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The Rhetoric Of Love.

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                “How was work today Uta? Busy I’m guessing.” Yutaka was in the kitchen making dinner as Uta came in from work. “It felt like today was never going to end! The holiday shipments are starting to come in…it’s months until Christmas! Not only that, both Omi and Belle quit, not enough hours, blah blah blah.” Uta slumped down on a barstool, dropping his bag next to him.

                “That sucks…you’re down two people? I’m sure there will be new hires coming in for the holidays…want a beer?” Yutaka was joking about the beer, Uta rarely if ever drank. “Yes please…maybe more than one!” Yutaka turned to stare at the young man.

                “Uta! I wasn’t serious… but if you really want one…please, help yourself!” Uta laughed at the look on Yutaka’s face, almost as if he was just realizing that Uta was in fact, old enough to drink. “I don’t want anymore damned water…that’s all I did today, drink water and pee…it was getting embarrassing!”

                Uta had felt a sense of loss in the days following Davina and Yoji’s leaving Japan, with the following weeks of him trying to fill the hole by keeping busy with nothing much more than just working. Go to work, come home, eat, shower and sleep. Repeat for next five days. His job wasn’t as fun as he had hoped, he liked Pamy and Naoto…but they all worked in different areas of the store and only saw each other on break. Uta was starting to wonder if he needed to change jobs. He fought with himself daily…even hourly, thinking about returning to the HBG, to his family of friends and supporters.

                Mao would be thrilled with Uta’s return, most likely having to be sedated to keep his happiness contained. He worried about Leda and Tomo, would his return put them out of a job? As always, Uta was concerned with others before himself. There was one huge roadblock, the deciding factor on going back to work at the HBG; Sakurai Atsushi. Uta knew the likelihood of coming in contact with the man would increase by him returning to work, the DCR parties, the special events. How would he handle seeing the man that had ruined his life?

                After one particularly restless night, walking into the kitchen, Yutaka and Hide were both shocked at Uta’s appearance, “Ohayo” he muttered as he shuffled into the kitchen, sitting at the table with Hide. “Uta-kun, coffee or tea?” Hide and Yutaka had made an agreement that they would not pressure Uta in any way, involving any part of his life, which consisted of not making a scene when the boy looked tired or worn.

                “Coffee please,” He had his head resting in his hands, his elbows on the table. “Plans for your day off Uta?” Hide was reading the paper but glancing over at Yutaka at the same time. “Sleep, eat…sleep some more. Maybe watch TV…nothing really.” Uta didn’t have the energy to do much more.

                “Here you go… strong coffee should wake you up enough to shower safely.” Yutaka patted Uta on the head, turning back to making breakfast. Uta drank his coffee slowly, thoughts running through his mind.

                “Hey, can I ask for an honest opinion…not a Mom and Dad opinion please?” Uta often referred to Hide and Yutaka as ‘mom and dad’, which secretly pleased the couple. “You know you can… what’s up?” Hide did a dad move, folding up the paper and placing it neatly on the table.

                “I’m not happy…if you haven’t already noticed, I think…I think I might want to go back to work at the High Ball Garden…I miss my friends, they don’t call me very much anymore. What do you think?” Uta looked up, Yutaka had taken his seat at the table, pouring another cup of coffee for Uta.

                “What are your concerns about going back? Worried that they won’t have an opening for you?” Hide refused to bring Sakurai into the conversation, that had to be Uta’s choice. “I’m pretty sure I can go back…Mao would freak out for one and make Taka … hell he might even force the owner to hire me. But I worry about Tomo and Leda… Tomo filled my spot, I don’t want to put him out of a job. I think Leda would be fine, Isshi-san would probably rather have him home anyways.”

                “If you’re not happy at Books Off… then you may want to talk to Taka. It can’t hurt to at least ask…” Yutaka was slowly eating his breakfast, trying hard not to say anything negative or positive. The threesome sat quietly, Hide looking at the paper again, Yutaka eating his breakfast.

                “What do I do about him?” Uta muttered. He couldn’t even say the man’s name…not yet. “Well, we would have to speak to Acchan of course, you will have to set ground rules. There’s a chance he would show up at DCR events, you know that. But how many of those are there per year? Four, maybe five at the most. I’m sure Leda would work for you, if you felt uncomfortable with the possibility of running into Atsushi.”

                “He’s part of your band, he’s been your friend for decades, how do I justify or ask you to keep him away from me? How long do I run? It’s not completely his fault really… I mean…he did…well, fuck…I don’t know anymore.” Uta sighed, “I’m too tired to talk about this anymore…I’m going back to bed for a while.” Uta got up and left the table, slowly walking to his room.

                Hide rocked back in his chair, staring down the hallway, watching Uta go into his room. “Well that was unexpected…going back to the HBG? Asking about Acchan?” Yutaka wore a small smile. “I think he’s lonely…he misses all of his friends, he misses the fun that he had. That bar is his home just as much as our house is, he’s grown up there, it’s not surprising that he would want to work where he felt the most love…and that’s at that stupid bar…under that stupid tower. He can look past all of the pain that he experienced while he worked there… Kyo, Natsu, even Acchan. He’s growing up as well, he knows that he’s going to have to face Acchan eventually…maybe he could even see forgiving him…I’m not sure.”

                Uta could hear the murmur of voices from the kitchen, no doubt discussing what he had just announced. How would he stay away from Sakurai? He was worried about the man stalking him again…watching him, following him wherever he went. He also thought about his friends; Kyo…he knew that Kyo would never let Sakurai near him as long as Uta wished. Taka, the man had played a huge role in his life over the years, along with Koichi, Tatsu and Sato. His best friend Mao, Aki and Tora. Uta knew that they would do anything to protect him, but was it enough?

                Rolling over to lay on his side, he looked at his uniform from the bookstore, this wasn’t the uniform he wanted, it wasn’t where he wanted to be. He wanted that ugly yellow polo shirt, he wanted to have lemon fights with the guys, he wanted Mao picking him up and twirling him around, Taka yelling, “Mao! Put Uta down!” He wanted to be back at the High Ball Garden! “Guess I’ll call… no, I’m going to call Kyo first…he’s never lied to me about anything.” Closing his eyes, a plan in his mind, it didn’t take Uta long before he was lost in sleep.

 

                “Ojisan, Chashu pork please and a cola.” Uta and Kyo sat in front of Ojisan, Kyo making the suggestion to meet there, so Mao wouldn’t be jumping all over his best friend. “Okay, spill it Uta. Why here…and why not with Mao?” Kyo slurped his ramen, looking intently at Uta.

                “I want your opinion on something. I had to ask someone that…” Uta started, Kyo interrupting him after just a few words. “Just spit it out, Uta. You know I won’t judge you.” Ojisan was listening but stayed in the tiny kitchen.

                “I think I want to go back to work at the HBG.” The seriousness in Uta’s voice kept Kyo from making a joke. “Okay, so go back to work. What’s the problem?” Kyo knew the boy well, Uta always wanted others input on what they think he should do, he still had little to no self-confidence, less now due to Teiji’s death.

                “Do you think it’s a good idea?” Uta looked down at his bowl. “Well, have you though of the pros and cons of it?” Kyo asked. “Yes, more pros than cons…with the one obvious huge con being Sakurai.”

                “Young one,” Ojisan saw it was time. “You are happiest with your friends, avoiding your gentleman by working somewhere you are lonely is not the answer nor the solution to your problems. Your gentleman no longer watches you, he no longer follows you. Sakurai Atsushi is no longer a problem, you must live your life to the fullest, even with the regrets you have. To place the blame on Sakurai Atsushi is not the answer, nor is it the truth.”

                The mystic ramen man nodded then turned back to his kitchen. “Not the truth? You’re joking right? Teiji’s death would have happened anyways? Is that what you’re saying Ojisan. Please…explain to me how that would have happened had Teiji not been with me!” Kyo reached over and put a hand on Uta’s thigh, “Sshh, let him speak.”

                Ojisan walked back over and stood in front of Uta. “Yes Uta, it would have happened, even if you were not involved. The translucent young man had a disturbed mind, he had been waiting for Mistress for some time. The boy was determined to meet Davina, in his mind Teiji was in the way. He would have acted even if you had not been with Teiji. Sakurai’s involvement was incidental, Teiji would have been taken even if you had never met.”        

                Uta was shocked into silence, watching Ojisan, his mouth hanging open, his mind flooded with what the old man had told him. “Uta?” Kyo patted the boy on the leg again, “Uta, look at me please.” Uta slowly turned to look at Kyo. “Sakurai was a dick bag, he tried to control you. You know these things are the truth as well.” Kyo got off his barstool, facing Uta he pulled the young man into a bear hug.

                “What you do with the information Ojisan gave you, is in the end up to you. Please Uta, take what Ojisan has told you and think it over very carefully before you decide to do anything, including returning to the HBG…you know you will eventually run into the man, be it at work or a concert” Kyo stopped and pushed Uta away from him at arms-length.

                “If you want my opinion…I think you should go back to work with your friends, your family. You have support from all of us, we all have your best interests in our hearts, you can come to any of us if you need to. You know this is true, can you say the same about the people your work with now? Your boss?” Kyo questioned Uta.

                “No, none of that.” Uta mumbled softly. “Do you want Sakurai to suffer…to make his world a horrible place to live? If what Ojisan says is true…will you still blame Sakurai for Teiji’s death? Or can you look at this way; because of Sakurai’s selfishness, his conceit and his desire to control, it forced you out of his home, an into the arms of a beautiful man that loved you beyond the stars, he was your everything and you were his.”

                Uta’s eyes flashed wide with the thought it was Sakurai who drove him into Teiji’s arms… but…if Sakurai …no…he caused Teiji…shit. How can I justify…what…?

                Uta got up and walked out of Ojisan’s without a word. Kyo watched as Uta walked out, turning to Ojisan “Should I go after him?” he asked. Ojisan sighed, “I doubt it would make a difference Kyo-san.” Kyo opted to stay at the ramen hut a while longer, hoping Uta would return. An hour later, Kyo paid the bill and went home, constantly checking his phone for messages.

               

                Uta was dazed and confused, walking without a thought to where he was going, his mind flooded with images; Teiji, Sakurai, Davina, his friends at work, Hide and Yutaka. Everything was connected by a thin red string, all leading to Uta’s heart. How could he reconcile his feelings for Sakurai after viciously blaming him for Teiji’s death? He truly believed that if Sakurai had just allowed him to live on his own, Teiji would be alive.  Now Ojisan is telling him he’s wrong…completely wrong.

                He had no idea how long he walked until he ended up in front of Taka’s house, it surprised him because he wasn’t really sure he knew where the man lived. Uta walked up and knocked on the door.

                “Uta-kun! What’s… come in! TAKA!” Sato took Uta’s arm, pulling him into the house, holding the man steady as he toed off his shoes in the genkan. “What the hell? Uta why are you here?” Taka was stunned to see his friend, looking pale and drawn standing in his genkan. “Um…I don’t know really, but can I lay down for a while please?” Uta whispered.  Sato and Taka looked at each other, weird…both of them thought.

                “Yah sure, come on down to the guest room…sleep as long as you’d like.” Taka took Uta into the bedroom, “Here’s a blanket…stay as long as you want.” Uta nodded, got on the bed and pulled the blanket up and closed his eyes. Taka quietly closing the bedroom door.

                “What the hell is wrong with Uta? He looked like a zombie!” Taka asked his husband, “No idea, heard someone at the door, opened it and it was Uta. I asked him why he was here…he said he didn’t know, then asked lay down.”

                Taka walked to the kitchen, getting out his phone he sat down at the table.

                “Hi, Hide…its’ Taka. Well, not so much… Uta’s here, no I don’t know. Okay… no he just showed up, then asked to lay down for a while to sleep. Kyo? Hm, okay. Yah, I will. Just wanted to let you know…

 

                “Why is Uta here and sleeping in my guest room? What happened between you two? True, would be better. Yah that’s fine. See you in a bit

                “Kyo’s coming over, he said it was way too involved to talk over the phone.” Taka told Sato. “Well that doesn’t sound good.” Sato shook his head, “When is this kid going to catch a break? Do we needed to ship him out of the country?”

                “I don’t know but it’s starting to really piss me off.” Taka snapped.

 

                Within the hour, Kyo was sitting in Taka and Sato’s back garden, looking worn and tired as much as Uta had.

                “I can understand then why he’s in shock…that’s a lot to digest, it’s a complete turn-around from everything he’s believed for months.” Taka leaned against Sato’s legs, sitting on the patio. “Letting go of that anger is going to be hard for him.”

                “If it had been anyone other than Ojisan telling Uta that…I would have told them to fuck off…but I’ve never known that man to be wrong! I know that’s what Uta’s thinking and it just freaked him out. He literally said nothing, got up and walked out the door. I thought for sure he was just stepping outside, but after an hour of waiting…I went home.” Kyo explained.

                “Why were you there in the first place? Mao wasn’t with you?” Taka asked. “I probably shouldn’t tell you, but at this point it may not matter. Uta called me and wanted to talk to me to get my opinion on going back to work at the HBG…he knew if he said anything in front of Mao, that my overly excitable husband would flipped his shit.”

                “Coming back? I thought he liked his new job…the way he talked about it at the party.” Sato was confused, as was Taka.

                “He said he missed his friends, he asked my opinion and I asked him if he’d thought it through, he admitted though that the one problem he was worried about was Sakurai. Then that’s when Ojisan stepped in. He said blaming Sakurai for Teiji’s death was not the answer or the truth.” Kyo was struggling to keep his emotions low, anything around or about Uta being troubled, always set the smaller man off.

                Before anyone could say anything else, Uta pushed the back door open. “Kyo? Why are you here?” Uta still looked rough. “Uta, I called him because you scared the crap out of me by just randomly showing up at my door and looking the way you did.” Taka said in earnest.

                “I’m here because you scared both Ojisan and I by leaving and not coming back. I understand that you were confused, but I wish… well it’s done now. Feeling better after your nap?” Kyo didn’t want to scold the younger man for his choice, wanting to just be supportive.

                “Yah, actually I do. I’m sorry to both of you. I shouldn’t have just walked away and not said anything Kyo, Taka I don’t even remember walking here…thankfully I knocked on the right door, I’m sure your neighbors would be a little freaked out if I had missed the right house.” Uta grinned.

                “Now, since Kyo already explained everything, I would love nothing better than to have you back at work. I know you’re worried about Leda and Tomo, don’t be. We’re getting into the holiday season in about a month, so we’re going to need Tomo. I’m almost sure that Leda won’t mind either, he only works a few shifts and I’m positive that both Isshi-san and Ruimaru would love to have him home full time. I don’t need anything as far as paper work from you, just a start date and the hours you can work.”

                “Ohh, you sound all boss-like… manager-san.” Uta teased, which relieved all three men who were so worried only ten minutes earlier. “I know it’s weird right? I didn’t sound like this four years ago either! But time does that…makes you grow up and shit” laughed Taka.

                “I’ll call the boss tomorrow and let him know that you’re coming back…if you are?” Taka didn’t want to assume that it was final.

                “Yes please, yoroshiku manager-san.” Uta giggled as he bowed. “Manager-san? Taka?” Kyo busted out laughing. “Hey! Yes, Manager-san… thanks a lot Kyo!” Taka sniped. Uta and the others visited for a little longer, with Kyo finally offering to take Uta home. “I’ll text you a date Taka, I need to still quit my other job. Thanks for everything, all of you.” Taka hugged Uta before he left. “Any time, anything…you know where I live.” As he sent Uta home with Kyo.

                “Thanks for going to see Taka, I’m sorry I spaced out and just walked away. What Ojisan said was a lot to take in…I just sort of shut down I guess. Thanks for coming to get me.” Uta was embarrassed, but since it was Kyo, it wasn’t so bad. “You know I’ll be there as well, anytime you need me for anything. I won’t tell Mao at all. I want it to be a surprise for him the first day you work a shift together…I’m going to need to tie him down when he gets home though.”

                “I’m sure he’d like that…” Uta said with a completely straight face.

 

                “Uta-kun! Are you alright?” As soon as Yutaka saw Uta, his mom dress came out. “I’m fine Kaasan!” Uta teased. “Kaasan? You little brat! Seriously, is everything okay now? Taka called and I told him you were meeting with Kyo.”

                Uta told Yutaka the story, about the decision to go back to the HBG and also all the information about Sakurai that Ojisan had said to him.

                “I also never looked at it that way, but then Acchan was being such an asshole, I probably wouldn’t have thought that anyways.” Yutaka answered. “Just don’t say anything to him please, I know I’m going to run into him sooner than later, I just don’t need him coming to work and trying to talk to me…not yet.”  Yutaka obviously agreed, then the two of them grabbed beers and headed for the garden, Uta feeling a little lighter than he had since Davina had left the country.

Chapter Text

 

                “Do I need to sign a document to get you all to believe me? I will if it comes to that. I can honestly say to you, I will not approach, speak or see Uta by my own will. I can’t guarantee what I can’t control if we randomly cross paths. As for any events, I will make sure to do the same.” Sakurai had had enough, with his band and himself. The stalking of Uta had gotten crazily out of control and it had been one particular night that made him realize just how asinine and dangerous his behavior had become.

                He had started with the renting of luxury sports cars to follow Uta, as his own Porsche was a familiar sight in the area. He had watched Uta get onto a train on his way to work, Sakurai knowing where the Books Off store was that the boy was working at, he proceeded ahead of the train. He sat in his car across the street, watching for the boy. He had been sitting in the same spot for six hours until Uta had gotten off work.

                Sakurai watched Uta walk to the train station, he pulled into a parking spot several blocks ahead of the boy…with the plan to get out of his car and confront the boy and force him into his car so they could speak. As Uta approached from behind the car, Sakurai had his hand poised over the handle of the door…as the boy got closer, Sakurai opened the door, only to have a low horn blare at him, as a truck swerved to avoid hitting and potentially tearing the door off the car.

                Uta had stopped, stunned by the noise, but seeing nothing continued to walk to the station. Sakurai was shaking, sweating and breathing hard. He had almost been hit by a large truck…because he was going to force Uta into his car. Sakurai Atsushi was going …he was going to force someone to speak to him…he was going to kidnap the boy he loved, taking Uta by force, against his will, he had sat watching a store for hours…like a crazed stalker. It took the near miss accident to scare him badly enough that he had to rethink everything his life had been for the last several years, and it was terrifying him.

                “I will honor his wish, I will not try to see Uta at all. You have my word.” Looking up at his friends, his bandmates…Sakurai Atsushi smiled. “If he wants to speak to me, he will let me know.” Sakurai was done.

                “I have other news, Acchan.” Yutaka sat on the couch next to his friend. “Davina has left the country…for good.” This was a bit of a shock for the man. “Seriously? Why?”

                “She fell in love…she left the community because she knew if she stayed she would never be free of the lifestyle. She wanted to follow a different path with her new love.” Yutaka was smiling. “I’ve never seen her so happy, Acchan. It took ten years off of mind…she was giggling like a young woman.”

                “Who?” Sakurai sat back a bit deeper in the couch. “Nagaharu…of all people.” Hide answered as he walked up. “Nagaharu? He’s no submissive…he’s not pet material!” This was absurd, Nagaharu was not part of the community.

                “You’re right, he’s not and never will be…they came together as equal partners, they went ‘straight’ as Davina explained. They took Ojisan’s advice and left the country, I’m not sure where they will be living, one of her many home she has across the world I assume. She has Uta’s blessing as well, the boy is happy for her, I hope you can be as well.” Patting Sakurai on the leg, Yutaka got up and went to pick up his bass. “We have practice, I don’t want to be here all day.”

 

                Uta was hiding in the office of the HBG waiting for Mao to come for his shift. Kyo had told Uta that keeping his secret was one of the hardest things he’d ever done. “You have NO idea how many times I almost blurted it out!” Taka had to keep a fake schedule on the wall, as not to alert Mao to Uta’s first shift. Everyone was in on the surprise, even Leda and Tomo.

                Uta had worried about how Leda would feel about his return to work. “Uta I’m happy for you! You need the job…I don’t.” Leda blushed as he spoke. “Sir…I mean, Isshi-san was happy that you are coming back, plus I get to spend more time with him and Ruimaru…it’s a win-win deal. Taka said I could come and help during parties, well I can at least work the counter, I don’t think I could be on the patio…too many famous people.” Uta hugged Leda making him promise to ask Isshi to meet at Ojisan’s and bring his boys.

                “Hey…I’m here, anything new and exciting?” Mao walked through the back door, threw his bag in the back and walked towards the office.

                “I think I’m new and exciting!” Uta jumped out from behind the door. “UTA! WHAT THE FUCK! OH.MY.GOD YOU’RE…YOU’RE WEARING YOUR SHIRT!” Mao instantly picked Uta up and swung him around, this time with no scolding from Taka.

                “Does this mean what I think it means? You’re back to work…here? Please say it’s not a joke… UTA IF IT’S A DAMNED JOKE I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!” Mao yelled. “No, it’s no joke…I’m back to work, for good.”

                The opening prep work didn’t get done until after they had opened the counters, Mao asking a million questions on why Uta decided to come back. “Simple, I missed all of you.” Uta’s answer was clear. “My other job was starting to become boring, I never saw my co-workers, two of them quit on the same day…I was making decent money, but I came home exhausted and lonely. I argued with myself over it for a while, then I made up my mind.”

                “I’m so happy…you have no idea how shitty it’s been since you’ve been gone!” Mao was crying. “HEY! THAT’S NOT NICE!” Taka yelled, Tomo and Leda laughing. “That’s not what I meant…I love you guys, but…it’s just…UTA!!” Mao fell into Uta’s arms. “Mao, you’re such a damned drama queen!” Uta giggled. “Am not” Mao mumbled into Uta’s neck.

                “Okay, parties over…we need to get to work.” Taka went into Manage-san mode, but not before Mao threw a lemon at him. “Maooo….” Taka growled. “Don’t make me tell Kyo that you’re behaving badly at work...or is that what you really want me to do? Hmm???” Taka wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. “GROSS!” Uta yelled…starting the teasing all over again and continued throughout the shift, leaving Uta tired but happy at the end of his day.

                “Tadaima” Uta toed his shoes off and dropped his bag as he headed for the kitchen, needing something cold to drink. “Okaeri, in the garden” Hide called out. Grabbing a water bottle, Uta joined Hide and Yutaka in the back yard. “How was your first day back?”

                Uta kept the two men laughing for over an hour, talking about Mao’s reaction to his being back at work, the throwing of the lemons and Leda and Tomo finally understanding how good it felt for all of them. “Leda wasn’t upset…he said Isshi would rather have him home, spoiling him and Ruimaru. If all Dominants could be like Isshi…” Uta sighed. Yutaka and Hide had decided to talk about Sakurai when Uta got home.

                “We spoke to Acchan today and we have his promise to not see you. He said he would do everything in his power to stay away and apologizes in advance for any accidental meetings.” Uta rolled his eyes. “No Uta…he seems different lately, he was very aggravated for some months, then he just flipped one day. He went from being obnoxious to serene…I thought maybe he’d been prescribed some sort of medication, he denied it. He said he had some spiritual revelations recently and saw that he needed to change his life.”

                “I hope for his sake that’s true.” Uta didn’t wish any more ill will towards his former lover, knowing now what Ojisan had told him.

                “He didn’t know about Davina though and was definitely surprised when I told him that Davina’s new love is Nagaharu…he automatically thought that Davina had collared the man.” Hide thought this was hilarious. “Could you see Nagaharu wearing Davina’s collar? He’s so not a submissive.”

                They sat out on the back patio until twilight and Yutaka called them in for dinner. “I’m super tired, I think I’m going to shower and go to bed early. I have to open tomorrow.” Uta hugged his ‘parents’ and went down the hall to the bathroom.

                “He looks so damned happy! Did you see how his eyes lit up when he talked about work today? I haven’t seen him this happy since… well… since he was with Teiji.”  Hide agreed, “This feels right…I don’t know why, but it does. The same with Acchan, something must have happened for him to finally wake up and realize what he was doing. I don’t care how he accomplished it, I’m just glad that he did. Can we finally have some peace and quiet now?”

 

                The Gazette’s manager was pleased with the progress Hiroto had made in such a short time, learning the business end of the industry. He was even more pleased and surprised as well at the way the young man was handling Aoi and Reita, both of which were still flirting with Hiroto and being shot down in flames, time and time again. “You’d think they’d give up after how many times I’ve denied them.” He told Kai.

                “They’re just thinking with their dicks, Pon. You’re really not the first…although you’re the first to shoot them down at the same time…that was fucking hysterical as hell” Gazettes leader laughed. “Calling them too old for you, I thought Aoi was going to choke!”

                Hiroto was insanely satisfied with his job, he could see the hard work would pay off quickly. He’d taken the time to look at the DCR band roster, to see who may need a manager in the future, a smaller band to start out with, that played the live house circuit was his ideal situation. Moving out was also on the top of the list. He felt that he was in the way at times living with Yukke and Kai, more than a few times coming home and hearing the couple having some rather loud sex. He never said anything, usually just turning around and walking out of the house for at least another hour. But affordable flats were difficult to find, so he kept saving his money in hopes of eventually finding his own place.

 

                Hiroto was bent over his desk, looking at tour scheduled and trying to map out the most efficient tour route what would keep the band from becoming overly tired with the travel between lives. “What do you need, Aoi?” he saw Aoi leaning in the door way but didn’t look up. “Can’t I just come for a visit Pon-chan?” Aoi purred. “You don’t usually come for just a visit Aoi. The answer is still no.” Hiroto kept working, seriously ignoring the guitarist. “Really Pon-chan, not even for a drink or more?” Aoi was squatting next to Hiroto’s desk, reaching out to place a hand on the young man’s leg.

                “Don’t do it Aoi…unless you want me to stab your hand with this” Hiroto picked up a miniature samurai sword letter opener that was obviously very sharp. “Would you really stab me? Just because I’m asking you out?”

                Hiroto finally looked at the older man. “If you do not remove your hand from my leg right now…” Hiroto picked up the small sword and held it over Aoi’s hand.

                Aoi jerked his hand away then stood up. “Why do you have to be such a dick about this Hiroto? All I’m asking for is a …” Hiroto had enough. Standing up he got up in Aoi’s face. “If you haven’t already noticed, I do NOT want to go out with you…EVER, Aoi…”  Hiroto started to poke the older man in the chest, pushing Aoi out the door. “Leave now and I won’t report this… continue harassing me and I got to the boss. I’m not interested in dating you or Reita or Uruha or anyone in connection with The Gazette. I’m here to do a damned job and you’re making an asshole of yourself every time you come into MY office. Go away Aoi…now”

                Hiroto pushed Aoi out of his office and slammed the door in the man’s face. “Fucking little shit kid…who the hell does he think he is?” Aoi turned and walked down the hall. Going back to the practice room, Aoi was mumbling obscenities under his breath, as he grabbed his guitar and started tuning. “What’s up your ass today, princess?” Reita was standing in front of Kai’s drum kit, talking to Uruha, Ruki was on his phone sitting on the couch. “None of your fucking business Akira.” This raised a few eyebrows. “Akira? You only call me that when you’re pissed off at me…I haven’t done anything to you today.

                Uruha knew what the problem was, “Pon shoot you down again, Yuu?” Uruha threw Aoi’s real name at him, without looking up from his phone, Ruki giggled. Reita snorted, “Again? Oh man…what a loser.” Before Reita could react, Aoi was in his face, grabbing the front of the man’s shirt.

                “Fuck you Akira, you’re no better…I don’t see you dating or fucking Pon…you can’t get anywhere near him, so shut the fuck up asshole.” There was a little pushing and shoving going on between the two musicians, until Kai walked in, “What the FUCK is wrong with you?”  Kai grabbed Reita by the shoulder and swung him away from Aoi, shoving the other man away from his drum kit.

                “This is getting out of hand, I’ll be right back.” Kai slammed the door as he walked out. “Ut oh…Kai’s mad…you’ve done it now.” Uruha put his guitar back on the rack and moved to the couch, he wanted front row to see what Kai was going to do. Aoi and Reita were looking at their equipment when Kai returned…with Hiroto.

                “This is stopping TODAY! RIGHT NOW!” Kai yelled at the two men. “I’m done having to play fucking babysitter to you two assholes. HIROTO IS NOT INTERESTED IN EITHER ONE OF YOU!” Hiroto was standing calmly next to Kai, nodding his head.

                “Kai’s right. I will work with you, I will travel with you, I will NOT FUCK either one of you! Stop coming to my office unless it’s band or business related. Stop flirting with me, touching me and harassing me! I was not hired to be a sex toy for the band! You claim you’re professional musicians, THEN FUCKING ACT LIKE PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS!”

                Ruki and Uruha started clapping, “Here here! Well said Pon!” Reita turned and growled at Ruki and Uruha, Ruki sticking his tongue out at his bassist. Aoi was avoiding making eye contact with anyone, especially Hiroto.

                “If you have a problem with this, perhaps you’d better find another band, because Hiroto is NOT the problem here. It’s your behavior that’s in question.” Kai exhaled. “Now, for the love of all things good, can we please just practice. Thank you for coming Pon.” Kai bowed to the young man, who smiled and bowed in return, and left the room.

                “Well that was fun! Let’s NOT do it again!” Ruki put his phone away and got up and grabbed his mic, nodding to Kai as he moved to his drum kit, The Gazette started practice. Hiroto shook his head as he walked back to his office hoping for the remainder of the day to be calm and quiet

               

                Koichi read the email then rolled his office chair into the hallway of his home, “Babe, DCR event coming up in a few weeks… basic end of summer tour thing. Just FYI”. Rolling back into his office, Koichi picked up his phone.

 “Hi, just got an email about a DCR event…yah basically. End of summer tour season, nothing special so far that I can see. If I were you, I’d call Hide and Yutaka first, give them the heads up so maybe they can deflect Sakurai. Mmm, yah probably, wouldn’t hurt to call him before he gets to work. Okay…ja ne.”

                “Hi Yutaka, it’s Taka. Good, yah we’re all super happy too. Hey I called because Koichi just gave me a heads up for a DCR event and I wanted you to know about it before I tell Uta. I don’t think so, but maybe you could do something to deflect Sakurai from either attending or making sure he’s going to behave himself. I’m going to text Uta, but feel free to talk to him about it. Of course, the rest of the band is invited! It wouldn’t be a DCR party without Buck Tick. Yes, as soon as I get the specifics I’ll have Koichi email you. Thanks Yutaka.”

                “Anything different about this party, Kou?” Tatsu leaned over the back of Koichi’s office chair, his hands roaming quite freely over his young husband’s tiny tummy. “Mmm, if you want me to talk, stop moving your hands for a minute.” Koichi whined. “Nothing obvious about the party, end of summer tour season is all. Taka was going to call Yutaka and Hide, hopefully they can keep Sakurai under control.”

                Koichi was going to say something else but couldn’t breathe, Tatsu had slowly run his hands down the front of his husband’s track pants, massaging Kou’s cock to life, hot breathe in his ear, “Um, I need …” Spinning Koichi around, Tatsu picked his small lover and carried him to the bedroom. Closing the door, he whispered in Kou’s ear, “What was it that you needed?” The only answer was a needy whine.

 

                “I’d like to have Kai, Yukke and Hiroto over one night for dinner, do you mind?” Shinya had his head in Miya’s lap, Miyu laying on Shinya’s chest sound asleep. “Hmm, that’s fine. We really don’t know Hiroto very well, I’d like to hear what he has to say about managing The Gazette…it can’t be easy with those boys.” Shinya laughed, “I’ve already heard stories, will be nice to hear what really happened straight from Pon.” 

