad his childish persona seemed to have its desired effect. "What happened after that?"
"Well…" Ryuichi said, bringing his index finger to his cheek and appearing to think a few seconds.
"After that, Ryuichi almost fell from the shelf trying to get Hiro-kun's tape for Shu-cha- Shuichi. It was too dangerous for him to climb all the way to the top, so I did it for him! Kumagoro helped!" Ryuichi went to pull out the stuffed toy, only to realize that the bunny was still sitting on his dresser opposite his bed.
"Really?" Hiro's voice seemed to be void of emotion for a moment as he tried to disconcert if he had heard correctly: had Ryuichi called Shuichi "Shu-chan"?
A feeling of dread started to pool itself in the pit of the red head's stomach as he began to doubt the older singer and suspect that he did in fact try to do something to Shuichi. It wasn't as though Hiro housed romantic feelings for his friend, not that he ever did, but he did not want to see the young boy upset over anything. Shuichi would do the same for him. "And what happened after that?"
Ah, he wanted the details. "Hm, after I almost fell on him…" which he almost did, before stopping himself and if not for that sly cassette tape. Deep inside, Ryuichi thanked the little rectangle of plastic and swore to love and cherish all of its kind for the rest of his life.
"After that, we walked around a bit and then went different ways." It wasn't a lie, just an omission of certain events. He would have liked to have even omitted the bit about walking around the NG building at all, but since Tohma may have seen them, he couldn't be too careful.
"That was the last I saw of him until that time in the candy shop. Do you like candy, Hiro-kun? I like candy. The candy there is really good. They've got candy from all around the world!"
Hiro tuned the older man out once he heard candy and instead focused on what he had been told. He knew that wasn't all of it, but was hesitant to force more out of the man. Sighing, Hiro stood up and turned a quarter of the way to face the sitting form of Ryuichi. He wasn't going to pry him for the information, instead, he just said "Look, just for the record, if anyone messes with Shuichi, they are messing with me."
'Oh and what is that supposed to mean?' thought Ryuichi, although his only outward response was a small voiced, "Huh? Hiro-kun…?"
"I'm just saying it. If anyone does anything to Shuichi, no matter who they are, I'll be on them in a second." He said, tuning away and walking towards his parked bike, leaving Ryuichi in silence. This silence did not last long, however.
"So, that's how it will be…" muttered Ryuichi, although the comment went unheard as the red head started his bike and drove off.
Hiro stopped his bike a few blocks away from his desired destination a dug through his pockets for his cellular phone, dialing a somewhat familiar number. He raised the phone to his ear, an easy task seeing as he rarely rode with a helmet (he saved it for Shuichi, least he spill his brains along the sidewalk and or street). Hiro waited as the phone ringed a few times before he disconnected. It was late and his best friend and his boyfriend where probably sleeping by now, or 'snuggling' at least. With a sigh, he restarted his engine and took off.
He had called with the intention of talking to Yuki to see if the blonde had perhaps noticed something. He knew he was doing something that Shuichi would be angry with him for a while for but the truth had to come out. It would be better for all of them.
"It's late, Eiri-san. It is perhaps best that I leave you now." Tohma stood and motioned to the sleeping form of Shuichi curled against his blonde haired lover before turning in the direction of the kitchen to retrieve his belongings. "Thank you for having me over. I did enjoy our time together this evening."
"Well, you sort of just invited yourself over." The other blonde replied coolly, although not hostilely and with a hint of a smirk. He slowly made his way off his couch, trying to avoid waking the other up before following his brother-in-law to the kitchen.
Once reaching the safety of the darkened kitchen, Eiri Yuki pulled the other man aside, his cautiousness getting the better of himself. He then muttered to the other blonde, "Really, thanks."
"For what?" the other asked, slipping into his long coat and picking his hat up off of the table and holding it for the moment in his upturned hand. Tohma wasn't sure what Eiri meant. Was he thanking him for telling him about Ryuichi?
"For everything." Yuki gritted out, unhappy and uncomfortable talking emotionally outside of the shrink's office. "For telling me about Ryuichi…"
"Oh, that. I…"
"And for finally letting me go." Tohma went silent before examining the now extremely interesting floor. He then turned his attention to the hat in his hand.
"I haven't given up on you and I probably never will, but I will no longer interfere. You're happy and that's good enough for me. Your sister, on the other hand…"
Yuki smiled, this time an honest smile of happiness and placed a comforting hand on his brother-in-law's shoulder. "You've finally accepted my choice and I'm glad. If only Mika would be as level headed…" he joked.
The air got a lot less heavy and both men decided to end the night on a positive note. Yuki walked Tohma to the door and to his car: a shiny new model painted black. Before the other closed the door and went to start the engine, Yuki muttered.
Hiro was more than surprised when he saw Tohma Seguchi leave Yuki's apartment with the before mentioned owner. To top it off, they seemed to both be happy and getting along. Hiro had to blink a few time to make sure he was really seeing what he thought he was. Maybe he had gotten hit by a car while trying to call or something and he was in a coma dreaming about an alternate universe where the two got along, Ryuichi Sakuma was an evil singer out to take over the world by corrupting young pink haired boys, one at a time, and he was the only sane one in the whole lot. Oh wait, he was the only sane one. Some things never change he guessed.
He turned his attention back to the two blondes as Seguchi backed out of Yuki's driveway and drove down the road. Hiro absent mindedly wondered what Seguchi was doing there in the first place when he suddenly remembered that they were related, not to mention all the weirdness with Sakuma. Speaking of which…
"Hey, Yuki!" Hiro called out from across the street. "I want to talk to you for a second!"
"Oh great, another moron, just what I needed. And my day was going so well…" the blond muttered, clearly annoyed. "If you're here to tell me to stop messing with the brat, take it up with Sakuma." He turned to go back inside.
Hiro could only stare at the man's retreating back as he realized that he was right all along. All he could mutter out, though, was "S-sakuma?"
"Yeah, you heard right." Turning back briefly before going back in Yuki nodded and added with a wave, "Goodnight. You have five seconds to vacate my property before I call the cops."
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 16: And 2 Weeks Pass
There is a double flash back in this chapter, so here's how it's read. Italics are the flashback as a whole, while bold is the flashback Ryuchan's having during the initial flashback.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Good morning, everyone!" With those words, Shuichi startled awake and was narrowly saved from the horrible fate of falling face-first asleep into his bowl of 'cereal' and cold milk, so graciously given to the young singer by K. Upon giving the cold morning breakfast to the youth, which now had become soggy and a bit congealed, the American had explained how breakfast was the most important meal of the day and something about Shuichi needing lots and lots of fiber. What a strange man…
"Hope everyone got lots of sleep and is ready to go!" Sakano happily continued as Shuichi tried to keep from falling back asleep and slipping into a world of scanty (if at all) clad Yuki, and strangely enough, alien Tohma Seguchi clones (dressed in tin foil with fake goggly eyes on springs attached to a headband atop his head), and giant Kumagoro mechs terrorizing Tokyo reminiscent of a 1950s Godzilla movie. Maybe K slipped something in the cereal?
Whatever the case, Shuichi was relatively sure it had to do with President Seguchi's visit that night. Although had been a full two weeks since Seguchi had visited and the business about the movie started, the one thing Shuichi couldn't figure out was why he was so tired, it wasn't like Yuki still keeping him up all night (though, for the few nights following Seguchi's visit, the younger blonde had been being 'extra nice' to the singer, resulting in a massive lack of energy, but a boost in song writing motivation).
He smiled lazily at the random thought of Yuki covered whipped cream, dressed only in a small pink frilly apron, while posing in the living room. While it would be mildly if not horribly disturbing to anyone else, it seemed to make perfect sense to the pink haired singer. Who was the strange one now, he wondered.
"We have a busy day ahead of us, so everyone get pumped and ready to go!" Sakano finished his not-so-motivating motivational speech. K then stepped in and brandished his beloved AK47, which shined menacingly, and aimed it directly at the group of young men sitting on shaky metal folding chairs in front of him.
"Or else." He added, in English before switching back into something Shuichi could somewhat understand in his present condition. "And seeing as NG… got lots of work to do before we…time is money, you know…Shuichi, you have to… Hiro, you will... Shuichi-proof everything… Fujisaki, I'll leave… arrangements… and Seguchi-san…you two may be…"
Everyone, with the exception of Shuichi Shindo, listened to the gun totting maniac as he handed out his orders for the day. Shuichi meanwhile sat stirring his bowl shaped cereal, looking for signs of milk before a thought hit him. Everyone and everything had gone back to how it had been before the whole business with Ryuichi happened. Speaking of which…
"Ryuichi Sakuma, I don't want you around him anymore than you have to."
It was strange. Since that night when Shuichi had come home to find Tohma Seguchi sitting in their living room, although not a strange occurrence in itself, Yuki had not said a single word about the reason behind Seguchi's visit, Ryuichi or anything else concerning NG. Equally as strange, since that night, Shuichi found that, although it upset him, he couldn't help but think about Ryuichi.
Still, Yuki's words kept echoing in his mind. Yuki had seemed uncharacteristically upset. Shuichi still wasn't sure if Yuki knew and wasn't quite sure that he wanted to know if the blonde knew or not. One part of his mind mercilessly screamed, 'Of coarse! Why else would he bring it up then?' while another part of his mind furiously argued that Yuki had no idea, and yet another part just continually berated him for doing anything in the first place.
"Just stay away from him."
Sighing, Shuichi leaned back in his metal seat to stare up at the drop-down ceiling hanging over his head. 'So far, so good,' he thought, remembering Yuki's words. For the past two weeks, Shuichi had minimal contact with his one time idol. It was what Yuki wanted and although Shuichi had never verbally agreed to his lover's request (he had just stared blankly at the older man, before falling asleep against him), Shuichi couldn't help but try his best. Thinking about it, Shuichi wasn't even sure if that was what he wanted, but…
"This is my fault." He muttered to himself, as he put his head down on the table. "This is all my fault." Yuki knew; he had to have known. How, Shuichi still didn't know, but that didn't matter.
Shuichi banged his head on the table and was rewarded with a loud thud, causing K to stop talking and everyone to turn around in concern. Shuichi hadn't even notice that the force of his head slamming into the wood had caused his breakfast to topple over and the mushy contents to fall on his head.
"Everything alright, Shuichi?" K asked, raising an eyebrow. Lost in his thoughts, Shuichi merely stood up and walked out of the room, breakfast and all. He had to think and two weeks of constant thinking was starting to have their effect on the young singer.
Ryuichi listened to the continuing ringing with his cell phone pressed to his ear and Kumagoro atop his head, waiting for the other end to pick up, although he already knew no one would pick up. He sighed. It was always the same. Shuichi never picked up anymore.
Hitting the end button with his thumb, Ryuichi leaned back in his conference chair and stared poignantly at the ceiling and for the third time that day, began to count the small dot like holes in the drop down ceiling's tiles. So caught up in his task was he, that he didn't even notice the door open or Noriko walk in until she grabbed the back of his chair and gave him a little spin.
"Cheer up, Ryu." Ryuichi closed his eyes as the soft padded chair swirled around and around. Not many people know the great Ryuichi Sakuma was very much prone to motion sickness.
Ryuichi's chair came to an abrupt stop when his flailing leg caught the squared-off metal leg of the conference table causing an epic battle between the side of his knee and the metal tower of doom, which Ryuichi lost miserably.
Shaking her head and ignoring Ryuichi's cries of pain, attempts of fury-filled revenge, and uncharacteristic curses, Noriko sat down on the soft mini sofa with a sigh. She waited until Ryuichi ended his campaign against the 'evil' table leg before saying anything else.
"Ryuichi." She started gently as her long time friend regained his composer, or at least regained whatever composer he ever had to begin with. She had come there on a mission.
Her mission: talk some sense into the brown haired singer before he did something truly stupid like run his career or worse. She looked down at her hands for a moment to think how to phrase what she wanted to say. Just because she came with a mission, it didn't mean she knew how to accomplish it.
She was surprised to see the strangely calm blue eyes not of the energetic and childlike side of Ryu, but the adult stage presence known only as Ryuichi Sakuma staring back at her when she looked up again. The man in front of her leaned back in his chair, his face dim. She opened her mouth to talk but he silenced her with a single finger held up as if to say 'give me a moment'.
"Before you say anything," He said, his voice calm and silky. "You have to understand that this is my choice, no one else's…"
Noriko once again opened her mouth to speak when he decided to continue. "Noriko, we've been friends since high school and your friendship, like Tohma's, means a lot to me." Ryuichi leaned back as far as his chair would allow and stared off into the not so distant distance between him and the ceiling. "Do you remember when I first got Kumagoro?"
"The one that K bought you?" Noriko asked, confused.
"No, Kumagoro the first."
It was a bright sunny summer day when the 16 year old Ryuichi Ueda came skidding into the main entry hall of one of Tachikawa's many public high schools. Dodging other students, a few of which turned to give him an amused shake of the head, Ryuichi made his joy known to all those willing to listen.
"I DID IT! I SURVIVED ANOTHER TERM OF HIGH SCHOOL!" he shouted, doing a little twirl before to running to his shoe locker, plowing into a few other students before finally making it to his destination.
'Summer Break's so gonna to rock!' he thought to himself as he pulled out his sneakers from the small enclosure and balanced on the edge of the entrance way step. His mind began to plan what he would do for his time off. Maybe go to the beach with his two best friends or sit and jam in room or maybe, his thoughts came to a halt as he remembered what his friend had told him earlier that week.
'Ryuichi, I'm sorry, but I won't be able to spend time with you or Noriko this summer. You see, I'm going to New York with a friend of mine. I'm sorry, Ryuichi. I really am.'
Tohma seemed genuinely sorry when he told his best friend the news. He called the brunet outside to the track during lunch. Ryuichi could remember how the blonde stood with his head slumped, staring at the ground and how his hair shimmered a radiant gold as the sun filtered through the tree. It wasn't as if he liked his best friend in that way , it was just the fact that Ryuichi noticed practically everything (although he never admitted to it). He was a lot brighter than he let on, or so he liked to believe.
'Are you going with that friend of yours, uh, what was his name again?' Ryuichi asked sheepishly with a smile. He had hear countless stories of how Tohma's friend, whatever his name was, was having trouble due to his not very Japanese looks. Sadly, the younger boy's name was one of the few things that Ryuichi could never remember, like where his favorite left sock liked to hide or where his homework always got lost to.