                Shinya and Miya compared schedules to come up with a date, Shinya calling Kai and checking with him. “Kai says Ojisan’s… do you care?” Miya smiled, “I’m always up for great ramen…oh the chashu pork too! Ojisan’s is perfect!” Shinya wondered why Kai chose Ojisan’s rather than come to the house, “Maybe Hiroto needs help?” He kept that comment to himself and tried not to worry.

 

                “Irasshaimasu Gentlemen! I’m so happy to see you all. It’s been much too long since you’ve sat at my counter!” Ojisan was smiling broadly, it had been weeks since he had seen any of his friends. “Ojisan, I’d like to introduce to my nephew, Hiroto or Pon as we call him. He’s here working with Kai’s band as an assistant manager.”

                “Yoroshiku Ojisan” Hiroto bowed to Ojisan. “Pon-chan, welcome to my restaurant.” Ojisan nodded to the young man. “What is the occasion gentlemen?”

                “Nothing special Ojisan, we just wanted to have dinner, Shinya and Miya don’t really know Pon that well.” Yukke was puffed out like a rooster, he was so proud of Hiroto and it showed. “That is still a special occasion, so I will up the beer limit to 4 in honor of Pon-chan.”

                The stories being told were so much better when told by Hiroto with Kai adding a running commentary, so much so that Shinya spit ramen out of his mouth and into Miya’s lap. “Sorry babe…” Shinya giggled, as Miya just rolled his eyes.

                “You would think after that first time, they would get the message…are they that stubborn?” Miya shook his head during the stories. “They’re thinking with their dicks, sorry Ojisan, but I think Pon threatening to stab Aoi in the hand might have done the trick.”

                Shinya watched Kai as he watched Hiroto, eyeing Ojisan as well throughout their meal, waiting for the mystic ramen man to make his move, which of course he did, but it wasn’t Hiroto Ojisan stopped to speak to, it was Shinya.

                “You need to watch the sad one, he is close to harming himself.” Ojisan turned and walked back into his tiny kitchen. Shinya sat there quietly, the others looking at him. “Ojisan? Is it such a simple reason?” Shinya didn’t want to blurt out his thoughts. “Yes, it is a simple reason, but a difficult thing to change. He does not feel that it’s possible, that’s why I fear for him harming himself.” Everyone was looking at Shinya, Miya had an idea of what was going on, but said nothing.

                “Pon-chan, your problems with the old men are done. They have decided not to pursue you any further, I am sure their Leader-san has made it quite clear that you are not for their pleasure. But there is one, that is.” Ojisan winked at Pon, then looked straight at Shinya, a sly smile played on his lips.

                “What was that all about?” Hiroto was very confused as they drove away from the ramen hut. “He doesn’t know me at all, he just met me tonight…he’s saying that my problems with Aoi and Reita are over?” Kai was surprised that Hiroto caught on to Ojisan’s cryptic message so easily. “Ojisan knows things that he should not have any knowledge of. Between MUCC, Diru and Gazette interactions with Ojisan, you could write dozens of books on what he has said and what has and has not come true.” Kai told him.

                Once they got home, Kai, Yukke and Hiroto sat at the kitchen table, both men telling Hiroto about Ojisan, and some of the things he has said. They told him of Uta, Teiji and Tatsu. His names for people, “Kyo has always been the small man with the large presence, Uta used to be the young one, Tatsu was the shameful man at one point. But I’m not sure why he started calling you Pon right away, that was a little weird to me.”

                “He’s used Uta, Kyo and Sakurai’s names, he sometimes used Davina’s name but usually called her Mistress. Teiji was Davina’s personal friend. When Sakurai and Uta were dating, he called Sakurai, Uta’s gentleman. I can say this with all honesty, if Ojisan says something to you directly, pay attention.” Yukke advised. Hiroto took that to heart, remembering what the man said about someone out there that’s for his pleasure.

Chapter Text

 

                Uta was nervous… would he show up or honor his statement of promising to stay away from the boy? What would Uta do if faced with Sakurai? He knew that all his friends would be there, making sure that the older man did not cause a scene. “Stop being a wimpy dumbass…he’s not going to talk to me, he’s not even going to be there.” Uta scolded himself.

                His friends… the one thing that was making his new life without Teiji bearable. He still missed his lover, but the crying had stopped for the most part and now he tried only to think of the good times with Teiji and not the tragic end to his life. Making his way to the HBG that evening, Uta was optimistic that the night would go as planned without any major drama.

                “Typical party, nothing special about it. Your assignments are as follows; Uta and Tomo at the counters, Aki and Tora working the patio, Mao being the floater and the break bitch.” Taka was looking at his clipboard, not noticing the indignant look Mao threw at him. “Break Bitch? What the fuck does that mean?”

                “It means, that you’re the break bitch, you get to go and cover breaks…and because it’s YOU, Mao…you’re going to bitch about it. So. you’re now the official break bitch at any HBG event, I may even get you a personalized shirt to wear.” Taka said without cracking a smile. “Fuck you, Taka…” Mao mumbled.

                “Without any Ruki Rampages expected now that he’s with you, Tomo…I’m hoping for a smooth-running party, that hopefully everyone will be able to enjoy at some point. Koichi and I will be on the patio…although we’re not technically working, we’re going to be available if needed. Any questions?” There were none, so Taka dismissed everyone, asking Mao to help with the initial flood of customers at the beginning. “But I’m the break bitch…why should I help?” Mao whined. Uta walked up behind his best friend and lightly smacked the man in the back of the head. “Stop it Mao…just do your damned job or I’m telling Kyo you’re being a whiney ass.” Mao whipped around, only to see Uta smiling at him. “Fine…I won’t whine anymore.” Uta stepped up and quickly kissed his friend on the cheek. “Good!”

 

                When the lines at the counters had finally died down, Uta asked Mao to cover an unscheduled break after speaking with Taka. The overwhelming support and kindness from the DCR bands and their partners towards Uta surprised the young man. He had vague memories of the night he and Davina had attended the DCR event, Die telling him that everyone in the community cared for he and Davina, remembering only that Die had kneeled next to him as he spoke.

                “Are you okay Uta?” Taka peered into the office, looking at the young man sitting in the chair. “Yah, I am…it’s just a little much to handle right now. Half of these people I don’t even know, yet they’re all being so nice to me. It’s a little overwhelming is all.”

                “I understand…they’re all just happy to see you healthy and back at work, don’t worry about the people you don’t know personally, they’re all part of the extended DCR family in one way or another. Just take a deep breath and go back up to the counter, I’m going to send Tomo on a break next.” Uta did just that, going up to free Tomo for his break. “Everything okay?” Mao watched his best friend. “Yah, just a little bit much for my first event.”

                Tomo made a bee-line for Ruki, sitting on the man’s lap with his head buried in Ruki’s hair. “Babe? What’s wrong?” Ruki whispered in Tomo’s ear. “Nothing really…just a lot of people and it was super busy and everyone was talking to Uta…I just needed to see you.” Ruki tightened his grip on his boyfriend, kissing the younger man tenderly. Aoi and Reita were watching, Uruha speaking with Kai. “They kinda make me sick” Reita leaned over and whispered to Aoi. “Yah, all happy and lovey and shit…he must be a hell of a good fuck to keep Ruki’s attention this long.” Aoi snorted. Ruki glared at his bandmates whispering, knowing that they were talking about Tomo.

                “Jealous much?” Ruki snarked at them. “Jealous? Of what? You and him? Hardly…” Reita snapped. “Yep…you’re jealous because I have someone that I love and you have…” Before Ruki could finish, Tomo sat up quickly. “You…you love me?” Tomo was shocked. “Yes… I love you Tomo…” Ruki reached up to cup Tomo’s face, kissing the shocked boy passionately.

                “Barrff!!” Reita snarled, but before he could say another word, Kai reached over and slapped the man across the face…hard.

                “WHAT THE FUCK KAI YOU CUNT!” Reita jumped up and lunged at Kai, “REITA!” Uruha grabbed Reita by the arm, “FUCK OFF URU! THAT CUNT SLAPPED ME!” Ruki had moved Tomo off his lap, pushing his boyfriend behind him. “Go get Taka…run!” he growled at Tomo, Aki and Tora yelling for Kyo.

                “Shit! KAI!” Yukke heard the voices then saw Reita trying to get to Kai, “SATO” Yukke grabbed Sato’s arm, dragging him over to the Gazette table, Hiroto running ahead of them, only to get shoved out of the way by Aoi. “Don’t do it Pon!” Aoi yelled at Hiroto.

                The mad scramble at the Gazette table drew everyone’s attention, Taka coming around the corner from the HBG office. “STOP IT NOW!” Taka roared, louder than anyone had ever heard the man speak.

                Uruha had Reita around the waist, Kai had Reita’s shirt in his fist, poised to strike the man again with Sato holding him back, Yukke was trying to get in between everyone and Ruki searching the crowd for Tomo again.

                “What the FUCK is going on now?” Taka yelled, “Kai slapped me for no fucking reason! Stupid CUNT!” Reita growled. “I slapped you because I’m FUCKING TIRED OF YOU AND AOI BEING COMPLETE ASSHOLES TO EVERYONE AROUND YOU!”

                “Hey…I didn’t say or do anything!” Aoi complained. “Shut up Aoi, you’re no better than Reita. If it’s not Pon, it’s Ruki and Tomo, if it’s not them, it’s you complaining about not being able to get laid. I’m fucking tired of working with men that are my age or OLDER that are acting like hormone crazed teenagers!” Kai was angrier than anyone, including Yukke had ever seen before.

                “Okay, let’s all settle down. Tomo, go back to work please, you can talk to Ruki after the event.” Taka took a deep breath. “Kai, keep your boys under control, but try not to beat them to death tonight, please?”

                “I want both of you to leave…go home and do not come to the studio until I call you.” Kai ordered Reita and Aoi. “Why? We haven’t done anything wrong! This is bullshit Kai!” Aoi whined. “Shut your mouth Yuu, take Akira and leave…now.” Kai’s voice had evened out, but the anger was still there. Reita pulled away from Kai and started to walk away. “You haven’t heard the last of this Kai…this is bullshit and you fucking know it! I’m going to management about this… hell, I’ll go to DCR management! You’re out of line Yutaka!” Aoi snapped as he followed Reita out of the HBG patio area.

                “What the hell started all this?” Taka sighed, “Reita made a seriously rude remark after Ruki confessed to Tomo for the first time, it was uncalled for and rude. I’m done with rude fucking people in MY band. Ru, would you please apologize for me to Tomo later? I’m sorry Reita ruined a special night for you guys.” Ruki waved Kai off. “It probably wasn’t the best timing for sure, but it felt right for me. I’m tired of those two being assholes, just as much as you are.”                         

                The party returned to a normal volume, everyone secretly pleased that Ruki had in fact, confessed to his boyfriend in public. “That’s so damned cute! Ruki’s boyfriend is a sweetie…sucks that Reita had to ruin it for them.”

                “You okay Pon?” Kai asked Hiroto, “Yah, I’m fine. What the hell are you going to do Kai? Not like you can fire them from the band…can you?” Hiroto didn’t want to see the Gazette break up, but he did want Aoi and Reita to be reined in. “I need to talk to you and our manager, maybe bring in DCR management. I’ll let you know sometime this week. Go back over and enjoy the party.” Patting the younger man on the back, Kai turned back to his table.

               

                During the entire fiasco, Die had sat at the Diru table with a drink in his hand, watching. Shinya in turn, had been watching Die all night, noticing the man was not interacting with any of his peers, he didn’t try to help break up the fight between Kai and Reita, something that normally he and Kyo would have jumped into at the first punch thrown.

                “Mind if I sit with you for a while? Yukke is trying to get Kai calmed down.” Shinya had walked over to the Diru table and sat down with Die. “Who’s the boy that was in on it?” Die asked with little enthusiasm. “Hiroto? That’s Yukke’s nephew, he’s interning with management for Gazette.”

                “Oh, okay…now I remember. I knocked him down the other day at the studio, on accident of course. Cute boy, too bad he’s stuck with those two assholes.” This caught Shinya’s attention. “Yukke introduced us a while ago.” Something in Shinya’s brain clicked, “Do you want to talk with him? I can have him come sit with us?” Die shook his head, “Nah, I’m good” Shinya sat with Die for a while longer, hoping to coax a little more conversation out of the man, but it was pointless. Soon after Shinya got up and went back to sit with Miya, Die slipped out of the party, unnoticed by anyone, or so he thought. I wonder where he’s going? He looks so sad

               

 

                “You didn’t go to the party? Why? I promised I would stay away, but you didn’t have to.” Sakurai was sitting in his living room with the rest of the band, discussing upcoming rehearsal schedules ahead of the holiday tour season. “We didn’t really feel the need to, Uta already seemed like he was overwhelmed just by going back to work, we didn’t need to add to that pressure.” Yutaka explained. “Acchan, why are we here today?”

                “With everything that I’ve been going through for the last several years, I’m ready for a complete change.” Acchan stood, walking to stand in front of his large glass windows. “I’ve left the community.” He said as he turned around to look at his friends. “You’ve left? What do you mean you’ve left the community?” Imai was doubtful. “Just that, I’ve spoken with Madame F and the other senior members, and I have made the choice to remove myself from the community, just as Davina has. It was hindering my recovery in a way.” Acchan sat down again.

                “All I could think about was controlling Uta and it took one very terrifying incident for me to see how destructive I had become, to myself and potentially to Uta.” Sakurai readied himself to tell the story;

                “I had started to follow Uta around the city. I was renting different cars as my Porsche is fairly well known to Uta. I was stalking the boy, daily…for hours. One day I watched him board the train, I had found out where he worked. I went to the store and parked across the street and waited. I sat there for six hours.” Sakurai admitted, shaking his head. The others were silent, Yutaka clutching Hide’s hand tightly.

                “I watched Uta leave work and start walking towards the train station. I pulled my car ahead several blocks and waited. I was going to stop him on the street and force him into my car to talk to me! I just needed to speak to him! If I could talk to him and make him listen to me…maybe we could…” Sakurai was now shaking, leaning forward, his head in his hands. Yutaka saw tears dropping to the carpet.

                “Just as he was walking towards my car, I started to open the door, a truck horn blared in my face, it almost took the door off the car! I almost was killed…just so I could talk to a boy that fears and hates me. Uta looked around but didn’t see me, he just kept walking. I sat in the car shaking for over an hour, then I came home.”

                “You were going to kidnap Uta, weren’t you Acchan? You were going to force him into your car…you…” Yutaka whispered. Sakurai nodded, “Yes, that’s exactly what I was prepared to do, that’s how far my broken mental state had taken me.”

                Nobody said anything for a good long while, each person digesting the information that Sakurai had given them.

                “Acchan, how did this lead to you leaving the community? I don’t get the connection.” Toll asked his friend.

                “I had a meltdown…again.” Sakurai chuckled. “I decided to call Madame F and speak with her. She insisted that I get treatment and suggested that I leave the community. She told me that my desires for Uta were unnatural and destructive, she’s right of course. I agreed with her and we went through the steps necessary to officially leave the scene behind, I also started talking to Dr. Maeta again. He helped me realize what the hell I was doing, how dangerous and potentially illegal my behaviors were”

                “This leads me to what I’ve asked you here for. I’m going to start clean and by that, I mean I’m going to renovate my entire home. I love this house, but as it stands right now, there are too many memories that are haunting me and holding me back.” His friends looked at him, confused on to why they were at the house.

                “I would like you to take what you’d like from my house. I am getting rid of virtually everything in my home, furniture, appliances, everything. But I have one request of you Yutaka…and Hide. I need you to unlock the bedroom, box everything up and take it away. Give it all back to Uta please. Everything…all of it.” This surprised his friends. “Acchan… really? Are you certain?” Yutaka found it hard to believe.

                “Yes, I am certain. I want nothing of his in my house. I am done with Uta. I want nothing more than for the boy to live happily and peacefully, without having to look over his shoulder constantly, waiting for me to approach him. As I said earlier this month, I will not approach the boy, I will not contact the boy. I can not help random meetings, but I will no longer be thinking of Uta in any way.”

                While Hide went home to retrieve the key to Uta’s room, Yutaka and Sakurai sat quietly in his bedroom. “Acchan, I’m surprised with you. You seem to be honest about all of this…what changed you?” Sakurai smiled sadly. “The fact that I was going to kidnap Uta and force him to be with me…even if it was just to talk. The truck almost hitting me, it scared me ‘taka…badly. I kept hearing Kyo’s voice telling me that Uta hated me, that I was killing the boy. And even after finding out from Ojisan…that smart bastard...that Davina’s pet would have killed Teiji regardless of mine or Uta’s involvement. I think that’s what finally hit me. I wasn’t responsible for Teiji’s death, but I was responsible in part for Uta’s misery. I lost that beautiful boy because of my controlling behavior…that’s what it breaks down to. I’m the sole reason Uta is no longer in my life and it shocked me, it killed my soul.”

                Yutaka was happy that Sakurai was finally coming to terms with his involvement and destructive behavior patterns in regards to Uta, but now he worried about his friend being alone. “What will you do? Will you stay alone?” the younger man whispered. “Yes, I will for the time being. I’m not healthy enough to be in any relationship, male or female. I will stay away from the beautiful boys that I’ve played with most of my life, I will even stay away from the beautiful women who have laid in my bed. That’s why I’m getting rid of that life. It’s dark and depressing and holds no hope for me.”

                Hide unlocked the door, holding it open for Yutaka, “We should only need that one large box, I don’t think there’s much left in here.” Yutaka looked around. Hide started going through drawers, Yutaka starting in the bathroom. It took less than an hour to box up Uta’s life with Sakurai. Before Yutaka sealed the box, Sakurai handed him a sweat shirt, crumpled into a ball. “This is the last piece of Uta I have, take it.” he said sadly.

                “Please, come for dinner on Friday, I will have most of my give-away items ready for you. The remainder of the stuff is going to a recycle store. I will be sleeping in my office on a futon until the house is finished. I want one last dinner with my friends before I change my life around.” With hugs and promises of being back in a few days, the members of Buck Tick left their vocalist, standing in the doorway of his house, smiling and waving as his friends pulled away.

                “It’s a start, one thing at a time.” Sakurai walked to his office, sitting down in front of his computer, he started searching for a designer and a new look for his home. “If you ever return, you will be returning to something new…I will always love you.”

 

                Uta got home late, the house was quiet and sleeping as he moved towards the bathroom. The event at the HBG had gone well, except for the small altercation between the Gazette members. He was tired, bone tired, it took a great deal of effort to stand through his shower.

                Walking to the kitchen, Uta grabbed a bottle of water and went back down to his bedroom, missing the box sitting in the living room. Crawling into bed, Uta prayed for nothing but sleep, no dreams of Teiji, no nightmares of Sakurai.

 

 

                “Ohayo Uta…tea or coffee?” Yutaka was his normal cheerful self, something that irked Hide daily. Hide was not an early riser, but Yutaka always forced the man out of bed at the same time as he got up. “Coffee please. You guys changed your mind about coming to the party?”

                “We had a meeting with Acchan last night, it was more important than the party. How did it go? Hide was hiding his face behind the newspaper, something he did regularly.

                “Except for Kai slapping Reita, Ruki confessing to Tomo, it was a normal DCR event, you didn’t miss much.” Uta deadpanned.

                “Wait what? Kai slapped Reita? What the hell for?” This made Hide put his paper down. “Well, from what Tomo said, Ruki kind of confessed while they were sitting at the Gazette table, and Reita made some rude remark or something, Kai reached across the table and slapped him…hard.” Uta was smiling.

                “Ruki…ok I know who that is…who’s Tomo?” both Hide and Yutaka were a bit confused, so Uta went through the Tomo/Ruki hook up. “Aww, that sounds sweet! Ruki can be a handful at times, we all know that.” Yutaka laughed.

                “Aoi and Reita are being real assholes lately to their intern, who is Yukke’s nephew, guess they’ve been hitting on the poor kid constantly, borderline sexual harassment, last night Kai just snapped. He may look all cute with those dimples, but do not piss that man off…he’s scary as hell when he’s mad.”

                They chatted a little more about the DCR event, when Uta asked about the meeting with Acchan. “Well…seems like he’s going through a mid-life crisis…he said he’s gutting his house and remodeling it completely. Everything, furniture, appliances, artwork …all of it gone. So, we’re going over and looking through his things, see if there’s anything we may want.”

                Uta didn’t say anything, though in his mind he was wondering about the things he had left at Sakurai’s. Before he could ask, Yutaka answered the question. “I have all of your things in a box, he asked us to return it to you.” Yutaka said softly.

                “Oh…I don’t think there’s much that I care about, I’ll go through it later.” Uta had butterflies, but why?
               

                Hide put the box in Uta’s room, sliding the door closed quietly…leaving Uta alone sitting on the floor. Uta stared at the box for a few minutes, not really remembering what all he had left behind. Unfolding the top, he reaches in and pulls out a balled-up sweatshirt, unfolding it he shakes it out. “What…I don’t…” he sets it aside. Slowly he removed all of the items, mostly clothing but a few other items; a pillow, a small stuffed cat, some toiletries. He notices that his books are all there, setting them down one by one, until he reaches in for the last book.

                “What?”  A piece of paper folded up neatly, poking out of the top of the book. Uta carefully opens it up.

                Uta my love;

                Just a quick note to tell you how much I love you. Never in my life have I been so lucky as to have someone so beautiful, inside and out, as you. I see nothing but bliss pure and simple for us in our lives together. I love you as I have no other. I will love you until my dying breath.

                Uta re-read the note over and over again, his eyes filling with tears, blurred by the memories of his life with Acchan. Folding the letter up, he put it back in the book, placing the book in the pile with the others.

                He leaned against the bedroom wall, looking at the remnants of his life with Acchan, his short passionate life with the man he thought to be his savior, his lover, his forever.

                His feelings were mixed, his memories haunted him. He couldn’t put a finger on his emotions at that instant. Instead he filled the box back up, keeping only a very few items out, including his books. He closed the cover and pushed the box outside his bedroom door.

                “Are you okay Uta-kun?” Yutaka had waited, listening carefully for any sound of pain from his young friend. “This can go to the recycle store, I don’t want any of it. I just kept a few things.” The boy looked as if he had been crying. “I’m really tired, I’m just going to go to bed now. Thanks for brining me this. I love you guys.” Uta hugged Yutaka and kissed the older man on the cheek, then went into his room, sliding the door closed quietly.

                Uta’s dreams that night were filled with confusion; Teiji, making love to him in their flat, in bed with Davina on that lust filled night. Davina and Uta in Maastricht. The visions of Teiji on the St. Andrews Cross…the sound of the gun shot, the screaming…who was screaming? Davina or Uta? Sakurai…Acchan making love to him, blindfolding the boy, edging him over and over. Uta crying out Acchan’s name, Teiji’s name. Flashes of Natsu, Kyo…his friends at work. Acchan, singing to him, watching him carefully. Touching him…making him hard…sucking, biting, licking, fucking, cumming. It all blended together in a wild mash of visions.

                The last visions were of Acchan…kissing Uta carefully, softly… I love you Uta, there is no other for me. I will wait for you forever. Come home baby…I need you.

Chapter Text

                “DIE OPEN THE GOD DAMNED DOOR NOW BEFORE I KICK IT IN! DAISUKE!!!” Kyo had been banging on Die’s door for over ten minutes, he knew the man was home, hiding from his friends and just as Kyo was lifting his foot to kick the door in, it slowly opened, Die peering out through a crack in the door.

                “Go away Kyo, I don’t want to talk to you.” Die grunted as he then tried to shut the door. “Too damn bad…you’re talking to me today, fuck what you want or don’t want.” Kyo shoved his way in through the door. Die shrugged and turned his back on his friend, walking towards his bedroom. The flat was dark, it smelled musty and old, not a single open window to be seen.

                “You look like shit Daisuke” Kyo mumbled as he followed his friend into the bedroom. “Thanks, now go away Kyo.” Die crawled back in bed, pulling the covers over his head. Kyo looked around the room, empty beer cans, water bottles and ramen bowls littered the floor, Die had made no effort to clean.

                Kyo shook his head, sitting on the edge of the bed, he started to speak to the lump under the covers. “I wish you would tell me what’s wrong buddy…you’re scaring me right now, you’re scaring everyone. Shinya’s been crying, Totchi can’t play for shit right now and Kao…well he’s brooding more than normal.”

                Kyo got up and started to collect the trash in Die’s bedroom, watching the lump in the bed…no movement. “Do I need to call Dr. Maeta for you? You know he’s helped a lot of people, Koichi, Tatsu and myself. It’s not admitting anything if you speak to him, not like anyone’s going to think any less of you for getting help.” Sitting on the side of the bed again, Kyo reached over to pat the lump in the blankets. “Die, please buddy…tell me what’s wrong.” Kyo pleaded with his friend.

                A sniffing sound, a vibration of the shoulders and Kyo knew Die was crying. Carefully reaching over, he pulled the blankets away. Die had his arms covering his head, his body shaking from the sobs that silently wracked his body. The sight of his friend in such internal turmoil, hurt Kyo to his core.

                Kyo laid down next to his friend, pulling the man into his arms, he shushed Die like he would a child, whispering small sounds to settle the man’s broken emotions.

                “I’m so damned lonely…I have no one to…” Die whimpered. “It’s hard Kyo, you don’t understand just how fucking hard it is to see you with Mao, it hurts Kyo…it fucking hurts!” Die starts to cry again, grasping Kyo’s shirt tightly. “I have nothing, there’s no one waiting for me when I get home, nobody to text while I’m out on tour.”

                “I’m sorry buddy…I didn’t know. You’ve always been so free, taking lovers whenever you wanted one, you’ve never had a problem with that before” Kyo didn’t really have any good answers for his friend. “It took me forever to find Mao, you know how weird our relationship was in the beginning, half the time I think we hated each other. I guess I sort of lost my best friend, pushed you away without knowing it…I didn’t intentionally ignore you Die, you know I would never do that.”

                Die nodded, “I know, it’s not your fault. I just thought I was okay with being single, I thought the hook ups were enough…but then watching you and Mao, Miya and Shinya… all the others…it started to eat at me. Totchi and Kao don’t care about being single, at least they’ve never said anything to me about it.” Die shifted to sitting up, wiping his face with his sleeve.

                “I can’t be alone anymore Kyo…if that means leaving the band and trying to live a normal life in order to find someone, then that’s what I’m going to have to do. I don’t want a fuck toy anymore…those are shallow meaningless relationships. Kyo, I want my own boy to love! I thought at one point that Taka would be that boy, but he belongs to Sato, then there was Mao…well you know how that ended.  There is no one for me to love, Kyo.”  Die hung his head, his chin resting on his chest, tears falling into his lap.

                “Die, I can’t tell you that you’ll find someone…I don’t even know how to look for a partner…Mao approached me, he just dumped himself into my lap. But I don’t believe for one second that you’re destined to be alone for the rest of your life. You’re funny, goofy and you’re damned good looking, you’re sweet and sensitive, you know how I feel about you…I love you. I always will, but like you said, you need your own boy to love.”

                Kyo got off the bed and took Die by the hand. “You need to clean up, take a shower, you smell” Kyo winked at his friend. While Die was in the shower, Kyo took out his phone,

                “We need to talk tonight at some point, Mao’s working a closing shift, can you come by at like 7?”

                Die walked into the living room, looking a little fresher. “When was the last time you had anything decent to eat?” Kyo asked. “Define decent” Die answered with a shrug. “Come on, we’re going out.”

 

                “God, Kyo…you’re going to make me sit in front of him? Fuck…really?” Die whined as the two men walked up to Ojisan’s restaurant. “Yes, because you need something decent to eat and maybe you’ll get lucky and Ojisan will tell you who your soul mate is.” Kyo grumbled.

                “Irasshai gentlemen, have a seat please,” Ojisan had his back turned to the front door, bent over his tiny stove. “Hey Ojisan, two pork chashu’s please but no beer, water will be fine.” Kyo ordered for both of them, Die giving him a very dirty look over the beverage order. “I can have a beer…” he pouted.

                Die watched Ojisan carefully, tensing up every time the man came close. “Stop it Die.” Kyo nudged him in the ribs. “I can’t help it, the dude creeps me out!” Die snapped. “Do you not wish to hear anything I have to say?” Ojisan asked from his kitchen. “Shit…Um no, Ojisan it’s not that…uh, I guess I’m scared to hear what you might tell me. You don’t always hand out positive information you know.” Kyo snorted in his chashu.  “That is true, Daisuke” Ojisan smiled.

                Die’s eyes widened, “What did you call me?” Ojisan cocked his head, “Your name is Daisuke is it not?” Die nodded, “Well, Andou Daisuke…if I were to tell you that your problems would be over soon, if you only trust yourself and the other one that will approach you, would that be a positive thing?”

                “The man is younger than you, but do not let that stop you from opening up to him. He’s pure but worldly…he has had some recent problems with men paying more attention to him than he would like. He’s distrustful right now. Prove to him that he’s worthy and prove to yourself that you’re worthy as well.” Ojisan winked at both men, turning back to his kitchen.

                “What the fuck does that mean? See! This is exactly why he creeps me out…trust, worthy? What? Am I getting a golden retriever or something?” Die shook his head. He wished he could believe Ojisan, the man had been right so many times before with his visions or predictions…whatever it was called, in the past, for his friends. But a boy of his own to love? Die wasn’t going to bet on it, there was no way.

 

                “He was pretty rough…he told me he wants his own boy to love. He believes that he will be alone for the rest of his life. I guess seeing Mao and I together, you and Miya and the others, has finally gotten to him. He said he doesn’t want another fuck toy.” Kyo was sitting with Shinya in his living room, filling him on the day’s events with Die. “His own boy to love? Oh Die…” Shinya sighed. “It was bound to happen eventually, Die has finally grown up.”

                “That’s not all. We went to Ojisan’s today. Die hasn’t been eating very well, so I took him for a decent lunch. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy that we ended up at the ramen hut.” Kyo went through what Ojisan had said to Die about there being some one out there for him, “He called Die Andou Daisuke…that freaked him out right away, sorta freaked me out as well.”

                “When Miya and I met with Kai and Yukke at Ojisan’s a few days ago, Ojisan called him the sad one.” Shinya’s brow furrowed. “But he also told Pon that his problems with Aoi and Reita would be over soon, and there was someone out there waiting for him.”

                “You don’t think that Pon…with Die? Yikes…if it’s true Yukke’s not going to like it…he’s going to beat the crap out of Die if he some how hurts that boy.” Kyo smirked.

                “Die has met Pon before…well sort of. He and Pon ran into each other at the studio, Die accidentally knocked the boy down.” Shinya giggled. “I tried to get Die to talk to him at the party, but he left before I could get Pon over to him. I trust Ojisan…we’ll know right away if Pon isn’t the one…but then who is?”

                Shinya and Kyo ran through a list of names of eligible single men, all in the industry, that might fit with Die, although that list ended up being very short.

                “If it wasn’t for the fact that Ojisan mentioned Aoi and Reita, then right away went to something about Pon having someone out there waiting for him, all in the same breath as Die…I might not believe it. Now, how do we get them together long enough to speak?” This would prove to be more difficult than the duo imagined.

 

                Uta and Mao were working side by side at the counters of the HBG. It was a busy summer day; a line had formed at the HBG with people in need of a cool glass of fizzy alcohol. With Taka and Aki mixing the drinks, the mid-day rush was in full swing when Tora walked in the back.

                “Grab an apron Tora, go out on the patio and make sure it’s clean.” Taka called out to the man. “Right…” Tora clocked in, ran up and quickly kissed Aki on the cheek and turned to go out to the patio area. The rush went on for over two hours, it was the busy time of the year, in between the long summer days and the short cold winter nights. People were getting out and enjoying the warm weather, knowing that the holiday season was just around the corner.

                “Oh my god…I’m fucking dead!” Mao collapsed onto a stool, his head in his hands. “Good job everyone, hopefully there won’t be too many more days like this, this is the last week of extended hours. We shift to winter hours next week, but we also start on winter holiday parties as well. I think the boss said we’re going to be doing more than just DCR events now. He’s gotten a lot of interest in bookings for different companies, just a heads up.” Taka was extremely proud of his team, they all worked well together, even when incidents like during the last DCR event, come up.

                “Okay, Mao and Uta…I’m cutting you loose a little early, you guys look beat. Aki and Tora, I’ll be here for another two hours, after that you’re on your own.” Taka sat down in the office, taking a much-needed break.

                “Want a ride? I have the car today.” Mao offered Uta. “Yah, that would be great.” Driving to Hide and Yutaka’s, Uta didn’t say much, just looking out the window. “Hey, what’s wrong?” Mao knew … he always did. “Nothing’s really wrong…it’s just that I got a box the other day.”

                “Okay…just a box? Nothing in it?” teased Mao. “Dumbass… it had all of my stuff that I left at Sakurai’s when I moved out. Nothing really important, books and some clothes, but there was a note in one of the books.”

                “You don’t have to tell me…what did it say?” Mao was dying to know, but Sakurai was a touchy subject with his best friend, for understandable reasons.

                “Just that he was so happy, he thought I was beautiful, our love was pure bliss, and that he’d love me with his dying breath.” Uta’s stomach was a little shaky, the last part of Sakura’s note had done something to him, it struck his soul in a way he couldn’t handle at the time.

                “Well, I’m guessing he wrote that when you guys first got together, or…after you left? Hard to say. What did you do with all the stuff?” Mao was breathing evenly, he had to stay under control, not freak out over what was being said.

                “Probably before, we weren’t on good speaking terms after…remember?” Uta giggled, “Yes…believe me I remember.” Mao reached up and stroked his cheek and laughed.

                “Sorry…but not sorry…” Uta laughed harder. “Yah, well I deserved it, I know that now. Just don’t do it again please?” Mao begged. “If you don’t need it, I won’t do it!” Uta bantered back. This lead to a moment of silliness between the two friends, bringing up specific incidents that either one of them deserved a slap from the other.

                “I’ll see you day after tomorrow at work.” Uta waved as Mao pulled away from Hide and Yutaka’s house. “Tadaima”, Uta called out as he entered the genkan, greeted with only the snorting farting sounds of Rima and Zepp. “Nobody home? Yes! TV time!” Changing out of his uniform into comfy pajama pants, Uta grabbed a snack and a bottle of water, sitting down in front of the TV to watch inane celebrity gossip shows.

                “Tadaima” Hide and Yutaka struggled through the front door, Hide dancing around trying to keep Rima and Zepp from escaping, both men having rather large boxes in their hands.

                “Uta’s asleep on the couch,” Yutaka whispered to his husband. “Let’s put this stuff in the bedroom, I’m not sure how Uta’s going to react to it.” There had been some artwork that Sakurai had that Hide had chosen, mostly traditional Japanese wooden pictures and a few sculptures. Yutaka had taken some of the rather pricey kitchen equipment, items he had always looked at jealously when Sakurai cooked.

                “Mmm… you guys home already?” Uta stretched and fell over moaning. “Rough day?” Hide put the boxes down. “It was so fucking busy…we were slammed for two hours! Mao gave me a ride home so at least I didn’t have to fall asleep on the train.”

                “Uta, I want you to look through these boxes,” Hide announced, Yutaka’s face paling. “Why?” Uta kneeled down next to the first box. “These are things from Sakurai’s house that we would like to keep, but if there is an item that makes you uncomfortable, like maybe one of the pieces of art…I’ll donate it.” Yutaka was now standing next to Hide.

                “Why would you do that? Nothing he owns personally is going to bother me, unless you have like a box of dildo’s and vibrators…or maybe some of the leather cuffs he used on me. Oh! Did you grab the studded paddle! I wanted to keep that!” Uta made a great show of digging through the boxes, giggling at his own teasing.

                “I told you he’d be alright” Hide chided his husband. “Hmmph. Fine…I’m going to start dinner.” Yutaka turned and stomped off to the kitchen.

                “I like these…I’m glad you took them. They’re too nice to just donate.” Uta held up one of the wooden paintings and one of the sculptures. “He always had excellent taste…seems a shame that he’s going to gut his house. Do you know why?” Uta was still looking through the boxes.

                “He wanted to start fresh…he said there were too many memories of bad times in his life, not only with you but with Taka as well.” Hide was going to take a chance. “He’s also left the community.”

                Uta’s head snapped up, “He what? How…why?” the boy stammered. “He saw it as part of a destructive lifestyle that had swallowed him whole. He spoke to Madame F and whatever elders there are, he was also influenced by Davina and Yoji. He said he’d have no more beautiful boys or beautiful women in his bed for a long time. He just wanted to be able to breathe easier and live a normal simple life… well as simple as Sakurai Atsushi can live.”

                This shocked Uta. Sakurai was a natural dominant, it was instinctual for him to be dominant in bed…but now? What does that mean for him? It means nothing. “Well, I hope he is happy, I never wanted him to be miserable. Maybe he’ll find himself someone to truly love. That’s all I wish for him.”

                “Dinner you two!” Yutaka yelled from the kitchen. “We’ll go through the rest of this later, I’m starving.” Hide helped Uta to his feet, slung his arm around the young man’s shoulders as they walked to the dinning room together.

After dinner and a few beers in the garden, Uta staggered off to bed, knowing that his exhaustion combined with the alcohol, would lead to a dreamless night…or so he thought. Before drifting off, he thought about the items that Hide and Yutaka brought home from Sakurai’s. He remembered seeing the wooden paintings, but not the sculptures. The idea that Hide and Yutaka were worried that the items may bother him was laughable, they were objects which held no malice or ill intent.  

                Rolling over on his side, his last thoughts were of the man himself and the note he found in his book. “I will love you with my dying breathe.” Even as Uta slipped into the darkness, those words haunted him…dying breathe, love you. Why was his heart thumping loudly…why was his breathing shallow and rushed, why was he laying naked on Acchan’s bed, the man hovering over him…I will love you with my dying breath, you are mine forever, my beautiful boy.

                Somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, Sakurai Atsushi’s love for the small boy is buried. He doesn’t think about Uta during the day, none of his daily rituals bring visions of the boy he had loved. It wasn’t until the night, when he was truly alone with his thoughts, that Uta wormed his way through the darkness, surprising the man in his sleep.

                He’s slowly licking the boy’s body, nipping at an exposed collarbone, nibbling on a tiny bud, ghosting his fingers over the young man’s stiffening cock. “You are mine, there will never be another…I will die alone if I do not have you to love, and I will die happy.” He dreams the same thing, with subtle differences, all night, waking in the early light of dawn, thinking only of Uta. He resolved himself to get through the day without any thoughts of the boy, waiting impatiently for the night to come, to be with his boy in his dreams.

Chapter Text

 

 

                Sitting around a large table at the restaurant, the members of The Gazette, their manager and intern manager, discussed the upcoming mini-tour. Certain guidelines had been put in place in order to insure there would be no more sexual harassment of Hiroto. Aoi would be rooming with Uruha, Kai with Reita, leaving Hiroto to room with Ruki. The two men in question would not be seated next to or interact with each other, nor have any extracurricular contact with their intern manager on and off the bus.

                “You’re treating us like we’re in fucking kindergarten! This is highly unfair to both Aoi and I!” Reita protested during the discussion. “We’re treating you as you deserved to be treated…like two overgrown adolescents teenage boys, who are fighting for the affection of a girl. If you would stop acting as such…you may be allowed to hang out together again. Until then, those are the rules, don’t like them? Tough fucking shit, after the tour, find a new band.” Kai’s eyes were black, the cute dimples were missing, this was scary leader-san Kai, the one you didn’t want to piss off.

                Hiroto sat quietly watching the expressions of Aoi and Reita as Kai laid out the new rules, the men glancing at him.  He was constantly on edge, always waiting and anticipating the next attack, be it verbal or physical, which was interfering with his job. The incident at the DCR party had thrown both Aoi and Reita into shittier moods now that they had been separated. Ruki was also on the watch for any attack that may be directed at his and Tomo’s burgeoning love life, it had taken him an hour to calm Tomo down and to re-confess once they had gotten home.

                “Hey Pon, come with me for a minute, I want to introduce to you the guys in Diru.” Kai got up, eyeing Aoi and Reita…challenging the duo to act out. Kai wanted to test the theory that Shinya had spoken to Kai about the previous night, in relation to the problem they were having with Die, reminding him about what Ojisan had said that night. “Let’s see if there’s a spark” Shinya giggled.

                “Hey guys…I know that you haven’t met Hiroto yet, so I wanted to bring him over.” Kai introduced the Diru members to Hiroto, Toshiya in particular, eyeing the younger man. “Hiroto is going on the mini-tour with us, only six lives, but it will give him the experience of what it’s going to be like when he finally gets his own band.”

                There was a bit of small talk, Hiroto answering basic questions, all the while Die sneaking glances at the boy. “Sorry about running you down at DCR that day, hope I didn’t hurt you.” Die snuck in a short comment, not really expecting much in the way of a response.

                “You did what, Die? Ran him over?” Kyo looked at his best friend. “I didn’t mean to! We both came around a corner at the same time! Sheesh!” protested Die.

                “No worries, I probably should have looked up.” Hiroto blushed.

                “Any more problems with Aoi and Reita? Looked like they were a handful at the DCR party.” Die directed that question at Kai.

 “Reita got what he deserved…he pretty much ruined Ruki’s confession to Tomo. Not an ideal place for that, but that wasn’t the point.” Kai griped.  

                “Nope, it’s all under control. I won’t date members of a band I manage.” Hiroto added.  Die smiled his megawatt best.

                “What about members of other bands?” he teased Hiroto.

                “Depends on the member” Hiroto answered quickly. Die had a cheeky grin on his face, something that wasn’t lost on the other members of his band, seeing that this smile was somehow different.

                “Good luck on your first tour, Hiroto” Die said as Kai and Pon had to return to the Gazette table.

                “Thanks, please…call me Pon, everyone else does.” Pon answered easily.

                “Call you…or call you Pon?” Die teased.

                “Both.” Pon smiled as he turned and walked away.

                Without being too obvious, Kaoru, Toshiya and Kyo had watched the interaction between Pon and Die, quickly turning away as Die watched the younger man leave.

“He’s nice…pretty cute too.” Toshiya leaned over and whispered to Die. “Mmm,” Die was looking down at his plate wearing a sly smile.

“So, what did you think of the guys in Diru?” Kai tried to sound nonchalant. “They seem really nice…Toshiya is prettier than I thought, Kaoru…is he always that quiet?” Kai’s heart pounded with hearing the comment on Toshiya. “Yah, Kao’s the strong quiet type. You think Toshiya’s prettier than Ruki? If you say yes…don’t say it in front of Ru…he’ll probably smack you!”

“He’s prettier…in a more femme way than Ruki.” Hiroto explained. “Kyo’s intense even off the stage. Not what I expected, he’s pretty quiet.”

“What about Die? What’d you think of him?” This was it, it was going to be yes or no…

                “He’s good looking, in a dorky sort of way. Not what he’s like on stage, he seems powerful on stage, like he’s in control of everything. I like him though…he’s super nice. He’s not married or anything is he?” Hiroto was hoping for a no answer.

                “Nope, no boyfriend or girlfriend as far as I know…he’s been alone for a while.” Kai did an internal hi-five with himself.

                Hiroto was quiet for the remainder of the evening, thinking about what Die had said about calling him. “Nah, he wouldn’t be interested in me…he’s Die…Dir En Grey Die…” He muttered to himself as he walked up to Yukke’s flat.

                “How was the meeting?” Yukke asked Kai. “It went well, we have a strong plan in place for dealing with the two idiots. I introduced Pon to the Diru boys…even though he’s already sort of met Die…” Yukke watched his nephew go into the kitchen and grab a bottle of water…not saying anything as he walked down the hall to his bedroom. Kai turned to his husband as he heard Hiroto’s door shut.

                “I promise! Shinya and I have it under control, don’t worry so much!” Kai kissed Yukke. “Babe, we’re talking about Die possibly being interested in my nephew. You’d better hope you have everything under control or my brother is going to hunt you down and kick your ass if Pon gets hurt.”

                “I don’t think Pon will get hurt, you didn’t see the way Die looked at him. He didn’t leer at the boy, there was no predatory look in his eyes…he smiled that big goofy smile and seemed genuine. No, I don’t think Die will hurt Pon…” Yukke started to protest again until Kai kissed him…into submission.

 

                Tomo clung to Ruki tighter as the day grew longer, in an attempt to calm his nervous stomach. “Babe, it’s not that long of a tour, only six lives…I’ll be home in less than two weeks.” Ruki chided his lover. “I know, but this is the first time you’re going to be gone…I don’t like it.” Tomo pouted. The couple were on their way to the restaurant for a last dinner before the band departed the next day.

                It didn’t help that Ruki looked nervous, which in turn made Tomo wonder if there was something wrong. Ruki was about to pop the question, one that he had never asked of anyone before. He kept waiting for the right moment, which of course, never came. With dinner over and the two lingering over drinks, Ruki heaved a great sigh then closed his eyes.

                “I don’t want you to say yes right away.” Ruki’s tone was even and careful. Tomo’s scared. “Okay”

                “When I get back from tour…would you move in with me?” Ruki closed his eyes, afraid to watch Tomo’s rejection.

                “Are you sure?” Tomo’s voice was shaking.

                “I love you…and as cliché as it sounds, I’ve never said that once to anyone, other than Koichi and Uta, but that’s totally different. But I want you to think about it first, you can wait un…”

                “I don’t need to think about it…yes, I’ll move in with you.” Tomo was blushing a deep red, looking at his hands. “I love you Ru…I want to live with you, I want to be the person you see in the morning and who texts you all the time and be that super annoying boyfriend that everyone is jealous of because you love me, god that sounded corny.” Tomo giggled.

                “You’re sure? You don’t need to think about it?” Ruki leaned in.

                “Yes, I’m sure” Tomo whispered. Before the man could say anything else, he had an armful of Ruki. “I love you…you’ve been the one to change me, to ground me in adulthood and realize that bouncing from boy to boy is not the way to love or live” Ruki said as he nuzzled Tomo’s neck.

                This confession surprised Tomo a little. He had heard the stories about the Ruki Rampages, the constant changing out of boyfriends…but to hear the man say this to him was beyond anything he’d ever imagined beyond the first day they spoke.

 

The next morning, Tomo kissed Ruki, hugging the man tightly, the van waiting at the curb. “I’ll be back in less than two weeks…it will go by fast, I promise. You’ll be busy with work, I’ll text you every chance I get.” Ruki picked up his bag and kissed Tomo one more time before he left his lover’s flat, grumbling on the way down the stairs on how much this was going to suck. “Just concentrate on work Ru…it will go by faster.” He muttered as he stepped into the van that had been waiting for him.

                “Finally, ready to go?” Kai teased his vocalist. “No, but it’s a job, so let’s go.”  Kai was sitting in the third row with Reita, Uruha sitting in the second row with Aoi on one side and Hiroto on the other. Ruki took his usual position in the passenger seat. He instantly took out his phone and started texting.

                “I guess that’s all we’ll see of Ru this tour…his nose in his phone.” Uruha gently teased his friend. “Yep… that’s all you’ll see until it’s time for business. As long as the rest of you are up to speed and do your jobs.” Ruki didn’t come right out and say Aoi and Reita’s name, but it was implied on who that comment was meant for.

                “Don’t worry about us Ru…just make sure you don’t put Tomo’s name in the mix of lyrics.” Kai giggled, “Could you imagine him singing Reila… only to come out with Tomo.”  Ruki snorted. “Doubtful Kai, just make sure Reita and you keep Ride with the Rockers in tune…nothing worse than you four being out of sync.” This started another round of finger pointing at whomever messed up the last live, with Hiroto finally calling for quiet.

                “Let’s just relax, it’s a long drive and we still have to do a sound check before we can call it a night, I suggest you use the drive for a nap or some other quiet activity.” Hiroto needed a calm collected band when they arrived for the sound check, not a bunch of hyped up teenage men.

                Five hours later the van pulls up to the hotel, the band members spilling out with moans and groans of being cooped up to long in too small of a vehicle. “I’m going to go check us in.” Hiroto left the rowdy kids for Kai to deal with as he grabbed room keys and stood in the lobby, ready for more complaining about roommate issues.

                “Before you say anything, management decided this, so I want no whining, no bitching and no trying to change anything.” Hiroto read off the names, handing each member a key. “Why do I have to room with Uru?” Aoi already started to whine. “For the same stupid reason, I get to be with Kai…” That earned Reita a smack in the back of the head from leader-san. “Would you rather I slap you again? I’m so ready to do it!” Kai snapped, which caused Reita to shrink back. “Ruki, you and I are sharing.” Ruki shrugged, barely taking time away from texting Tomo to pay much attention.

                Grabbing their bags, they grouped up into the elevator for the third floor. “I need all of you here and ready to go for the live tonight at 6pm. First call tomorrow is at ten, be down stairs and ready to go.” Hiroto ordered. Ruki already was at their door, holding it open for Hiroto, all without looking away from his phone. “Aren’t you running out of things to talk about yet, Ruki?” Hiroto teased.

                “No…I’ll tell you because I trust you won’t say anything to the others. Tomo agreed to move in with me when we get back from tour.” Ruki’s smile lit up like a birthday cake. “That’s awesome! Congrats! I get now why you’re texting so much.” Hiroto was a little jealous, regretting that he hadn’t given Die his phone number. “Right…” he snorted. “Did you say something Pon?” Ruki called from the bathroom. “No, it’s nothing.”  Hiroto had kicked off his shoes and fallen face first into his bed, wanting nothing more than to scream. “Bathroom’s all yours” Ruki still had his phone in his hand, still texting. “Thanks”

                Hiroto looked at himself in the mirror was he got ready to shower. “What about me would Die even be interested in? You’re a fucking kid compared to him. Nice fantasy Pon…that’s all it is.” Deciding that it wasn’t worth the worry, Hiroto pushed all thoughts of having any type of relationship out of his mind. “Work…concentrate Pon!”

 

                “Great show! You guys were awesome!” Hiroto praised the band as they came off the stage. The first three lives had gone exceedingly well, beyond what Hiroto had hoped for. The guys were professional and on point, there wasn’t one thing the manager or Hiroto would change.

                “Fuck…it’s too damned hot!” Reita made it just inside the door, then collapsed on the floor, Aoi almost tripping over the sweaty panting bassist. “Why do we do this in the fucking summer? Why don’t we just tour in the winter when it’s colder?” Aoi was whiny hot, as he downed two bottles of water in minutes.

                “Because the holiday tour season is completely different, you know this! You whine every tour about the same things, Aoi” Kai chastised the older man.

                “Then why don’t you do something about it!” Aoi snapped back.

                “What the fuck is your problem? Stop acting like an asshole!” Kai warned. Hiroto stepped in between the two men. “Both of you stop…get your shit together and let’s go back to the hotel.”

                The short ride to the hotel was quiet, Ruki still texting Tomo, showing him pictures that he took from the stage, sitting in the back Uruha was glaring at Aoi, Reita leaning as far away from Kai as possible. Arriving at the hotel, the members rode the elevator in silence, a heavy feel of sulking in the air.

                “Be ready to leave the hotel at 8am, that means downstairs and standing in the lobby. Don’t make me drag your asses out of bed, because I have no problem doing it.” Hiroto said firmly. “Are you sure we can’t entice you to come in…Pon-chan?” Reita teased.

                Before Reita could react, Uruha reached over and hit Reita in the back of the head. “WHAT THE FUCK Uru?” Everyone turned to glare at the bass player. “Do you want to remain a member of this band, Akira?” Hiroto growled.

                “You don’t have the power to do anything about that PON!” Reita snapped, “You’re just a fucking intern, not even a damned real manager” The doors to the elevator opened, Hiroto was walked out first.

                “Would you like to challenge that, Reita? Would you really like to see where I can go with that? Think carefully…think back to what you’ve made my life like since I became just an intern.” Hiroto was pressing into Reita, pushing the man backwards.  Hiroto knew he had the backing of the Gazette’s manager and the management at DCR.              

                “Do you want to be known as the former member of The Gazette, that was fired because of sexual harassment?” Hiroto sneered. “Because I can guarantee you this, if I pushed for having you fired because of what you’ve been doing to me…DCR management is going to take it very seriously. Right now, they’re letting Kai and Manager-san handle it, but it only takes one word from me, and you’re going to be out on your ass.”

                The other band members were watching nervously, Aoi starting to step between Reita and Hiroto, Kai reaching out and grabbing the man’s arm.

                “If you think you can get away with it, try it Hiroto. You’re a fucking intern, this is not your real job, you’re learning how to be a manager and you’re doing a fucked-up job of it. Sure…go ahead and talk to upper management. We could save everyone the hassle of meetings and what not if you weren’t so damned frigid and childish.”

                Before anyone could react, Hiroto reached back and punched Reita straight in the face, blood spatter hitting Aoi and Uruha.

                “PON!” Kai yelled as he grabbed the smaller man around the waist, dragging him away from jumping on Reita, but not before Hiroto kicked the man in the balls. Reita doubled over in pain, dropping to his knees, blood flowing from his nose.

                “If you ever say something like that to me again, Suzuki…I will personally kick your ass all over the fucking studio, then I’m filing charges against you. Don’t fucking under estimate me Suzuki, remember who my back up is…and it’s not anyone in this band. You’ve just said your last nasty fucking vile thing to me. Next time? You’re not going to be able to play because I’ll break all your god damned fingers and you’ll really need that stupid fucking noseband.” Hiroto growled in a very low malicious tone.

                Hiroto turned and walked to his room, Ruki following him quietly, looking over his shoulder at Reita who was still kneeling on the floor. “Don’t talk to me please” Hiroto asked Ruki. “No problem, you can have the shower first.” Ruki had stopped texting Tomo during the altercation in the hall. Now he felt like he needed to call.

                “Hey babe, wellll we had a little problem just now. No, I didn’t but Reita and Pon did. You should have seen it! Bingo, right on the money. Blood and sore balls is what he got out of it for fucking with Pon. He deserves everything that comes his way right now. Yah…well he’s fucking with Pon and doesn’t know when to quit. True, but if he pushes the issue, Gazette will be looking for a new bass player and Reita won’t be able to find a job in the industry, at least not in Japan.”

                Hiroto was shaking…a hand against the wall of the shower supporting him as he let the hot water beat down on the back of his neck, the tension slowly releasing. “Fucking asshole, I’m done with him. There won’t be a next time.”

                Hiroto got out of the shower sooner than he wanted, but Ruki would need the hot water as well. Drying his hair, the young man had finally stopped shaking, but the anger was still at the surface level.  “Your turn Ruki.” Hiroto made a sweeping gesture, as he fell backwards onto his bed.

Rubbing his face, Hiroto tried to figure out just why Reita and Aoi would not give up…were they hell bent on fucking him? Was he some sort of twisted conquest? Looking at his knuckles that were just starting to swell, Hiroto sighed. “How the hell am I going to get through this…all of this…just to get my own band?”

                Hiroto’s thoughts were interrupted by his phone buzzing as it laid on the bed next to him.

                Looking at the number, he didn’t recognize it. “Good Job!” the text read. Who the hell is that?

                “Um… who is this please?” Hiroto typed out quickly, ready to block and delete the text.

                “It’s Die.” What the fuck? Die? Hiroto’s hands trembled.

                “How did you get my number?” Did Yukke give it to him?

                “Don’t be mad, Shinya got it from Kai.” Sneaky bastards!

                “I’m not mad, just surprised.” Hiroto was pleasantly surprised.

                “Good! How’s the tour going? Heard it’s been a little rough lately” Kai must have told Shinya about the night’s altercation. Damn that man is quick to spread the news.

                “Yah…I’m sure you know what happened.” Hiroto didn’t want to give out details if Die didn’t already know.

                “No details, just that you handled yourself well…up until the end.” There was a laughing emoji at the end of the sentence.

                “My knuckles would say otherwise.” Hiroto’s gut was tingling, he was texting with Die!

                “Hey, what gives? I thought I would be the only one with my nose in the phone…who are you texting?” Ruki came out of the shower, his hair wrapped up turban style with a towel.

                “Please Ru…please don’t say anything…I’m talking to Die.” Hiroto felt he could trust the small vocalist, they seemed to hit it off the best.

                “Die…good choice. Don’t worry, I’m won’t say anything to anyone.” Ruki smiled.  Hiroto sighed in relief.

                “I can text you again tomorrow if you’d like, you’re probably pretty tired.” Die was hoping for a ‘no that’s okay’ reply.

                “No, that’s okay. I’d like to talk more.” Hiroto’s hands were shaking slightly.

                On the other side, Die was walking around his flat, with every reply from the younger man, Die would fist pump the air. “Yes!” was his current term of happiness.

                The texting went on for some time, until Hiroto could barely keep his eyes open.

                “As much as I hate this, I need to get some sleep. We have an early call in the morning.” He hoped he didn’t sound needy, but they did have to leave early.

                “I totally understand, those early morning calls suck so much ass. Hopefully you can sleep on the way to the next venue.” Die didn’t’ want to stop texting, but he knew all too well the feeling of being overtired the next day after a live.

                “Can I text you tomorrow? I’ll wait until the afternoon.” Please say yes please say yes, Die looked at the ceiling, holding his phone against his chest.

                “I’d like that… a lot. I hope we can meet up when I get home…would that work for you?” Work for you? What the fuck kind of question is that…Pon you idiot!

                “Oh, that works just fine for me… I’ll text you tomorrow…Oyasumi Pon-chan

                “Okay…Oyasumi Die.” Hiroto closed his phone. As he rolled onto his side, Ruki is staring at him, a huge grin on his lips. “I guess it went well then? I haven’t seen you smile like this before…good for you Pon!”

                “How’s Tomo? I bet he misses you, big time.” Hiroto knew that Ruki and Tomo were the real deal, just from the way everyone talked about the small vocalist’s past relationships.

                “Not sure who misses who more…probably equal. Honestly Pon? Tomo’s the one, 100% confident…I’ve never had a boyfriend, just like lovers…fuck toys really. Tomo’s different, from day one I’ve wanted nothing but to protect him and love him. It’s pretty damn amazing.”

                Turning off the light, Ruki and Hiroto fell asleep quickly, anticipating the texting that would continue the next day. Two more lives…then I’ll be home, was the shared thought between the two men.

Chapter Text

 

 

                “Did you get one? Yah…mine came today. Thirty years…that’s fucking amazing! I don’t know…sixty maybe? Hard to tell really. True it doesn’t matter. Probably everyone that’s ever eaten there. Hmm, I think they come home tomorrow? Oh, I’m sure they will. Okay, I’ll see you at work later, ja ne.”

                Taka closed his phone and looked at the invitation again. “Jin Koba? That’s his real name? Pfft! He’ll always be Ojisan…” Taka laughed. “What’s so funny?” Sato sat down on the couch next to his husband.

                “Jin Koba” Taka giggled. “Who the hell is Jin Koba?” Sato had never heard the name before.  “Ojisan is Jin Koba…here” Taka handed the invitation to Sato, who’s eyes widened at the anniversary. “Thirty years? Holy shit! We’re going of course…”

                “Yep, already put a call into the boss, see if we could close a little early. We started the winter hours so closing around five shouldn’t be a problem. Its’ an all-day party, but I can bet that most of our friends will show up later.” Taka leaned back on the couch.

                “How long have we been going there? Six years? Seven?” Taka could barely remember a time that they didn’t go to Ojisan’s for either a great meal or great conversation. The strange mystic ramen maker had become very important to a lot of people, his insights and visions helped many people avoid or be pulled out of disastrous situations.

                “Hmm, closer to seven I think…Tatsu was the first to start going there, but it wasn’t until Koichi moved in that it became a regular thing.” Sato thought about all of the instances where Ojisan’s outlook on different events made things clearer.

 

                Word spread through the music community fairly quickly about the 30th Anniversary party for Ojisan, with flowers and well wishes flooding the small ramen hut. Tatsu, Koichi, Taka and Sato were the first of the community members to show up, as always greeted with Ojisan’s “Irasshai gentlemen, please take a seat.”

                “Jin Koba? All these years we never asked you your name… you’ve always been Ojisan to us.” Tatsu hugged Ojisan as the man came around the counter, hugging them all. “I didn’t feel a need to be anything other than Ojisan, my friends. You are like my children in a way, I came to care about you all deeply in a very short time. It seems we were destined to be in each other’s lives.”

                “I will never see you as Jin Koba, you’ll always be Ojisan to me.” Koichi hugged the older man tightly before sitting down at the counter.

                “Those are very impressive flowers you have out front, Ojisan. The community at large appreciates you and it’s obvious they love you.” The door had slid open and Miya, Shinya, Yukke and Kai walked in.

                The small ramen hut slowly started to fill with mostly members of the music community, with a few surprised exceptions.

                “Old man, I hope you don’t mind if I crash your celebration, I was informed by someone who wishes to be unknown, to the event. Congratulations on your longevity and your successful business.” Madame F and Ormond had come in, with Isshi and his boys behind her.

                “Old man, this is Isshi-san. He is a member of my community, and these are Isshi’s pets, his boys, Ruimaru and Leda” Madame F looked at Ruimaru, who just nodded.

                “Irasshai gentlemen, thank you for coming.” Ojisan winked at the boys, Isshi wearing a soft smile…there was nothing threatening about the older man standing in front of him. Before anything else was said, Ojisan looked at Leda and Ruimaru, sitting on each side of Isshi.

                “Love this man as no other, he will give his life to protect you.” Turning to Isshi, he looked deep into the dominants eyes. “Isshi-san, you’re different than the others in the community. You love these boys as if they were the only young one’s on earth. You protect them, you guide them. These boys will be true to your heart for your lifetime.”

                “Truer words could never be spoken Ojisan. Thank you.” Isshi then kissed each of the boys on the forehead.

 

                The small ramen hut was crowded, the door wide open as people lingered outside, telling stories and sharing memories, the various names Ojisan had given them a major topic.

                “Shameful man. Perfect description for what I was at that time. I deserved it. I know it’s in the past Ojisan, but I am ever regretful that it happened.” Tatsu bowed lightly to the older man.

                “The best one was Kyo’s, ‘small man with a large presence’” Mao giggled, “God that’s so dead on accurate!” Kyo stifled the giggle with a kiss.

                “The young one…that’s the one that was so important for so long. Do you remember what he called Aki and Tora?” Koichi teased, as he looked over at the couple.       

                “He had names for us?” They looked at Ojisan. “Yes, you two were the loud ones. You love each other noisily, much to the displeasure of your roommates.” Tora laughed while Aki tried to look guilty. “Remember Shou coming in the bedroom the day I rolled you out onto the floor?” Tora laughed. “Poor Shou…he had it rough for a few weeks.