'Eiri Uesugi.' Among the numerous stories of the young Uesugi boy, who was a year younger than themselves, Ryuichi had also noticed a little romance between his friend and the boy. It was natural, they had much in common: looks, intelligence, talent in their respective hobbies, the list went on and on. Inside, Ryuichi hoped it worked out for them. Uesugi seemed like a nice guy, although he and Ryuichi had met only once or twice.
Ryuichi nodded. As much as he would miss Tohma during their well earned break, it was Tohma's time to be with the one he cared about and Ryuichi was happy for him. Their band would still be there when he got back, school would be there too, as well as their normal everyday lives. They would just pick up from where they left off.
'Kay! Just do me one small thing, Tohma. Bring me back something!'
Ryuichi returned to reality when something or someone smacked into him from behind, causing him to loose his balance and to bang his head on his shoe locker door. Pulling his head from the locker, he turned around to see his other best friend Noriko. He rubbed his forehead as Noriko gave him an embraced smile.
"Hey there, you alright, Ryu? Quite a nasty bump you have forming there. Sorry about that. I just came to give you something from Tohma-kun." It was then Ryuichi was introduced to a tiny red rabbit that would later be dubbed 'Kumatan'. When asked about the strange choice in names, Ryuichi would state that it was the perfect name for something that was more than it seemed.
'Kumatan was not a bunny, but a bear pretending to be a bunny... because no one's afraid of a bunny,' he would often say. "No one ever feels threatened by a bunny..."
"He says he's sorry that he couldn't deliver it in person, but he said he couldn't miss his flight to New York, so I was to give it to you instead. He also said he hoped that this little guy might keep ya company while he's gone."
Not soon after Tohma's return, around two months in fact, were the burnt remains of Kumatan the first discovered in a standard A4 envelope addressed to the Uesugi residence in Kyoto. It was also around that time Ryuichi Ueda stopped attending school...
"Um, Ryu, what does this have to do with anything? I mean…" Ryuichi leaned back up in his chair and brought his interlaced hands to his chin, in typical Tohma Seguchi fashion, before saying anything.
"I know why you're here, Noriko. You want to talk about Shindo. You want to persuade me to stop doing what I'm doing and tell me to get a life, right? Well, I'm sorry, but I can't. I would think that you, of all people would have realized that."
"But Ryu, this is just…"
"Just a crush? Just a sick obsession? Noriko, if this had been anyone else, Tohma wouldn't give a damn and you know it. Do you remember what he went through trying to keep Shuichi away from his precious 'Eiri'? Was that right? It's always Eiri this or Eiri that…I'm sick if it."
"You're jealous…" Noriko stared at her long time friend a little more than shocked.
It wasn't like Ryuichi to get jealous, or at least that much so. He had been a little jealous of Bad Luck in the beginning, but that faded into friendship. But this, this was simmering inside Ryuichi for some time, years even. "You're jealous that Eiri-san took Tohma away from you. Ever since that summer in New York…"
"No." Ryuichi replied quite calmly, all the while shaking his head like the woman in front of him was a child that didn't grasp the simple concept of one plus one equaling two.
"No, I'm not jealous of that. I'm angry that Eiri Yuki gets Shuichi after all the shit he pulled and the fact that Tohma is perfectly alright with it. Does that not seem a little off to you?"
"That night during the million copy concert at Zepp Tokyo, do you know why Shuichi was late and I had to take his place on stage? You know why, Noriko? Because of that bastard Eiri; he ditched Shuichi and ran to New York, and you know what's worse, Shu-chan went after him," Ryuichi let his head fall into his hands.
"I just want him to see me. Just see me and only me."
How he survived each time on that old ratty pile of junk he called a motorcycle, he didn't know, but he did know that he was happy to have finally arrived after hours of riding. Proud of his accomplishment of not getting killed along the way, Tatsuha Uesugi stood and gave an appraising look at that which was his older brother's apartment complex with a whistle. So there it was, the home of his cranky big brother and his delicious looking boyfriend, the pink haired Ryuichi Sakuma clone.
He walked towards the door and pulled out his set of keys before he let his thoughts of the pink haired singer get the better of him. Instead, he focused on the job he had to do. The job he was hired to do.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Kumatan: In this story, Kumatan is a small beanie baby like doll given to Ryuichi by Tohma to starve away Ryuichi's loneliness while Tohma was in NYC with Yuki. The current Kumagoro (according to a side story in the manga—Vol. 11, I think) was a gift given to Ryuichi by K as a means to track the singer when he wondered out of K's sights.
Chapter 17: Unwanted Results
I want to make it known, I do not support physical/emotional abuse or non-consensual relations in any way or shape. In this chapter there are mentions of suggested bullying as well as physical abuse. There is also some foul language.
Tatsuha Uesugi slowly made his way towards the door before he pulled out the set of keys that he had illegally made after his brother refused to bestow him with a pair of his own. He didn't have to worry about being quiet or getting caught because it was Friday, which meant that his brother was at therapy and his pink haired boy toy would be staying late at NG.
Once inside, he quickly made a couple of mental notes and tried to figure out which of his missions he was going to attend to first. Coming to a conclusion, he headed towards his brother's bedroom to complete the task given to him by a blonde American mad who had visited his family's temple the weekend prior.
The American, who the Tatsuha recognized as the manager to both Ryuichi Sakuma and his brother's boy toy, had promised the youngest Uesugi brother a tidy sum of money if Tatsuha would go through his brother's lover's belongings in search of a diary or any strange Ryuichi Sakuma influenced things.
'Talk about looking for a needle in a hay stack', Tatsuha couldn't help but think to himself as he shifted though through the pink haired singer's belongings. Everything the boy owned dripped Ryuichi Sakuma influence and admiration. Finding the boy's diary, which he undoubtedly kept, was a little easier a task. It had been where the monk had been sure it would be: hidden under a pile of miss-matched socks in the second draw from the left.
With that accomplished, Tetsuha focused on his second assignment, and odd request given to him by they great Ryuichi Sakuma himself. The payment method: fifty thousand yen followed by a dinner date with the vocalist, and although the cash sum was not very much, the dinner date was the real prize. But as great as the offer was, after the rock legend had given Tatsuha his orders, the younger boy was left angry and more than hurt inside.
The problem was the actual job itself: break in and retrieve some of the younger singer's personal artifacts. At first, Tatsuha was in shock at Ryuichi's request, but with time, he began to feel differently. Eventually the shock and hurt subsided and anger took its place.
What the brunette wanted with the pink haired boy's things, he didn't know, but he did know two things. He knew for certain that he did not like where these events were leading and he also knew that he would be damned if he let his idol stoop so low as to pine for his brother's boyfriend.
As nice as Shuichi was and not matter how much Tatsuha may have liked the boy otherwise, there was still the fact that Shuichi was too far beneath the rock god for Tatsuha to stand idly by and watch events unfold. Those were the types of thoughts that brought the monk to assigning himself his third task With the thoughts of his god lusting over his brother's lover planted firmly in his head, the younger Uesugi's fingers found their way to the small envelope in his pocket. Even though the thick orange-yellow oak-sheet of the envelope, he could feel the outlines of the photos inside.
The pink haired twerp had to know he was crossing boundaries that were not meant to be crossed. Hopefully the pictures inside would give the younger singer the incentive to keep him from unintentionally encouraging unwanted attention from idol. If not, it would insure that the boy at least kept his hands to himself and his dick in his pants.
This would be his warning, the only warning. Ryuichi Sakuma belonged to Tatsuha Uesugi and he would be doubly damned if the bubblegum haired brat thought any differently.
Exiting the room he had just spoken to Noriko in, Ryuichi headed for the first room his eyes saw. Lucky for him, or unlucky depending on who you talked to, it was the men's restroom. He quickly pushed the door open and slid inside, headed for the nearest vacant stall, and promptly leaned his back on its door. Heaving a rather heavy sounding sigh, he rubbed the bridge of his nose and stared into the over-head florescent lights, causing his eyes to water and the image to be burned in blue into his sight when he looked away. He sincerely hoped Noriko wasn't going to follow him in, considering she had done so before. That was quite awkward to say the very least.
After a few moments of not hearing another human's footsteps entering the restroom, Ryuichi thought it safe to conclude that she had not followed him inside. This time.
He took the time to try to calm his frantic thoughts. He had just confessed almost everything, to his long time friend, who he was still unsure of when the thought of who's side she was currently on came to mind. With the luck he had been having as of late, Ryuichi would not be surprised if this turned to bite him on the ass.
Banging his head against the stall, he yelled, "I'M FUCKED!"
Shuichi, who had been sulking while sitting on top of a closed toilet until then, couldn't help it when his head violently jerked up when he heard an eerily familiar voice scream such strong profanity at the top of his lungs in the bathroom stall to the left of his own. Very slowly and fearfully he turned his now injured head and neck towards the source of the voice.
After five minutes of constant banging from the individual, Shuichi's shock and fear turned into annoyance. Finally, he yelled, "Can you stop the banging already? Some of us are tying to mope in here in peace!"
The loud banging stopped abruptly before it was replaced by an awkward silence. Shuichi quickly added an "Um, thank you?" in attempts of lightening the mood. He hadn't meant to be harsh, but the banging was just plain annoying.
Resuming his sulking, Shuichi's head fell when his thank you was met only with more silence. It did not stay that way for long, for his head once again violently jerked (causing the singer to worry about permanent damage) when the same voice meekly asked, "Shuichi?"
"Shuichi, is that you?" Ryuichi couldn't help but ask again. He looked to his right and awaited a reply. Of all the days he should yell such things, it had to be when his object of desire was in the very next stall. To make things worse, the cotton candy haired boy had to scold him for it too. It was definitely not one of Ryuichi's better days.
Shuichi didn't know what to say, so he let the first thing from his mind slip out. "Um, no?"
'Um, no?' Ryuichi repeated the answer in his mind, as he tried not to laugh at Shuichi's attempts or the notes of sheer innocence carried in the boy's voice.
"Agh, I mean, uh, what makes you think I'm Shuichi Shindo? I could be some random guy, uh, working at NG for all you know." Ryuichi suppressed another laugh at the serious tone. The boy just kept digging himself deeper and deeper, so much so that it quickly became amusing and Ryuichi decided to play a game of 'how deep can Shu-chan dig.'
"Oh really? Then who are you?" Ryuichi asked, suppressing more laughs as his mind kept coming up with possible answers, each one worse than the first, "You sound like him to me."
'Damn!' Shuichi carefully, but quickly weighed his options. He could either try to flee, although Sakuma would probably pounce on him before he got anywhere near the door or he could give up and face Sakuma them and there. Both sounded good only when his brain tried to ignore the factor of the older singer's speed and ability to be in the strangest places at the strangest times. With those things in mind, he worked on another plan.
He could lie and hope for the best. "Um, I'm Hiro."
"No, you couldn't be, his voice is much lower. Try again, Shuichi." Ryuichi replied with a laugh as he quietly slipped out the door and made his way towards the other stall. He had a devious idea.
'Double damn, he knows it's me' Shuichi though. 'Well, the only thing I can do now is run as fast as I can. I got to get out of here before he can corner me again.'
"Um, how about Sakano?"
Shuichi didn't wait for a reply as he tried to open the door as quietly as he could and make a dash for the door. He slid out and got relatively close to the door when he heard the door of his stall close and felt someone grab him from behind in a tight embrace soon after. He was surprised, but not overly shocked, to find soft strands of brown hair gently touching his cheek or what seemed to be a pair of tight jeans pressed against his backside.
"I don't think so, Shuichi," came the soft, almost breathy reply from behind along with the weight of the older man pressed warmly against his back and the feeling of strong arms circling his shoulders.
Placing his forehead against the crook of the younger boy's neck, Ryuichi sighed and shook his head, causing his hair to brush against the other's skin. It sent tingles up and down the younger man's spine regardless.
"You know I don't like it when you call me that, Shuichi." Ryuichi complained, his voice flowing sensually. The decadent tones paired with the warm breath against skin caused Shuichi to shutter and Ryuichi to smile at the feeling of it. Gripping tighter, the brunette nudged this nose against Shuichi's neck, as his mind began to cloud slightly. After such a trying day, it came as a relief to Ryuichi.
"We shouldn't be doing this, Sakuma-san." Shuichi tried to pull away from the warmth surrounding him, but the arms surrounding him only tightened in response. Idly, Shuichi wondered that for such a small man, Ryuichi Sakuma was rather strong. Together, through Ryuichi's insistent pulling, the two settled against one of the metal stall frames with Shuichi's semi-rigid form enveloped within Ryuichi's.
"I told you I don't like being called Sakuma-san."
Shuichi stiffened as he felt a hot wetness press itself against his pulse. The hands that held him captive began to explore his chest and shoulders as much as was possible without slackening their hold too much. It seems the older vocalist was not going to let Shuichi go anywhere anytime soon. The licking trailed into butterfly kisses along his neck and shoulder.
Shuichi couldn't help whimpering as he struggled to move away from the pleasant touch. Shuichi was divided between two minds, one who greedily lapped up his idol's fiery attentions and one who shouted for Yuki.
Yuki, I promised him...
Only nights before, he had promised Yuki he wouldn't stay around his one time idol any more than was absolutely necessary. He also promised himself that he would never betray Yuki again, no matter how good it felt. Shuichi redoubled his attempts to escape.
"Ryuichi, call me Ryuichi," came the reply before the brunette started suckling on a patch of skin near the junction where shoulder met collarbone. When no answer but ragged breathing came, he bit down harshly on the tender flesh.
"Ryuichi!" Shuichi yelped.
"That wasn't that hard, was it?" Ryuichi replied as he soothed the wound he had created with the tip of his tongue. Slowly, Ryuichi pulled back to study the red blossom he had created with pride. Seeing it, his mark, made his blood burn hot.
"Ryuichi, stop," Shuichi whimpered softly. "Please."
At the feeling of the younger singer's shoulders slumping in his grasp, Ryuichi loosened his hold enough to turn the other man in around in his arms.
"Why?" Ryuichi's asked the boy in front of him firmly. The passion the older man had displayed only a moment before burned through his voice. This was the man Shuichi had watched many a time on stage, who had influenced his decision to enter the music industry. This was the man who he had spent many nights thinking about when he was younger, long before he had ever knew of Eiri Yuki's existence. This man was all he should ever want and more, but...
"Why?" the younger singer echoed as he staring up into two serious pools of blue. It seemed like Ryuichi knew it too. By all accounts, the two should be made for each other, but Shuichi just couldn't figure out why he couldn't think of Ryuichi the same way as he did Yuki.