                “It’s about time you showed up! I was going to call you!” Kai shouted over the noise of the party. “It just took us a while.” Die had just walked in with Hiroto. “We’re here now, that’s all that matters.”

                “You are no longer sad, are you Andou Daisuke? I’m glad to see you Pon-chan, it seems as if you found the one you’d been searching for.” Ojisan winked at both men, who just blushed as they took a seat in the corner.

                Die and Hiroto’s initial relationship had gone on rather quickly, texting for 18 hours a day will do that to a new couple. Die had waited until the day after Gazette had returned from tour before asking Hiroto out for lunch, which of course was accepted. The new couple had spent several hours just talking, learning about each other and wondering just how this happened…and so quickly.

                The texting continued, both Die and Hiroto wanted to take things slowly, not only because it was the right thing to do, Hiroto was worried about two certain men whom he worked with, that may have some negative comments.

                “Don’t worry about them, I’ll take care of it if they start anything.” Die promised. “No, you won’t. They’re my problem. Reita knows I can kick his ass, Aoi isn’t willing to be next. Gazette is my responsibility, and I don’t want you or your band mixed into it all.” Hiroto said firmly. “Yes sir…” Die giggled.

               

                The flow of people coming to congratulate Ojisan started to slow down in the mid-evening hours. Mostly it was the same crowd that had decided to stay put for the entirety of the evening. There were some people that were missing, that everyone noticed but said nothing about.

                “Did you ban Aoi and Reita from coming tonight?” Hiroto asked Kai as they stood together outside for a moment.

                “Ban isn’t the right word, they sort of agreed that they wouldn’t come, mainly because they have never been regulars here, Uruha has other things to do tonight, but I wouldn’t put it past Aoi and Reita to be cooking up some sort of plan…just be careful around them. I’m already thinking a meeting with management of DCR is in order, this is getting out of hand.”

                Hiroto didn’t want to talk about work any longer, plus Die was looking for him, so with a hug and a wink, Kai sent Yukke’s nephew back into the party.

               

                “FINALLY! What took you guys so long?” Taka shouted over everyone’s voices, when Uta, Hide and Yutaka finally came in. “We had some stuff to do…not like we were going to miss congratulating Ojisan!”

                The old man came around the counter and hugged Uta. “I’m so happy to see you, young one. You look healthy and happy finally.” Uta hugged Ojisan back. “I am happy Ojisan, thank you.”

                Seats were switched around so that Uta was sitting at the counter between Hide and Yutaka. The reason they had been late was a thorough discussion on the fact that Sakurai had every intention on coming to the party, if only for a moment or two.

                “I can tell him to stay away, Uta. That wouldn’t be a problem.” Hide said.

                “No, it’s fine really. He’s nothing to me and he has every right to go where he pleases. As long as I’m surrounded by my friends, it’s not like he would try anything.” Uta really didn’t care about Sakurai. He had stopped having the sexual dreams about the man, going back to his natural state of sleep, without worries or tension.

                “Okay, well he and the others may come by.” Yutaka had his arm around Uta’s small shoulders.

                The mood shifted again in the small restaurant as Sakurai Atsushi, Toll and Imai walked through the doors. Everyone’s posture got a little stiffer, the voices toned down and not a few stomachs shook.

                “Ojisan, congratulations on the longevity of your business. You truly do have the best ramen in Japan.” Sakurai announced, then bowed deeply. “These are my bandmates, Toll and Imai, I have told them of the ramen…if you please would dish some up for them?”

                “I will, Sakurai Atsushi. Irasshai gentlemen, welcome to my restaurant.” Ojisan bowed, turning to his kitchen. As the members of Buck Tick found counter space, Kyo walked up to Sakurai, asking to speak with him…outside.

                “What can I do for you Kyo-san?” Sakurai asked politely.

                “I’d like to apologize for my behavior the day I came to the studio. Had I known your lack of involvement in the death of Teddy, I would not have said what I did. For that I apologize.” Kyo bowed to his peer.

                “You had every right to say what you did. I deserved to be called a monster, I still see myself as such. I was just as surprised as you, with Ojisan’s declaration. I still feel partially responsible for Uta’s condition.” Sakurai explained.

                “I want us to return to being peers, obviously not best friends but we were never that to begin with.” Kyo grinned. “I will accept that all day long, Kyo.” Sakurai extended his hand, Kyo grasping it quickly and shaking it.

                Returning to the restaurant, the party went into high gear, as the limit for the beer was completely thrown out the window. Imai and Toll gasping in amazement over Ojisan’s ramen.

                “Why didn’t you tell us about this Acchan? Seriously? Ojisan, this is absolutely the best ramen in Japan, bar none. Never again will I eat ramen anywhere other than here.” Imai boasted. Toll remained silent due to the fact that he was shoveling the ramen in his mouth as quickly as he could.

                Through the rest of the evening, sly glances were made between several people. Kai and Yukke were watching Die and Hiroto, making sure that Die didn’t get handsy as Yukke called it. “I will kick his ass myself if he hurts Pon…just a warning” he said to his husband. “Stop it, Die’s not going to hurt Pon…look at them.”

                Die certainly didn’t look threatening, if anything he looked like a love-sick teenager, all calf eyed over Hiroto.

                The other pair that everyone was watching, not watching; Sakurai and Uta, to the distraction of Toll who finally elbowed Sakurai, “Acchan…go talk to him!” he whispered. “No Toll, I will not approach the boy. I told all of you, my time with him is done. I will not speak to Uta.” Sakurai was firm, but it didn’t keep him from stealing long glances at the boy he still loved.

                Yutaka had seen the glances being exchanged, “Do you want to talk to him?” He leaned over and asked Uta. “I don’t think I’m ready…I don’t know really.” Uta looked at Ojisan as he answered.

                Ojisan had not been blind to what was happening around him. He made a mental list of who he needed to speak with before the end of the night. He was getting ready to speak to Uta when Isshi san approached him.

                “Ojisan, I must take my beauties home, but thank you for the wonderful food. I now understand why Davina and Madame F loved coming here. I plan on returning often.” Isshi bowed low, as did both boys. “Isshi-san, your boys are angels, they love you with their entire soul, you are a very lucky man.”

                After Isshi left, the party thinned out a little, leaving mostly industry people left. Ruki and Tomo excused themselves rather early, they had plans to pack up Tomo’s flat and start the move to Ruki’s home. Ruki giving kisses and hugs to both Koichi and Uta, with a piece of advice for Uta. “Do not do anything just to please others, Uta-kun. If it feels right for you…then it’s right for you. I love you.” With another quick hug and a kiss on the cheek, the small vocalist left the ramen restaurant.

                Ruki’s message resonated with Uta…he couldn’t live for anyone but himself. But living with JUST himself…could he be happy being alone?

                Madame F had been watching Uta for the entire night, noticing when the boy would become uptight, relaxed or unhappy. Each moment was reflected by whom he was speaking to. Uptight = Sakurai, Relaxed = everyone but Sakurai, unhappy = when Ruki left the party.

                Madame F wasn’t the only one that had eyes for Uta…Ormond had been on alert the entire night, not able to enjoy the party even at the behest of his Lady. His heart tore at the sight of Uta, he almost could not stop the tears escaping, a few that did were quickly wiped away. Ormond was being watched, even when Ojisan had his back turned. Ormond was surprised when the mystic ramen man stood before him.

                “Your heart still bleeds for the young one, ne?” Ojisan quietly asked Ormond. Looking at Madame F who was engaged in a conversation with Yutaka, Ormond nodded. “You would do anything for Uta-kun, am I right?” Again, Ormond nodded. “Would you be willing to change the way you live, leave the one you love and look at the world differently, to protect the boy?” Ormond looked quickly at Madame F. “I don’t know, Sir.” Ormond’s gaze dropped to his lap.

                “Think hard on this young man, Teiji would not be unhappy, although I do believe your lady would be, but would not deny your choice.” Ojisan turned and walked away from the personal pet, leaving a devastated Ormond to wrestle with his conscious.

               

                The party ended, but not before Ojisan spoke to the remaining guests; the MUCC and Diru boys, Buck Tick, Uta and Hiroto, Madame F and Ormond.

                “I want to thank you all for coming, this celebration was not just for me, but for you as well. I wanted you all to be here with me as I see you all as my family and it would see wrong to celebrate an anniversary, without the people that have made it possible.” Ojisan stopped for a moment, the tears welling in his eyes but he was not the only one.

                “I love you all, you’re so very special to me and you have made my life richer by knowing you. I expect to see you all for the 60th Anniversary, where I may be in a wheel chair, but I will still make you ramen and remove the beer limit!” Ojisan bowed deeply as everyone clapped.

                “As the representative of the group, we’d like to thank you, Jin Koba…Ojisan, for being our guide, our mentor, our conscious and at times our vision into our lives. We will most definitely be here for your next Anniversary. Domo Arigato, Jin Koba” As Tatsu finished, everyone in the restaurant stood, bowing deeply to the man who had become so very vital to their everyday lives.

                “Old man, you may be counted as only the second person I have ever formally bowed to and the only one still living.” Madame F walked over to the man, embraced him and kissed him on the cheek. “You’ve watched over the young one, you’ve watched over Davina, and you loved Teiji as we did. Arigato Gozaimasu, Jin Koba.”

                As everyone was leaving, they each gave Ojisan a hug and a kind word, Uta hanging onto the man for the longest time. “Thank you for loving Teiji, Ojisan and thank you for caring about me so much. I love you.” This confession caused a new flood of tears for the older man. “I love you as well, Uta-kun.”

                Tatsu and Koichi were the last to leave. “It’s been a long haul Ojisan, but I think we’re all much better for meeting you and having you at our backs, not to mention calling us all out when we deserved it.” Tatsu shook Ojisan’s hand, Koichi hugging the man tightly, then the couple walked off into the night.

                Ojisan closed and locked the door to the ramen hut, shaking his head at the memories that would be in place from the night. Tatsu, Koichi…Uta…Mistress Davina and all the others.

                He slowly climbed the stairs, tired to the bone. As he walked towards his bedroom, the phone rang.

                “Moshi mosh?” Ojisan couldn’t understand why anyone would be calling this late.

                “Ojisan? Hello old man.” The warm voice of Davina came through the line. “Mistress! Why are you calling me? There is nothing wrong is there?” This stunned the older man.

                “Happy Anniversary Ojisan…I’m sorry I wasn’t able to attend, but I wanted to call, Madame F told me of your special night”

                “Mistress, this means the world to me. Are you and Yoji well? Happy?” Ojisan already knew the answer. He could hear it in the woman’s voice.

                “Once again, your vision or advice, was dead on. I have never been this happy, truly happy. Thank you, Jin Koba” Davina was tearing up, she wanted to ask about Uta but wanted this call to be all about Ojisan.

                “You too Davina? I may regret putting my name out there. I hope to see you again someday; have you walk through my door and sit at my counter. Please Davina, be happy in love.” Ojisan hung up the phone, amazed that the woman had called him.

                “The perfect end to a perfect night and now you need to drag your tired old bones to bed, Jin Koba.”

Chapter Text

 

                “Does it sound weird to you? Boyfriends?” Die was unsure of the title he had just placed on himself after asking Hiroto if they could like date…as he said. “So, boyfriends then?” Hiroto could see Die was squirming a bit, he was secretly pleased. “That sounds so damned high school. Haven’t they come up with a new term for like old people?”

                “Hey! I’m not that old! Boyfriends is what I’d use…but I don’t know Gramps, you might want to call it something else…like maybe you’d be my gentleman friend?” Hiroto was openly giggling now.   “Pfft! Gentleman friend? Really Pon? Fine… I’ll be your boyfriend”  

                After the night of Ojisan’s anniversary party, Die and Hiroto had seen each other every day either for lunch or just a quick visit at the studio. Die couldn’t believe that this cute little cheeky boy, who was quick to laugh and smile, would be interested in an old man. “You’re really not that old Die, ten years is not that huge of a difference in the larger picture.” Die still wasn’t completely convinced.

                “Well, maybe…but you’re like so fucking cute and shit…and I’m old and um…” Die couldn’t finish his thought because Hiroto had slid his arms around the ‘old man’, standing on his tip toes to kiss his boyfriend. “Shut up Die…” Hiroto whispered on Die’s lips.

                Just as Hiroto was kissing Die, Reita walked past Hiroto’s open office door, stopping for a half a second to look at the two, moving away without saying anything. “Fuck…are you fucking kidding me? Die? Fucking Pon…that’s bullshit.” Reita mumbled as he walked towards the Gazette practice room.

                Flinging open the door, Reita saw Ruki on the couch, with his nose in his phone again, “Don’t you ever get tired of talking to him?” Reita snapped. “No…mind your own business Akira” Ruki had taken to calling both Aoi and Reita by their real names just to piss them off, plus they weren’t acting like professional musicians anymore. “Fuck off, Takanori.” Ruki just snorted, “That doesn’t bother me, Akira…” Before Reita could say something snarky back, Aoi walked in. “Hey, guess what I saw?” Reita moved over to where Aoi was laying down his bag. “What? Something that we shouldn’t be ignoring?” Aoi mumbled. Reita was becoming a real pain in the ass over Hiroto. Aoi had finally stopped obsessing over the boy, Reita couldn’t or wouldn’t let it go.

                “Pon fucking kissing Die in his office.” Reita snapped. “What? Die? How the hell did that happen?” Aoi asked incredulously. Ruki could hear the two men talking, he plainly heard both names mentioned.

                “Give me a second babe, I need to text Pon.” Ruki told Tomo, he needed to give his friend a heads up.

                “Hey, Reita saw you kissing Die just now, he told Aoi…be prepared for anything at any time.”

                “Shit…thanks Ru, I will.”  Hiroto sighed, something Die noticed happened a lot when he was dealing with the Gazette.

                “What now?” Die leaned against Hiroto’s desk. “Reita saw us kissing, so I’m sure I’ll be dealing with an asshole bass player today.” Hiroto had his head thrown back, groaning about the continuous issues with Reita.

                “Tell Kai…tell Yukke as well. I’m not kidding Pon, this shit has to stop or Reita’s going to be out of a fucking job, or I’m going to kick his ass all over DCR.” Die was getting very tired of his new boyfriend’s stalking and sexual harasser.

                “Tell Kai what?” Kai had stopped by Hiroto’s office for something completely different when he heard Die. “Reita saw us kissing.” Die said hotly.

                “Okay…” Kai wasn’t sure where this was going. “I guess Aoi and Reita were talking about it in the studio, Ruki over heard them. I’m sure one of them will say something to me today.” Hiroto broke it down for Kai.

                “I’m going to DCR management today, I’m done fucking with those two.” Kai’s eyes went scary and black. “Let’s go, Pon.” Hiroto gave Die one more kiss, “I’ll call you when I get home.”

                “I guess I shouldn’t be kissing Die while at work, I’m sorry Kai.” Hiroto felt he was partly to blame.

                “That’s bullshit Pon, you did nothing wrong.” Kai growled. Throwing open the door, Kai looked straight at Reita. “Planning something new Akira? Should I be worried for Pon’s safety?”

                “What the fuck are you going on about Kai?” Reita continued to tune his bass.

                “Are you going to go after Die now? Are you going to bring Diru into our personal mess? Please say yes, Akira…give me more fuel to throw on the fire of your resignation from Gazette.” Kai was dead serious, none of the others had ever seen their leader this deadly before.

                “You’re going to fire me over this? I haven’t done anything Yutaka! Fuck you! You prove that I’ve done anything else and I’ll walk out the damned door on my own. Yah, I saw Pon kissing Die…fucking little traitor! You enjoying fucking that old man Pon? Can he still get it hard for you?” Reita snorted, and that was the last thing he remembered before waking up on the ground.

                Hiroto lost it…rushing Reita and tackling him around the waist, knocking the man to the floor, Reita’s breath forced out of him with a huge rush. Hiroto just started swinging on Reita, punching the man repeatedly in the face, busting the man’s nose and splitting Reita’s lip before being dragged off. Reita lay motionless on the floor, Aoi bent over his friend, “What the fuck you little shit! How fucking DARE YOU pull this shit! You’re fucking NOBODY YOU STUPID LITTLE CUNT! You think you can come in here and act like a manager because you’re Yukke’s nephew? FUCK YOU HIROTO, COME ON YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE, COME AT ME!” Aoi stood up, started walking towards Hiroto.

                “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT AOI! YOU’LL FUCKING MESS WITH ME IF YOU EVEN FUCKING TOUCH HIM! THINK ABOUT IT ASSHOLE… YOU WANT TO HAVE A GO WITH ME…HUH? COME ON AOI…LET’S FUCKING GO!”

                Nobody had seen Die come in, having heard the fighting, Die rushed down to the practice room, only to see Reita on the floor and Aoi advancing on Hiroto.

                “FUCK OFF DIE! THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU OLD MAN! GET THE FUCK OUT OF OUR PRACTICE ROOM,” Aoi made the mistake of rushing at Die, which the man anticipated, grabbing the smaller guitarist around the waist and slamming him to the ground.

                The chaos that ensued for the next fifteen minutes brought every band member and management personal that was in the building into the Gazette practice room. Kyo trying to haul Die off of Aoi, Uruha kneeling next to Reita, Ruki and Hiroto trying to get between people to break things up and Kai screaming at everyone.

 

                        “ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT ALL OF YOU!!!!”

 

                Sakurai Atsushi bellowed at the top of his voice after walking into the room. Sakurai had been at the studio to talk to his management team, and as he entered the building he saw the rush of people running down the hall. “What the fuck is going on now?” He muttered. What he walked in on stunned him; bloody band members fighting, one on the floor bleeding profusely from the nose and mouth and so many people in the room, he couldn’t count.

                “What the fuck is wrong with you people?” Sakurai yelled. Everyone backed away from each other, shaking out their clothes, checking knuckles and lips for blood.

                “I want the members of Gazette to get into my office NOW!” The head of management snarled at the group. “Everyone else, get the hell back to your own studios or practice rooms, I will deal with you later.” The manager turned and left the room.

                Before Die left the room with Kyo and Kaoru, he looked directly at Reita and Aoi, “This is not over you pieces of predatory shit. Watch your back…watch it very carefully.” Die went over to Hiroto and hugged him, “I’ll be waiting for you to text me when you get home.” Hiroto nodded, Die glared at Reita and Aoi once more before letting Kyo lead him out of the room.

                “Go get cleaned up, then meet me in the managers office.” Kai snarled at the others. Ruki and Hiroto watched as Uruha helped Reita up, Aoi on the other side of his friend. “Well that sucked a big bag of dicks.” Ruki muttered. “Are you okay Pon?” The vocalist put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Yah, just my knuckles a little.”

                That’s it. I’m done in this industry. Might as well go home.

 

                The meeting in the manger of DCR records office was hostile. Aoi and Reita accusing Hiroto of blindsiding the bass player, Kai, Ruki and Uruha backing Hiroto. “You guys are fucking traitors… you’re taking the side of a nobody…a fucking peon that’s only connected to the industry because of Yukke. Yah, great way to stick up for your band, Kai, looks like your husband’s family means more to you than we do.” Aoi snapped.

                “He’s sticking up for Pon because you and Reita are in the wrong, Aoi, 100% in the wrong. You’ve done nothing but sexually harass the boy since he got here. Hitting on him, pinning him against the wall…the kid has held it together better than you did…you can’t stand rejection. Your way of thinking is the problem Reita… You’re Reita of Gazette, everyone should bend over so you can fuck them. Then you see Pon kissing Die and you lost it. I heard what you said Akira, you were basically planning on raping Hiroto.”

                Ruki and Hiroto gasped, Kai’s eyes grew blacker than ever. “You were what? You were going to rape me? You’re that desperate to have sex or something? Or is this really about who you think YOU are, and not who I am?”

                Reita didn’t even have the sense to look guilty or embarrassed, sneering at everyone. “Nice one Uru, selling out your family for a stranger…yah, true love bud.” Aoi spat at Uruha.

                “You’re damn right I’d sell you out for a stranger if you were planning on raping someone. I have better morals than both of you. You both look at Pon as an object, something to be played with. You’re so fucking entitled, it makes me want to puke. Go find another band…both of you. You no longer represent anything that Gazette has ever stood for. You’re both pieces of shit.” Uruha turned his back on the two men who sat across from him.

                “I’m putting the band on permanent hiatus as of today. Go pack your gear and get out of my sight, both of you. Do not show your face at any function or band related to DCR, that means stay away from the HBG as well. I’ll be in contact when we’ve come to an agreement.” The manager of DCR pointed at Aoi and Reita then rose from the table, turning to look at what was one of the most popular and successful bands on the roster. “You both make me sick,” was the last thing the manager said to the assembled group.

                “Let’s go, Aoi…let’s leave the angels to play their harps by themselves.” Reita grunted. Aoi got up and followed Reita out of the office.

                “Damn, all of this because they couldn’t take no as an answer? Now I’m going to be known as the kid that broke up the Gazette? Great… my life is so fucking good right now!” Hiroto laughed sarcastically.

                “It’s not your fault Pon…you know that. This is all Reita and Aoi used to getting to fuck anything that was within reach. You’re the first person to say no to them and they can’t handle that at all.” Uruha leaned over Hiroto’s chair. “Don’t worry about it. Gazette doesn’t need to be known as the band that allowed an intern to be sexually harassed, or even raped. Nothing that’s going on right now is your fault.” Uruha patted the younger man on the shoulder and left the office.

                Hiroto slumped back in his chair and rubbed his eyes, the skin on his knuckles broken and bloody. “Come on Pon, let’s go home.” Kai got up, “You’re going to have to talk to him, you know that. He’s not going to be mad at you, but he’s going to want to kill the others, I’ll try to keep him calm.” Going home to face Yukke was the least of Pon’s worries, he knew what he had to do.

 

                The drive back to his hometown was more than just depressing, it was painful. He had decided in the middle of the night, to just go home. The worst part was lying to Die that night. “I’ll see you in the morning, don’t worry…I won’t kill anyone.” Die was trying to get Hiroto to laugh but failed. “I know, I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks.” As he closed his phone, his voice choked in his throat. “I’m sorry Die…” he whispered in the dark. His short life had come full circle, backfiring from where it was to end. He resigned himself to working a dead-end job as the typical businessman, living a boring life with no one to love. “Get used to it…it’s not going to change.”

                He walked into his parent’s house quietly, leaving a quick note on the door to his bedroom asking for privacy for the time being. His parents were still sleeping, but he knew the moment Yukke looked into his room, seeing his nephew gone, that he would call. Grabbing a bottle of water, he closed his bedroom door and locked it…looking at what he thought was his adolescence that he had left behind, only to have to start it over again. He turned off his phone, not wanting to hear the multiple pings for the text messages he knew Die would be sending.

 

                “Do you think he went home? I mean where else would he go? I’m sure he didn’t go to Die’s house.” Yukke was pacing the living room, not quite frantic over the fact that Hiroto wasn’t in his room. Yukke was nearly uncontrollable with anger the previous night having heard from multiple sources about the fight at DCR. He looked at Hiroto’s knuckles, he fumed about Die and getting involved with the older man, to which Kai came to Hiroto’s defense.

                “Die didn’t do anything wrong, Yukke. This is all Reita and Aoi…Die just defended Pon.” Kai objected. When the plot to possibly raping Hiroto came up, the man had to be physically restrained, Sato, Tatsu and Miya were asked to come over to calm Yukke. “I’m sure they wouldn’t have actually gone through with it…” Sato tried to reason.       

                “I think they would have…you haven’t seen how shitty they’ve treated me, they’ve stalked me, touched me when I’ve told them no…you have no idea Sato.” Hiroto stated the facts.

                “Permanent hiatus though? That’s drastic isn’t it?” Miya thought about it, “Sorry, I take it back. We did the same thing when Masa… well you know.”

                After about an hour, Yukke was calm enough not to go charging down the street in a hunt for Aoi and Reita, so the other members of Mucc went home, and Hiroto became very quiet. “Ojisan… I’m sorry I’m causing problems” Hiroto bowed to Yukke, who then smacked his nephew in the back of the head. “Stop it, Pon.” He pulled the younger man into a hug. “Go to bed, we’ll talk more tomorrow.” Hiroto nodded, then walked to his room and shut the door.

                “He had to have gone home, I should call…” Before he could finish, Kai’s phone buzzed in his pocket. “No, he’s not Die. I don’t know…we’re just assuming he went home. He probably won’t, this pushed him over the edge I think. He’s not going to want to work in an industry where this is a problem. You can try, but I won’t tell you until I’ve heard from him first. Thanks, Die.”

                “He wants to go see Pon, but I don’t want him down there until we hear from Pon first. You agree, right?” Kai knew that his husband would agree but felt that he needed to clear everything through Yukke first.

                “Not until I hear from Pon or my brother…Die needs to just back off right now. This is a family matter as much as it is a work thing. Why? Why did those two fucking idiots think they could bully Pon into having sex? Really? Who fucking does that shit?”

                “Babe, I don’t know why they’ve pushed it this far either. All I can think is that they’ve never had anyone say no to them before, they couldn’t wear Pon down in to just doing it to get them off his back. The boy has morals and principles, none of which Reita or Aoi have any of. All we can do now is wait to see what happens…I don’t even know where to begin with any of it.” Kai leaned over and kissed his husband, Yukke falling over and putting his head in Kai’s lap, covering his face with a pillow.

 

                “That little fuck thinks he’s too good for me? You fucking mouse…you’ve fucked me over for the last time. You think you can get me thrown out of my own band? Fuck off Pon… there’s no way I’m leaving the band, neither is Aoi…you’ll be the one to leave, and then I’ll hunt you down and take what I want…and you won’t have that old fuck Die there to protect you either

Chapter Text

 

                “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked through that door, one kid on the floor bleeding, Die and Gazette’s other guitarist beating on each other. It was a complete madhouse.”

                Sakurai had left the DCR studios without speaking to their manager, and went straight to see Hide and Yutaka, explaining the mayhem he had walked into. “Do you know what the causes were? It seems odd that the boys from Gazette have anything against Die…you said Kyo was there as well?” Yutaka was confused, it just seemed so out of character for the members of the two bands to be fighting.

                “From what I understand, there is an issue with Gazette’s new intern, Hiroto. He’s doing his internship as a manager, but there’s a problem with Reita and Aoi hitting on the boy. I’m going to guess this was the blowup that had been coming for several weeks. It’s all very confusing.” Sakurai pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation over the younger crowd of musicians.

                “This could put Gazette out of the industry, or at the very least…loose their bassist and second guitarist. Sexual harassment is nothing to be taken lightly. I’m sure DCR management will hand down some stiff penalties.” Hide added. With the incidents surrounding Morrie, the industry as a whole had become more vigilant when dealing with any problems in relation to the bands that were currently on their roster.

                “How is the remodel of your house going? They should be finished soon I’m assuming.” Yutaka asked, he was anxious to see the finished product, he’d even posed the idea to remodel their house to Hide. “There’s nothing wrong with our house. If you want to remodel, I’ll buy you a can of paint.” Hide didn’t want to go through the issues of something that large of a production. “You’re no fun.” Yutaka pouted.

                “It’s close, the windows are going in now, the garden is done and all the painting. I still need to buy some appliances and furniture, but I think you’ll like it once you see it.” Sakurai had been pleased with the transformation of his home, the emptying of it’s contents had been cathartic in a sense, removing items that he associated with his past…including his recent past with Uta.

                Without knowing that Sakurai was there, Uta stepped into the house and into the den of a lion. “Tadaima” he called from the genkan, dancing around the dogs. “Okaeri” Yutaka said. “In the living room.” Hide shot Sakurai a look that said ‘do not move’.

                “Hi…I’m so…” Uta stopped mid-sentence, seeing Sakurai sitting on the couch. Shit. He’s here.

                “Hello Uta.” Sakurai said softly. “Um, hi.” Uta didn’t know what to say or how to move from the spot he was glued to. “I uh…” Uta turned and walked to the kitchen, Yutaka right behind him.

                “I’m sorry, he just showed up. There was a problem at the DCR studios today, I didn’t have a chance to text you.” Yutaka had his hand on Uta’s shoulder. “It’s fine, really. I’ll um just hang out here for a bit, I need a snack anyways.” Uta didn’t want to appear weak or bitter. Sakurai had every right to be at the house.

                “He said he’d leave.” Hide came into the kitchen. “No, I’m fine…please, he doesn’t have to leave just because of me. He’s your friend, your bandmate. He has every right to be here. I’m fine.” Uta protested. “If you’re sure…” Hide asked. Uta nodded. “I’m just going to take a shower, then I’ll be in my room.” Uta took his water bottle and walked down the hall.

                “Is he okay?” Sakurai asked quietly. He offered to leave, Hide telling him that Uta probably wouldn’t ask that. “He’s fine, just surprised to see you is all.” Yutaka came back to sit on the couch.

                “He looked a little pale, he isn’t sick, is he?” Sakurai tried to keep his voice from sounding shaky, but not sure he was able.

                “No, he’s been working a lot, saving his money. I’m certain he’ll eventually want to move out” Hide explained, noting that Sakurai’s posture had changed, the man was stiff, as he leaned forward in his chair.

                “Do you think he’d speak with me? I just want to apologize and reassure him that I’m not interested in …” Sakurai almost choked up. “I’ll ask him.” Yutaka smiled. He was so unsure of his feelings about Sakurai and Uta, part of him wanted Sakurai to stay a million miles away from his young friend, but deep down there was a part that wanted them reunited.

                “Uta?” Yutaka knocked on the boy’s door. “Acchan wanted to speak with you, I think he just wants to apologize.” The young man wouldn’t look at his friend. “Sure, that’s fine.” Yutaka was stunned that Uta agreed.

                “He says he’ll see you.” Yutaka told Sakurai. “Don’t worry Yutaka, I promise not to say anything to hurt the boy.”

                Sakurai knocked on Uta’s door. “I would just like a word please.” Uta opened the door.

                “I want to offer my deepest apologies.” Sakurai bowed low in front of the boy. “I want to apologize for my anger, my controlling behavior and the devastation I caused you. I only wish you great happiness in your life. I ask not for forgiveness as I deserve none. A cordial smile, a quick hello if we cross paths is all I ask. I myself am happy again, I wish the same for you.” Sakurai bowed again and left Uta’s room.

                “I should be going, I don’t want to keep Uta from coming out of his room. I will speak with you later.” Sakurai hugged Yutaka and shook hands with Hide, then left the house.

                Before Yutaka could go see Uta, the boy came into the living room. “Are you okay?” Uta nodded, but there were tears in his eyes. “Oh honey…come here.” Yutaka opened his arms, they were filled quickly by a tearful boy whose slender body shook with emotion.

                It took a time before Uta stopped crying, Yutaka finally letting go of the boy. “It was just weird, he didn’t say anything nasty, just wanted to apologize and tell me he wants me to be happy. I don’t know what to do…he’s confused me so much lately!”

                “You’re not the only one that is confused by Acchan lately. The remodel of his house, him leaving the community, it’s all new and totally confusing. Maybe our Acchan has finally grown up?” Yutaka smirked.

                “A grown up Acchan? I don’t know if I could handle that!” Uta giggled. Yutaka wanted to tell Uta about Sakurai’s plan to kidnap him, hesitating only because he feared

for Uta’s mental state if he learned the details.

                “He’s gone back to speaking with Dr. Maeta on a regular basis, I’m not sure what’s behind the change but I’ll take the new Acchan over the old one any day!”

 

                Sakurai couldn’t stop smiling. He had spoken to Uta, there were no threats, no anger and no regrets. He felt compelled to offer the young man an apology for his previous behavior and let the boy know that he was no longer a threat. “I will love you forever Uta…but you are no longer mine to love.” Sakurai laughed, he felt no pain in his heart, he was content with loving the boy quietly, privately and from afar. He knew he’d be alone for the rest of his life and the thought no longer concerned him. “It’s the way it must be for him to be happy.”

 

                The visions were flashing quickly, Teiji, Davina, Sakurai the three people Uta had loved the most in a constant merry go round of memories. He had gone to bed with hopes of no dreams at all…but deep down he knew that would be impossible.

                He’s in the flat he shared with Teiji, in their bed…his lover over him, trails of kisses from his collarbone to his navel…repeating Uta’s name as if it were a personal mantra. “Teiji…please…just touch me again…love me” Uta was begging as Teiji started to make love to his boy. Just over Teiji’s shoulder, standing against the wall was Acchan…not Sakurai, but Acchan…his Acchan, wearing a sad smile as the man watched Teiji make love to his boy.

                “I love you more than life, I gave my life to keep you and Mistress safe. You were my heart, my breath and my soul. I love you but you need to let me go for now.” “NO! NEVER!” Uta cried out to his lover. “The best way to love my memory is to live a happy life and find another to love and who can love you.” Uta closed his eyes, shaking his head. “NO! I ONLY WANT YOU! TEIJI I LOVE YOU!” Uta’s screaming in his dream thrashing around on his bed, crying out for his dead lover.

                “TEIJI!!” Uta sits upright in bed, breathing hard…his arm stretched out as to reach for his lover, he looks around in the dark. “Fuck, really?” Uta flops back on his bed, trying to calm his breathing. He sighed…every time he had a dream about Teiji, he felt like he was losing any progress he had made towards recovering from the death of his lover. He felt drained and lost in the mornings after the nightmares, now with the vision of Acchan watching Teiji make love to him…what the hell was that suppose to mean? “Dumbass, he was just here…of course you’re going to dream about him.” Uta snorted.

                Getting up to use the bathroom and grab a glass of water, Uta returned to his room and snuggled back down into his bed. “Yus, no more dreams tonight!” He

whispered to the dark.

                Uta wasn’t so lucky, the dream demons came back to haunt him, this time it was Sakurai as the main focus. Sakurai at his feet, Uta sitting in a large chair. Davina standing behind the chair…it’s in the manor…Teiji is next to Davina…no it’s Nagaharu, Teiji, Nagaharu…the face keeps changing. “I’ve changed Uta, just like Davina…just for you. I will love you if you will allow me, you’re my everything Uta, my Heart, My Breath, My Soul!” Sakura rises from the floor, pulling Uta out of the chair, then siting in it, Uta sitting on Sakurai’s lap. It felt familiar, it felt loved and warm. Davina and Teiji in each other’s arms, kissing as lovers, “Uta…I love you, I will never love again. NO! TEIJI! I ONLY WANT YOU!! DAVINA HELP ME…PLEASE TEIJI…NO! LET ME GO! TEEEIIIJJJJIIII!

                For the second time that night, Uta sat up quickly in his bed, both arms reaching out for his dead lover. Uta was scared…Sakurai wanted to take him from Teiji…he couldn’t let that happen…it will never be Sakurai again…EVER!

 

                The members of the Gazette, their manager and the upper management of DCR sat in a conference room with Aoi and Reita sitting by themselves on one side of the table.

                “This has gone on too long gentlemen. Your actions are reprehensible and illegal. DCR will not tolerate the harassment or abuse of any of its employees and band members are not excluded in that. I don’t care if you’re Sakurai Atsushi, if you are harassing anyone that works for DCR, it will be stopped immediately.”

                Aoi spoke first. “Why is it, that Die and Kyo got away with trolling Taka and Koichi in the past? It seems to me that Dir En Grey is getting a free pass on this exact issue. Why have we been singled out?”

                “Die and Kyo were not chasing single men, Koichi and Taka were not part of the industry at that time, other than being partners of MUCC members. That was taken care of between the members of MUCC and Diru.” The manager replied.

                “You were repeatedly rejected time after time by Pon, both of you. You were witnessed harassing the man in his office, in the dressing room after the show and countless other times. Each time you were rejected by Pon, but you would not stop. This last incident was completely unacceptable, you drew in not only your own band but other bands that responded to the mayhem.” The band manager accused.

                “Because you two couldn’t control yourselves, Hiroto has left the company and has left Yukke’s home, and we’re not certain where he is at this moment. Because of your constant harassment, beratement and generally being assholes, you’ve crushed his dreams in becoming a manager of a band. All of this for a piece of ass…all of this because you couldn’t stand the fact that someone rejected the brilliant Aoi and Reita of the Gazette. You two are fucking assholes and I personally, along with Ruki and Uruha will no longer be associated with you off stage. We will work with you but our friendship is over and done with.” Kai had a calm level tone in his voice, but the disgust was evident from the first word he spoke.

                “Furthermore, because I have spoken to several members of other bands, including Sato, Taka has stated that as the manager, and having discussed this with the owner, you are no longer welcome to any event that DCR hosts at the HBG. Taka expressly wishes you to stay away from the bar completely, you are no longer welcomed at the High Ball Garden.” Kai sat back in his chair, his arms folded across his chest.

                The manager of DCR spoke again, “Effective today, neither one of you will be practicing, participating or attending any event or meeting in regards to the Gazette. There will be a statement released to the fan club, but there will be no details given. You are both free to go.” The manager got up and left the room, leaving behind a hurt and confused band.

                “So much for brotherhood, eh Yuu?” Reita snarled. Aoi didn’t say a word, he looked at Reita and shook his head, getting up from his chair and leaving the room without anything further.

                “You really are still defending your actions…aren’t you Akira? You still believe you did nothing wrong…you’re fucking pathetic. If we wouldn’t have figured it out, you would have gone ahead and raped Pon. You’re a filthy human being Suzuki Akira, I can’t stand the sight of you.” Ruki got up from the table, “If this is the reason the Gazette is finished, then I have no problem with it. You however, will never work in this industry again.”

                Uruha shook his head and followed Ruki out the door, leaving Kai and Reita facing each other. “Why, Aki? Why didn’t you just let it go. Hiroto is a nice kid but he’s smart enough not to let people like you walk all over him. Was it just because he said no? You’ve thrown away your career over a kid turning you down? You need help Aki, serious mental health.” Kai sadly shook his head and followed the others, leaving Reita to sit alone in the conference room.

                “Fuck off…all of you.”

 

                “Pon, open the door please.” Hiroto’s mother was standing outside the bedroom door, pleading with her son to speak to her. After ten minutes, Hiroto finally opened the door. ‘What mom? I don’t really feel like talking about it.” Hiroto went back to laying on his bed.

                “Is it that bad that you can’t tell me?” Hiroto’s mom wouldn’t push, she had spoken to Kai and Yukke earlier in the day, getting the details…which she then altered a little when telling her husband.

                “Yes, it’s that bad. No, I don’t want to tell you about it, I’m sure Yukke and Kai will fill you in anyways. I’d rather be left alone for a few days, then I’ll go out and try to find a regular job.” Hiroto turned over, his back facing his mother. “Okay Pon…I’m here if you want to talk.” Taking a last look at her son, Hiroto’s mom quietly closed the door.

                “He won’t talk to me…Die? Well I don’t see why not…maybe he could convince Pon to go back. Yes, Kai told me how wonderful of a job he was doing. Would they give him a different band? Oh? That’s rough Onii-san…but it’s what needed to happen. Yes, please do. Give him my cell number as well. Thank you Yukke…yes we love you too.”

                Yukke quickly grabbed his phone and texted Die the address to Hiroto’s parents house. “She said you could come but call her before you get there.”

 

                Two hours later, Die was knocking on the door, butterflies in his stomach but determined to get Hiroto to come back to Tokyo with him.

                “Konnichwa, my name is Andou Daisuke” Die bowed formally at the front door. “Die, please come in.” Hiroto’s mother smiled warmly at the man. “Thank you” Die was nervous, meeting the parents this early in a relationship, even with the circumstances was drastic.

                “My husband…” Hiroto’s father stepped up and shook Die’s hand. “I was told you were starting to date Pon?” Shit…here it comes. “Yes sir, we’d only been on a very few dates though. We mostly texted each other.”

                “You stepped into the fight that happened?” Hiroto’s father was a taller, sterner version of Yukke. “Yes sir, Aoi…uh the member of the other band looked like he was going to attack Po…Hiroto, so I stepped in.” Die’s voice was shaking.

                “Thank you Die…for being there for Pon. I spoke with both Kai and Yukke, they’ve told me a little about you. You sound like a very genuine man.” Hiroto’s mom smiled at Die.

                “Could…Could I try to talk to Pon?” Die wanted nothing more than to sweep the younger man up in his arms, assure him that he wasn’t going anywhere and that he still wanted to be with Pon. “Of course.”

                Hiroto’s mom led Die to the bedroom, bowing lightly she left Die standing in front of the door. He knocked softly. “Mom, just forget it, just go away please.” Pon mumbled for the 100th time that day.

                “Pon-chan…I don’t want to go away, please…open the door.” Die had his forehead leaning on the door. A padding of feet and the door snapped open. “Die? What the hell?” Before Hiroto could say anymore, Die had him in his arms in a crushing hug. “You scared the shit out of me! Don’t you ever do that shit again!” Die whimpered into Hiroto’s neck.

                “Die…” Hiroto slowly slid his arms around his boyfriend’s waist, leaning into the older man’s embrace. “I’m sorry…I just… it was too much. I had to leave…” Hiroto cried. Die held Hiroto at arms-length, cupping the boy’s face and pushing back a stray strand of hair. “I know…it was pretty fucking brutal. But why leave? I would have helped you…I would have done anything for you! All I want to do is protect you!” Die’s tears started to fall. Die slowly leaned in and gave Hiroto a whisper of a kiss…nothing more as they were in his parent’s home.

                “Do you know what’s going on with…well everything?” Hiroto and Die sat on the boy’s bed, Die eyeing the door, making sure both feet were on the ground and his hands in plain sight.

                “Just the rumors really, nothing concrete.” Die lied, he knew exactly what was happening with The Gazette members, but it served no useful purpose to tell Hiroto of that now, all Die was interested in was getting the boy back to the city and back into his life.

                “Will you please come back with me? Ruki’s been texting me…driving me nuts! Kai’s asking about you as well. Yukke…well he was in total panic when I called him. Nobody’s mad at you Pon…they all know what that asshole was doing. Please, come home with me?”

                “I don’t want to work with the Gazette anymore…if I come back DCR’s either going to have to let me go or find me a new band. I can’t live there without a job, at least not for long with Yukke and Kai. I had just started to look for my own flat, then this fell into my lap.” Hiroto didn’t want to burden anyone with his troubles, especially not Yukke and Kai. Working with the Gazette wasn’t an option either.

                “Maybe DCR can find you another band, or at least pay you to learn the office part of the position, I know our manager is constantly bitching about the paperwork. So, you’ll come home with me?  Pleassseeee Pon-chan….” Die flashed his megawatt smile, fluttered his long eyelashes, all this while leaning on Hiroto, making the younger man giggle.

                “You’re freaking such a dork.” Hiroto laughed. “It seems you’re in a better mood Pon-kun” Hiroto’s parents stood in the doorway watching the couple, Die immediately sitting up, looking guilty. “Don’t worry Die… we trust you with our Pon…we’ve heard a lot about you from Yukke and Kai.” Die blushed…hoping that the two older men didn’t lie…too much.

                “I think I’m going to go back to Ojisan’s…I need to talk to my bosses at DCR. I’m not going to let some asshole like Reita ruin my chances in the industry.” Die quickly threw his arms around Hiroto, moving in for a kiss before stopping dead. “It’s okay Die-chan…we’ll leave you two alone now.” Hiroto’s parents waved and walked back down the hall. “I’m going to kiss you stupid right now…” Die purred in Hiroto’s ear and Hiroto had no problem with being that kind of stupid.

Chapter Text

                After Uta’s restless dream filled night, he had been fighting with his emotions, trying to decipher what the dreams could possibly mean… was he suppose to go back to Sakurai? Is that what Teiji was telling him? He honestly could not bring himself to envision a relationship with Sakurai Atsushi again…there was just too much damage done to revisit the thought.

                “Uta-kun, are you ill? You’re very pale this morning.” Yutaka handed the young man a cup of tea. “Dreams…nightmares really. I tend to have them anytime I come in contact with Sakurai, but then the dreams are confusing. I don’t even know how or what to think right now.” Uta laid his head down on his arms, on the kitchen table, fighting the tears that burned in his eyes.

                “Uta-kun, you don’t have to think anything. The mind is a tricky thing, it doesn’t always ring true…especially in dreams.  People have tried interpreting dreams for centuries, it’s all speculation. Perhaps you should speak to Ojisan? He seems to know things that none of us do, he’s told me he stopped trying to understand his own visions a long time ago…he just lets them come.”

                “I think after I take a shower, I’m going to go see Mao, I need some silly time that only he can provide.” Uta grinned and walked down to the bathroom. As soon as the door closed, Yutaka got out his phone. “You need to meet me at Ojisan’s for lunch, no…I don’t have time…just be there around noon.”

 

                “Um…wow, I don’t even really know how to answer any of that, Uta. They say dreams are your unconscious desires, but that makes no sense…unless you secretly want to go back to Sakurai…do you?” Kyo was being his ever-philosophical self, in an attempt to help his friend.

                “NO! I don’t want to go back to Sakurai…ever! That’s what I don’t understand! In my dreams Teiji’s making love to me and Sakurai is watching! Davina won’t help me, Sakurai promises he’s changed, just like Davina did!” Uta is almost shouting, tears are running down his face and he’s visibly shaking. “Then…Davina kissing Teiji…then Sakurai pulls me into his lap, it feels warm and loved and safe…but I’m screaming for Teiji and Davina to help me but they don’t.” Uta whispered, laying his head down on the side of the couch. “I don’t understand any of this!”

                Kyo and Mao exchanged worried looks, Kyo especially didn’t want Uta to return to Sakurai. “Uta sweetie, just because your dreams have you with Sakurai, doesn’t mean that it’s fate…you have control over who you love, not some absurd dream that probably manifested because Sakurai spoke to you.” Kyo had moved to the couch, reached over and pulled his former lover and dear friend into a warm embrace.

                Mao watched his best friend crumble, it broke his heart to see Uta in such confusion and turmoil over something that happened in a dream. “Uta, are you even interested in dating again? Is that something that you’re actually thinking about?” Mao hesitated at first to ask, but he believed he knew the answer before Uta spoke.

                “Not in a million years, it hasn’t even been a year! Why does this have to fucking hurt so damn much? I can’t be happy for fifteen minutes until something slaps me in the face?” Uta buried his face into Kyo’s neck, leaving the small man to look to his husband, pain on his face. ‘Do something’ Kyo mouthed to Mao.

                “Okay, enough cry baby for today, go wash your face, you’re blotchy.” Mao stood up and pulled Uta out of his husband’s arms. “Stop leaking on my husband, Uta.” Kyo rolled his eyes at Mao’s somewhat abrasive tactics.

                “Why…what are we doing?” Uta sat up, sniffling and rubbing his eyes. “We’re going out, Kyo can I use the car?” Uta stood and started towards the bathroom, “Where are we going?”

                “Yes, you can use the car, I’ll take the train.” Kyo quickly kissed Mao, he wanted to be out of the way so his funny lover could help his best friend gain some semblance of sanity. “I’ll text you later”, Mao whispered as Kyo walked out the door.

                “We’re going to the bookstore, I need a damned latte and a brownie and some sort of mindless porn or romance book.” Mao said snottily. “Porn? You read porn?” This somewhat surprised Uta. “Dude, who am I married to? You of all people should know why I would be reading porn…” Uta blushed, they rarely shared notes on Kyo’s sexuality. “I wonder if Koichi reads porn too?” Mao thought out loud.

                “MAO! Oh my god…tell me you’re not thinking of asking him, are you?” Uta wouldn’t put it past him. “Maybe I’ll ask Tatsu instead…oh! I’ll get Koichi to start reading porn, then surprise Tatsu one night…learn some extra dirty moves or something!” This conversation continued down to the car, the drive to the bookstore and even once inside. “Come with me, I’ll show you the books I read!” Mao grabbed Uta by the hand and dragged him to the ‘adult novels’ section.

                Mao tried to keep Uta in the section with him, but Uta pulled away after seeing one too many book covers. “I’m going to go over and look at the art books.” Uta waved as he walked away from his friend. “He’s fucking crazy” he giggled. Just as Uta turned a corner, he bumped into another customer, almost falling over “Gomenasai! I’m sorr…uh…”

                “Hello Uta…you’re not hurt, are you?” Sakurai Atsushi stood in front of Uta, “Uh, no…I’m fine. Um…” The two men stared at each other for a moment, then Sakurai bowed and walked away.

                “Uta? Are you okay? What just happened?” Mao saw Sakurai, shoving a book in place he walked quickly to his friend’s side. “I um, ran into him…I didn’t see him and bumped into him.” Uta was a bit shaken but unhurt. “Let’s go get that latte and brownie, you look like you need one.” Mao grabbed Uta by the hand and led him to the café.

                “What did he say?” Mao was sipping his drink, Uta sharing his brownie with his friend. “He just said hello, then asked me if I was hurt. Then he bowed and walked away. This is exactly what he was talking about last night! That if we happen to see each other that we just be pleasant to each other.” Uta slumped back in his chair, “Maybe I need to move.”

                “That might help, you living with Yutaka and Hide…you know you’ll have more of a chance in running into him, I mean shit…they’re in a band together, they’ve been friends for like decades…so maybe find a flat and a roommate, that way you’ll never really be alone.” Mao had thought about that earlier, but when Uta started crying, that idea was shoved back.

                They talked more about what had been happening lately, the issues with Hiroto and the Gazette. “Kyo said it was brutal, I guess Pon beat the shit out of Reita, then Aoi went after Die, Kyo came into it, Kai and Uruha were dragging people off, then Sakurai show…oops.”

                “Why did Sakurai get involved? He has nothing to do with any of those bands.” Uta didn’t know about this. “He was at the studio already, he heard the fight and went into the room, Kyo said he screamed at everyone to stop…and they did! Then he yelled at them for being stupid kids. But I guess Hiroto really beat Reita pretty badly, which he deserves if he’s sexually harassing the man.”

                As they talked, Uta thought about talking to Hide and Yutaka about moving out. He knew that they kept all the money he had given them, as ‘rent’… just as they had before. He was sure he could find a roommate; single flats were expensive and hard to find.

                “Let’s get going, I want to be home before Kyo…now that I have some new books to read!” Mao wiggled his eyebrows at his best friend, Uta punching him in the arm calling him ‘hentai’.

 

                “I’ll see you tomorrow at work!” Mao dropped Uta off at home, then drove away. “Tadaima”, Rima and Zepp were of course, the first to greet Uta as he walked into the genkan. “Okaeri, in the garden!” Uta felt like he needed a beer, grabbing one out of the fridge as he walked through the kitchen.

                “Hi! How as your day with Mao? A beer?” Yutaka was a little shocked at Uta having a beer in his hand, the boy rarely drank. “Yah, I need one after a day with Mao and um, well I ran into Sakurai today…at the bookstore. I mean like I ran into him as in bumped into him coming around a corner.” Uta took a long pull off his beer.

                “He didn’t’ say anything did he?” Hide had just walked through the back door, carrying Rima in his arms, “No, other than hi, and asked if I was hurt, then he just bowed and walked away.”

                Uta changed the subject quickly, not wanting to think of Sakurai any more than he already did. “Porn? That sweet boy reads porn?” Uta had described the reason they even went to the book store. “Then he brought up Kyo’s um… how do I put this? His sexual appetite, then wanted to ask me about it…THEN he wanted to call Koichi! The man is a pervert, he’s hardly a sweet boy, Yutaka.”

                Uta had decided to bring up the topic of moving out during dinner, he wasn’t nervous, but he didn’t want to hurt the two men who had become like parents to him.

                “I think I need to move out.” He just said it bluntly, why bother with being shy about it? “Oh?” Hide stole a glance at Yutaka, who winked.

                “I think it’s just inconvenient for all of us. I don’t want to have to worry about running into Sakurai all the time, it’s not fair to you guys. I think I need to grow up a bit more.” Hide then looked at Yutaka, they both nodded. Something was up between the two men. “Okay, what are you guys planning? Please don’t tell me that you’ve done something drastic…” Uta whined.

                “No, we haven’t done anything, but I we need you to go into the living room and wait for us. We’ll be with you in a moment.” Hide pushed back from the table and he and Yutaka went down to their bedroom. “What the hell is this all about?”

                Uta sat on the couch, nerves bouncing around in his belly. Yutaka and Hide came back down the hall, Hide with a large envelope in his hand. Yutaka sat next to Uta, Hide sat on the coffee table in front of the young man.

                “This is for you. Read through it carefully, then if you have any questions, we’ll try to answer them.” Hide handed Uta the large envelope.

                Uta looked warily at both men, “Okay.” Slowly he opened the envelope, sliding the contents out and placing them on his lap. The first document was a letter addressed to him’

 

                Uta my love:

                Now that you’re reading this, you’ve decided to leave Yutaka and Hide’s house for a home of your own. This means you have started to move past our shared tragedy and loss, in order to rebuild your life. I want to be a part of that life, even if thousands of miles have separated us.

                My first wish for you is happiness above all other things, you know this to be true. My second wish is for you never to be homeless and helpless again, you should always have a roof over your head and plentiful food to eat. With that in mind, I am giving you the three unit complex, free and clear. Your name is on the deed to the property and the buildings, they are yours to do what you wish. I would hope that you would live in one of the flats, not necessarily the one you and Teiji lived in, but one of them.

                In order to make you feel more comfortable with this idea, I had all three flats, inside and out completely renovated, they now look noting like they did when you and our beloved lived there and I’m leaving you the small sedan as well.

                Secondly, there is a small passbook in with the other documents; this is my gift to you, to ensure your safety. Before you protest; please know that I am a very wealthy woman, with no child of my own. You are my child, my lover, my everything. This is a tiny portion of what my wealth is, I have no one to spend it on but myself and Yoji. Remember we had planned to travel the world, our weird little ménage a trois? I am doing that with Yoji now…but I wanted to ensure that you had every possible chance in life to live successfully.

                I want you to have these things my love, as neither your nor I can have our Teiji back, he would want me to make sure you were safe and cared for always. When you are settled down, I will fly you to Maastricht, where we will visit the Basilica of St Servatius, light candles for our loved ones and have snoepjes with Marcel and the boys. Until then I want you to remember just how much I love you with all my heart.

 

                                                                                                Davina

               

Uta looked up at Hide then at Yutaka, “She left me the flats? All three? They’re mine? I don’t understand” He murmured.

“She called us to the manor a few days before she left and had her lawyer there. The paperwork is done, the complex is paid for, there will be no taxes due, no payments to make. There is a handyman service available that has also been taken care of. She wanted to make sure you were safe, Uta. That was her worst fear in leaving you, that you would leave our house, with no where to go and end up in another shit hole flat like the one we rescued you from. She wanted to make sure that you never struggled for money, here’s the passbook” Yutaka handed the small bank book to Uta.

“WHAT? NO!” Uta paled as he read the amount. “This can’t be right! Are you sure?” Yutaka giggled, “That’s exactly what we said, she frowned at us and that shut both Hide and I up quickly. She told us she was wealthy, now I’m guessing she was right.”

Hide leaned over and patted Uta on the knee. “She said the flats have also been furnished completely, so you have nothing to worry about in that way. She hoped you would help out other young people that are having a rough go in life by letting them live in the flats for reduced rent. She thought only of you, Uta…you were the biggest concern of hers before she left.”

                Uta sat back on the couch, reading the various paperwork, “She put me in her will? Why? I’m not family!” This was just too much for the young man to handle, the tears starting as he read.

                “Uta, you ARE Davina’s family. You and Teiji and now Yoji. She has no one else in the world. For her to feel this way about you is natural. She was your mother, your lover and your friend, she wanted us to make sure you understood that fully.” Yutaka was petting Uta’s hair. “She asked me to make sure you just accepted this as it is and even threatened me if I didn’t do a good enough job.” Hide joked.

                “I own property now? How the hell do I go from working at the HBG to owning property? Hell…how do I go from dirt poor to um…well this?” Uta waved the bank pass book in the air. “You take a deep breath, remember what you had with Davina and with Teiji, you smile every day, you send her gifts, cards and flowers. You thank the kami’s for putting that woman in your life, to love you. You live a good life and find love again, that’s all Davina has ever wanted for you, Uta-kun.” Yutaka was now tearing up as well.

                “Um, okay…so I guess I don’t have to worry about looking for a flat then.”

                The trio looked through the paperwork again, making sticky notes and writing lists. Finally, Uta felt like he was going to pass out, “I need to get to bed, I have to work in the morning…well, I don’t really…but I’m going to keep my job, I want to stay with my friends.” Uta hugged and kissed Hide and Yutaka and went down to his room, the large envelope in his hands. He reread the letter a few times, knowing that at some point tomorrow, he was going to email Davina, but he wanted to make sure he could say what he was feeling, he didn’t want it to just be a random email. This was going to be the email that signaled the start of his new life.

 

                Davina;

                Yes, I was going to protest whether you liked it or not, until Yutaka explained your position a little more. You knew that telling me yourself, I would have tried to back out or deny you. Sneaky woman! Thousands of miles away so I can’t yell at you.

                I love you, you are my connection to Teiji. Yutaka brought up a good point; you are my mother, my lover and my friend and that’s how I have come to think of you.

                Seriously Davina…all three flats and the car and a bank account? I knew you had money, Teiji explained it somewhat, but I never knew it was something like this!

                I will honor your wishes. I will choose a flat to live in but I will continue to work at the HBG, I can’t just stop being with my friends, they are all I have now. I will also make sure that I rent the other flats out, as you suggest…with a reduced rent.

                Thank you, Mistress, you still mean the world to me, you’re the only woman I will ever love. Please give Yoji my love as well. Let me know when you’ve gone to Maastricht and yes…I would love to visit, go to the Basilica and have snoepjes with Marcel.  I love you.

                                Uta

 

                “Why are you crying my dear? Is it Uta? Is he hurt?” Yoji became alarmed as he walked into the small dining room of Davina’s flat in Helsinki. “Yes, it’s Uta…but he is not hurt.” Davina let Yoji read the email, afterwards he cupped his beautiful lover’s face in his hands and kissed her.

                “Now you can stop fretting over Uta every day. You know he will be safe and his friends will care for him in your place. When we get to Maastricht, we should send for him, he deserves a small vacation after he is settled in.”

                Davina laid her head on Yoji’s shoulder, contented and happy.

Chapter Text

 

                “Ojisan…I can’t…I can’t breathe!!!” Hiroto gasped as Yukke hugged him tightly, finally pushing Hiroto away “Don’t EVER DO THAT AGAIN!” Yukke yelled at his young nephew. “You scared the shit out of me…and I wanted to kill Die as well!” Yukke scolded Hiroto.

                “Come after me? Why? I didn’t do anything! Thanks a lot, Yukke.” Die protested.               “I didn’t really think you would hurt Pon, Die. I was just a little upset.” Yukke had the decency to blush slightly.

                “He was more than upset, don’t let him lie to you…he was frantic.” Kai busted his husband. “I wasn’t frantic! I was worried…and I didn’t want my brother calling or coming here to beat me for losing Pon.”

                “Now that it’s all settled, I want to move out.” Hiroto announced abruptly. “Move out? You just got home!” Yukke was going to whine, Kai just knew it.

                “Look, Ojisan…I don’t like having to wear headphones and play my music loud enough to drown out the noise you two make at various times during the day! I never know what to expect when I walk through the door!”

                Yukke’s face paled, “You’ve… we’ve...oh my god Kai!” Yukke covered his face with his hands, hiding his head in Kai’s chest. “Sorry Pon, but hey…lol it just means we’re normal people, right?”

                “Um, from what I’ve heard, I don’t think that’s a good assessment of your sex life Kai.” Die was standing behind Hiroto, his hand covering his mouth trying to stifle any laughter. “Oh? I thought we had a pretty normal sex life, right Yu?”

                “STOP TALKING ABOUT OUR SEX LIFE! OH MY GOD!” Yukke screamed and left the room. “That was fun…I’m going to hear about it later…but god, that was fun.” Kai giggled.

                “If you feel the need to move out on your own, I say just do it. You’re old enough, smart enough and you’ll be able to keep all the DCR problems separate from living here…I know it’s been hard. Reita threw it in our faces about you only being at DCR because of Yukke” Kai shook his head, “He brought you and Kyo into it as well Die.”

                “Me and Kyo? What the fuck do we have to do with anything?” Die was surprised to say the least.

                “Reita brought up the um… thing things you did to Taka and Kyo with Koichi, before all that other stuff happened. You know, Kyo teasing Tatsu that he was going to steal Kou-kun away, and you were going to take Taka. He said that Diru’s getting special treatment.”  Kai sat down, rubbing his face with both hands.

                “This is just so fucking fucked up! I can’t even begin to put any reason behind Reita’s thoughts…why he pushed it so fucking far.”

                “What happened at the meeting?” Hiroto cringed.

                “Your leaving was brought up, the fact that because of what they were doing, you didn’t want to work in the industry anymore. Both of them have been placed on suspension permanently for now, they’re banned from participating in any event related to the band or DCR. Management spoke with Sato, who in turn talked to Taka…neither Aoi or Reita are allowed at the HBG until further notice.” Kai closed his eyes, a few tears forming.

                “The worst part of this? Ruki, Uruha and I have pretty much written off our friendship with Aoi and Reita. We will work together as a band, but socially we won’t be anywhere near them. I can’t with good conscious be friends with men who behave like that, seriously. They’re going to have to work like hell to prove that they are worthy of being a friend…if they even can.” Kai’s tears fell… this felt like the death of a family member.

                “Kai, I’m sorry…I should have left earlier and not let it get to this point.” Hiroto felt guilty…he had been the cause of the break-up of an amazing band, he for sure would never work in the industry.

                “It’s not your fault Pon, I told you that earlier. Reita has some sort of twisted issues, Aoi tends to blindly follow which is weird because he’s the oldest of all of us. He should know better! They both should know better! Do not apologize for keeping yourself safe, no one has the right to touch anyone with out their express consent!”

Die was holding Hiroto’s hand. “Nobody holds you responsible. You need to just forget those assholes and move on with your career. Kai and Yukke will be there to back you up.”

“If Reita or Aoi touch you again, they will regret it. I will make damned sure of it.” Yukke had returned to the room, standing behind Kai’s chair, his hand on his husband’s shoulder.

“Babe, um… you’re a little puny to be sticking up for Pon…you’ll need muscle for that.” Kai teased. “I have Sato and Miya, they’ll be my muscle, don’t piss Sato off…he’s brutal when he’s angry and Miya’s just a little shit pistol as well.” Yukke proudly claimed.

“A shit pistol? Oh my god…what the hell is a shit pistol!” Kai fell over in his chair, laying his head on the arm rest, laughing hysterically. Yukke rolled his eyes.

“Can you not make a joke about everything I say or do, please? That’s it…no sex for you. You’re on sex restriction, you can only jerk off from now until Christmas.” Yukke said firmly.