"Yes, why?" Arms slipped from their places on Shuichi's upper arms and slid down the younger singer's arms until the brunettes warms hands curled around Shuichi's. The passion gave way to tenderness."Why won't you accept my affection, Shuichi?"
"Ryuichi, it's not that I don't like you, I really do... and I owe you so much... but I love Yuki," he answered honestly. In a way he supposed it was the same for Ryuichi in that regard. The leader of Nittle Grasper could have anyone he wanted but he seemed to have only eyes from him. It was flattering, now that he thought about it.
"Forget about Yuki." Ryuichi spat as his grip tightened almost painfully. "For five fucking seconds, forget about that asshole and look at me!"
"I am looking at you," Shuichi countered as he tried to pull his hands from his idol's grip. "How can I not see you? You're Ryuichi fucking Sakuma! I've watched you since I was twelve and a half years old!"
"No, you don't. You don't see me at all!" Ryuichi yelled as he pulled on the younger singer's hands to close the gap between them that had formed while the two struggled. He wasn't going to let go until Shuichi heard him out. Not until Shuichi really saw him.
Shuichi could feel his hands starting to go numb.
"Stop it, you're hurting me!" Shuichi screamed as he attempted another escape attempt. Pulling his hands from the vice like grips was difficult and painful, and not nearly as easy Shuichi hoped it might be. However after much tugging, he managed to free one hand from Ryuichi's grip.
His hand was free for only a quick moment before the older vocalist caught the freed appendage easily and then shifted his grip to Shuichi's wrists and took a step closer. "Let me go!"
"No. Just stop and listen to me! I said stop! Shuichi!"
When it happened, it was like time slowed to a crawl and speed up all at the same time. To Ryuichi, it felt like he was suspended in zero gravity, locked in a moment in time while the world around him clashed in its time flux. It was the worse feeling the vocalist had ever felt. His heart stopped.
One moment Ryuichi had Shuichi held tightly by the wrists and the next Shuichi was sliding slowly down the cold tiled wall with a sharp screech and a vibrant red stroke trailing from behind his head.
"Oh god, what have I done?" Ryuichi whispered as he stared at the sight before him. Already, the cold and numbing shock replaced the anger and desperation that had been boiling in his veins only seconds before.
In the midst of their struggle, in a fit of what Ryuichi could only call really bad luck, the brunette had attempted to restrain the violet eyed boy against the wall just as the said violet eyed boy pulled all of his weight backwards, probably hoping to pull his arms out of the older man's grip. The result was chilling.
Now, the younger vocalist lay crumpled at his idol's feet.
"I'm so sorry, Shuichi. It was an accident. I didn't mean to. I just… and you where… so I… I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!"
Shuichi stared at the man in front of him, but his mind did not registering anything around him; not the pain at the back at his skull or the cold and dirty bathroom tiles under him or even the tears slowly sliding down his cheeks. Although it felt as though is head was being slowly filled with fluff, the small part of his mind not yet changed into pillow filling, vaguely realized that Ryuichi had hurt him.
No... it couldn't be... he wouldn't...
That tiny part of Shuichi's mind screamed that this just couldn't be real. In Shuichi's mind, even after what had happened in the NG parking lots, Ryuichi Sakuma was not one able to consciously hurt others. He was playful, energetic and giving individual who, if by chance managed to harm someone, did so without meaning to, right? Ryuichi Sakuma simply did not, could not, understand things like everyone else did, Shuichi believed.
He was too damaged.
"You shouldn't lay on the floor like that," Ryuichi started as gently shook the younger singer's shoulder. After doing this for a moment or two and gaining no response other than soft sobs, he continued, "I'm going to take you somewhere nice. I'll take you to somewhere warm and you can have whatever you want, anything at all, alright? Just, please, stop crying!"
Ryuichi was starting to reach near panic himself, but tried his best to keep calm for Shuichi's sake, "I didn't mean to do that; I didn't mean to hurt you."
And with that, his whole world faded to black,
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 18: And Time Goes By
The first thing Shuichi saw when he opened his eyes was a great big blinding white light. Quite sure that he was dead, he attempted to sit up. It was a foolish maneuver on his part, for as soon as it put any pressure on any part of his body, his body countered with bolts of searing pain, especially in the back of his head. He fell back limply onto the bed beneath him. Once again looking up at that evil inposter light, Shuichi realized it was nothing more than a standard florescent light embedded into a white drop-down ceiling.
"You shouldn't try to move so fast, Ueda-san!" Shuichi looked to his left to see a concerned young female nurse looking down at him, her figure silhouetted by the bright light coming through the window next to Shuichi's bed. It seemed he had his own room, a rarity in Japan. "You have a concussion along with some bad bruises there, you know."
'Why didn't she tell me before I tried to get up?' He thought bitterly to himself.
"I did, but you didn't listen to me." She said with a sigh. A common occurrence. Why didn't anyone ever listen to the nurses? "You were unconscious for a long time. We were getting worried after a while, but now that you've come to…"
"What happened?" Shuichi asked, putting his hand to his head. "And where am I?"
"You're in the emergency room. Your brother brought you in. He said that you slipped in the bathroom and hurt your head. He seemed really frantic." She replied, checking Shuichi's charts for what seemed like the billionth time since he first came in.
"My brother?" Shuichi looked at her confused.
"You know, your brother Ryu? Don't tell you forgot your own flesh and blood!" Shuichi only smiled up at her sheepishly. "But I guess that's to be expected after a conk to the head like that. It took twenty three stitches to stop the beading completely. Oh, and don't worry, you can't tell because of your hair, not to mention your brother insisted we didn't cut it. You two really look alike, but I guess you get that all the time, huh?"
"Yes? Can I get you something?"
"How long have I been here and where is my brother?" Shuichi asked.
"Well, between you and me, you've been here nearly two whole days…"
"TWO DAYS!" Shuichi screamed, jumping out of the bed, but regretting it soon after when his body resisted and sent the familiar bolts on pain through his body.
"Yes, and please keep it down. There are other patients here too you know. Anyway, to answer your other question, I don't know. Your brother seemed really upset. He never left your bedside until just this morning. Maybe he went to get something to eat?"
Frustrated, the auburn haired Hiroshi Nakano was approximately five seconds away from throwing his cellular phone into on-coming traffic. Again he had tried reaching his pink haired friend via the phone and once again he had failed. The thought of chucking the small wireless devise quickly faded when the small hunk of plastic began to ring.
From his place atop his now stationary motor bike, Hiroshi eagerly answered. Maybe his luck was going to change. "Shuichi!"
"Nah, it's me." Came an exasperated response. Anyone could tell the owner of the baritone was struggling to keep his cool.
"Yuki-san." In the background, Hiro could hear the 'chink' sound belonging to the author's metal lighter followed by a deep inhale of the now lit cigarette. A long stretch of silence followed before Hiro asked, "Any luck?"
"What do you think?" Hiro winced at the author's tone. Hiro was sure glad he was nowhere near an angry and probably frustrated Eiri Yuki who just happened to be holding a lighter.
"Me neither. Where the hell could he have gone! Damnit!" Hiro banged his fist into the metal beneath him, causing not only a large dent in his bike, but his hand to swell not too soon after. "What do we do now? We've already searched town twice over, I've called his family telling them to keep an eye out for him, and nothing!
It seemed nothing they tried had any luck. When Shuichi failed to return to where ever he was two days ago, K had told the band not to worry too much, but after Hiro attempted to contact the singer with absolutely no luck, he began to become seriously concerned. That night, Hiro received an unexpected call from Yuki asking if the 'brat' was over his house. When the guitarist replied no and asked the author the same question (much to the blonde's annoyance) the two decided it best to call around.
Hiro called the various members of their band and Shuichi's family asking about the boy's whereabouts, but no one could give him an answer. K, being the brilliant man his was, decided to start the search.
Yuki on the other hand, called the one person he could depend on: Tohma Seguchi. After telling the other blonde the situation, Seguchi called in a few favors in attempts of finding his friend's lover. Surprisingly, he and Mika also participated in the search, driving through the streets of Tokyo in their car.
Things became frantic the second day, when they still had yet to find any trace of the pink haired singer. That afternoon, they had decided to meet at NG to discuss the plan of action. Hiro was surprised when he walked into the room and Seguchi was standing at the front of the conference room, dressed like a military General with a map of Japan behind him, printed leaflets concerning the sudden disappearance ready to be given out, and dead set on finding the missing singer. Three words came to mind: what-the-hell?
"I know what I'm going to do." The author replied, after a lengthy pause and putting out his cigarette. Calmly, he added, "I'm going to pay Sakuma a little visit."
Now come to think of it, where the hell was Ryuichi Sakuma during all this? Everyone was out looking for the singer, but Ryuichi Sakuma was nowhere to be found. Thinking back on the meeting with Sakuma, Hiro began to wonder just what kind of person Ryuichi really was.
"I'll meet you there." Hiro went to hang up, but a voice from the other end stopped him.
"I'm doing this alone." Hiro just shook his head. "Don't you…"
"I'll meet you there." He said emphasizing each word and cutting the author off, something he would learn to regret later, before he ended the call. He then set his phone on vibrate, started his engine, and took off. Too bad he forgot to ask the author where he was going…
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 19: Unexpected Development
'This can't be it.'
Hiro's jaw dropped as he looked over the shabby eight story building in front of him.
Crammed between two taller, slightly more pristine apartment complexes, the guitarist questioned the directions and address given to him by K. This was certainly not the address given to him before by Tatsuha, when he initially went to confront the vocalist. It was nearly impossible for Hiro's mind to wrap itself around the idea of Ryuichi Sakuma living in such a place. The only signs of the building was occupied at all were a few pieces of laundry handing on the veranda a few floors up and a beat up bicycle chained to a pipe to the side of the building. Not even a single light was on.
Pocketing his keys, Hiro cautiously made his way up the battered stair case towards the fifth floor, where K has said Sakuma's apartment would be. The hallway was quiet save for Hiro's footsteps.
It was slightly ajar.
Hiro distantly wondered if he should have indeed fetched the tire iron from its pouch on his bike before he stepped through the heavily yellowed door. If he had thought the building's exterior a shock, nothing prepared him for the apartment itself.
The sad state of the small dark three room living space could easily be summed up in two simple to remember words: 'absolute' and 'disaster'. Looking around the cramped space, Hiro noticed an assortment of musty cardboard boxes, what seemed to be coffee-stained furniture, paper, and precious few other belongings chaotically sewn about and began to seriously re-think his whole image of the pop-star.
This was definitely not what he had expected. He had expected a slight mess-of course, considering the man's personality- but what he saw around him looked un-lived-in. Where garish colors and reflections of its owner should have been apparent, there was only bleak storage space. Hiro wondered what the space around him set about its owner, if anything. Yuki would probably know better.
Hearing a loud thud followed by several more slightly quieter ones and a handful of colorful and lesser-known swear words, Hiro was snapped from his musings and turned his attention to the door to his far left.
Gathering his courage, most of which was drawn from his concern for his friend and the anger furiously burning for Ryuichi Sakuma, he slowly made his way to the door, all the while attempting not to trip over mess and give away his presence.
Balling his right hand into a fist, Hiro prepared to open the door.
Pressing his open palm on the splintered wood door while blatantly ignoring the small round hole where the knob should have been, Hiro managed only to push the door a few centimeters before it opened seemingly on its own accord and spilled the red head to the paint splattered hardwood floor.
Cursing his luck, Hiro pushed himself up into a half sitting half kneeling position before noticing the shadow that had fallen over his form. Slowly, his eyes made their way up the slender form in front of him until they locked with the other man's pair of amber irises. For a long moment, they just stared at each other, Hiro sitting on the floor and the other man just staring down, his eyes glowing with an ominous glow belaying his anger and concern to find that which he was searching for.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to Hiro, Yuki spoke, his voice harsher than he intended. "He's not here."
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 20: Searching for an Unseen Truth
Hiro would have never guessed or even believed it possible to be in the situation he was in now. No, in the back of his mind he had always been wary of Sakuma's fascination and overly sweet disposition when it came to Shuichi, even if just a little bit. Instead of rising to the defensive, however, he allowed his laid back and friendly nature take over and decided to watch from the sidelines and strike out only if need be. Sadly, only realizing his mistakes now, Hiro found that he had not been watching as closely as he had thought and he wanted to smack himself for it.
He was suspicious of Sakuma for sometime now, yet he idled in his uncertainty. In the beginning, Hiro hoped it was only two like-minded individuals getting along in a way he simply couldn't understand. Hiro had to admit there were few people in the world who really could understand Shuichi on such a level.
But, as time went by, something began to nag at the back of the guitarist's mind, though he couldn't quite place what. It started long before Shuichi's nervousness around the older singer, but became all the more tangible in the past couple of months. Without anything to go on Hiro could say an do nothing. One wrong word or move and Shuichi's whole would could come cumbling down.
Until the night at the park, when he had finally discreetly and (he hoped) indirectly confronted the singer, he had been still withholding a hope for the best. However, now he was most certain that appealing to Ryuichi's better nature had been a lost cause. Perhaps too many years of being on top of the world had been too much on the man and warped him into what he had become: a man used to getting whatever he wanted.
But worse than being mistaken and not interfering when he should have, Hiro found the something else making him sick to his stomach. Deep inside, he had always expected it to be the man currently helping him to be the one who would hurt his best friend most. He had, for a long time, held Ryuichi Sakuma in higher regard than Eiri Yuki and the thought ate away at him. Hiro only hoped that once they found Shuichi, and it wasn't any question of if but when, the vocalist would forgive him.
"Where the hell could they have gone to?" he muttered to himself and was surprised he heard a soft sound in reply.
Looking over to the author, Hiro found that sometime during his thoughts, the other man had situated himself against the side of what seemed to be a bed and placed both hands over his face. He sat there silently, not counting the small sight which escaped his lips, with nothing more that soft breathing and a slight tremor in his huntched shoulders signaling that the man was still alive.
More than just a bit startled, the auburn haired guitarist slowly made his way to the author and tried to get even the slightest of glances of the man's face. It was then he stopped in his tracks with his eyes glued to the back of the blonde's hands. He stared at the small bit of moisture escaping through the cracks made by the man's fingers as they hung there and grew until they fell to the floor with a soft pitter-patter.