Kai stopped laughing, Die and Hiroto were blushing. Yukke rarely spoke like this which made his proclamation a little startling. “What? You can talk about Pon hearing us fuck, and I can’t say you’re on sex restriction? DOUBLE STANDARD KAI!”

Hiroto and Die were both laughing, hands covering their mouths in an attempt to look serious, but when Yukke attempts indignation… he always was an epic fail.

 

“The little cunt has come home has he? Sorry assed little shit, guess what Pon-chan? I’m not going away anytime soon. You’ll give me what I want and you’ll be happy and honored to do it. I’m going to fuck your mouth raw then slam it into your ass dry, have you screaming my name. Stupid little cunt…parading around looking all sweet and fucking innocent. I’m sure I’m not going to be the first guy that’s fucked you in the wall, but I’m going to be the best fuck you’ve ever had.”

 

 

Mao and Kyo both had their mouths hanging open, incredulous stares at Uta. “Davina did what? You’re fucking joking Uta…this isn’t funny!” Mao argued. Uta handed him the paperwork for the complex. “It’s all there… black and white with zeros across the page. I’m not joking and it’s not funny. It’s dead serious. Davina left me all three flats. Paid for, maintenance paid for, renovated and furnished completely. All I have to do is move my clothes and what other little stuff I have.” Uta then held up the bank passbook.

“What’s that?” Kyo asked. “A bank passbook.” Uta replied. “She didn’t? How much Uta? How much did Davina leave you?” Kyo demanded.

“I won’t give you the exact amount, let’s just say I don’ have to work if I don’t want to.” Uta claimed. “But I’m still going to work at the HBG, I have too many friends there to just stop working. Plus, not working would be boring.”

“It can’t possibly be that much, Uta. Davina was a Dominant for fucks sake…she couldn’t have made that much money ordering men around…could she?” Mao was in disbelief, a woman who regularly ordered men to do nasty things and serve her…leave Uta a huge amount of money?

“It’s legally obtained Mao and it had nothing to do with her being a Dominant. Her father was wealthy…one of the wealthiest men in the country and in the world actually. When he died, he left Davina everything and she invested it wisely. She says I’m her only child…so she wanted to do this for me to make sure I was taken care of at least physically. No more shitty flats, no more eating konbini bentos or not eating at all.”

“I knew she had money, never knew how much but I always guessed it was in the billions, looks like I was correct. What will you do with the complex? Sell it?” Kyo was hoping that Uta would move into one of the flats, the boy needed his own space in order to move past all the bullshit that tragically followed him.

“That’s why I came here. Do you both have time today to go look at the flats with me? I um…I’m a little scared to go into Teiji’s…um our flat alone. Please?” Uta pleaded. “Sure, let’s go. Get up…we’re going right now!” Mao stood up, grabbed the keys to the car and took Uta by the hand. “Coming babe?” Mao said as an afterthought. “Yep, right behind you.” Kyo smirked…he loved his weird little husband, the bossiness that he knew was a front. Mao knew who the boss was in the marriage, and it wasn’t him.

“Holy crap… are you sure this is the right complex?” Mao’s jaw dropped. “Yes Mao, I’m sure. But you’re right, holy crap doesn’t even begin to cover it.” Uta looked in amazement at the three flat complex where he had lived his happiest life. The flats were unrecognizable now. The texturing of the outside of the building had changed, it was now stucco, the color had gone from an ugly green to a nice soft rose color. The cute little sedan that Uta used to drive, sitting in the parking spot.

“Uta, which one first?” Kyo had his hand on the small of Uta’s back, just as a presence of support. “Um, let’s go into the empty ones…I mean the other ones. “Uta stammered.

Upon opening the door, Kyo let out a low whistle. The décor was modern, but with small traditional Japanese additions. As they walked through the rooms, opening cabinets and drawers, Uta saw that Davina had done exactly what she had said; the flat was move in ready, bring your clothes and you’re set. The basic toiletries were also in place. “Hopefully she didn’t stock the fridge!” Mao giggled.

Walking into the kitchen, Mao opened up a cabinet and gasped. A full bag of rice was sitting on the pantry floor. “Well, at least everyone starts off with a full bag of rice.” Kyo was impressed, Davina had indeed, thought of everything.

Looking through the second flat took little time, it was furnished in a more western style, with western style queen sized beds and bedroom furniture. The living room was of the same style. As they closed the door and locked up the second flat, Uta started to sweat. “You okay? We don’t have to do this right now.”

Uta shook his head, “I need to see it.” He murmured. Mao took Uta’s hand in his, gently rubbing his thumb over Uta’s knuckles. Kyo took the key from Uta and unlocked the door, pushing it open slowly.

It was an instant rush of relief for Uta. The flat looked nothing like what it had when Uta had lived there with Teiji. The apartment’s rooms were moved, everything was completely different.

“Well?” Mao asked quietly. “It’s different. Everything’s been moved. The kitchen used to be over there, now it’s back in the back. They separated the bedrooms, they used to be next to each other, now it’s one on each side.”

Uta was awestruck, he could tell that Davina was hoping that he’d choose that flat to live in. There were tiny touches that sang out Teiji’s name, a certain colored pillow. A blanket across the couch that he knew came from the Gardenia room.  He walked down to one of the bedrooms. It had a large king sized western style bed, but it was on a delicate frame, unlike the one Teiji had.

The colors in one bedroom were Teiji’s favorite, deep blue and black. Uta knew this was Davina’s way of honoring her lover. Uta left the bedroom and went to the other. Again, Davina’s influence was on every single piece. Uta giggled when he walked into the bathroom. “What’s so funny?” Mao asked as he walked to where Uta was standing.

“Is that…oh my…I’m not sure I could do anything in front of that picture.” Mao twittered. Over the toilet was a large picture of Hercules, which just made Uta laugh. “Oh Davina…you silly woman!”

Looking in the closet, Uta gasped. He knew Davina meant well, but it was difficult. Hanging on the back of the closet door, side by side was a pair of pajama pants and a kimono style dressing gown, both of which Uta was familiar with. Standing in front of the door, staring at the clothes…Uta noticed a piece of paper sticking out of the pajama pants, he pulled it out.

Uta… grant me this little memory and do not scold me so. I wanted Teiji and I to be the first one’s to welcome you into your new home. I was going to assume you would choose this flat, even though I had it completely gutted and changed. I did want a tiny bit of mine and Teiji’s love, to be here when you moved in. I love you, my Uta.

Uta handed the letter to Mao and Kyo, Mao immediately had tears flowing. “You know she only did this because she loves you Uta” Kyo said gently. “Yes, I understand it. It’s very sweet but difficult at the same time.” Uta slowly closed the closet door.

“Will you live in this flat Uta?” Mao gently asked. “Yes…I knew I would even before I saw it, I know it’s not the same flat that Teiji and I lived in, but still…” Uta’s thoughts trailed off.

“Will you rent the other two flats out? I’m sure there’s a lot of people looking for fancy digs for a reasonable price.” Mao tried to be a little more upbeat, dragging Uta into the kitchen. “Wow, nice cookware! We’re coming over Kyo, Uta needs to make us dinner.”

“Nice way to just bully yourself in babe…Uta, we’ll only come when you’re ready, not when Mr. Pushy decides.” Kyo laughed, watching as Mao flipped a middle finger at him. “Later babe…not right now…not right here! Unless you want to ask Uta if we could borrow a bedroom for a few hours?” Kyo knew how to shut Mao up…usually just by mentioning sex was enough.

“I really don’t need to hear that Kyo. I’m ready to go.” Uta found the keys to the car and pocketed them, glad that he would now have a car to get around town in.

With Mao running his mouth non-stop all the way to Hide and Yutaka’s, Uta was glad to finally be out of the car. “I’ll call you later!” waving as Kyo drove his chatterbox husband away.

 

“That’s the last of the boxes Uta-kun.” Hide walked into the flat with a small box in his arms. “Nice that you have no furniture to move, made it all in just one trip.” Hide turned to Uta and Yutaka who were putting away the groceries that Uta had stocked up on. “That’s it then…once again our little boy has moved out on his own.” Yutaka teased the young man. “Yes Kaasan, Tousan… your little boy no longer needs you to do his laundry!” Uta laughed. “Thanks, you guys, you are my adoptive parents in a sense. I love you guys! Uta threw his arms around both Hide and Yutaka.

“Come on Yu…let’s go. Uta’s fine on his own.” Hide had Yutaka by the shoulders, maneuvering him out of the flat and to the car. “Call us!” Uta waved at the two men as they drove away. “Finally!” Uta huffed.

Looking around the flat, Uta felt a sense of relief. There were no strange dark things hiding in corners, there was plenty of hot water, the heater worked, the air conditioning worked…everything was perfect.

Turning on his TV, mainly for background noise, Uta went through his clothes and put them away. Opening the closet door…he was faced with the pajama pants and the robe. “Hmm…” Taking them off the back of the door, Uta walked down the hall to the other room and hung the clothes in that closet. “Out of sight, out of mind but not too far away, just in case.”

Making himself a decent dinner, sitting in front of the TV eating, Uta could feel the slight familiarity of the flat, it felt comfortable. He knew the real test of his independence would be sleeping the first night in the new flat.

Uta? Baby are you sleeping? I’m home…Davina sends her love, so does Yoji. I saw Madame F tonight, Ormond asked about you. They worry about you, Uta. You’re alone now and they’re worried. I told them I’m always with you, but they don’t seem to understand. They don’t want you to be alone…but you have me! Baby I love you so much, you mean everything to me. I want to spend the rest of my life with you…it’s always only going to be you, Uta. Stay with me…please.

Uta jerked awake, disoriented as he glanced around. TV is on…it’s dark…the couch…where? “Teiji?” No answer… Shit! You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m not even in bed yet!

Uta got up and turned off the TV, putting his dinner dishes in the sink. Walking down the hall he stops suddenly. “Teiji?” he whispers as he moves down the hall, one hand on the wall supporting him, he’s shaking…why? He’s not here dumbass…he’s dead. Stop being a fucking wimp!

“Te…Teiji?” he calls out once again as he puts his hand on his bedroom door, slowly pushing it open. Sliding his hand on the wall he searches for the light switch, flicking it on quickly. The light flashes on… nothing. No Teiji, no Davina…just his bedroom. “What the hell is this all about?” He mutters as he changes into sleep pants.

Leaving the bathroom light on, “how old am I? 8?” Uta turns off the room light and gets into bed, snuggling down into the blankets. Burying his face in a pillow he grabbed to hug, Uta closed his eyes. The first night in his flat…his and Teiji’s flat…the first night he would truly be alone.

Chapter Text

 

                “This is a drastic change, Acchan! It’s not even the same house anymore.” Imai claimed, as Sakurai led his friends through his newly renovated home. “That was the point, Imai…I needed a drastic change in order to change myself. This is the first step to coming back as Sakurai Atsushi, as Acchan to my friend. Not as Sakurai the stalker, the Dominant, the provocateur.”

                “If this is the first step, it’s huge!” Toll added. The renovation had turned a heavy dark masculine house, into a stunningly light and bright home. The paint, the furniture, even the bathrooms had been changed completely. Uta’s room…once locked by a double dead-bolt, now had a summery beach feeling to it, decorated in shades of yellow and a soft green. The heavy dark teak furniture had been replaced by a crisp white ash, it drastically changed the feel of the room. There were no reminders left, of Uta.

                Sitting at the new kitchen table, Sakurai outlined his plans for the near future. “I need to repair my relationship with my peers, if I can. I want to try to explain my actions, but I’m not excusing my behavior…I have to own myself completely.” Hide and Yutaka glanced over at each other. They had discussed telling Sakurai that Uta had moved out, but ultimately decided against it.

                “Who exactly are you going to speak to?” Imai questioned his friend. “Tatsuro, Kaoru, Kai and Kyo. I will leave it up to them to inform the rest of their own band members. I am also going to speak with DCR management and the owner of the High Ball Garden, I owe the man a personal visit.”

                The band members spoke for a while longer, making plans for the holiday season, “I’d love to be able to have a party here at the house, for my friends and peers. I’m going to work towards that right now.” Sakurai promised before his bandmates went home.

                “One more thing…” Sakurai moved down to his office, sitting in front of his computer.

                Davina,

                I asked Madame F for your email address, as I needed to speak to you, but not in person nor on the phone.

                I want to extend my deepest apologies to you. My actions have been less than stellar, I manipulated and alienated my friends, my peers and my associates within both communities. My behavior was reprehensible and completely out of line with who I had been previously. I went from being a trusted elder in both communities to becoming a pariah. I am on the road to repairing my relationships with everyone, although I expect no forgiveness from anyone.

                I want you to know, to believe me to be true…Uta is nothing more than a pleasant lovely memory, nothing more. I have spoken to Uta and have told him the same. I only wish a cordial greeting if we happen to cross paths unexpectedly on the street.

                Like you, I have chosen to leave our collective community. I have spoken with Madame F and the other members and they have agreed with my choice to leave. It can serve me no useful purpose any longer. It’s not who I am any longer.

                I am happy finally, even being alone. There will be no more beautiful boys or women in my bed, I wish only to live happily with my friends and my band.

                I hope this email finds you well, please extend my greetings to Nagaharu.

                S.A.

                Hitting the send button, Sakurai leaned back in his office chair, his head laid back, “Step one completed.”  Sitting back up, Sakurai composed an email to the management and staff at DCR expressing the same apologies he had offered to Davina.

                Making some phone calls, arranging a meeting with the owner of the HBG, Sakurai was emotionally drained. Looking at the time, 9:45pm, early for someone like Sakurai, he could think of no reason to stay awake. Closing the door to his office, he moved down the long hallway to his room. Turning on the light, the soft rose color he chose for his room, reflected his feeling of peace. Changing into his sleep pants, Sakurai stepped up into the new bed, shrugging down into the blankets, closing his eyes his last thoughts were of Uta. “Good night my love.”

                He’s in the garden, standing in front of a large barbeque grill which was full of different types of meat, Yutaka and Hide sitting on the patio together. Imai coming out the door with some sort of dish full of food. Davina and Teiji were siting under the large sakura tree, Davina nestled in Teiji’s arms, speaking softly. Toll was throwing a ball to a Shiba Inu…. where was Uta? Looking at Davina, now in Nagaharu’s arms, where is Uta? Closing the lid on the grill, Sakurai walks into his house, Uta? Baby where are you? He walks to his bedroom, he’s on the bed naked, with Uta under him, crying out as Sakurai thrusted into the small man’s tight hole. I love you Uta. Only you. Uta opens his eyes, I love you Acchan…I love you Teiji… Sakurai looks up… Teiji is standing next to the bed, I will always love you Uta, you will never love another. Come home with me…Sakurai looks down, Uta is gone…he’s walking out the front door with Teiji. Uta? Please. you said you loved me! Why are you leaving me…No! TEIJI!! UTA IS MINE! HE’S ALWAYS BEEN MINE NOT YOURS! UTA! PLEASE BABY… UTA!!

                Sakurai rolled over in bed, reaching for Uta but his hands feeling nothing but the cold empty spot next to him.  The tears returned, the emptiness in his heart ached, his life shattered once more. “Baby, please…come home!”

 

                “Why don’t you just fucking forget it? Are you so hell bent on ruining your career, ruining the band and being known as a rapist? Really Aki?” Aoi was sitting on Reita’s couch, trying to talk some sense into his friend.

                “I’m not ruining my career…but I’ll ruin his! That little fuck face thinks he can get away with talking shit to me? Seriously, he’s a punk ass kid who’s only claim to fame is being Yukke’s nephew… no Yuu, that kid will get everything he deserves and I’m going to be the one to send his pansy ass back to his mommy and daddy, Yukke can fuck off as well. MUCC’s always been in the shadow of the Gazette!” Reita’s comments were so random, that Aoi almost couldn’t follow him.

                “MUCC’s in our shadow? Please, Aki, Gazette formed five years after MUCC…how have they always been in our shadow? You’re not making sense Rei… for fuck sakes dude, chill out and drop the Pon issue. You’re going to end up in jail, if I have to I’ll call the cops on you!” Aoi was sure that Reita would try something else with Hiroto, but how far was he going to take it? Would Reita really rape Hiroto? Or is this bullshit big talk coming from someone who was rejected? Aoi wasn’t sure, he did know he wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

                “Go ahead, pal…call the cops! I haven’t touched that kid! You’re just as bad as the others…so much for the brotherhood of band members.” Reita snapped.

                “The brotherhood of band members doesn’t mean we will accept or allow you to rape someone, Akira…none of us. If you have a problem with that, maybe you do need to leave the band. You’re talking about RAPE FOR FUCKS SAKE!” Aoi screamed at Reita . “Get the fuck out of my apartment you fucking pussy. GET OUT!” Reita grabbed Aoi by the front of the shirt, hauling the man out of his chair and pushed him towards the door. “Reita, you’re going to regret this…think about what you’re doing.” Aoi said before Reita slammed the door in his face.

                It was with that door slamming, that Aoi knew he had to tell Kai and warn Hiroto. Walking down the stairs, he couldn’t understand why Reita was taking things this far! He wanted to punish Pon by raping him? “What the fuck Akira?” Aoi mumbled to himself. Aoi argued with himself on the drive, should he go to the police? Would the others say they wanted to? Walking up the stairs, Aoi thought it was a crap shoot, it would go one way or the other, he’d have to be satisfied with whatever the majority thought. He knocked on the door.

                “Aoi? Why are you here? I really don’t want you in my home.” Yukke answered the door with a sneer after seeing the man standing in front of him. “I need to talk to Kai, it’s important Yukke.” Yukke took a moment, then stepped back. “Wait in the kitchen” he told Aoi.

                “Babe? Aoi’s here…he wants to talk to you, says it’s important.” Yukke leaned his head into the bedroom. “Right, I’m sure it is.” Kai answered sarcastically.   “What do you want?” Kai answered in a very clipped voice. “We need to talk about Akira…I just left his house.” Aoi had a look in his eyes, that gave Kai the impression that this was going to be a serious discussion. “I’m listening” Kai sat down.

                “I think Akira is seriously going to hurt Pon, I mean I think he’s still planning on raping the kid. I couldn’t get him to listen to me, he was ranting about shit that made no sense!” Aoi shook his head. “He said something about MUCC always being in the Gazette’s shadow, that Yukke could fuck off…he was just like spitting mad! It scared me Kai, I want nothing to do with him. If I can’t talk him out of it, you may need to go to the police, I’m not joking.”

                Yukke was standing behind Kai, his face changing from pale to red in an instant. “I’m not letting that fucking noseless freak touch Pon, I’ll kill him if he does. And I’m not joking either, Aoi”

                “Let me think on this for a bit, I need to speak to a few other people before we do anything.” Kai had to formulate a plan to keep Hiroto safe, be it calling the cops or hog-tying Reita and holding him against his will, (which he was in favor). “Thanks for telling me Aoi. Just don’t speak to Reita anymore, we’ll figure something out.” Aoi nodded, got up without another word and walked out the door.  “We have to do something Kai, Reita will stalk Pon…he knows where we live! How the hell are we going to keep Pon safe?”  Yukke was shaking with both fear and anger. “I’m not sure yet babe. Don’t worry, we won’t let Pon get hurt, even if I have to put Reita in jail myself.”

 

                Uta’s first night alone in his new flat had been rough. The dreams that plagued him, were so real, he woke up reaching out for Teiji, calling for Davina…then there was Sakurai. Uta’s reaction whenever he saw Sakurai, confused him. He had no desire to having a relationship with the man, but his body was being a traitor to his heart, a small surge of desire burned in Uta’s groin whenever he saw or spoke to the man.

                Uta dragged himself out of bed and into the bathroom, straight into the shower, he was due at work in two hours. Today would be a little different as Davina had left him the small sedan for his own use. Driving into work would be so much better than taking the train, life in general would be easier with his own car.

                “How was your first night in your new amazing flat, Uta?” Mao almost pounced on Uta as the man walked into work, well…sort of walked, dragging ass would be more accurate. “I didn’t sleep very well, new surroundings and all, I think it will be fine in a few days.”

                “True, it happened to me when I moved in with Kyo, different noises, strange bed…weird little man in the strange bed.” Mao giggled. “You’d better not let Kyo hear you call him weird or little.” Uta teased back.

                “Have you decided to rent out the other flats? Because I think I may have someone that would want to look at it. Hiroto, Yukke’s nephew wants to move out. I guess he’s tired of hearing Yukke and Kai fucking.” Mao laughed. “I can’t even envision that scene!”

                “How did you find out about Hiroto?” Uta didn’t think Mao had met the man. “The chain gang…duh.” Mao rolled his eyes. “Chain gang, what the hell is that?” Uta had never heard the term before.

                “Okay, follow me; I’m best friends with you, I live with Kyo, Shinya is Kyo’s best friend, Shinya is best friends with Kai…Kai is Yukke’s husband...the chain gang. Koichi and Taka have one as well. Now just reversed it, Kyo asked me to find out if you were going to rent the flats out…so are you?” Uta was almost dizzy from trying to follow Mao’s overly quick train of thought, which was normal for the man.

                “Yah, I need to. It’s pointless to let them sit empty. Hiroto can have my number, have him text me and we’ll pick a time.” Uta and Mao finished opening the HBG for a warm fall day.

                “Hey, can you give Uta’s phone number to Yukke or Kai? Uta wants to set up a time so Hiroto can see the flat. Love you!”

 

                “Give this number to Hiroto, it’s Uta’s. Tell the kid to call and set up a time to see the flat.”

 

                “Are you sure? That’s an obscenely low price for rent…why?” Hiroto was walking around the flat next to Uta’s, liking the western style more than the traditional flat. “It’s a long story, but someone gifted the complex to me. It’s paid for, I own all three flats. I just want to give someone a decent place to live, you’re kind of family by de-fault, so you get the discounted family rate.” Uta explained.

                “I don’t follow the family line though…” Hiroto was confused. “You’re still pretty new to our weird extended family, through DCR. Here, let me show you.” Uta sat Hiroto down and took out a piece of paper. It goes like this…or at least this is how Mao explained it;

                                                               Yukke + Kai = You.

                                                              Kai+ Shinya = Kyo

                                                              Kyo + Mao = Me

                “Six degrees of separation! Now I totally get it and it’s amazing! I get the family discount!” Hiroto laughed. “I’d like to take the flat next to yours, I prefer the western style over traditional, when can I move in?”

                “When ever you like…do you need help? I’m off tomorrow.” Uta was quietly pleased that his new neighbor was someone close to his own age and had the same friends in a way, that he did. Would make things less awkward, Uta thought, in the long run.

                “Yay! Yes sir! I’ll be around probably pretty early, like 9am…I’ll try to be as quiet as I can.” Hiroto smiled his toothy grin, pleased that he found a nice apartment with a super nice landlord. Hiroto wrote Uta a check, “I’ll see you sometime tomorrow?” he asked before he drove away.

                “One down, one more to go.” Uta felt slightly better, he had a new neighbor that was nice, not to mention cute as hell. But it would keep him from feeling so isolated from the others. “Everything will even out now.”

 

 

                “How many times have we said ‘he’s gone batshit crazy or he’s lost his fucking mind’ in the last six years?” The MUCC boys and their husbands were sitting at the Restaurant, listening in disbelief to what Kai was explaining.

                “I’ve never seen Reita in that way before…that’s fucking scary shit! Seriously, planning to rape Pon, just because he was turned down?” Tatsu had his arm loosely draped behind Koichi’s chair, “That doesn’t sound like the Reita I’ve dealt with over the years.”

                “I wish I was making all this shit up, but I’m not. Thankfully Pon is out of our house, so Reita doesn’t know where he lives… that gives me some peace of mind. It’s the studio that worries me.” Yukke was holding Kai’s hand under the table, Kai giving him reassuring squeezes.

                “I’m going to assume that Pon won’t be working with The Gazette any longer…they’ll give him a new band to intern with…right?” Koichi knew how the backside of the industry sometimes worked, and not always the smartest ways.  “Right now, he’s learning the paperwork part of the job, the shitty part. Planning, scheduling, booking hotels and all that stuff that people often forget that the managers do.” Yukke pointed out.

                “Not only that, Reita and Aoi are both banned from the studio, rehearsal halls, and Taka… you don’t want him at the HBG, do you?” Kai stated.  “Nope, I spoke with the owner, explained the situation, so as of right now Reita is not welcome at the HBG at any point, not just DCR events.” Finishing off their dinners, there was a subtle moan that moved through the room. “Oh no…Reita…you shouldn’t be here.” Shinya whined.

                “Aww, look at leader-san, enjoying dinner with his little husband and their friends. How nice is it to be able to lead a normal life, Kai? Unlike myself, who is banned from the studio and that shitty excuse for a bar and being treated like shit over a little boy whining that someone touched him. Poor little Pon-chan…has to run to Ojisan Yukke and Kai… pathetic.” Reita slurred, drunk off his ass.

                Tatsu stood up, “Leave Reita…or I promise you, you will regret it.”

                ‘Fuck off Tatsu, you’re no better…none of you are! You’re all fucking pathetic, throwing a double standard around at me. YOU’RE ALL HYPOCRITES! All over a little fun with a cute boy… guess what? That cute boy will come crawling to me, begging for me to fuck him! And I’ll do just that YUKKE… I’ll fuck Pon into the wall, all ways til midnight! Then I’ll just start over…FUCKING THAT TINY LITTLE GLORY HOLE OF HIS!”  Reita was rabid like, drunk off his ass and spitting as he screamed at Yukke, swaying where he stood, looking like he was going to pass out.

                What happened next stunned every single person in the restaurant’s dinning room, something they had never seen nor ever expected from the gentle man. Shinya got up, walked over to Reita and punched the man full in the face, knocking Reita to the ground.

                “SHINYA!” Miya yelled, leaping out of his chair and rushing to where his husband stood, standing over the nearly unconscious bass player.

 

                “SUZUKI AKIRA IF YOU EVER GET ANYWHERE NEAR HIROTO AGAIN, I PERSONALLY WILL KICK YOUR ASS, THEN I’LL HOLD YOU IN PLACE SO EVERY MEMBER OF ANY BAND THAT WANTS TO, CAN COME AND KICK YOUR ASS AS WELL. YOU’RE A FUCKING MAGGOT! YOU’RE NO BETTER THAN MORRIE OR NATSU! YOU BELONG IN JAIL AND YOU DO NOT BELONG IN ANY BAND! YOU’D BETTER THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT WHAT I’M SAYING, BECAUSE I WILL COME AFTER YOU IF YOU EVEN GET NEAR HIROTO!! IS THAT CLEAR AKIRA?”

 

                Then when no one believed they could be more shocked at what Shinya was doing, the drummer spit in Reita’s face and kicked him in the side as he turned and walked out of the restaurant, Miya following closely.

                Reita laid on the floor for what seemed an eternity, nobody in the dining room made a move to help the man off the floor or give him something for what may be a broken nose. Kai and the others turned their backs on Reita…now the entire community knew what Reita had become. They knew that whatever Reita had planned, it had to be beyond reprehensible for Shinya to do something that drastic. Reita slowly stood, still swaying dangerously, and stumbled out of the dining room and out of the restaurant. As soon as he walked out the door, the room was buzzing with amazement and disappointment in a peer that had been well respected.

                Koichi and Taka both had their mouths open, not believing what they just witnessed. Sato and Tatsu were still standing, Yukke and Kai had their heads together, whispering, then Kai got his phone out and started to text someone.  Miya walked back into the dining room with Shinya, who was in tears…angry tears. “That son of a bitch! I WILL kill him… slowly and methodically… making sure I inflict as much pain as possible!” Miya guided Shinya to his seat, sitting down next to him and taking his hand. “Your knuckles may be sore tomorrow, maybe cancel rehearsal?”

                “No, I’ll be fine. I need a drink… a stiff drink.” Koichi giggled. “Kou-kun?” Shinya looked at everyone sitting at the table. “What? Do I have snot on my face?” Shinya reached up and felt around his face. “No babe, you don’t have snot on your face, but you now have just earned a whole new respect from everyone that just witnessed that.” Miya was just a little proud of the actions of his husband. He knew that Shinya was fiercely loyal to his friends, he knew that the man wanted to care for people over anything else. He also knew that despite his frail appearance, the man was quite strong…he was a drummer, they had energy and power in their arms that people often underestimated.

                “That noseless freak pissed me off. I just couldn’t sit here and let him say those awful things about Pon-chan, and I’m not sorry I hit him, I wish he would have stood up again so I could punch the shit out of him again.” Shinya’s normally quiet voice was shaking.

                “I um, don’t think he’ll be coming back around anymore, at least not when you’re in the vicinity. I love you.” Miya nuzzled Shinya’s neck, kissing his husband on the cheek. “Miya… babe not in public!” Shinya whined, Taka and Koichi started to giggle which in turn, made the gentle man blush.

                “Thanks Shin…I really mean it. I hope you scared the shit out of Reita…Pon’s moved out, he’s living in one of the flats that Uta has, at least Reita doesn’t know where Pon lives now.” Yukke reached out and covered Shinya’s hand with his. “You scared the shit out of everyone though, they all sort of backed away as far as they could.” Now it was Yukke’s turn to tease his friend.

The gentle teasing continued even as the group left the restaurant, “Better be careful there Miya, don’t want to piss off your husband in bed!” Sato laughed. “SATO-KUN!” Shinya gasped, turning to hide his face in Miya’s shoulder. In the car Miya kept glancing over at his husband, “What? Why do you keep staring at me?” Shinya whined.

“I’m just not sure who I’m sitting next to…where is my quiet husband, the gentle loving man who is the mother hen to the MUCC brood? Sitting next to me is a raging maniac, who almost killed someone with threats alone.” Miya was wearing a wicked smile.

“You’re still sitting next to your husband, who was pushed to his limits tonight by someone that was saying such awful things about a young man…Reita is a better person than that…I don’t understand but after this? He gets no free pass, no excuse that he was drunk…not excuses what he said to Yukke.” Shinya still felt a little shaky, “I just want to go home, get in bed and have you hold me.”

“Just hold you? Are you sure? I’d kinda like to see some of that violent energy…think I could draw it out again?” Miya’s voice was low and sexy.

“Mmm, I think I could be persuaded, if you ask me nicely.”

The race to get into the house and into bed was done in record time for the couple, yet it took little effort on Miya’s part to draw out the energy, Shinya had plenty to spare.

Chapter Text

                “Irasshai gentlemen… please have a seat!” Ojisan came around the counter and locked the door, putting out the “Closed” sign. Kai, Kyo Kaoru and Tatsu had reluctantly agreed to meet with Sakurai at the ramen hut, although they only could speculate on what the man wanted from them.  Ojisan put a beer in front of each man, “Are we ordering food?” the mystic man asked. “I would like a ramen bowl with a pork cutlet please, Ojisan” Sakurai ordered first, hoping to project a calm atmosphere. The other four men decided that they too, would order food…it would give their shaking hands something to do.

                “What’s this all about Sakurai? This is an odd combination of people to ask to see.” Tatsuro had been elected (by force) to be the representative for the other three, making sure to be in control of the situation.

                “I’ve been suffering for a few years now, an internal battle with myself, that unfortunately had spilled over to affect others that I did not wish to harm. I dragged people in, that had absolutely nothing to do with the events and as a result I’ve lost friends and peers. Today is my first step in trying to repair to an extent, at the very least our professional relationships, not necessarily our personal friendships.”

                Ojisan put the ramen bowls in front of each man, replacing an empty beer with a cold fresh bottle.