Rage boiling up inside him, Hiro turned and left the room to let the normally emotionally stunted author have his breakdown in peace and to also attempt to clear his head. It looked like they were at a dead end with both singers missing and no clues to be found. With his furry reaching its peak, Hiro slammed his fist into the wall, not just once, but several times until he was sure his knuckles would shatter.
No, that was reserved for Sakuma. When he next saw the man, his knuckles would definitely shatter, but so would Sakuma's face...
Shuichi continued to stare at the ceiling above him out of sheer boredom. Since his awakening, there had been no sign of his supposed brother and the likelihood of being discharged soon were almost non-existant.
Sighing and hitting the back of his head against the pillow, which did little but cause himself a bit of pain, he went over the details of his current situation. Deciding to start at the beginning, Shuichi mulled over what he did know, although he felt as though he was one of those amnesia inflicted saps he always saw on the television, even though he was not. Trying to think out his current situation, Shuichi found himself wishing Hiro was there.
'Hiro's always good at this sort of thing…' he thought.
"Ready to go?" Hiro spun on his heel to face the owner of the now raspy voice and in doing so nearly collided with Eiri Yuki's chest. Now instead of looking like a kid who just lost his puppy, the author looked angry, no, genuinely pissed.
With the rage only a boyfriend can possess, Yuki brushed past his lover's band mate and towards his car. He wasn't sure where he was going, but he did know he was going to find his Shuichi and the damned Sakuma and once he did one would come home and the other wouldn't be found for a very long time.
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 21: No matter what, I will want to find you…
It was the advent of yet another morning, this sunrise marking the fifth day in which the young Shuichi Shindo had spent in the hospital under the name "Shu Ueda". The pink haired singer had realized that enough was enough and decided that today would be the day he would get his answers, regardless of what means he would need to implement to get them.
Turning on his side, Shuichi looked though the window and awaited the nurse's hourly visit. The sky was a dusky painting of blue-green eager to mix and blend with the beautiful golden orange still sleeping upon the horizon. The scene was the perfect inspiration for lyrics that even Eiri Yuki would be jealous of, but sadly, music was the last thing on the young singer's mind. For the two and a half days in which the singer had been conscious, it seemed like everyone he had come in contact with was doing their best to be vague. Although most of the doctors and nurses had been successful in that feat, one young Okinawan nurse named Mihou Kazumi had let a description of his so-called "brother" slip. Apparently, the man had been quite serious with sapphire blue eyes and shaggy chin-length hair. She had gone as far as to say he had looked quite familiar. Naturally, this had lead Shuichi to ponder the matter even more and go as far as to try bribing some of the nurses with promises of money, free VIP concert tickets, and even Hiro's hand in marriage for more information. Even his location was still a mystery to him…
But, no more! Determined, Shuichi stood up, ignoring the sudden dizzy feeling, and prepared to put his plans into action. Surely, there was someone, somewhere, who could tell him what the hell was going on and he was going to find that person and make them tell, regardless of what he had to do! With that in mind, along with the fact that there were two burly male nurses stationed right outside his door, Shuichi made his way to the window and opened it. Throwing his leg over the ledge, and grabbing one end of his bed-sheet rope, Shuichi prepared himself for his escape. Goodbye boring hospital room and hello freedom! Too bad he forgot to tie the other end of his rope to something….
"So, nothing then?" Hiro summarized the conversation with a defeated three words and ended it after a moment with a beep as he hit the disconnect button on his cellular phone. He then looked at his comrade, who sat across the table with his elbows propped up against the back of the adjoining dinner booth. "So, care to explain again what you were saying in the car?"
Although Hiro considered himself an intelligent individual, even he had trouble wrapping his mind around what Yuki had explained while they were in his car. It seemed that by their visit to Sakuma's living arrangements, Yuki had been lead to believe the singer had something planned.
With a sigh, the blonde brought and hand to his head, ran it though his bangs, and tried to figure out the simplest way to explain what he wanted to say. So much for the red-head being the intelligent one…
"Look, Sakuma's the only one who knows where the damn brat is. It's probably somewhere he thinks we would never suspect."
Hiro put his drink down and stared the blonde in the eye. "A place he thinks only he knows about…."
Yuki acknowledged the statement with a nod.
"Then why was everything such a mess when we went to his apartment?"
"Either he's a complete slob, or he was clearing out anything he thought that could lead us to him. Birth certificate, maybe some old photos, something like that."
"Okay, so…" Hiro was beginning to understand. Silently, the red head nodded and motioned for the blonde to continue with a tilt of the drink in his hand.
"He never intended to come back."
The silence in the air hung like a fifty kilo weight just waiting to crush them. Something about the blonde's voice and how he had said those five so causally made Hiro more than a little nervous. There was no anger, no sadness, nothing except a cold detachment which made the words seem as though it was something Yuki understood well. But that wasn't what frightened Hiro, no; it was how finalizing the sentence sounded. It was almost as though the blonde was giving up and resigning himself to an untrue fact that he had lost, and Sakuma had won and he would never see Shuichi again.
Hiro had always thought the blonde author would react in one of two ways if the pair had ever broken apart. Hiro had always thought the blonde would be either dangerously angry or incredibly uncaring, but now he wasn't so sure. There were a lot of assumptions that had been proven wrong since he began the search for the two singers with the blonde.
"Trouble is," Hiro began, carefully wording his sentence while at the same time trying to change the subject. "No one but Seguchi-san and Noriko know anything in-depth about him."
At the blonde's lack of participation of the conversation, Hiro continued. "And if that's the case, why haven't they found either one of them yet? I would think it would be simple for Seguchi, considering he knows about almost everything else…"
"He is trying." Hiro looked up in surprise. "I never thought I'd say this, but…"
"What'cha doing way down there, Shuichi?"
Slowly, the pink haired singer opened his eyes and just as quickly closed them. What the hell happened? First he was climbing over the window sill and next he had a slitting headache and couldn't feel his right arm. Did he fall? Something like that would happen to him.
"Shuichi, you okay?"
This time, the familiar voice was laced with concern. Again, the singer opened his eyes a tiny bit. This time, he saw a blur of brown, blue, and green, which was surrounded by an intense white light. Did he die from the fall!
"Shuichi, did you hit your head again?"
"Shuichi, wait right here. I'll go get someone to…"
"Nhn, I'm… I'll be alright… I think."
"But the doctor…"
"I'm fine. Just…" The pink haired singer struggled to sit up, but settled for being propped up on his elbows. "Just turn off the damn lights."
"Sorry, Shuichi, but I don't think that even I could turn off the sun." This time the voice was slightly deeper and filled with a little amusement. Focusing on the voice, Shuichi closed his eyes and willed them to work right the next time he opened them.
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 22: Relations
Tohma Seguchi leaned heavily against his desk as his listened to the music that only the rain could produce. The continuous sounds coming from the large wall sized window behind him helped to calm his disheartened spirit and ease the migraine that had formed in his temples hours prior.
'Where the hell could they be?' He wondered repeatedly while also trying to figure out how someone as famous of as his brunette co-worker could hide so easily. It wasn't as though Ryuichi could simply do as he wished in a nation filled with his fans, without anyone noticing. The man was an icon, unable to walk down a street without gaining unwanted attention, so how could he hide so well that Tohma's vast resources couldn't find him? In a world of cellphones, the internet, and mass-media it should be impossible!
But, hours later, Tohma was still trying to come up with even an idea of where the brunette could be. There were men stationed at all of his usual favorite haunts, which so far proved useless, like Tohma figured it would be. K and company had people waiting at the airports while more of Tohma's men were stationed at the Ueda family home just in case. There was even a guard at each of Ryuichi's apartments, though as of yet, there had been no sightings.
So the question still remained; how was Ryuichi so well hidden? A diamond, even unpolished and surrounded by sand will still stand out... unless it's buried beneath yet more sand...
The though surfaced so quickly and slammed against his skull so hard that for a second it was hard to breathe. 'His fans! He's using their undying and maniacal devotion to his own ends, just like he did with the media before. He's using his most reliable and inexhaustible resource.'
It was a very cleaver move on Ryuichi's part, Tohma had to admit. It also explained how no one in Tohma's employ could find the man. They were all looking for Ryuichi Sakuma, not one of his fans...
But that still should have at least registered as a ping on Tohma's information network in one way or another. Even as a post on a message board or a candid cellphone picture. Someone should have recognised him and said something to someone.
..buried beneath yet more sand...
Unless they weren't dealing with Ryuichi directly. No, that was too traceable and Ryuichi for all his feigne naïveté, knew his fans well. He had to have a go between... someone he was absolutely sure would not betray him...
There weren't many people that applied to. Most of them were assisting in the search to find him.
As the rain slid down the glass, leaving abstract trails of droplets before falling upon the city below, Tohma's hand slowly lifted the onyx receiver before him while his other pressed a well memorized but rarely used series of numbers. He felt bad about using the boy like this, he was family after all, but the keyboardist think of no-one else.
After a long moment, the line was picked up, "Yeah? Make it quick. Driving."
Why is that it is near impossible to find help when you need it most?
'Seriously, I leave him alone for a day and a half, and this is what happens,' Ryuichi silently fumed as he stalked down yet another bland white hall, folder file still firmly clutched tightly under one arm. He hadn't been back at the hospital for more than a few minutes, before discovering Shuichi lying dazed on the lawn with a very long line of tied together sheets clutched in one hand.
'I guess that's to be expected when Shuichi's involved,' He thought as he shook his head. Seeing Shuichi in such poor health made the older singer really regret his decision to make the- what was supposed quick- trip to his apartment and back. It probably would have been quicker had they not needed to stop for fuel or gotten into that near accident when the youngest Uesugi brother tried to answer his mobile phone during the return trip. That had been a close call. Thankfully the delivery driver was just as worried about his record as they were about their health and accepted a large stack of bills to make the accident go away.
Shifting the folder to make sure nothing fell out, Ryuichi picked up his pace. He needed a doctor to check on Shuichi, to make sure he wasn't too terribly injured and then they would go. They needed to keep moving, now Tohma decided to run interference.
It had been hard enough to get his personal documents from his apartment with the guards there, even with Tatsuha's assistance.
Using a hand to catapult himself around the corner, he narrowly missed barreling into a rather large group of white coated men and women standing perplexed outside a door. Staring at the heard for a brief moment, the cynical part of Ryuichi's brain cut in with a snide remark. 'So, this is where they've been hiding.'
Normally, when someone is in the mists of suffering from their second severe concussion within the span of a week, it is not a generally a good idea for that individual to fall asleep. However, let it be said that the young Shuichi Shindo was never one to follow a good idea.
All that the singer understood was, after falling out a fourth story window, that it was blissfully warm wherever it currently was. His mind also vaguely registered the fact that the longer he stayed in this wonderful place, the stronger the influence of the invading peacefulness enveloping his mind became.
Most people called that strange pulling sensation unconsciousness, but Shuichi called it heaven.
"I'm home!" he yelled as he kicked off his shoes, energetically jumped the genkan, and raced towards the living room at top speeds. "Yuki! Aren't you gonna welcome me home?"
As if, Yuki rarely ever welcomed him home after a long day of rehearsing. If by chance the blonde author did appear outside his study around the time his lover returned home, it usually meant that he wanted sex. Urgently.
But that didn't mean that Shuichi couldn't hope, couldn't wish that this was the one night that he would be welcomed home, without his lover needing something. Sometimes it just made the young singer feel used, like Yuki just kept him around for a little bodily pleasure between writing chapters.
In all honesty, Shuichi wouldn't doubt it had he had less faith in his lover, but sometimes the thought would resurface during the nights after the two had slept with each other.
No, it wasn't really sleeping together if the other party got up, dressed, and went back to his study to continue writing, leaving the pink haired boy to fall asleep alone in a rapidly cooling bed.
Sleeping together was something completely different and something the couple hadn't done in a long, long time. But that was neither here or there at the moment.
"Yuki?" He slowed only slightly as his socked feet slid into the living room, as to make any collisions as nonfatal as possible, "Yuki? Yuki!"
It was absolute silence, that strong mind piercing and completely deafening type of silence. It was also dark, which really wasn't all that uncommon around this time. It usually meant that either the author was working in his study or he had gone out, but that couldn't be it due to the fact that Shuichi passed the blonde's car on his way to the complex's elevator.
"Stop fooling around, Yuki. I know that you usually don't welcome me home with the enthusiasm of a needy housewife, but come on! This is a little bit much, don't you think?"
There was a very brief movement in the corner of his eye.
"Yuki? Is that you?" he asked the inky blue-purple darkness around him, all the while staring intently in the direction in which something moved. Although he couldn't really see that well, he continued to stare unblinking. Still, he could not see anything out of the ordinary. "Enough, Yuki."
"Yuki?" A soft voice that sounded as though to his right! His head snapped to that side, hoping to see the owner of the voice. Yet again, he was greeted by empty air.
"Why is it always Yuki this or Yuki that?" Now to his left?! The vocalist took a slow cautious step back.
How could that be? How could something move that quickly without making a single sound? Slowly, he continued his soft steps backward, towards what he hoped was the exit. His eyes scanned the darkness all the while.
"Well? I'm waiting." Behind!
He froze, body ridged and eyes wide, as he fought the cold fear clawing up his throat. He refused to turn around, even if it had been possible.
"And I think you've kept me waiting long enough." In front?!
No, that couldn't be right. There wasn't anything before him besides the darkness cast by the late night and the even darker silhouettes of his lover's furniture. He should be able to see someone standing right in front of him, even this late at night.
"I'm tired of waiting." He looked down at his feet. Light pink velvet and charcoal colored plastic stared lifelessly up at him. Although constructed only of cheap plastic, the dark gaze burned through the singer's form, just as accusingly had they been real.
Shuichi awoke with a start and it took a moment or two to get his breathing and heart to slow down. It took even longer to gather his scattered thoughts enough to investigate his surroundings. Wherever he was, it certainly wasn't his hospital room.
For one thing, there was sky above him, a grey cloudy one that promised rain along with a possibility of lightning. So that meant that either he was outside or the hospital lost its roof while he was sleeping. Speaking of sleeping, why was he sleeping outside to begin with?
"This is one hell of a predicament you've managed to get yourself into this time, isn't it?" Tatsuha drawled lazily as he lit a cigarette, before plopping down on the grass next to the pink haired singer with a soft grassy thud. Bringing a leg up, as to have something to prop his smoking hand on, the charcoal haired youth gave his brother's lover a brief look over.