                “I believe this all started with my still unbelievable infatuation with Taka, which started the spiral for me. I still have nothing to offer for my reasons, but I know I had repaired that relationship to both mine and Taka’s satisfaction.”

                “What I had with Uta, was misery and pain, inflicting it onto the boy, and suffering from it myself. I planned something so vile and disgusting, not to mention illegal as hell, for Uta, that I scared myself. I also at the same time, had a very frightening near-death experience that finally pulled my collective head out of my ass.”  After that I went to Dr. Maeta…who realistically told me to either commit to treatment or he would turn me into the police.”

                There were a few quick intakes of breath, Ojisan included. “It was that bad, seriously?” Kai was stunned, but due to the events with Hiroto, he wasn’t surprised. “Yes Kai-kun, it was that bad.” Sakurai admitted.

                “I returned to treatment with Dr. Maeta, I formulated a plan with his help, to end my destructive behaviors and my inability to love myself first. I also have left the other community that I’ve been associated with and I am no longer a part of that culture and I’m finding that it doesn’t bother me in the least. I have no desire for beautiful boys or women in my bed, just myself.”

                There was a pause in conversation, everyone pretending to be interested in their ramen bowls, until Kyo decided he had to ask, “What about Uta? What are you going to do with the boy?” Kyo’s voice was tight.

                “I will do nothing with the boy, he is no longer in my life, he is a pleasant memory that I will cherish. I have no plans to contact the boy, I have asked him that if we happen to run into each other in public, just a smile and a hello would be nice. I have no designs on Uta any longer, Kyo.”

                “What do you want from us, Acchan…from our community?” Tatsu had slipped back into the familiarity of Sakurai as an elder, as a mentor of sorts.

                “I am not asking, nor do I expect forgiveness. I do not deserve such a thing. I have burned too many bridges to go back to my previous status in the industry. All I wish is for a cordial professional working relationship. I’m not asking you to invite me to weddings or parties, nor will myself and my band be crashing anymore DCR events or showing up unexpectedly at the HBG. I do not want to cause any problems for Uta, Taka or any of the other boys that work there.”

                Sakurai finished his ramen and his beer, putting money in the tray and then standing up. Ojisan put a hand on the man’s shoulder before he moved to leave the tiny hut.

                “You’ve found peace Sakurai Atsushi, but there are still lingering thorns in your heart, unless you prune those thorns, you heart will continue to bleed.” Sakura’s face showed Ojisan, that the man knew exactly what the thorns represented. “Yes, I know. I am working on it, old man.” Giving Ojisan a weak smile, he turned to the others.

                Bowing deeply Sakurai had one last thing to say, “Thank you for agreeing to hear me out, I hope that at some point we all may work together again. Until then, be happy as I am learning to be.” Sakurai looked at the men once more, then walked out.

                “That was almost bizarre, but I think he really means it” Kai concluded. “Hmm, I tend to agree,” Kaoru had been silently listening and watching, trying to see if there was something off with Sakurai’s meeting…he could find nothing

                “If he’s left the BSDM community, he’s definitely serious. He’s been involved in that lifestyle since the early 1990s, to go to Madame F means he is genuine about leaving. I for one will give him a pass, losing him as a peer, would be rough.”  Kyo added.

                Ojisan stopped the four men before they left the ramen hut, “Sakurai’s heart is in turmoil, he is competing with dead men for the lovers left behind. In his mind, he is not worthy of anyone’s love, due to his destructive behavior in the past. He will live alone, but do not believe him when he says he will be happy. The lightness of his house now? It will be shrouded I darkness… watch him, my friends.”

                This caused a great deal of alarm between the four men. “Fuck! What are fucking babysitters all of a sudden! Watch Sakurai, Watch Reita, Watch Koichi…Man I’m done watching people!” Kyo grumbled.

                “I know you don’t really mean that Kyo, so I’m going to ignore it for now. If I hear it again I’m going to slap you upside your tiny little head.” Kaoru growled, who got a bad case of side-eye from his vocalist.

                “The key here is do we believe Sakurai or not? I believe Ojisan explicitly, he’s never stepped wrong for any of us.” Kai muttered.

                “I am going to believe Sakurai for now…he seemed genuine, his whole demeanor has changed, I haven’t seen him smile in a long time. At the same time, I’m a little hesitant to believe he’s going to leave Uta alone. I hope I’m wrong…but those two have a certain pull towards each other.” Tatsu had to pick a side, he couldn’t stand in the middle anymore. “I just want everything back to normal, is that too damned much to ask these days?” Nobody had an answer for that.

 

                Hiroto was in tears, “I remember that… it freaked my parents out big time. Once Shinya got hurt, they were always calling Yukke and checking on him and Kai. I didn’t realize it was you…I don’t remember anyone saying your name…you were just a guy that worked with Koichi and Taka.”

                Uta and Hiroto had taken to having beers at each other’s flats in the evening if both were home and Hiroto wasn’t busy with Die. Topics came up that were normal, school, where they grew up, but somehow one evening the topic of Morrie came up, and Hiroto realized that Uta was the last victim, and how scarily similar Reita was behaving towards Hiroto.

                Uta knew what was going on with Reita, Mao had found out from Kyo…leaving Uta afraid for his friend. “Just be careful please Pon?” Uta begged him one night after a few too many beers. “I will be, Die’s with me most of the time anyways. Reita’s not allowed at DCR right now, and I’m watching everything around me…don’t worry.”

                Uta sniffled a bit. “Just promise me you’ll be careful Pon…I don’t need to lose another… um,” Uta stopped, “Excuse me for a minute” getting up he went into the house. “Stop it! You’re going t scare him away!” Uta whispered to himself.

                “How are you going to scare me away, Uta? I’m your friend…nothing about you is scary.” Hiroto put his hand on Uta’s shoulder, sitting down next to the man. “You don’t understand… my life has been… it’s dragged so many…it’s not safe to be my friend, Pon. Please promise me to be careful, don’t get hurt…I don’t think I can stand losing another…”

                Hiroto sat patiently next to Uta, letting his new friend cry it out, he didn’t want to press the man for details, he was sure they’d come out eventually. For Uta’s part, he tried to stuff all his emotions away, it did no good to cry over things anymore, it wouldn’t help.

                “Um, do you remember hearing about a murder/suicide about a year ago?” Uta asked quietly. “Hmm, was it at like an abandoned warehouse or something?” Hiroto vaguely remembered something his parents told him.

                “That was my boyfriend that was killed…he was murdered and then Setsuna killed himself in front of Davina and I, we saw everything.” Uta said sadly. “Your…your boyfriend? Oh god…Uta!” Hiroto’s face lost color, his brow became sweaty.

                “I remember a little, but of course the media never releases anything. Who is Davina? Wait…you don’t have to tell any of this to me! It’s none of my business, Uta. If you’re going to cry, I don’t want to make it worse for you!” Hiroto picked up both of Uta’s hands in his. “I don’t need to know anything about you from your past, just how you are now, a great guy that has given me a running chance at being successful with a totally affordable flat. You owe me nothing in the way of the story of your life.”

                Uta looked up at the young man, “No, it’s okay really. I want to tell you about Davina and Teiji.” Uta smiled, he hoped that talking about it would make it easier to deal with…he hadn’t really talked about it to anyone other than Davina.

                Uta started his story with Morrie, going through all of that, Kyo…then Natsu and finally Sakurai. They took small breaks for more beers and finally food to be delivered. Uta told Hiroto the story of Davina and Teiji, who they were and what they meant to him. Telling Hiroto about Teiji brought more tears, Uta getting out his favorite picture of the couple. “Holy Crap Uta! He’s soo good looking!” Uta smiled. “Yah, he was… just damn sexy too.”

                Moving through the rest of his story, Uta ended it to where he was now…sitting with a new friend, drinking a beer and enjoying Hiroto’s company. “That’s rough Uta…I’m really sorry you had to go through all that, but it does explain the rent for the flat. Thank you, Davina!” Hiroto looked to the sky and held out his hands, Uta just laughed. “It was rough…but I have amazing friends that care for me, that took me in and made sure I was safe… and now I have another good friend… you!”

                Hiroto’s phone buzzed, “Gee, I wonder who this is?” He giggled. “Duh, Pon.” Uta said as he gathered up the empty beer bottles, taking them to the kitchen. “I have to call it a night, Uta, Die’s coming over to spend the night.” Hiroto cocked his head, looking at the man standing in front of him. “You’ll find someone Uta…the way you talk about Teiji, I’m sure he’s got someone in mind for you, just always keep an open eye out when you’re meeting new people, you never know who it might be!” Hiroto hugged his friend and went back to his flat.

                “Keep my eyes open?” Uta snorted. Keeping his eyes shut was the problem, drinking a little more than he should at night so he wouldn’t dream of Teiji and Sakurai fighting over him. “Where am I going to meet anyone new? Seriously…the HBG? A DCR event? Everyone already knows me…” Closing up the flat, Uta made his way to the bedroom, praying as he laid down, for no more dreams.

               

                “Are you sure…like 100% positive? Two? Not just one, not just something random…he specifically asked for this?” Mao was in disbelief of what his husband had planned. “When we were dating, he always said this is what he had always dreamed of, once he had his own place. You know damned well that I don’t give traditional gifts! So why are you fighting this so hard?” Kyo was sitting in front of his computer, doing research.

                “Because it’s…I don’t know! Weird?” Mao complained. “I did it for Koichi… do you want me to do it for you as well? You’ve never said one word either way about it. Are you jealous?” Kyo thought that was probably the right conclusion.

                “Jealous? Me? Pfft! You know better than that…we’re married! I don’t have to be jealous of anything, let alone this!” Mao had lost the fight. Sitting down next to Kyo, Mao watched the man search. “That one’s super cute…oh! They come in pairs! What other colors are there?” Suddenly Mao was the one that was excitedly looking at the computer, leaving Kyo to smile.

 

                “Babe, what is your problem?” Yukke sat up and looked over at his husband, who had been shroveling around in bed for the last two hours, waking Yukke with his movements every twenty minutes.

                “Reita… it’s the only problem I have right now. What the fuck am I going to do, Yu? He’s my friend, he’s my bandmate, he’s a critical part of Gazette…but what is he now? Who is he? I just can’t understand his thinking right now! His behavior is just fucking bizarre…he’s never acted like this before!” Kai rolled over onto his side, facing Yukke. “I’m scared for Pon and Reita…if he truly tries to attack Pon…what the hell is that going to do to the band?”

                Yukke pulled Kai into his chest, “I have no answers for you babe…none. We don’t know what’s wrong with Reita…is it just him being an asshole, or is it something else? It’s unfortunate that we just have to wait and see what happens. Pon will be kept as safe as possible, especially now that Die is with him. You know Die…he won’t let anyone hurt Pon.”

                “Die will keep him safe, as long as they’re together…it’s the time in between that I worry about.” Kai sighed, taking a deep breath, he relaxed into Yukke’s arms. “I love you” he whispered to his husband. “I love you too, let’s try to sleep, ne?”

 

                He woke up groaning, his head throbbing and his mouth tasting like a sewer and something on his face felt strange. Sitting up, his vision started to blur with the bile rising in his throat, he stumbled out of bed, barely making it to the toilet to empty the alcohol that he consumed the night before.

                Laying on the cold tile floor, Reita tried to remember the events of the previous night, fuzzy images flashed through his brain. Shinya standing over him, screaming and threatening him, the clerk at the konbini refusing to sell him beer, Reita falling on the stairs trying to get into his flat and passing out still dressed.

                Standing up, he felt a sharp shooting pain in his legs, looking down he see’s blood stains on the knees of his pants. Grabbing his tooth brush, he tried to scour the rancid taste from his mouth. Looking into the mirror, he gasped and took a step back. “What the fuck?”

                The vision that stared back at him was unrecognizable, blood caked on his face, down his neck, it had seeped into his t-shirt, his noseband was gone. Reita took a warm wet cloth, trying to wipe the blood off to see exactly where the damage was located.

                “Fuck…Shinya!” It was obvious that his nose was broken, the bruises under his eyes forming. “What the hell happened last night?” He had no remembrance of what caused Shinya to hit him, why he was even at the restaurant…damn! “You fucked up, Aki…” he mumbled to himself as he took a cotton swab and tried to clean the blood from inside his nose.

                Taking a hot shower helped his muddled mind become clearer, he still couldn’t remember why Shinya had hit him, he had to have done something horrible to cause the normally quiet gentle drummer to unleash holy hell on his face. “Damn…” was all that he could say that day, each time something hurt or he glanced at himself in the mirror.

                As the day progressed, the fog of Reita’s hangover lifted and he started to remember the previous day’s events and the lead up to his broken nose and battered knees. Sitting on the couch and staring at a dark TV, Reita’s mind played catch up; the first drink at around 10am, the sandwich from the konbini was the only food he consumed that day, the trip to the grocery store, a cart full of various types of alcohol, Vodka, beer and wine. “No wonder you got sick dumbass…” Reita knew better than to mix his alcohol, he was after all a veteran drinker.

                The base reasons for his behavior…the unnatural obsession with Hiroto, the loss of his band and his friends, being banned from a patio bar, from the studio…from people’s lives, all because of a rejection by a young man. Reita didn’t move from his spot on the couch all that day and into the evening, only rising because his bladder was complaining.

                He returned to the couch, sitting in the same spot, returning to self-diagnosing his behavior over the last two months. His conclusion? He was a self-absorbed piece of shit, that deserved no forgiveness from anyone. How he let himself get to this point, he had no real answer, other than that. He had ruined his relationship with his band, his friends, his peers. He felt that he was no better than Sakurai Atsushi’s obsession with Uta, and how it had driven the once revered musician, to almost complete ruin.

                Reaching up to touch his face, the nose that was broken, the split lips, the cuts on his face, looking down at his bruised and battered knees, the blood-soaked clothes and the sick feeling in his gut…this was no way to live, and he didn’t want to. “Do something about it Akira, quit being pathetic, nobody wants you around…” Picking up his phone, Reita quickly typed in a text to send to several people, addressing his problem and how he was going to remedy the situation, permanently.  Hitting the SEND button, Reita laid back on the couch and closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

 

                “I’m going to take care of this myself. I don’t need anyone’s help, I brought this on, I’m dealing with it. I won’t be causing you any more problems. Just forget everything.”

 

                Kai, Uruha, Ruki and Aoi each read the text from Reita, each one had a different reaction and a different interpretation, none of which were clear.

                “What the hell does that mean? Tomo, look at this…what do you think he’s saying?” Ruki was lying in bed with Tomo when he got the text from Reita. “Hmm, could mean he’s checking himself into some sort of rehab or…I’m not sure. I don’t know him very well.”  Uruha read the text several times before calling Aoi, “Yah, not sure either. Do you think we should check on him? Make sure he’s not doing something stupid, true he might. Okay...

                “Oh god, Yukke look!” Kai groaned, showing him the text. “Damn him! Do you want to go over there right now to check on him? Maybe I should go by myself?” Yukke was pissed, holding his emotions in check to keep Kai calm. “No, I think I’m going to give him a few days, he’s probably just sulking at home, embarrassed to come out.” Kai had to tell himself that, in order to keep from running over to Reita’s apartment. Aoi on the other hand, didn’t want to wait. Without telling the others, he went to Reita’s apartment to try to talk to his friend again.

                Arriving at Reita’s apartment, Aoi knows the man is home, his motorcycle and his car are both in their parking spots. Climbing the stairs, the door to Reita’s apartment is open. “What the…” Looking in the door, what Aoi finds is not what he expected; a cleaning crew was washing the floors and carpet, the flat was empty.

                “Hey! What the hell are you doing?” Aoi growled at a member of the cleaning crew. “We’re getting this flat ready to rent, is there something we can do for you?” Aoi pushed his way past the crew member, looking around the flat that is now empty. “Where is Reita? What the fuck!” Aoi shouted at the crew member, “Um, I don’t know anything, you may want to talk to the building manager.”

                Aoi stormed out of the flat and went down to the managers flat and banged on the door, an older man answering. “Where is Reita! Why is his flat empty! Tell me!” Aoi yelled at the man.

                “Mr. Suzuki moved out two days ago, he didn’t take anything with him, the flat is being renovated for another client. I had everything that was left in good condition, put in storage for the next renter. I’m sorry, but Mr. Suzuki did not leave a forwarding address.” Aoi was trembling, where the fuck was Reita?  Pulling out his phone, he dialed Reita’s number…out of service. Walking quickly down the stairs, Aoi texted Kai, “Get to the studio, call the others… now! Reita’s missing.”

 

                Uta moved around the patio slowly, his mind on everything other than cleaning. He still could hear Sakurai’s words he spoke when Uta saw him at Hide and Yutaka’s, “I want to apologize for my anger, my controlling behavior and the devastation I caused you. I only wish you great happiness in your life. I ask not for forgiveness as I deserve none.”

                “Why won’t you just leave me alone?” Uta mumbled. “Well that’s a nice hello, happy to see you!” A voice from behind Uta claimed. “Yutaka! Hide! I didn’t hear you…sneaky men!” Uta hugged both men. “Why are you guys here?

                “We decided that our son needed to have lunch with his parents” Hide joked. “Let me ask Taka if I can take my break.” Uta trotted off to the HBG offices. “He looks like hell!” Yutaka sniped. “Leave it alone Yu…” Hide warned his husband. “But…” A sharp look from Hide, shut Yutaka up.

                “How’s work? You’re getting into the slow season…at least until the holidays.” Yutaka laid out the bento that they had brought to Uta. “It’s a little slow but that’s typical for this time, we don’t really get busy until the weekends. Oh! Onigiri!”

                “All settled in at the flat?” Hide was leaning back in his chair, giving his best dad impression. “Yep, and I have a neighbor now!” Uta announced. “Already? Who is it?” Yutaka was pleased. “Yukke of MUCC, his nephew Pon…I mean Hiroto, Pon’s his nick name. He’s super nice, very sweet…he’s the one dating Die.”

                “Die’s dating someone? How have we not heard about this?” This was a surprising announcement.  “It’s pretty new, Pon’s been having problems with Reita from Gazette…sort of stalking him. Die’s being super protective, they’re cute together.” Uta laughed.

                “Die with a normal boyfriend? I don’t believe that…he’s always been sort of a slutty troll with boys. Pon must have something special about him for Die to stay interested.” Hide knew about Die’s past ‘boyfriends’ who were essentially just toys to the man.

                The remainder of Uta’s break was spent talking about Rima and Zepp, “Yutaka’s still giving them too many treats, Zepp doesn’t walk anymore, he waddles.” Hide gave Yutaka a nasty side-eye. “But it’s hard to resist that face!” his husband whined.

                Uta’s break was over too soon, but with promises of coming over for dinner, Hide and Yutaka left the HBG. “He’s miserable! He’s lying…things are great or fine or whatever! He’s in pain!” Yutaka’s heart was breaking for the boy.  “We need to…”

“NO, we don’t need to do anything Yu, stay out of it…Uta’s a big boy, he can handle his life by himself. I don’t want you doing anything…just butt out!” Hide snapped. “Uta has to learn to rely on himself, he’ll be fine.” The argument lasted an hour, going from the car to the house, ending with Yutaka telling Hide to fuck off, and locking himself in their bedroom. “Yu…just leave the boy be. He’ll come to us if he needs us.” Hide muttered.

 

“All his basses are missing, but his amps are still here. Have you tried texting him or calling?” Kai was just short of freaking out over Reita’s disappearance. “His phone has been disconnected.” Aoi told them. “DCR doesn’t know when he came to get his basses, but they’re all gone.”

Three of them sat in an empty conference room with their manager. “I haven’t heard from him since the last blow-up, I did the same as you Kai, I just let him sulk and be a brat, I figured he’d call us eventually.”

Ruki was in another office on the phone, calling Reita’s parents. “Where the fuck is he then? Something’s really wrong if his flat is empty…this isn’t just him being a brat.” Uruha pointed out. “Duh…I think we know that Uru.” Aoi snarked. “Aoi, we’re all worried, stop for a minute okay?” Kai sighed.

                Ruki walked back into the conference room, “His parents haven’t heard anything either. They haven’t spoken to him in a few months…had no idea what was going on here.” Ruki sat heavily into his seat. “I have nothing, no clue and no answers. Where do we go from here?”

                “Hire an investigator? Wait it out? Check flights…I don’t even know…” Kai had his head down on the table, “Maybe he’ll text one of us…wait, never mind.”

                “This is YOUR fault Kai! You had to go and kick him out of the band! YOU DIDN’T SUPPORT HIM AT ALL!” Aoi pushed back his chair so quickly it fell over. Aoi leaned across the table, yelling at Kai.

                “How is this my fault Aoi? Really? So, I’m just supposed to let him continue to chase Pon, maybe raping him? NO Aoi… this is ALL Reita…don’t try putting the blame on me.” Kai shot back.

“Guys, this isn’t getting us anywhere,” Uruha tried to calm the situation. “What we need to do is try to figure out where Reita is, contact him and see what he plans on doing. I think we may need to check to see if he’s left the country, then go from there.”

Uruha was the only one with any sort of a plan, “Uru’s right, we need to figure out where Reita is, we can’t do much if he’s not in the country.” Ruki had sunk low into his chair, a heavy weight on his shoulders.

“I’m going to go home and start making calls, I’ll text you if I get any information.” Kai stood and pushed his chair back. “This is Reita’s issue, he chose to run away instead of being a man and fixing the problem. He needs to be held accountable for his own actions. If I do find him, he’s going to know that if he doesn’t return soon, Gazette will find another bassist.” Kai turned and walked out the door.

“THAT’S SO FUCKED UP KAI!” Aoi yelled, “GODDAMNIT!” Uruha and Ruki looked at each other. “I’m going home” Ruki announced, with Uruha following behind him. “YOU GUYS FUCKING SUCK! YOU DON’T GIVE ONE RATS ASS ABOUT AKIRA! YOU HOPE HE DOESN’T COME BACK…DON’T LIE!” Aoi screamed at Ruki and Uruha as they left the office. “Damn it Akira…what the fuck have you done?” Aoi sat back in his chair, “Where are you?”

 

Die had surprised Hiroto at the studio, taking his boyfriend out to lunch, away from all the drama currently flooding the hallways. “Reita is just being an asshole, scaring the others is his revenge for Kai calling him out on the bullshit with you.” Die was actually pleased that the man was missing, leaving Hiroto to breathe a little easier.

“How well do you know Uta?” Hiroto asked. “Well that’s a random question, um... I mean we’re not like buddies, but I’ve known him for a few years…why?” Die wasn’t surprised by the question since now Hiroto lived next door to Uta. “I don’t know, he just seems kind of depressed lately. We usually have beers together if we’re home at the same time, but the last few nights he hasn’t come over.”

“It’s probably something to do with Sakurai…Uta usually goes a little quiet if he’s had to interact with the man.” Die wasn’t sure how much Hiroto knew about Uta’s past. “Hmm, okay that could explain it. Does he hate Sakurai? I know he misses Teiji and Davina, but he’s never really said much about the man.”

“How much has he told you about his relationship with Sakurai?” Die didn’t want to expose too much, just for Uta’s privacy. “Not a lot really, that he knows Davina and he knew Teiji, um…that he lived with Sakurai after getting away from Natsu. Other than that, he’s never really said much. I never want to pry, he told me about how Teiji was killed, and the whole Morrie thing.”

“Okay, without going into details, Sakurai and Uta had been in a relationship, and something happened to where Uta ran away from Sakurai. Ever since then, Uta gets upset when he’s had to speak to him. There’s a weird history there, I know some of it, but I don’t want to get too into it, without Uta’s permission.”

“Uta was dating Sakurai Atsushi? You’re fucking with me…really?” Hiroto was almost dumbstruck. “Yah, and it had to do with the whole BSDM community as well, Sakurai’s like super respected in that community, he’s like an elder or something.” Die tread very lightly, not telling his boyfriend how much he knew about the scene.

“Well, now I understand. Thank you, I would have hated to bring something up and then Uta gets mad…I really like him, he’s just super nice and pretty cute too.” Hiroto purposely threw that little bone to Die.

“Cute? Pfft, he’s fucking sexy as hell! I would have…” Die couldn’t finish, it was hard to speak when your boyfriend shoves his tongue down your throat.

 

Hiroto wasn’t the only one who had noticed that Uta was slipping back into old habits, Taka had brought it up to Koichi when the two couples were over for dinner.

“He seems to be going back to what he was like when we first hired him, super quiet and not talking much, kind of timid, you remember how he was Kou.” Koichi nodded, “He didn’t snap at me, but when I asked if there was a problem, he just told me no…just leave him alone” Koichi had noticed but didn’t want to bring anything up with Uta.

“He’s doing well in his new flat…right? Or do you think it’s because he’s in his and Teiji’s old flat?” Sato didn’t know about the total renovations, “No, he told me the flat looks nothing like what it did when they lived together, that Davina had gutted it and moved the rooms around.”

“Uta’s probably still reeling from Teiji’s death, it’s not like you can wipe that out of his mind. There will be triggers that bring back memories, then I would guess that Uta would crash, crawl into himself and hide.” Tatsu offered.  “Or if he’s seen Sakurai, you know how that always sets him off a bit.”  The topic of how to help Uta went on for the rest of the visit, ending only when Taka and Sato went home.

 

“Mao, leave me alone please. I’ not interested in dating anyone. Teiji’s only been gone not even a year! FOR FUCKS SAKE LEAVE ME ALONE!” Uta yelled at his best friend. “But…I’m…Uta…” Mao stuttered. “Tora, I’m going out to the patio!” Uta stomped off through the back door, slamming it hard.

“Mao, you’d better just drop it…he’s still grieving, everyone grieves differently. My mom grieved for my grandmother for almost two years…this is still very fresh for Uta.” Tora scolded Mao gently.

“I know. I just hate seeing him so fucking lonely! He’s going back to the way he was when he first started, timid and quiet. That’s not Uta!” Mao huffed as he went back to the counters, leaving Tora to shake his head.  That’s it, tomorrow…we can’t wait any longer!

“Tora, I need to make a phone call when Uta gets back. It’s pretty important, it will only me a minute.” Mao didn’t ask…he just told Tora what he needed to do. Thirty minutes later, Mao was on the phone, “Go pick it up tonight…we’re going over tomorrow, first thing in the morning. No, I don’t want to wait, go get it now!” Mao wore a grin for the rest of the evening, which made Uta a little nervous. “What’s up with that weird look on your face?” Uta was suspicious, that smile usually meant trouble.

“Kyo and I are coming over to your place at 10am tomorrow, we’re brining breakfast. I don’t want any fucking arguments, just be awake.” Mao told Uta roughly. “Wait, I don’t want breakfast at 10am…so don’t bother.” Uta snapped back. “Too damned bad, if you’re not awake, I’ll just bang on your door and wake your neighbors.”

“Dumbass, my neighbor is Pon! He’s not going to care if you’re being an idiot. Do not come over Mao…I’m warning you right now!” Uta was getting a little heated. “Tough shit…Kyo and I will be there at 10am, just answer the damned door and enjoy breakfast! It will be worth it.” Mao waved and walked to his car, where Kyo was waiting. “He’s pissed as hell!” Mao warned his husband. “This better work, Kyo!”

Driving home Uta was irritated as hell, he didn’t want to be awake at 10am, let alone for breakfast with Kyo and Mao. “I’m just not going to answer the door.” Pulling into his parking spot, Uta looks for Pon’s light…but seeing no light and Die’s car in the street, Uta knew that they were probably busy…fucking. “At least you’re getting laid” he muttered as he walked to his flat. Throwing his bag down and toeing off his shoes, Uta went to the kitchen, grabbed a left-over bento and sat down to watch TV. Looking down at his food, he snorted, “What’s next? No hot water? No heat? Going right back to where you started, dumbass.”

 

“Damn it!” Uta rolled out of bed, pissed as hell that Mao was outside banging on his door. 10am. “Fuck Mao…really?” Uta stumbled to the door, opening it just a crack. “I told you not to come” he growled at his best friend. “I told you tough shit that I was brining breakfast and here I am.” Mao pushed his way into the flat, Kyo following with a box that he sat on the table.

“Coffee or tea?” Mao called from the kitchen. “Sleep…go home Mao. Kyo take your husband home.” Uta pleaded. “Sorry Uta, I can’t do that. I’m here for you just as much as Mao is.” Kyo sat down on the couch, patting the spot next to him for Uta.

“You’re slipping…even if you say you’re not, it’s obvious to everyone around you. You’re regressing to that shy timid boy that came to the HBG to work. You can lie to me and say you’re fine, it’s none of anyone’s business but I’m here to tell you something; you are special to me and to Mao and to so many other people, you’re our friend so it IS our business to help you when you’re unhappy and it’s obvious that you are.”

Mao put down a cup of coffee in front of Uta and Kyo. “Mao was way out of bounds asking you about dating again and he was punished for that. I warned him that it was too soon for you to even think about that.” Kyo frowned at Mao who had the decency to look slightly ashamed. “You’re right, I don’t want to date now or ever, maybe I just want to be alone, has anyone ever thought of that?” Uta admitted.

“Being alone isn’t healthy, I should know, I have years of experience with it and it sucks. So instead of trying to get you to date, I got this for you instead.” Kyo reached over and picked up the box, putting it at Uta’s feet. Uta looked at both of the men warily, wondering what the hell they had brought. “Open it…” Mao urged.

Uta took a breath and bent down to open the box. What looked up at him were the faces of two small Siamese kittens. Uta made a small noise that sounded like he was choking, then before he could move, one kitten jumped out of the box and onto the couch, the other jumping out to explore the table.

“Why?” Uta looked at Kyo. “When we were together, I remember you telling me that if you were to get your own flat, that you wanted two Siamese kittens.” Kyo had tears forming in the corner of his eyes. “I think this is a thing with me…besides rescuing people, I like to give them kittens. I did for Koichi…I gave him Gordy…Shinya gave him Teo right after the rape.”

“I told him I thought it was weird to give kittens as gifts…but now I can see why he does it.” Mao said softly. The kitten in Uta’s lap stretched up to touch noses with the young man, the other kitten jumped off the table onto the couch, sniffing Kyo before walking over and touching noses with Uta.

“This is the boy, he’s a Seal point, and this one is a girl, she’s a Lilac point…do you like them?” Kyo was certain that he just asked a stupid question, but the reply was all he needed. Uta threw himself into Kyo’s arms, dumping both kittens onto the floor.

“I love you…yes I like them, duh…I just can’t understand why…I mean I understand but I…I…” Mao watched them, tears swelling in his eyes. “I don’t like crying before noon! Stop it!” he whined.

The rest of the morning was spent playing with the kittens. Kyo had gone back out to the car and brought in another box with the basic supplies Uta would need. He sat back and watched his ex-lover and his husband on the floor, trailing a feather on a string around for the kittens to chase, both of them giggling like little kids. Kyo felt his heart swell with emotions, so much so that he walked outside for a moment to gain his composure, his tough exterior crumbling when he thought about all the shit that Uta had gone through in his short life. “Something’s got to give damn it. He doesn’t deserve all of this shit!”

 

Image result for siamese kittens Saki on the left, Luna on the right. 

Chapter Text

“I’m surprised actually, Daisuke…this is not normal for you.” Shinya was secretly pleased with the information Die had just given him. “Are you serious? What the fuck is wrong with you Die?!” Kyo on the flip side, had troubles grasping the idea. “What? Shit Kyo…I really, really like Pon…so why would I just jump into that right away? I’m sure you didn’t just wham bam with Mao, did you?”