After Shuichi's initial shock at seeing the dark haired teen, Tatsuha haft-heartedly explained that he had been the one stuck babysitting the immature vocalist until the doctors' arrival, but as the singer's energy ebbed away, so did their conversation. Since then, the two had sat with only the sound of the wind passing through the trees between them until Tatsuha's question, which was more of a statement than a question. During that quite time, the two eventually became lost in themselves as each replaced their side of the conversation with inner thought.
Surprisingly, the first thought to enter the dark haired teen's mind did not concern his brother's lover or said brother's lover's current relationship with their shared idol, but focused on the weather. Looking up at the sky, Tatsuha knew that it was only time before the rain that had followed them from Tokyo would fall over the hospital and its well manicured grounds. Honestly, Tatsuha had no desire to get drenched again. Once had been more than enough for the teen.
So, with that, he turned his attention back to Shuichi, next to him. Not much had changed about the cotton candy haired boy since the last time Tatsuha had seen him, except for the soft white gauze rapped gingerly around the before mentioned boy's partially exposed upper left arm. Speaking of exposed upper arms, Tatsuha rubbed at his own in attempts at gaining a little warmth, since he had lent his jacket to his idol during their trip back from Ryuichi's one of many apartments scattered throughout Japan.
"Yeah, I still can't believe I forgot to tie the other end to something," came the muttered reply which seemed to be directed towards no-one in particular. Shaking his head at his forgetfulness, Shuichi ran his hand over and through the grass.
'What's up with this guy,' Tatsuha thought to himself, unknowingly giving the singer an odd look. This was very much unlike Shuichi, or at least the Shuichi that Tatsuha had come to know, and it set the younger man on edge.
Usually, the vocalist was more energetic, even if he had just fallen out a window and onto his head. What was even more out of character was the lack of quick-fire questions that Tatsuha was sure would be directed towards him. There had been no loud high-pitched yells of, "YUKI!" in the past- however long they had been outside. That in itself scared the teen.
"That's not what I meant," Tatsuha tried as he took another puff, held it for a moment and then exhaled it very slowly. As the smoke left the younger boy's lungs, he hoped the irritation and apprehension he felt would leave with it.
Both he and Shuichi watched as the thin grayish blue smoke slowly melted into the breeze. "Everyone's worried about you, ya know, especially my bro. You can't just decide to run off whenever you feel like it!"
"I didn't!" Shuichi's head whipped to face the coal-haired teen, his neck letting out a sharp snap that startled them both and made Tatsuha wince.
"Shuichi, what if Sakuma-san wasn't there when you tried to hurt yourself?!"
Ryuichi stared at the conjugation of hospital personal before him with a mixture of annoyance, relief, and amusement. The well-deserved- according to Ryuichi- annoyance was aimed straight in the backs of the staff's heads, while the feelings of relief over finding people who could help tried to placate the thirty-something year old vocalist.
Standing there, his cynical side couldn't help but point out that he had yet to be noticed by the staff, who were busy trying to piece together what had happened to the patient who, until only a few hours ago, had been residing within the room in front of them.
'Room 570B,' It was Shuichi's room, if he remembered correctly.
"Do you think his brother came to pick him up and just forgot to sign out?" One nurse whispered worriedly to a co-worker, a slightly older looking nurse, who shrugged and returned her attention to the door.
"Let's hope that's all that happened," the nurse replied, without looking at the other, "Otherwise we'll all have a grand time trying to explain our way out of this one. Remember what happened with Uehara?"
Honestly, Ryuichi was almost afraid to know, given the patient-staff relationship already displayed in his whole thirty minutes since he and Tatsuha had returned. So, before the two nurses could continue, Ryuichi coughed lightly as he came behind the two.
"Excuse me," he began, contorting his face into an overly pleasant smile and making his voice drip honey. "But this wouldn't possibly have anything to do with my precious little brother now, would it?"
"What?" Shuichi stared at the raven-haired boy with a mix of confusion and shock, his eyebrows furrowing as he tried to make sure he had heard correctly. The young vocalist had thought he had heard the teen imply that this whole ordeal had somehow been his fault.
"You heard me, you dumbass," came the reply and for a moment, just a moment, Shuichi could swear he heard the voice of his blonde haired lover through the lips of said lover's little brother. "If Ryuichi-sama wasn't the kind, caring, person he is-"
"What in the world are you talking about," Shuichi cut in, shaking his head as to dislodge whatever fluff in his head that was causing him to imagine what Tatsuha was implying. There was just no other way that this was real, otherwise.
"Look, I know how you feel about my bro," Tatsuha tried, mistaking the Shuichi's actions for signs of the singer's guilty conscience. It would make sense, according to what Ryuichi had said when he had first called Tatsuha, asking help. Durring that time, when Tatsuha had finally gotten the brown-haired vocalist to calm down, Ryuichi had reluctantly confessed to Shuichi's declining health brought about by his and his kouhai's affair.
"I love Yuki! I love him more than anything in the world," the younger vocalist pleaded, grabbing Tatsuha's arms with icy fingers. If he wasn't so frustrated with the pink-haired man, to the point where his normally cool temper was quickly winning out, Tatsuha vaguely noted that he should be worried for his brother's soon to be ex. It just wasn't natural for his hands to be that cold, especially since it had not yet started to rain.
"Then, if you love him so much, you should just end it here and now. If you're gonna break it off with him, just do it and be done with it," Shuichi's quick intake of breath or wide eyes did nothing to stop Tatsuha from continuing, "I know he's scary when he's angry, but trying to kill yourself over this doesn't solve anything!"
"I... I didn't... I mean, I'm not..." The once tight grip on Tatsuha's arms slackened before falling away completely and coming to lay atop the grass.
"W-who said... who said I'd ever leave Yuki?"
後輩 Kouhai sort of like a student / acolyte who learns from a senpai (mentor) who in this case is Ryuichi. Can also be translated as junior.
Chapter 24: The Fanboy’s Dilemma
His hands felt heavy and boneless, almost like they were made from thick rubber instead of human flesh. His mouth felt dry and hot. His chest ached as the emotions flooding his body constricted tightly around his heart. It left Shuichi with a distant sense of breathlessness.
"W-who said... who said I'd ever leave Yuki?" Looking up only slightly, the pink haired vocalist struggled to push words past the icy blockade which had formed in between his heart and throat. It was more than difficult. It was downright painful.
"I did," a familiar voice replied simply. Looking away from Tatsuha's frowning face, Shuichi looked over his shoulder and up into the eyes of the man who had been his idol for many years. After holding the connection a couple more minutes, Ryuichi continued forward towards the two younger men with a hint of a slightly predatory stalk to his motions. Although he stopped only a couple of steps away from the pair, to Shuichi, it still felt intimately close. Idly he wondered when it was he began to notice more of the other man's nuances. Feeling uncomfortable by the thought, he quickly looked away.
"I told him because you are," the brunette continued, the strength and conviction contained within his words overwhelming Shuichi easily, even without eye contact. Had eye contact been maintained at that moment, during the brunette's declaration, the pink haired singer was sure he would have fainted. Instead, though, he continued to stare at a point just a little left of the older singer as he waited for his lungs to remember how to work.
It was only with the corner of his eye, did he see the now squatting Ryuichi pull the lapels of the too big leather jacket shut with his free hand. The exposure of pale white hands against dark leather, the tight skin just a little bit pink from the cold, attracted the younger male's attention enough for Shuichi's mind to remain in the moment.
Sensing this, Ryuichi slowed his movements a little, as to make sure both sets of eyes were on continually on him. When he was sure Shuichi's attention would not stray, he readjusted the thick manila file that had been under his arm with his other hand. Now that the brunette was assured that the contents of the folder were not about to spill out onto the grass, he leaned forward slightly, closing the rest of the distance between himself and the lighter haired man.
When Ryuichi felt that he had gotten close enough, he made sure to lock eyes with his protégé, before he continued. Contrary to his softly spoken words and easygoing tone of voice he had been using since Shuichi awoke to find himself outside, Ryuichi's eyes held a hard edge to them, one which cut through Shuichi is an odd sort of way.
They clearly read; 'playtime is over,' and the thought made Shuichi swallow convulsively. Waiting for the brunette to speak, the younger vocalist was at a loss as to how he should approach this new entity, who was settled only a few centimeters in front of him. When more than a minute passes without anyone saying anything, it was with a soft, sharp, intake of breath that Shuichi's mind raced to process the other man's words.
"You're leaving him for me," he whispered conspiratorially, the corners of his lips tugging up into a slight smile, and eyes sparking like a child's. Shuichi wasn't sure if that sparkle signaled danger or excitement, or both. Had he not know the usual outcomes of the other man's former plays at child-like tendencies, he might have thought Ryuichi sincere. However, Shuichi was slowly realizing those moments for what they really were: a form of manipulation. The realization was daunting.
Was Ryuichi really the immensely self-assured adult he portrayed on stage, confident of the truth and power held within each syllable he uttered? Or was he something else entirely? Being so close to the one called Ryuichi Sakuma, Shuichi saw the lines between personas blur and a new even mysterious entity start to take form. Who was the real Ryuichi?
But more importantly, did he even want to know? Shuichi wasn't entirely sure.
Taking Shuichi's prolonged silence as agreement Ryuichi turned his attention towards Tatsuha. When their eyes met, Shuichi noticed the change in the older singer's eyes almost immediately, now that he knew what to look for. That glint that had been present as he talked to Shuichi had not left completely, but there was also another set of emotions swirling in those blue depts.
With Shuichi, there had been a certain degree of tenderness, affection, mixed in and softening that dangerous gleam, but with Tatsuha there was boredom and no small amount of coldness. It was something Shuichi used to see in Yuki's eyes often enough when their relationship was still forming and before the bond between them deepened to something beyond a common feeling of lust. However, unlike in Yuki's eyes, Ryuichi's held another emotion. If Shuichi was to put a name to it, it would be satisfaction. Like the cat who got his cream, Ryuichi had loyal fans who would do anything to make the vocalist happy, and he knew it. He used it, exploited it, even. Especially when it came to Tatsuha…
The thought made Shuichi sick.
"Tatsuha, ready the bike, we're leaving," Focusing on Tatsuha, Shuichi watched the teenager's face carefully, waiting to see if the teen realized just how tightly Ryuichi had him wrapped around his finger. To his surprise, the monk's expression seemed to lack its usual excitement, which was always present whenever the teen interacted with the singer. Instead, there was a seriousness present, which Shuichi had never before seen displayed on this particular Uesugi's face. The look made the teen look even more like his lover and it caused a pang to go through the singer's chest.
"I think Shuichi's well enough to travel, by now. And besides, there's not much help to be had around here," the brunette added, standing up and giving a quick disapproving glance around the grounds. After taking one last look at the hospital, the one which Shuichi still didn't have a name for, Ryuichi reached the hand not holding the folder down towards the younger vocalist.
"Where are we going now?" he asked allowing himself to be pulled up. As soon as Shuichi was to his feet and it was certain he would not find himself sitting in the grass again, he tried to further the distance between himself and the older man enough to help Tatsuha up. Unsurprisingly, Ryuichi refused to let go.
"That, my Shuichi, is the surprise," came the brunette's once again childlike reply, followed by a smile which didn't dim even after Shuichi failed to return it. Instead, Shuichi turned back to attempting to help Tatsuha.
However, by the time Shuichi untangled one of his hands from Ryuichi's vice-like grip, Tatsuha was already up and a few meters away and stalking towards his bike. It wasn't until Shuichi felt the weight of Tatsuha's heavy riding jacket being placed over his shoulders, did he realize he was trembling and cold.
"On second thought, maybe we should have him steal a car," Suddenly tired, Shuichi decided to ignore those words and the feeling of Ryuichi dotting over him incessantly. Instead he focused on the teen in front of them as he shoved his hands deep into the coat's pockets. It was in the search of warmth that wasn't Ryuichi's that his hand closed around something small and plastic. His hand gripped it tightly and insistently. His way home, Tatsuha's cell phone…
Tatsuha didn't know what made him more disgusted; Ryuichi's infatuation with his brother's lover or the brat's lack of response towards it. Personally, if it had been Tatsuha, he would have been ecstatic. However, as he thought about it more and more, he realized that his situation was nothing like the pink haired teen's. He didn't have a boyfriend, for one. He also didn't have much of a career to speak of, other than dividing his time between trying to halfheartedly fulfill his father's wishes and playing slave to Ryuichi's whims. That was another point which got him quickly frustrated.
While the vocalist had always been a bit eccentric and maybe a little excessive in his demands, his requests had become trying in the previous couple of weeks. And although Tatsuha would give the man the moon and stars if it were in his power, the response garnered was off-putting, if not downright insulting.
Ryuichi always had an air about him, one which said that he was aware of the power placed so nicely in his lap, but until reciently he had never wielded his power to such an effect, at least not that Tatsuha was aware of. The singer knew he could have anything and everything with only a handful of words and a look, but with each over the top request, there also came a pretense of gratitude or a charming smile which left the masses eager and willing to do his bidding. But now, Ryuichi bothered with neither of these. It was such a change that it left the teen surprised and more than a little angry.
'Three in the morning and it's 'Tatsuha do this, Tatsuha do that,'' the teen fumed, attempting to start the engine, even though his passengers were still a good distance away.
In the beginning, Tatsuha really didn't mind helping his idol out. He really didn't mind the early, or sometimes obscenely late phone calls, as it was a chance for him to hear the other man's voice directed towards him. He could put up with the summons to this place or that, even going so far as to make the late night drive from Kyoto to Osaka and then sit through the plane ride to Hokkaido. He also wasn't all that concerned even when he was told he would have to use his own funds for several of the trips. In his mind, he was almost positive the reward would be more than worth it.
But now, he was starting to see that it probably wasn't. In the end, when and if the vocalist got his so long desired prize, what would that leave Tatsuha with? What could possibly be worth the time, money, and dreams wasted chasing Ryuichi's phantom desires?
Rummaging through his pockets, Tatsuha searched for his phone.
'He doesn't even see me, I wonder if he really ever did,' the teen wondered as his hands went to his back pockets, when his front two turned up empty. Frustrated when the mobile device failed to be there as well, he let out a heavy sigh and wished he had another cigarette; or three. He could also do with some asprin, for the headache slowly taking form behind his eyes.
'I mean, he's always carrying on how it's always been so hard for him to watch the kid be with my bro, when he's right here waiting for him, but he's just as bad,' he thought, throwing a quick glance at the sky and then to the pair of vocalists slowly making their way towards him. Running a hand quickly through his hair, he decided to give up on the phone for now. It probably was lost during the accident anyway. He would call Tohma if and when he found a pay phone.
Until then, he would push everything to the back of his mind and focus on driving, if only so he wouldn't get himself killed.
To Be Continued…
Chapter 25: Without Shining Armor
Eiri Yuki never once thought of himself as ever being someone's 'knight in shining armor.' He also never thought that he would ever love someone so strongly again, after the Kitazawa Incident, as to want to be that said knight. But, as he sat, slumped against the passenger's side window of his own car, he found himself thinking that the idea in itself might not be as bad as he always thought. A few minutes later however, he regained himself.
He decided to blame his previous thoughts on a lack of sleep. Yes, that was it; the reason behind this new found softness. It was amazing what seventy two hours without rest could do to a man. A self imposed insomnia could cause a man's mind to go a bit soft around the edges, cause a man to reflect on scattered thoughts better left less than half formed. Rubbing the heel of his palm against his burning eyes and cheek, the author threw one last glance towards the side view mirror and the inky darkness beyond it. This was what a lack of sleep did to men, and it wasn't by any stretch of the imagination 'pretty'.
While the author had always had a look of tired resignation about him, that resignation seemingly aimed at the idea of forced dealings with those around him, he now looked exhausted. Not only was this exhaustion physical, as characterized by the dark black smudges so prominent under bloodshot eyes or the heavy slump in otherwise proud shoulders, but of the emotional variety as well. Combined with his already fragile emotional condition, this new stress trigger… well, he didn't want to think too deeply about it now. He was just thankful he hadn't started coughing blood.
Idly he wondered if he could make it another day before his body succumbed to fatigue and collapsed all together. If it somehow managed not to, then it would be due to his lull in food intake, his cynical mind provided. He would have to eat something soon, he realized, if he wanted to keep going. It was hard enough continuing while ignoring his companion's worried glances and brother-in-law's worrying, sans sleep and his medications, without the added stress of remembering when and what to eat. But compared to finding his lover, food seemed rather unimportant to Yuki.
The blonde hadn't even realized he had sighed until the red head next to him gave him a beseeching look, one that begged him to try and get some rest, for both his and Shuichi's sakes. Shaking his head, the older man returned his eyes to the small mirror next to him. The sunrise was still a few hours away.
For not the first time, he wished himself to be the emotionless bastard he often pretended himself to be. Then, he imagined, he would be able to see the situation clearly and without the distraction of his own emotions tugging him this way and that. Hell, had he continued to be the bastard he'd been when he first met the bright eyed singer, none of this would have ever happened, he mused. But where would that leave them then?
His mind couldn't even imagine such a scenario anymore.
When was it that had become the case? Leaning his head against the cool window, the blonde supposed he would have continued as he always had: sleeping with nameless men and women every night, drinking until he passed out, and writing his sappy romance novels. He also supposed that there was a great likelihood he would have married Ayaka, although the marriage would have done little to nothing in the way of curbing his outrageous lifestyle. It would have just ended in her unhappiness and a strong sense of mutual resentment.
Watching the raindrops make their way across the glass in front of him, he knew it was all conjecture on his part. He had a strong feeling though, had he not met Shuichi when he had, his life would have most likely ended at rather prematurely and presumably by his own hand.
He owed the younger man for bringing some semblance of happiness into his life, even if the vocalist could be barely tolerable at times. But, Yuki supposed that had more to do with faults in his own personality than anything the pink haired man did, though he would never voice such thoughts out loud. Instead, he would find his younger lover and bring him home, trying in the future to be a better person to both of them. That's all he could do, he supposed.
By the time the first hints of light shone over the horizon, Eiri Yuki was fast asleep in the passenger's side seat of his own car, with his head resting lightly against a rain streaked window and a neutral look on his face as opposed to his usual frown.
Hiro couldn't help the small smile that graced his features when he noticed the blonde beside him had finally fallen into a fitful slumber. The sleep was sorely needed and Hiro was happy the author had finally managed it, even though his own body felt a twinge of envy.
Returning his eyes to the road in front of them, Hiro pondered their next possible course of action. As things stood, he and the author were at a dead end, with no leads as to where Sakuma would go next. Both men knew too little about the vocalist to even begin to guess how the man's mind worked.
After a while, Hiro pulled over to the side of the road. Getting out of the driver's seat, he did his best not to wake the sleeping blonde and was relieved when the other man showed no signs of noticing they had stopped. Once out of the car, the redhead shut the door and leaned back against it, staring up into the predawn sky.
"Where the hell are you, Shuichi?"
Hiro didn't expect any sort of divine inspiration at his question, so he wasn't particularly bothered when it didn't come. He was somewhat startled, however, when he felt a vibration in his pocket.
He quickly fished out his phone and opened it. He didn't even bother to check who it was. Few people had his number and all of them were currently assisting in the efforts to find Shuichi.
"Yes and no," came the voice of Tohma Seguchi. "While we have yet to locate Mr. Shindo, there has been a sighting of a man matching Tatsuha's description, which came in a few hours ago. Apparently he and a passenger were in a minor accident west of Tokyo. According to the other driver, they were heading south when the accident took place."
"Which will at least give us something to go on," Hiro elaborated, nodding. Sneaking a quick glance at the author, Hiro was relived to find the blonde still asleep. While the guitarist was happy to finally receive some small amount of new information, he wasn't sure how this new lead would pan out. As much as he and Yuki may have not seen eye to eye at times, Hiro knew himself not cruel enough to plant false hope.
"But how did you think to look for Tatsuha?" He continued, taking a few steps away from the vehicle.
"It was the only logical way Ryuichi could continue to act undetected. He knows we have people looking for him and he knows that anywhere he goes he is almost sure to be recognized. So he needs someone he can trust to do things on his behalf, someone he can control. That left only Tatsuha."
"So he's using the kid," Disgust pooled in Hiro's stomach.
"Correct. Ryuichi has really gone too far this time," Tohma sighed. The guitarist's heart went out the older man, thinking about how he would feel if he had been in his place. It was hard to think about."Still…I am sending someone down that way now. I will call once I know more."
"Right. Thanks… for everything, I mean."
"Don't worry about it," the chuckle accompanying the words was anything but filled with humor. "And Mr. Nakano, we will find your friend. I promise you that."
To Be Continued
Chapter 26: Finding the Limit
In a way, Shuichi was glad that Ryuichi had convinced Tatsuha to hotwire a car, since there was no way the three of them were ever going to fit on the teen's motorcycle. The younger vocalist shuddered to think about what would have happened, if there had been no other vehicles in the parking lot. He wasn't exactly ready to travel alone with the brunette at the moment, and the thought of leaving Tatsuha alone without means to get home, didn't sit well with the kind-hearted Shuichi. It was bad enough that the teen had to leave his beloved bike at the hospital.
However, since then, no words were exchanged between Ryuichi and Tatsuha. Come to think of it, no words were exchanged between any of them since Tatsuha took the wheel and began to drive. Looking away from the window, and the endless grey barricades lining the road outside, Shuichi looked closely at the dark haired teen. Tatsuha's hands gripped the wheel tightly and from what Shuichi could see, his jaw seemed to clenched. Dark eyes focused on the road in front of them, rarely glancing towards the rear view mirror. When eyes did look up, Tatsuha's gaze avoided Shuichi's questioning glance, which was reflected in the mirror. The ridged kant to the teen's body made his unwillingness to talk to the vocalists and dissatisfaction with the situation apparent.
Pulling his eyes from the mirror, Shuichi burrowed deeper into the twice-borrowed jacket. While it was large on Ryuichi, it was absolutely gigantic on Shuichi's thin frame. The vocalist blamed it on his not eating right for the past couple of weeks and stress.
His hand once again came into contact with the plastic weight in his pocket, and he wondered when he would get a chance to use it. He was pretty sure that he would have to wait until Ryuichi either fell asleep or was otherwise occupied to even try calling for help. He also knew that if Ryuichi even suspected that he had the phone, it would be taken from him in a heartbeat. Speaking of Ryuichi, his eyes went over to the vocalist.
Ryuichi was leaning against the window, flipping idely through his folder of documents. Without Tatsuha's jacket on, the brunette lost some of his prior bulkiness, but in a way he didn't look any less formidable. There was a slight frown tugging at the corner of the brunette's lips and his eyes were narrowed somewhat. Blue eyes scanned over the papers, not once looking up. From where he sat, Shuichi couldn't see what sorts of documents the other man was looking at, so instead he decided to study the singer's profile.
Ryuichi Sakuma had always been a good looking man, according to Shuichi's standards. Of course, the man was absolutely gorgeous whenever he took to the stage, but as the younger vocalist got to know Ryuichi he found himself preferring the man's playful boyishness. That same playful nature, which used to make Shuichi feel so comfortable around the brunette, had been ebbing away like the fleece in front of Shuichi's eyes. It made him wonder, just who the man next to him was really. It also made him wonder if he really wanted to find out.
Having been in the spotlight for years himself, Shuichi came to realize that the face the public sees often times does not reflect the true feelings of the artist. He had experienced being the one smiling and laughing, when his heart really wasn't in it, or pretending to be confident when his insides felt like melted butter. It was simply a reality of their industry. Hell, it had become part of his everyday life in the past weeks. Looking at Ryuichi, he wondered for how long he had been fooled by the childish mask. Probably since meeting the man…
But before that, Shuichi could never imagine the man as anything other than the rock god that appeared on the stage. Energetic, yes, but with a controlled method to his madness. He was cool, untouchable, even a little bit arrogant, but filled with such emotion. Shuichi used to wonder if that fullness in his voice translated to other aspects of his life. As a fan, Shuichi saw exactly and only what Ryuichi and the rest of Nittle Grasper wanted him to see. When he was younger, when the thought of actually meeting and working with his idol was just a dream, that was enough. In that way, without knowing the man, he could imagine Ryuichi Sakuma to be however he wanted him to be. At that time, he was happier not knowing, since part of him knew he would most likely be disappointed by the man behind the mask.
The thought made Shuichi stop and look away. His heart squeezed tightly in his chest. His mouth went dry. Leaning his head back and closing his eyes, Shuichi thought about the first time he met Ryuichi Sakuma. His first impression was awe. He had been starstruck as he stood next to his long time idol on the stage. His mind was absolutely blank, not processing the words that came out of the other man's mouth or even the fact that Yuki had been staring up at him from the audience. Even long after the concert ended, Shuichi had not been in his right mind. But I'm over that sort of hero worship, aren't I?
A sudden swerve and a loud honk broke the group out of their thoughts. Ryuichi's head shot up, as Tatsuha let out a long line of expletives. Shuichi just looked between the two nervously.
"Don't worry about it, I'll sort it out. You two stay here," with that Tatsuha slammed his door shut behind him, leaving the two vocalists to stare at the spot where he had just been. After a minute, the two looked at each other. Shuichi was relieved that Ryuichi's intimidating presence had abated somewhat. Now, he simply looked slightly confused.
The sun was starting to set by the time the pit stop came into view. The stop wasn't anything spectacular, but it served its purpose, with a main building, some benches, and a gas pump. From his place in the car, Ryuichi could see the complex was once three small separate buildings which had been converted into one large one over time. In front were several vending machines, serving various canned drinks.
"How are we with gas?" he asked the younger Uesugi, as he stepped out of the car. He stretched and turned towards the vending machines.
"We should probably top her off, while we're here, if you plan on continuing this madness," came the lackluster reply. He turned his head towards the teen, and nodded, before closing the distance between the car and the shops. He knew better than to try and enter any of the buildings, knowing that the likelihood that he could be recognised was pretty high, but he was thirsty.
After listening to car make its way over the gas pump, he pulled some coins out of his pocket and deposited them into the machine.
"So, Shuichi, what do you want to drink?"
When no answer came, he turned to look at the younger man. What he saw didn't please him. Shuichi looked so small in that jacket, but it was made worse with how the boy was hunched into the material. Hands in pockets, head down, and shoulders scrunched, he looked like a puppy expecting a blow. Ryuichi didn't like that at all.
"Shuichi," he made sure to keep his tone friendly, but when Shuichi flinched, he smiled and put his hands up to show that he meant no harm. Internally, he scowled and cursed himself several ways to hell. "Hey, hey. Look, I'm not going to hurt you. It's just me, Ryuichi.
"I just want to know what you'd like to drink. We've been on the road for hours, and I know I'm thirsty. How about you?" he continued when the younger vocalist only shuffled on the spot.
Ryuichi took a long look at the younger vocalist, growing more and more uneasy as seconds ticked by. He wondered if the averted eyes and closed off body language was a sign that Shuichi was still afraid of him. Was Shuichi afraid that the brunette would lash out in a fit of anger? Or was he nervous around the older man, thinking Ryuichi would let his hands wander places that they had no business going? Something turned an uncomfortable in Ryuichi's stomach and he soon found himself spitting up the first words that came to mind.
"I-I'm sorry about before," he tried, "But that was an accident. I swear!"
"Ryuichi," the sound of his name stopped him. The weight contained in the word was heavy and promised that Ryuichi wasn't going to like what came next.
Eyes scanned the younger man's form, hoping to read each expression, every nuance in his subtle movements. The Ryuichi wished, not the first time since embarking on this ill thought out adventure, that he had something in his hands to worry at. Before, he had his folder, but that was in the car now. So, instead, he settled with shoving his hands into his pockets. His pants were snug, so his hands above his knuckles stuck out at a slight angle. Still, the tight pockets did still his fingers for a short time.
He had known that his plans had gone pear shaped once the three of them had gotten into the car. The silence was deafening and the atmosphere so heavy, he could slice through it with a dull butter knife.
Earlier, he could feel Shuichi's eyes on him, while he flipped through his papers. But he refused to look up, or even acknowledge the younger man's scruitany. The gaze he felt was not that of idolization. Silently, he stared at his papers without seeing them, and prayed that Shuichi could find something about him that he could deem worthy of his affection.
The weight in his stomach told him that maybe, just maybe, Shuichi wasn't able to find that something after all. 'Please don't say what I think you're going to say. Please', he begged, internally.
"I want to go home. Tell Tatsuha to take us home," the plea tore at something in Ryuichi's chest. It became too hard to breathe. He fell back against the vending machine, only to startle when a can fell into the dispensing slot.
Shaking his head slowly, Ryuichi wished with everything thing he had that he had heard wrong. This was it. Shuichi hated him, he managed to make the agreeable Shuichi Shindo finally hate him. Some small voice in the back of Ryuichi's mind whispered poisonous words about it being time that Shuichi saw him for who and what he really was.
Tears sprung to his eyes. Fingers gripped at the linings of his pockets, blunt nails bit into the flesh of his thighs as his world crumbled around him, "...I can't."
"W-why the hell not?" Ryuichi winced at the younger man's tone. Soon enough, he looked up to see Shuichi standing a couple of steps away from him. The jacket which had previously swallowed him up was now billowing around his angry form.
"...I… I messed up. Big time," Ryuichi winced at how weak his voice sounded. His carefully constructed persona was crumbling and the shattered pieces were cutting into his soul, his psyche, like shards of glass.
"What do you mean 'messed up?'"
"He means you've been missing for a few days now. I'm sure everyone's looking for you."
Both vocalists looked at Tatsuha, who had left the pump's handle in the gas tank and had probably came to get a drink from the machine. Ryuichi wanted to let the breath out that he had been holding, but the look on Tatsuha's face told him that the teen wasn't going to make this easy. Desperately, Ryuichi tried to rally pieces of his persona back together to get him through this difficult discussion, as well as to form a shield to protect himself from their disappointed eyes.
"But…" Shuichi turned back to Ryuichi, who blurted out the truth as one might rip away a bandage.
"I haven't told anyone what happened. I… panicked and asked Tatsuha to help me."
The teen snorted, "Asked, right."
Shuichi looked from one man to the other several times. While Ryuichi knew his face likely was contorted with guilt, worry, and shame, Tatsuha's was a mask of quiet rage. It was unsettling on the younger Uesugi's face.
Ryuichi pulled his fingers out of his pockets and looked at his hands, at hands that were once used to write music, before being used to show both affection and inflict damage to the younger singer. Where had his life gone so wrong? The world and everything important to Ryuichi in it was slipping through these fingers.
First he destroyed his friendship with Tohma, then he jeopardized his career. Now his very being was put on trial and found lacking by Shuichi, with Tatsuha- one of the few who had stood by him through everything- seconding the verdict. Idely, Ryuichi wondered what he would still have at the end of the day.
Turning, towards the vending machine, he bent and retrieved the can. He grasped the small can tightly in both hands, to reassure himself that these fingers could still hold something- anything- before aiming his words over his shoulder at Shuichi.
"But we're going to sort it out, so don't worry, alright? Just worry about feeling better. Leave everything else to me," the words didn't come out nearly as reassuring or confident as he had hoped they would. In fact, they left his lips rushed and sounding a little desperate.
"What are you going to do?"
Feeling Shuichi's eyes on his back, Ryuichi wracked his brain for solutions, but each plan that his mind formed was more ridiculous than the last. He wanted to blame a lack of sleep, stress, anything for the idiotic ideas, but Ryuichi acknowledged that he may have never been all that great at digging himself out of trouble. He had a brilliant mind for finding it and weaving intricate webs- snares more like- therewithin, but he was absolutely wretched when it came to cleaning up his own messes. He had relied on Tohma for that, and with that bridge burnt, Ryuichi was hard pressed as to what he should do.
"I… don't know yet."
No, that wasn't true. Not entirely. He knew, somewhere deep inside, what he should do. He should ask to borrow Tatsuha's phone and call Tohma. He should tell Shuichi to have a seat, in the heated car, and wait for Tohma to send someone to pick the younger man up. Hell, he should order- request- everyone back in the car, have Tatsuha turn the thing around, and drive back to Tokyo. He should just give up already…
Thin fingers tightened around cool aluminum.
But his heart didn't want that. He wanted to be selfish, he wanted Shuichi to himself. He didn't want Tohma's help anymore, he didn't want his lonely place at the top, or the legions of fans that didn't want Ryuichi for who he really was. He just wanted to be happy. Was that really so much to ask?
"I'll tell you exactly what he's going to do: he's going to keep running away," Tatsuha supplied. Ryuichi whirled around, fingers gripping at now warm metal, as he tried to level a glare in the teen's direction.
"You're going to run away, dragging Shindo with you, until you can go any further. You can't return to NG, not without Tohma ripping you a new one. Your career is over, you know that, don't you? Hell, once my brother catches up to you, you'll be lucky to be alive! You've made an enemy of everyone, Ryuichi, even me," a bitter, ugly, laugh bubbled out of Tatsuha's chest that Ryuichi knew was directed at him. The sound grated on his ears. Worse yet, Ryuichi knew there was truth in those words, he knew that was exactly what he was going to do.
However, the teen wasn't done.
" All that...that takes some skill, let me tell you," the teen muttered, before storming away. Ryuichi didn't pay any mind to where the teen went. There was silence and Ryuichi didn't dare look up at Shuichi, fearing what expression he might find.
"Don't you think I know that?" Ryuichi whispered, letting himself fall on to one of the nearby benches, which butted against the side of the main building. He let his head fall and shoulders slump. He let the can fall from his fingers, not caring where it fell. This was turning into a disaster. He shook his head at himself. Tohma warned him that this wasn't going to end well, but he didn't listen.
"You… you should clean that up…" Ryuichi's head shot up, confused. Shuichi stood a few steps in front of him. At his lack of a reply, or maybe the odd look on his face, Shuichi pointed to his hands, which were now covered in tea. He must have squeezed the can too hard and ended up with the contents all over his hands. With no other options, he rubbed his palms against the material of his jeans.
"What now?" He watched Shuichi drop down onto the bench. Ryuichi noticed that the younger man didn't sit directly next to him, but some distance away. Luckily, the bench was long and made to accommodate a decent number of people, but Ryuichi couldn't help but feel like the distance was a lot larger than it really was. However, he also knew he had no one else to blame but himself.
Ryuichi let out a heavy sigh and ran his hands over his face several times. They smelt of roasted green tea. The scent reminded him of his mother and the thought of how disappointed she would be with him, if she had still been alive, depressed him further. Another person to add to the list.
Letting his head fall back to lean against the wall behind him. For a while he simply watched the colors bleed out of the sky as the sun slowly sank into the horizon. Once upon a time the sight would have given him inspiration, but now it signaled just how quickly he was running out of time. All the while, he felt the other man's eyes glued to his profile.
With the image of the sunset burned into his eyes, he turned his head just enough to look at the other vocalist from the corner of his eye, and let out a humourless chuckle.
"How can you stand to look at me?"
To Be Continued
Chapter 27: The Man in the Mirror
The following few chapters will be dealing with some heavy material, so reader discretion is advised. I debated for a long while how to continue from the last chapter, but in the end I felt this way made the most sense. Shuichi's really matured throughout the story (at least it feels like he has) so I hope this reflects that. Let me know what you think.
Shuichi's eyes widened and he could feel his jaw slacken just a bit. His lips parted as to ask where in the world such a question had come from, but Ryuichi cut him off before he could even begin to try and respond.
"I mean look at me. I messed up. I've been messing things up since the day I was born,"
Ryuichi continued to watch Shuichi from the corner of his eye, his tone and general expression contradicting one another. His tone was dry and much less animated that what Shuichi had come to expect, while the the downwards slant of his brows and the frown lingering on his lips said that he fully expected Shuichi to agree with the statement. Still, there was something in the older man's eyes that seemed almost afraid of Shuichi's answer.
An awful feeling began to pool in Shuichi's gut, born both out of concern for the other man's well being and out of fear that the wrong words would lead to terrible consequences. It was really disconcerting watching a person question their self worth, but it was doubly so when it was in regards to one's once personal hero. On one hand, a part of Shuichi could acknowledge and agree that Ryuichi had indeed made a huge mess of things, but his natural tendency to look for the best in others led him to want to console the singer as well. However, after all that had happened, Shuichi felt that he should be cautious, lest he led Ryuichi into thinking that he agreed with or approved of what had happened so far.
"Don't say that. We all mess up at one time or another," he tried. It was true, heaven knows how many times he himself had messed up, missed an opportunity, or simply made things more complicated than they needed to be.
Ryuichi's eyes remained glued to the younger vocalist's face as he spoke, reading the expressions as they danced across Shuichi's face. Shuichi imagined that Ryuichi was looking for sincerity or a lack thereof. "That's what makes us human. The important part is to learn from them, right?"
Shuichi wondered if Ryuichi would indeed learn from everything that had happened. As afraid as the man before him made Shuichi, there was something almost pathetic about the singer, once Shuichi really looked at him. For all Ryuichi's posing and deceptions, at that moment, Shuichi felt like he was being shown something that few people bore witness to: a truly vulnerable Ryuichi. The feeling was humbling.
A small smile tugged at the corners of Ryuichi's lips, "That's assuming you can come out of it in one piece. Somehow I don't think this is going to be one of those times. Not after what I did."
"I didn't say you would, I just said that you have the ability to learn from this. I'm pretty sure that K's waiting, locked and loaded, and Tohma will have a few choice words for you… but still, you can walk away having learned something, once your legs heal, at least."
With a shake of the head, Ryuichi turned his eyes back at the sky. Shuichi followed his gaze. The sun was all but under the horizon. Soon night would fall, and Shuichi couldn't help but wonder where he would find himself then. He didn't particularly look forward to spending the night in a car, assuming Ryuichi could somehow convince Tatsuha to help them. Considering what had just transpired, Shuichi doubted the teen wanted anything more to do with either singer.
Hearing a light scratching sound, Shuichi looked over to see Ryuichi toeing the metal can, which he had dropped earlier. The brunette was slumped forward slightly, his head down. His body language reflected how Shuichi felt.
For all the cheek and inspirational speeches exchanged, both men knew that nothing good was waiting for them in the near future. Idly Shuichi wondered if Ryuichi's career and reputation could be redeemed in the eyes of those they called friends. Best case scenario: Ryuichi would be shipped back off to America to never be heard from again, most likely transferred off to some small subdivision of NG or another label entirely. Worst case scenario: well, Shuichi really didn't want to think of that.
"You know-" Shuichi began, before he was cut off by Ryuichi's voice. It lacked the light humor, which had been present just moments before.
"For once I was sure that I had it all figured out. I knew exactly what I wanted and I thought I knew how to get it. I knew the risks and I knew how to counter them. I thought I was unstoppable," Ryuichi paused for a moment, as though rearranging his thoughts or coming to a decision.
Quickly, Ryuichi turned to face Shuichi. His whole body was radiating a nervous energy, as though filled with a sudden need to move and express his thoughts in wide, sweeping, motions, whereas he had been relatively sedate- for Ryuichi, at least- before. His eyes pinned Shuichi with an almost feverish glow, begging for him to listen and understand. The gaze made Shuichi uncomfortable.
"I'm so used to just doing as told, to having my life mapped out for me. Tohma usually handles things, and with good reason. But I felt rebellious. I wanted to show him that I could make my own choices. So I did. I made my choices, because I could, and I didn't care who I hurt or what damage I did. They were my choices." Ryuichi brought his hands and cupped them together as if he could physically hold onto his decisions.
"I wanted to show everyone that I could choose for myself, that I'm not an idiot with a pretty face and a decent voice. I just wanted someone to see me," and with that, the almost manic energy died away. Long fingered hands fell against denim clad thighs as Ryuichi slumped against the building next to him.
Shuichi nodded, his voice hesitant to make an appearance just yet. The explosion of energy and raw emotion left him off balance somewhat, but when he took the time to digest the content of what Ryuichi had just said- and separated it from the delivery- he could understand how the other man felt to an unnerving extent. He couldn't say that he agreed with it, it was terribly selfish, but he could understand. A part of Shuichi's heart ached for the brilliantly stupid man sitting next to him.
"Well, for what its worth, I see you. I can't exactly say that I like what I'm seeing right now, but I do see you," the words probably weren't the ones Ryuichi wanted to hear, but Shuichi knew that they were the ones that he needed to hear. He decided right then that he would be brutally honest, if it meant helping Ryuichi in the long run. For as much trouble the brunette had caused, for as much distress he had put Shuichi through, Shuichi couldn't find it in himself to hate the other man. He could certainly dislike who he had become, yes, but not hate.
Shuichi had once read that those with everything stand the most to lose. Although the idea had been presented to him in the form of a comic book, it didn't hold any less true, especially in Ryuichi's case. The older man had everything he could ever want, but something was missing, so he had gone looking for that something which could fill that hole in his life. Unfortunately for Shuichi, Ryuichi had latched on to him
At the crestfallen look on Ryuichi's face, Shuichi raised a hand to indicate that he wasn't finished yet, "I'm not expert, but it sounds like you fell in love with the idea of freedom- of doing everything you could to spite Tohma- not me. I'm a prize to you, something to be won or taken. Sure there might be attraction, even affection, but trust me when I say this isn't love."
Violet eyes dared blue to argue. Ryuichi seemed to be on the verge of saying something, most likely to deny the claims, but Shuichi refused to give the man the opportunity. "You want the freedom to be yourself and still be loved for who you are. Everyone wants that. Everyone struggles and fights for that, but you've hurt the people you cared about and care about you, and that isn't okay. You're right when you say you've messed up."
By the look on Ryuichi's face, the words struck the deepest of cords, and in a very unpleasant way. But at the same time, Shuichi knew holding back would do no one favors. "The real question now is what are you going to do about it? Are you going to prove Tatsuha wrong or are you going to keep running away? Show me that you're better than that."
"What can I do? I've burnt all my bridges," Ryuichi asked, pushing himself off of the bench and beginning to pace. Shuichi considered it a small victory, as the brunette was no longer moping, but actively seeking to improve the situation. If Ryuichi was so heart-set on independance, then he would have to accept his failures and learn to clean up his messes. However, that didn't mean that he had to do it alone.
"It's not going to be easy, and people are probably going to be upset with you for a long time, but it isn't impossible. First, how about we get out of here? I don't know about you, but I can use a decent meal and a hot shower. It's getting pretty chilly," Shuichi pulled the jacket tighter around himself, as he stood up and regarded the parking lot around them. The last of the sun's light faded some time ago, and the pair now stood surrounded by the glow of neon signs and street lamps, which traced the along path from from which they came.
"But what if they hate me? I've been awful." Ryuichi gave a fearful look to Shuichi.
"You've been an absolute asshole," Shuichi agreed, "But no one hates you. Not even me… though, on second thought, Yuki might… then again, he hates almost everybody, so nothing new there."
"You don't hate me?" Shuichi's attention caught at the hopeful tone in Ryuichi's voice.
"Like I said before, you're not my favorite person right now, but I don't hate you," he answered, cautiously. At Ryuichi's questioning glance he elaborated as best he could. "To be honest, I can't really hate you, because I really don't know you well enough yet."
"Then will you let me show you the real me? Please?" Ryuichi made a motion as if to place his hands on the other singer's shoulders but paused long before contact was made. Instead, he let his hands linger, awkwardly, in the air between them.
"I will fix this, I will make things right again, I promise," Shuichi simply looked at the brunette in front of him. Although he didn't look much different that he did earlier, there was something in the way he carried himself that had changed for the better. The thought made him smile. He liked to believe that things between not only them, but everyone, could one day be repaired given time and this newfound determination.
"I'll probably stumble, I might even fall a few times," Ryuichi continued, "But I will work this out and make you proud of me. Just you wait!"
"Then start with this," Shuichi snaked his hand into the pocket of Tatsuha's jacket and pulled out the cellphone. It was a simple black clamshell model and cool to the touch. He held it out for Ryuichi to take.
"How long have you had that?" Ryuichi asked, not looking away from the device. The man had gone unnaturally still.
"Since you gave me the jacket," Shuichi answered. He worried for a moment that he had undone everything by showing the other man the phone, but when nothing but a confused look came his way, Shuichi figured they were in the clear.
"And you didn't use it to call Yuki?"
"No, though the thought did cross my mind a few times. I planned to go into the bathroom here and use it, but then stuff happened." It was Shuichi's turn to over-gesticulate. Something in his movements must have snapped Ryuichi out of his trance, and back into the present, because the man let his hands fall to his sides.
Cocking his head to the side, he asked, "You mean I had a nervous breakdown?"
The tone was playful and there was a hint of a smile at the corner of Ryuichi's lips, but his eyes refused to part with the plastic and contraption in Shuichi's hand.
"Let's go with 'soul search followed by a heart-to-heart' instead. That sounds better," Shuichi replied, stepping forward and gesturing that Ryuichi take the mobile already. As tempting as it was to simply place the device into Ryuichi's hand, the brunette had to do this himself. He had to take the first step towards forgiveness, otherwise everything that had been said would be hollow words and promises. After everything, Shuichi had no need for either, he decided.
"I'd like that," Ryuichi blinked and before Shuichi knew it, cool skin brushed against the palm of his hand, and a weight he didn't acknowledge until then lifted from both his fingers and his soul.
He watched as Ryuichi flipped the phone open and scrolled through the contacts. Once he had found the number that he wanted, his thumb hovered over the call button. Blue eyes lifted to meet violet and Shuichi could see the fear in those eyes. The older man swallowed hard. "I don't know-"
"Like a bandaid," Shuichi supplied.
"Like a bandaid," Ryuichi's thumb connected with the call button and he raised the phone to his ear to wait. Shuichi was sure that both their hearts were pounding in that moment, though for different reasons.
Seconds went by as they waited for the other end to pick up. Finally the line connected.
"Hello? Yuki, this is Ryuichi Sakuma and I'm calling about Shuichi."
TO BE CONTINUED
Chapter 28: Learning about Letting Go
Restless seas ahead, folks. This chapter and its themes were not really planned to be a major part of this story, but after some personal events taking place recently, I felt inspired to explore this aspect a little deeper.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Tatsuha stared at the receiver in his hand as if it were a the key to set off a bomb capable of ending the world. In a way, it was. It was the bomb capable of blowing away his entire universe- a universe centered on one Ryuichi Sakuma. For so long the brunette had been the apex of his world, for so long Tatsuha had wanted to stand by his idol and be allowed to see what no one else was allowed to. The teen wasn't stupid enough to believe that the image he saw on TV was the man's true self, although he often played the love-struck fool, but he still wasn't really prepared to see what he had been shown.
There had been so many nights when he had prayed, to any god listening, to be given even a single glance by his idol. To his eternal surprise, eventually, that prayer was answered and then some. However, upon further inspection, not all was as it seemed. He had gotten what he wanted- to know Ryuichi Sakuma- and he didn't like what he had found.
Dark eyes locked onto equally dark plastic as he made his choice and his other hand pressed the coin into the slot.
"Hello? Ryuichi?" His brother-in-law's voice sounded tired, so very tired, but there was an undercurrent to the question that made Tatsuha a touch anxious. Tohma rarely- if ever- let such emotion bleed into his voice. Hearing it struck a chord within himself, and for the briefest of seconds, he debated hanging up the phone.
Deep inside, there was still something very raw in Tatsuha, but he refused to let it get the better of him. He would sort things out when he got home, when he could have some time to himself. Until then, he would push his own feelings- whatever they were- to the back of his mind, and focus on the present. He would focus on what was best for him.
He wanted to go home.
"They're at a pit stop west of Kanagawa, just off Route 15. Come get them," he said, before he hung up. Tatsuha knew that in a very short time things would come to a head. He had known, as soon as he saw the payphone, how the night would likely end: his brother beating the ever loving shit out of his one time idol.
However, at that moment, he really couldn't find it in himself to care. He was tired, no, drained. He was done, just done. The only other time he had felt the same was a little after his mother had passed, after all of the anger and tears had been released. This time, though, there would be no tears shed.
He turned to go inside to wait for what was no doubt going to be one hell of a fight, followed by a masterfully orchestrated clean-up, the likes of which were only made possible by Tohma Seguchi's hand. Tatsuha shivered, not from the thought, but from his lack of a jacket. He could do with something warm to drink.
Entering the squat building, which served as the main complex of the pit stop, Tatsuha didn't even spare a glance at the two vocalists behind him. Instead, he headed directly to what looked like a miniature convenience store, situated between a closed takeout stand and an even smaller gift shop. He made a beeline towards the hot drink dispenser.
"Welcome in," Tatsuha ignored the voice of the old woman behind the register, in favor of deciding which warm drink he would get. Digging through his pockets, he came up with 680 yen, in small coins. It was more than enough for a hot can of milk coffee and a little something to eat.
Grabbing the can from the heated case, Tatsuha gave a quick glance around at the other offerings, eventually settling on a small baked good supposedly made with Okinawan brown sugar. Anything else would put him over his budget. He brought his purchases to the register.
"I'll take these, Gran," he said, dropping everything on the counter.
"You look like you can use a little rest. Have you been traveling long?" she asked, her aged fingers flying over the keys.
"Something like that," Tatsuha mumbled, fishing out the coins in his pocket, Glancing quickly at the total, Tatsuha placed the exact amount on the counter. "Just waiting for someone to come pick me up. Then, I'm going home to sleep."
"I hope that they arrive soon, then," she said simply, handing him a plastic bag. "You have a good night now, you hear? Stay out of trouble and let me know if you need anything else."
Taking it, he nodded as he left the shop, heading towards the closed takeout shop. It felt a little heavier than would be expected for a canned coffee and pastry. Confused, Tatsuha looked inside. In addition to his purchase, there was an additional pastry, likely slipped in when he was fumbling with his change. The addition made him smile. At least someone was looking out for him.
Tohma sighed and rubbed his forehead. This was going to end badly, he just knew it. Well, he knew it since the beginning that no good could ever come from Ryuichi's feelings. He knew his friend well enough to know that the man would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. But at the same time, he hoped to any deity listening, that this time- just this time- he would be wrong. He had hoped that Ryuichi would see enough sense to just leave things be, but that ended up not being the case.
Ryuichi was not a stupid man, regardless of how well he played the part, and he knew what he wanted, just as he knew the consequences for his actions. The man was a genius, after all, and always had been. But at the same time, he was a damaged man- a damaged man with a lot of power- who was very used to getting what he wanted. It was only a matter of time and it looked like this was it.
Tohma's eyes glanced back at the mobile phone sitting in the passenger's seat of his car. It had been only moments ago since he received a call from Tatsuha. He hadn't even hung up on the younger man, before he was behind the wheel, and driving into the night.
He had tried several times since then to reach his brother-in-law, to no avail. The line had been busy each time, which was odd. So instead, he left a couple of voicemail messages, and even sent a text while waiting at a red light. However, he had yet to hear back from the blonde. That made him worry.
'Relax,' he told himself, 'He might still be on the phone. Though, I am curious, who could he be speaking to?'
When he came to another light, he picked up his phone again to dial a different number.
You've reached the voicemail of Hiroshi Nakano. I can't pick up the phone right now, but feel free to leave a message- especially if it's you, Ayaka!- and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Tohma was surprised the redhead didn't pick up. As he left a message, similar to the one he left Eiri, his worry only intensified. He was all but speeding toward Kanagawa, hoping that he would arrive in time to quell whatever bloodshed his dear brother-in-law inflicted unto his former-best-friend- maybe telling the blonde the other man's location wasn't the best idea after all- and to pick up the pieces that remained of said former-but-not-really-best-friend.
Tohma did not look forward to cleaning up this particular mess at all.
'Maybe I shouldn't,' came a voice from deep within his mind, 'Maybe I should stand back and just watch things unfold; let Ryuichi clean up his own mess for once.'
He shook his head to dispel the thought, but it was stubborn, 'I've been at this for years! I'm tired of it. Eiri can handle himself, Ryuichi's really not much of a threat physically- provided there are no glass tables around- so what if I' a little late?'
Tohma flicked on his right signal, preparing to make a turn. He hoped he would make it to the corner before the turned red. The last thing he needed was to be pulled over. He wasn't sure he was in the right mind to talk his way out of it.
'No, no. That won't do at all. Heaven forbid someone sees them brawling it out on the side of the street like two punks, what then? God help us if that someone's a journalist!'
He wanted to smack himself. Some time to be thinking as the president of NG, he chastised himself. Still, examining the events and filtering his feelings through the Presidential Lens did help to calm his mind somewhat. Someone would have to be the calm one, he acknowledged solemnly.
'I don't know how tonight's going to play out, all I can do is watch from the sidelines and straighten out the mess afterwards, but I will not get involved anymore than that,' he promised himself, 'This is between Eiri, Ryuichi, and to some extent Shindo.'
"I'm- against my better judgement- still your friend, Ryuichi but I'm not your keeper anymore." he said to the empty air besides him. There was just too much history between them to simply walk away. That didn't mean, however, he would continue to coddle the brunette as he had in the past. The bond between them was damaged, severely, if Tohma was honest to himself. Yet, he also knew that he was doing no one any favors should he continue on as though nothing had happened. That was assuming that he could hide his hurt and anger behind his ever present mask. Tohma was unsure if he could, if he wanted to really.
It hurt to be thrown away so roughly, as Ryuichi had. Although Tohma had known for sometime that Ryuichi desired some form of independence- hell, he was even aware of his own overbearing nature and need for control- the way in which Ryuichi had parted tore at something within the blonde. He couldn't help but feel that Ryuichi's actions and subsequent departure were an affront to their years of friendship. Tohma felt almost certain that Ryuichi had raised his middle finger in his general direction as he walked off towards Tatsuha's motorbike.
To think they had been friends since middle school. It seemed like another lifetime now, a foggy half-dream that could only be remembered in the minutes just before bed or in the solace of an empty office and a blank schedule. Ryuichi had changed from the goofy Ryuichi Ueda, who simply wanted to sing regardless if there was someone there to hear him or not, into the star-studded and jaded Ryuichi Sakuma. Tohma had also changed. Gone was the quiet-but-thoughtful little boy, who started playing the keyboard only to please his mother. In his place stood a grown man with a dangerous intelligence and the gall to rule over Japan's music scene with an iron fist and deceptively coy smile. Tohma wondered when things had gone so wrong.
'Are you this way because of something I did? Did I push you into this?' Tohma remembered days where their only ambition was to have fun creating music. It was a sad though that left a hollow pain in the center of Tohma's chest.
He reached out for the dashboard lighter, but brought his hand up short. He hadn't smoked in years, not since that short stint during college. A memory floated up from the depths: a memory of burnt red material in a plain envelope. Kumatan, a toy rabbit, torn to shreds, burnt nearly black, and sent not-so-anonymously to the Uesugi household at the end of that horrible, terrible summer.
'No, you were always capable of this, I just turned a blind eye to it.'
At the time, Tohma took the gesture as a slight directed against Eiri, whom had been still crying his eyes out over Kitazawa and in need of Tohma's support. He had thought Ryuichi was angry at the boy for stealing his best friend, for keeping Tohma from helping Ryuichi- much in the same way- though a difficult period in his life. He had been so concerned with Eiri, he had given very little thought to Ryuichi, whom he had thought could fend for himself.
'I wasn't there when you needed me.' He had left Ryuichi to deal with an increasingly drunken mother, along with her gambling and shopping debts. Over that summer, while he attended to a child he was fond of but barely knew, he had left his best friend to drop out of high school and take several part-time jobs to pay off the debt collectors pounding on his door.
'I felt too guilty over what I was certain were my own shortcomings that I mollycoddled you, and for years you let me believe that I had failed you that summer,' he thought, the anger resurfacing again. For years, that thought had driven Tohma to protect the singer, and for the most part cater to his often outrageous whims.
'I thought that was what drove you away: the need to live your life the way you want to. But that's not it, is it?' Tohma signaled to merge lanes, before coming to a stop before the onramp. His eyes locked on the burning red tail lights of the cars in front of him. Even at this hour the streets were busy.
'That message was meant for me, not Eiri, wasn't it? That was you ending our friendship.' He pulled on to the highway easily, but didn't press into the gas pedal any harder. He would get there when he got there.
'Since then, have you ever seen me as your friend? Or have I been just another asset to you? You've always been an amazing actor, Ryuichi. You even had me fooled.'
Sad eyes flickering between the rear view mirror and the road. It would be some time before he reached the pit-stop the younger Uesugi brother had told him about, but in the meantime, he would make his plans as he always did.
To be Continued
Did you know that it's illegal to make a right on red in Japan? Lefts too, actually.
I really wanted to explore the feelings Tatsuha and Tohma might have in regards to Ryuichi, having gone through something similar myself. There comes a point, when dealing with someone who has messed up too many times where you just have to let go. Sometimes that might be by cutting a person out of your life. It's not easy, it isn't pleasant, and it makes you reevaluate every moment you spent with that person. The questions of 'did you ever really love me' and 'what was I to you' circle your mind over and over. They sour your memories of that person. I think that's what's happening with Tohma. That isn't to say that his interpretation of Ryuichi is right or wrong, just that if a person is left to think long enough, they can convince themselves of anything. That influences how they see the world and act in it.