                 “None of your business what I did with Mao. We’re not talking about my sex life…we’re talking about yours... or the lack of it!” Kyo snapped at his friend. Die hung his head, staring at the floor, wondering if he had made a huge mistake bringing it up at all. “Die-chan…what’s wrong?” Toshiya and Kaoru had walked into the practice room, interrupting Die’s little confessional.

                “Nothing…” Die muttered. “Die hasn’t fucked Pon yet…” Kyo supplied the answer.  But before he could even react, Shinya smacked Kyo in the back of the head…hard. “KYO!” Shinya stood in front of the short vocalist. “Gee thanks buddy…now everyone knows.” Die got up and left the room, leaving some confused and some stunned.

                “That was so fucking stupid and insensitive of you, Kyo! Go apologize to Die RIGHT NOW!” Shinya yelled at the man. Ever since Shinya had stood over Reita and threatened him with bodily harm, anytime Shinya raised his voice, the others would pay close attention. “Okay…” Kyo got up and went to look for Die.

                “What the hell is this all about?” Kaoru asked. “Die wanted advice on how to set the right mood for his and Pon’s first night…then asshole Kyo, started behaving badly, again and ridiculing Die.” Shinya explained.

                “Wow, Die must really like Pon…he’s usually done with boys by now.” Toshiya observed. “Yes, he does like Pon…and that’s why he’s not rushing into things, he wants to take his time, Die doesn’t want to scare Pon off.” Shinya moved to his drum kit, “Let’s go ahead and warm up.”

                “Die…Die! Wait…” Kyo caught up with Die in the alley behind the studio. “Look, I’m sorry…it just surprised me. I know you like Pon a lot but I thought by now…” Kyo was kicking at a pebble on the ground, not looking at his friend.

                “What that I’d fuck him and throw him away? Nice…I can now see how you all see me.” Die had his hands shoved deep into his pockets, his shoulders up near his ears. “No, I don’t think of you like that. I’m just surprised is all…I’m happy for you buddy, really happy. Pon’s a great kid, cute as hell too. I guess I’m just all weirded out about Uta right now.”

                “What’s up with Uta? Pon was asking me about him the other night, he hasn’t seen Uta at home lately. Is he sick?” This caught Die’s attention, happy to have it distracted from him and his problems.

                “He seems to be slipping back into the quite timid Uta… how he was before Morrie. So, Mao and I surprised him this morning.” Now Kyo had a wicked grin. “Oh god, what did you do Kyo?” Die threw his head back and groaned.

                “Nothing bad! I remember what he had said when we were together, what he had wished for, I just happened to fulfill the wish!” Die raised an eyebrow, “I gave him two Siamese kittens.”

                “You what? Kittens? You’re serious?” Die started to laugh. “What? He told me back then that when he had his own flat he wanted two Siamese kittens. Not like I’ve never done this before…I gave Koichi a kitten when we were dating, so I gave Uta two.”

                Die was caught up in a spasm of belly laughs. “Most guys give their lovers jewelry or something… you give your EX-lovers kittens! God! What the fans would do with this information!” Kyo reached up and smacked Die in the head. “Shut up, you should be worrying more about how you want to seduce your boyfriend…remember?”

                Kyo grabbed Die by the arm and dragged him back to the rehearsal studio, Die whining about not wanting to see the others. “Too bad” Kyo snapped. “Pick up your guitar…let’s get going.” Kyo further instructed his friend. “But what about…” Die objected, he still had no idea on what to do for Pon for their special night. “After rehearsal I’m sure we can come up with something, Die.” Shinya assured the man. After that, Die had a difficult time concentrating on playing.

 

                “Sir, we’re getting ready to land, can you please return your seat to the upright position?” The flight attendant had gently shaken Reita awake, the man’s eyes clouded with sleep. “Yes” Reita replied in English. The flight had been long, thirteen hours in the air, giving Reita the opportunity to do two things, think about what he would do about The Gazette, and drink all the free alcohol that was available. He had been a quiet drunk during the flight, which pleased the business-class cabin crew as they had been watching him for any approaching outburst. Finally, after the plane had been in the air for several hours, Reita pushed the sleeping chair out to it’s full length and passed out completely.

                While he had been drinking, thoughts of what he had done flooded his mind, combining guilt with disgust and self-hate, Hiroto’s face constantly flashing in front of his eyes. “Fuck…” he whispered to himself more times than he could count. His dreams were of Hiroto, Kai and the others turning their backs on him and Shinya standing over him screaming. Reaching up he felt his face, his nose still swollen. He must have looked a mess when arriving at the airport, but money covers up many things.

                He had left everything behind, just shoving clothes in a bag and leaving the key and a note to the manager that he would not be returning. Taking the train to the studio, Reita had grabbed his basses, taking them to a storage facility near the train station. No one had seen him, no one approached him, of which he was glad for. He had his cell service canceled and thrown his phone in the trash. He needed no constant flow of texts demanding to know where he was. “You guys made it perfectly clear how you feel about me. This is how I feel about you” he snarled as he dropped his phone in a trash can at the train station.

                The ride to Narita was quiet, the only other passengers on the train were businessmen who paid little attention to a solitary man sitting in a corner. Arriving at Narita International Airport, Reita looked at the flight schedules on the large board in the terminal. “Hmm, where can I go that no one will notice me?” Looking at the different cities and when they departed, he finally chose one that left in four hours. “I need a ticket to Los Angeles.” The ticket agent looked at the computer and told him they only had seats in business class available. “That’s fine.”

                Going through Customs and Immigration, the agent asked how long he would be staying in Los Angeles, “Six months.” Reita knew his Visa was good for a year, most musicians that toured internationally had that option. Walking towards the terminal, Reita grabbed something to eat and sat down in the waiting area. As he ate, he could envision his friends… no, his ex-friends, trying to figure out where he was. “Yah, like they really care” he snorted.

                Getting on the plane and finding his seat, the flight attendant asked if he would like something to drink, “Yes, vodka tonic please.” The flight attendant didn’t bat an eye but did tell her co-workers to watch Reita. “He has a broken nose I think, he has those bruises under his eyes and he asked for a vodka tonic.” With Reita on alert by the cabin crew, the plane pushed back and within minutes was in the air.

                Reita never spoke to anyone, the woman sitting beside him wasn’t about to talk to her seat mate, Reita’s broken nose gave him the appearance of being very rough. Reita was happy that he didn’t have to make small talk, he hated that part of flying. After a few more Vodka tonics and the in-flight meal, Reita pushed his seat back and promptly passed out.

               

                Rubbing his eyes, Reita attempted to wake himself up enough to function. He had no idea where he was going once he got off the plane. Walking through to customs, Reita thought about the hotels that the Gazette had stayed in while on tour in the US. “Nope, not going to do shitty hotels.” Sitting down after he’d gone through customs, he walked out to the shuttle bus area, choosing a hotel that he knew was moderately priced due to the name.  After checking in, which he was surprised that he wasn’t asked about a reservation, Reita when to his room on the tenth floor. After a hot shower, Reita wanted nothing more than to sleep, closing the black-out curtains, Reita fell into a deep jet lagged slumber.

 

                “I need to do this, if I don’t… Maeta believes I will eventually break down mentally.” Sakurai was sitting with Hide and Yutaka at his home. “Maeta told me to either email or write Uta, not to confront him. I argued the point that the email would be so impersonal and that I probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the outcome. I need Uta to reject me fully, to my face.”

                “What happens if you don’t accept this confrontation? Will we need to worry about you stalking Uta? I will not put that boy in danger, Acchan. I don’t’ give a shit what Maeta says.” Hide was in super dad mode, protecting his child from unwanted attention. “I will then voluntarily commit myself to inpatient treatment until I am well.” Sakurai said.

                Neither Hide or Yutaka were convinced that this was the right thing to do. Uta was fragile, it seemed that he had lost his way again. “Let us think about it for a while Acchan, we’ll call you in a day or so.” Hide and Yutaka got up, without another word they left Sakurai’s house.

                “I don’t like this at all! This is just going to hurt Uta! Acchan is just going to have to suck it up and go to treatment!” Yutaka said hotly. “I don’t like it either but at the same time, I don’t want to deny Acchan the opportunity to recover fully. So how do we approach Uta with this? I don’t’ want to tell him to come over and then spring Acchan on him. We may lose him after that.”

                “Then we just tell Uta what Acchan wants and we catch him if he starts to fall back into how he was when we first took him into our home. You’re right, I don’t want to deny Acchan his chance at complete recovery but I know Uta’s going to fall apart!”

               

                Kai rubbed his burning eyes, tired of looking at a computer screen for hours. Searching for flights that Reita may have taken, Kai couldn’t wade through the complicated computer system to find a passenger list that would tell him where Reita had gone.

                “Babe, rest a little…your eyes are bloodshot as hell. Come on, I’ll fix you some tea.” Yukke had come up behind his husband and leaned over his office chair. “I wish it was easier, so much red tape to try to navigate. I don’t think he’s in the country anymore Yu…but where did he go?”  Kai rubbed his face again.

                “Tea would be lovely, thank you.” Getting up from the computer desk, Yukke and Kai went into the kitchen. Taking out his phone, Kai texts the others, letting them know that he didn’t find anything and he’s just going to let management handle the search. “I’m sure he’s fine Kai…he’s just being a huge brat. Let’s not worry too much, ne?” Yukke tried to comfort his lover, but Kai couldn’t see past the last words he exchanged with Reita…and the conclusion that he had kicked the man out of the band.

 

                “Do you think this is something to worry about? I mean…do you think he’s…” Tomo didn’t want to say the word but Ruki knew what his lover wanted to say. “I think if he was dead, we would have already been notified. I think he’s just being a selfish son of a bitch, he’s doing this on purpose to punish us for calling him out over Pon.” Ruki was in no mood to deal with Reita, “I don’t want to talk about him right now. Let’s go to brunch!”

 

                “Good evening Die-sama to your guest as well, please enjoy your dinner.” The concierge bowed to Die and Hiroto. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.” Hiroto chuckled. “Why? It’s nothing special really, we’ve all been coming here for years, of course they’re going to remember us, some more than others.”

                Die and Hiroto were seated in one of the semi-private rooms, after ordering drinks, Die shifts nervously in his seat. “Die, what’s wrong? You’re a little twitchy tonight.” Hiroto had an inkling on why Die was acting suspicious. Die wanted to wait until the drinks came, he needed a bit of liquid courage.

                “Are you truly happy with me Pon?” This question surprised the hell out of Hiroto. “Yes, I am Die. Happier than I ever been actually.” Hiroto’s cheeks blushed a soft pink. “I’ve only had one boyfriend before you, and it wasn’t all that great really.”

                “Why? I mean how could anyone not be happy with you? You’re cute, you’re funny…did I say you were cute?” Die laughed.

                “I was young, he was too, it was the first relationship either one of us had. There wasn’t any like romance…just bad sex.” Hiroto shook his head, “I think we were both just too immature to handle a physical relationship.”

                “I think I’m the opposite, I’ve never been in a committed relationship that lasted more than a few months. They were all just fuck buddies, no other connection than just physical. The sad part of it was that I was satisfied with that type of relationship. I’ve always been the slut in the band.” Die lost his smile, he was now wearing a look of defeat and embarrassment.

                “So how did it change…how did you get to me?” Hiroto leaned across the table, taking one of Die’s hands in his. “I had a huge fight with Kyo, said some pretty nasty things to him. I felt like he abandoned me for Mao, my drinking and carousing buddy was all domestic and shit. I was jealous…I told him I wanted my own boy to love.” Die’s face flushed.

                “Am I that boy, Die? Am I your own boy to love?” Hiroto squeezed Die’s hand as he spoke. “After all that shit with Reita, I wasn’t looking for anything…especially not someone in a band. Then Kai introduced us. I could tell you didn’t really remember meeting me at the studios…but something about your silly smile hit me. I could tell I wasn’t being played with.”

                “Your smart assed remark about calling you or calling you Pon sort of sealed it for me.” Die started blushing again. “I kinda knew that you might be my boy…that maybe I would be happy with you…and I am. Stupidly happy really.”

                 “Are you ready though…I mean I know we’ve just sort of… shit…” Die stuttered. “Die, stop worrying about it so much, it’s not like I’m going to reject you…I um…well, I’m in…” Hiroto hesitated, “I love you, Daisuke.” Hiroto whispered softly.

                “Pon…I um…let’s go.” Die stood up suddenly, left enough money on the table to pay the bill. “Wait…Die what’s…” Grabbing Hiroto by the hand, Die rushed them out of the restaurant. “Die?” Die wasn’t looking at Hiroto as they waited for the valet bring his car. “Get in Pon,” Die ordered. Shit, is he taking me home? Stupid move Pon!

                Die wouldn’t look at Hiroto as he drove. I need to get him home.  “Die…I’m sorry…you can just take me home.” Pon knew at that moment, he had confessed way too early for the older man to return his feelings, staring at the floor mat in the car, Hiroto’s tears were on the verge of spilling.

                “Get out.” Die told Hiroto. “I’m sorry Die, I understand.” Hiroto looked up as he opened the car door…they weren’t at his flat…they were at Die’s! Before Hiroto could say another word, Die had his boyfriend by the hand walking him quickly to the elevator. The ride up to Die’s flat was silent, Die still hadn’t looked at Hiroto.

                Pulling his boyfriend towards the door of his flat, Pon was still stammering, trying to get Die to listen, “Wait a minute!” Die ignored Hiroto’s pleas to talk to him. Once inside the man’s apartment, Die turned to Hiroto, pushing him up against the wall of the genkan and leaning his hips against the boy’s body.

                “That was a stupid thing you did, Pon. Confessing to me in a public place? In the restaurant that I’m a regular at? Really Pon…shame on you.” Die hissed. “Die…I um…I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have…” Before Hiroto could say another word Die cupped Hiroto’s face in his hands, Die’s tongue slipping between Hiroto’s lips.

                Hiroto moaned in Die’s mouth as the man kissed him hungrily. “I’m confused, I thought you…” Hiroto tried to ask the man what was going on, Die kissed him again. Pulling back, Die placed his index finger on Hiroto’s lips and shook his head, then led them to the bedroom.

                “I want you.” Die whispered in Hiroto’s ear. “I want you screaming my name every time we make love. I want to hear that adorable soft snore when you sleep. You are that boy…the one I’ve always wanted but could never find.” Die laid Hiroto down on the bed, straddling the young man’s hips.

                “You say you love me?” Die looked down at his boyfriend. Hiroto nodded, “Yes, I love you,” The older man smirked, “That wasn’t playing fair, little boy…I was supposed to confess first… then take you home and ravish your cute little pale ass all night. Now? I guess the ravishing will have to wait, now I just want to make love to you.” A soft smile spread across Hiroto’s face. “All night?” he asked. Die leaned down, spreading his long lean frame over Hiroto, nuzzling the boy’s neck. “Yes, all night and every night that I can. You stole something from me and now I want it back. I love you, Hiroto, you’re the boy I’ve always wanted, even when I didn’t know it myself. I think I’ve been looking for you for a long time…I’m old so maybe I just had to wait until you grew up a bit…then the Kami’s sent you to me. You hold me together, Pon, you keep me from shattering into a million pieces of heart break.”

                “You’re not old, just older than me. Maybe you’re right, the Kami’s sent me here, they pushed me towards the industry because that’s where you were. I love you, Andou Daisuke, now let’s stop with all this chit chat and get on with the fun part. I expect you to love me, all night and every night.” Following Pon’s directions, Die did just that, no more talking just loving.

Chapter Text

 

                The pain woke Reita, his face throbbing in time with his pulse. Reaching up, he could feel that the swelling had gotten worse than the day before. The room was dark, but light peeked through a sliver of the curtains. Looking for a clock he saw that he had slept for over 7 hours, “Guess I needed it.” Reita got up and went into the bathroom, “Holy shit!” he yelled at his reflection, his face was completely swollen, the bruises under his eyes a very deep purple and his eyes were bloodshot and tired.

                “You’re a fucking idiot Aki” he muttered as he turned away and got into the shower, letting the hot water beat down on the back of his neck. Getting out and slipping into pajama pants, Reita looked through the room service menu and called for a typical hamburger and fries meal with coffee. Turning on the TV, he flipped through the channels until he came across a soccer game, he didn’t need to understand English to understand the game.

                Room service came and went, Reita tearing into his meal ravenously, taking only minutes to finish. Opening up the mini bar in the fridge, he took out the hard alcohol first, and drank the shooter bottles in one shot. The alcohol worked a little less quick than it had on the flight to Los Angeles, but it still did the job when it came time for Reita to crash again. Sticking the tray in the hall and hanging the Do Not Disturb sign on the door, Reita went back to bed, once more falling into a drunken slumber.

 

                “You don’t have to do this you know, you don’t owe him anything. I was against it from the start but HE said we had at least tell you.” Yutaka sneered at Hide, not completely happy about what they were doing…telling Uta about Sakurai’s request.

                “I won’t let him touch you, Uta. You can say no if you really don’t want to face him. I’m not sure how honest he is about having another break down, but it has to be something or he would not have come to us. I’m sure Maeta is pushing him to close all the open doors he has.” Hide was the calm, understanding father figure that Uta needed, always there to offer advice and support.

                “As long as we can do it here…I’ll see him. You guys have to be here though, I won’t do it alone. I don’t completely trust him either, but if whatever he has to say will help him recover…I understand.”

                “Tomorrow at noon.” Yutaka told Sakurai. “We do it at our house, you’re not to touch the boy, is that clear?” Yutaka had a fierceness to his voice that caught Sakurai’s attention, this would be a considerably difficult day for all involved. “I have no intentions on touching Uta.” Sakurai assured his friend. “I just need to get this out of the way, I have one other that I need to talk to as well.” Yutaka knew who the other person was.              

                “Will he hear you out? Or will it be another crash and burn for you two? You know you will never be able to compete with Hide-kun…nobody can Acchan, it doesn’t matter how much you love him, Hide-kun is his entire heart and soul.” Hide gently reminded Sakurai of what he already knew as truth; there would never be any room in Yoshiki’s heart for anyone other than Hide. “I have to try to explain though. Then it’s over and done with, at least on a personal level.” That’s all he could do.

 

                Saki and Luna were sleeping on the pillow next to Uta’s head. The two kittens had taken that spot as their own. The spot where Teiji usually laid. The kittens gave Uta comfort, he wasn’t constantly alone now that he had the kittens of which Saki was the more talkative of the two. Luna usually just followed her brother around, occasionally offering her opinion on something.

                Uta shouldn’t have been surprised that Kyo had remembered what he had said, so many years ago, the small man was keenly observant and remindful of things people said. “Good morning to you too!” Saki had gotten up and stretched, only to stand on Uta’s chest and headbutt him. Luna was awake, but she tended to be a little lazy, wanting to stay in bed just a while longer.

                Uta got up and made his way to the kitchen, Saki talking to him, “I know you’re hungry, let me start my tea first please!” Uta scolded the kitten who continued to talk. “Luna…” Uta called for his little girl, to which the kitten came running, now joining her brother in a long conversation about breakfast.

                Uta watched his babies as he now thought of them, while the scarfed up their food, moving to the couch for a long session of washing. Looking at the time, Uta knew he had about two hours before he would face Sakurai, yet again. He hoped that this would be the absolute last time he was forced to speak with the man. He couldn’t avoid bumping into Sakurai on the streets or at HBG parties, but he refused to speak to him voluntarily after today.

                Standing in the shower, Uta closed his eyes…turning his thoughts to Teiji and the life that was stolen from him. “I don’t think I can, Teiji…I thought I could but it’s just too fucking hard! Why?” he cried. The shower had become the place where he would let go with his emotions, usually ending up on the floor of the tub, crying. Luna was the first to notice Uta doing that, standing outside the shower and crying, which brought in Saki who also started crying. “You guys really? I do this every day! Is this going to be the routine?” Uta laughed, he did that a lot when he was with the kittens, they truly were the only reason he smiled.

 

                Driving to Hide and Yutaka’s, Uta’s gut roiled with emotions; fear, apprehension and anger. He was relieved that Sakurai’s Porsche was not in the driveway, giving him time to calm his nerves. “Tadaima” Rima and Zepp were always the first to greet him. “Okaeri, in the kitchen.” Uta walked in with the dogs trailing behind him. “Uta! You look so pale!” Yutaka put his mom dress on as soon as he saw Uta. “Kaasan, I’m fine!”

                “Oh, you little snot!” Yutaka laughed. “Am I really that bad? Do you hate it?” Uta hugged Yutaka tightly, “I wouldn’t change you for the world…you love me as a parent loves a child, I love you as well.”

                “Are you ready to hear what he has to say? Just remember, you do not have to react, you don’t owe him anything. If you don’t like what he’s saying, please go to your room and we’ll kick him out.” Hide said sternly. Just as they were moving to the living room, Sakurai arrived, knocking on the door, Uta moved quickly to sit next to Yutaka.

                As before, Uta sat on the couch, Sakurai in a chair on the other side of the coffee table, Hide standing behind Uta with his hand on the boy’s shoulders.

                “Can we speak privately please, Uta?” Sakurai asked. Uta stared at the man for a few moments, then looked at Yutaka and Hide, “It’s okay…” Hide and Yutaka hesitated for a second, Yutaka giving Sakurai the evil eye before leaving for the kitchen.

                “First, thank you to agreeing to hearing me out. I wanted to let you know this was not 100% my idea, but Dr. Maeta’s. He’s told me if I do not speak to you, that I may be on the edge of a breakdown… a severe breakdown. I want to avoid that if I can, although I do not want to hurt you.” Sakurai was looking at Uta…at his boy.

                “I’ve said before, that I will never act on any of this, you have my word and if that’s not enough, I would fully expect you to obtain some sort of restraining order against me.” He stopped again, waiting to see if Uta wanted to say anything.

                “I don’t trust you…at all. I will get a restraining order against you if you make one move towards me. I do not want you in my life.” Uta said firmly. This cut Sakurai’s heart in half. He knew that reconciling with Uta was never going to happen.

                “I respect that. My one simple truth is that I love you, Uta and I want you in my life” Uta started to say something, Sakurai holding up his hand, “Let me finish, then I will leave. Please understand, I love you beyond what I could ever imagine. I no longer see you as someone I want to dominate or possess. My dreams are filled with you, our friends and a normal life. I have changed every aspect of my former life, including leaving my other community behind, I gutted my house and removed every thing that was inside, I wanted no reminder of what I was. “

                Uta’s heart was beating in his ears, the rush of noise starting to drown out all other sounds. “I know you don’t want that with me, I’m sorry to have to burden you with this, but it is also a burden on my soul. I love you and wish nothing more than for you to be in my life…I know that’s not possible and I respect and understand your choice. I love you.”

                With those last three words, Sakurai got up and walked out the front door, leaving a shivering fragile boy sitting on the couch. Yutaka and Hide came back in and sat with Uta. “Uta-kun, are you alright? What can we do for you?” Yutaka asked quickly. “Nothing, I’m going to go home now, I think I need a nap.” He got up and gave the two men a quick hug then walked out to his car.

                Uta held it together while he drove, but the second he walked through his door and closed it, he fell apart. The sounds that came from the small young man were gut wrenching, scaring both Luna and Saki as Uta lay on the floor crying. He stayed like that for what seemed hours, finally getting up and moving to his bedroom and changing into sleep pants.

                Saki and Luna jumped on the bed, Luna licking Uta’s tears and Saki standing on his chest. “Bed time you two…” Without another word, Uta slept. Saki and Luna confused as to why their boy, was sleeping in the middle of the day.

 

                Sakurai had expected his heart to be a little lighter with his confessions to Uta, he was hugely disappointed. His heart now hung like a lead weight from a single red thread, he too was trying to keep his emotions under control as he drove home. Much like Uta, Sakurai Atsushi decided that a nap would be the right course of action, if not he may slip into the alcohol anti-depressant state, even though he knew that it would make things worse.            

                “I’m so sorry Uta…I had to do this, even if it pushes you further away from me than you already are. I love you, baby.” And with that last confession, Sakurai fell into a restless sleep.

 

                “Fuck… again?” Reita woke up to a sour taste in his mouth, his eyes feeling like they were weighted with sandbags. “Get up you loser” he moaned at himself. It had been two days since he arrived in Los Angeles and all he had done was sleep, eat one meal and drink more alcohol. He walked over to the window and pulled the curtains open, “Hmm, it’s dark.” He looked over at the clock on the table, 10:26pm.  Figuring that he should stay up late, in order to re-set his internal clock, Reita took another shower but getting dress in regular clothes. Grabbing his room key, he went downstairs to the lobby and through the front door.

                The area around LAX was mostly industrial or commercial, car lots and hotels, a few konbini’s which he knew from experience did not hold the same quality food that the stores in Japan did. Looking down the street, the large intersection looked interesting, so he headed east on Century Blvd.

                Watching the people and the cars, Reita notices a large neon sign advertising the business as a gay strip club. Reita looks around to see who might be watching him, then remembering that he was not in Japan, he didn’t care who saw him. Smiling, he walked to the window and paid the cover charge, he now was happy he had remembered to stop at the currency exchange before leaving the airport.

                The bouncer at the door looked at Reita with a trained eye, looking for the obvious trouble makers. Eyeing Reita’s face, he raised an eyebrow. Reita laughed and in broken English “Car accident” the bouncer smiled, he knew the Japanese tourists loved coming to American strip clubs. He nodded and with a sweep of his hand, left Reita to find a table.

                Reita chose a table in the second row, just left of center stage. A server came up and handed him a menu that was written in Kanji, to which Reita replied “Arigato gozaimasu”, pointing at the list for the drink he wanted. Sitting back, he looked at the boys currently on the stage, cute but nothing special. A Latin looking boy that had a nice body but didn’t dance well. Various white young men, one that had long surfer blonde hair, which Reita could appreciate.

                An hour in and five drinks later, Reita was bored. The boys weren’t that exciting, he’d seen better at host clubs and he was drunk. As he rose to get up, the bouncer came over and put his hand on Reita’s shoulder. “Wait” he said and pointed at the stage.

                Reita turned, what had just walked onto the stage was a pale beautiful young man, probably in his early twenties with blonde hair, but he was Asian…Reita was sure he was Japanese. The bouncer winked at him and waved the server over with another drink.

                Reita was captivated with the young man, who moved with a deliberate mysterious sensuality that had Reita leaning forward in his chair. It was obvious that the boy had been told about Reita, his gaze directed only at the man in front of him. The boy pulled of the mesh shirt, leaving only tiny leather shorts and unlaced boots, he unzipped the shorts, leaving a tiny taste of what he was hiding, as he swung around on the pole in the middle of the stage.

                Reita couldn’t take his eyes off the boy, consuming every detail about him. The delicate curve of his collarbone, the soft lips that were always in a pout, the V curve at his hips, the boy was breathtaking, and Reita lost all thoughts of Hiroto, his cock twitching rapidly in his pants. The boy’s paleness was unlike anything he’d ever seen, the make he was wearing wasn’t garish, it was meant to enhance not to change or cover.

                At the end of the boy’s time on stage, Reita walked up and slipped ten dollars into the boy’s boots and smiled at him. “Ashita no yoru” The boy’s smile lit up, “Hai” he said softly. Watching him walk off stage, Reita knew he would be back. As he walked out the bouncer smiled, Reita bowed, “Arigato” the large man just patted him on the back as he left.  The next four nights, Reita was at the strip club, now sitting front and center to watch the beautiful boy dance.

 

                “NO! TEIJI!!!” Uta sat up quickly in bed, reaching into the dark for his lover. “Teiji…” he whimpered. Saki made a little chirp, Uta reaching over to pet the kitten. Laying back down in bed, Uta’s tears started to flow, he hated when he cried, he felt he was too weak to deal with anything. “Why? Teiji I can’t do this…I want to be with you! Please Teiji… come and get me! Tell me what to do.” Luna moved to lay next to Uta on his pillow, licking the boy’s tears, the cats were now one of the only comforts he had anymore…not even his friends could fill that void in his heart and his soul.

                Uta laid in the dark for a long time, seeing Teiji’s face hovering over him, telling Uta how much he loved him. Davina was always in the backgrounds of his dreams about his lover, as if she was watching over them. “But you’re not here to help me, Mistress” he sighed. Just as he closed his eyes, he felt a breath on his neck, “Go to Maastricht my love, she’s waiting for you to call her. Go be happy” Uta reached out again…calling Teiji’s name.

                “Please call me…it’s important…I want to come home.”

 

                “Yoji! Look at this!” Davina thrust her phone at her lover. “He just sent this! Yoji…something’s wrong with Uta!” Davina got out of bed, already pulling her robe on.

                “Uta, my love what’s wrong? You’re not hurt, are you? Is it Sakurai! Tell me Uta…I’ll kill him if he’s hurt you!” Davina was almost shouting. Yoji came up beside her and gently took the phone away. “Uta-kun, it’s Nagaharu. She’s just scared, it’s unusual for you to text her in the middle of the night. Yes, I know she does. All you need to do is be there, the plane will be ready. Two? Can you get health papers for them? Alright, we’ll leave you to that. I will call Boh-san had have him call you when the plane has arrived. Yes, I will. We love you Uta-kun.” Yoji closed Davina’s phone.

                “Yoji, is he alright? What’s happened?” Davina was a little calmer, having regained her composure as she listened to her lover speak to Uta. “He’s upset with something happened and yes it involved Sakurai. He’s not hurt physically Davina, but he wants to come home.”

                “I’m going to fucking KILL Sakurai Atsushi!!!” Davina yelled. “No, you’re not. You’re going to sit down and calm yourself. Uta said it was nothing intentional, he’s lonely and wants to see you is all.” Yoji wrapped his arms around his sometime volatile lover, kissing her repeatedly on the cheek until she pushed away. “Fine… why did you ask about health certificates…for what?”

                “Uta wants to bring his kittens, he said he’d tell you about it when he arrives. He’s got a few loose ends to tie up, then he’ll be on the plane, probably tomorrow he said. “Kittens? As in more than one?” Davina was stunned, Uta had never said anything about wanting a kitten, let alone two. “Yes, two. Now my beautiful love, let’s get up and start preparing for Uta’s homecoming. Would you like me to call Boh?”

                “Yes, if you would please, I’m going to go downstairs and speak with Marcel. I want Uta to have his same room, it will need to be opened up and aired out.” Davina was already in planning mode before she even had coffee. “Uta my love… come home to me!”

Chapter Text

 

                “Taka, it’s Uta. I need to take some time off. I don’t know how long I’ll be away. I’ll explain later. Please…just leave me alone for now. I love you guys.”

                “Uta-kun? It’s Boh. Yes, I am. When you’re ready please just arrive at the hanger, yes that same one. We can leave as soon as you’re ready. I’ll see you then.”

                Uta had spent a day making all the arrangements he knew needed to be done. He had taken Luna and Saki to the vet for last minute shots and health certificates, packed all their belongings into a box, leaving both kittens together in a carrier. “It will be better for you to be together.” Uta told his babies. He wrote a quick note to Pon, asking him to keep an eye on the flat.

                Looking around the flat, he felt nothing. There were no tears, no feelings no emotions. He needed to go home and home for him was Maastricht with Davina and Teij…Yoji. The cab honked as it pulled up to the flat, Uta taking the kittens out first. “I’ll be right back.” He told the cab driver. Running back to the flat, he grabbed the letter for Pon and quickly slid it under the door. “Bye Pon, have fun with Die.”

                “I’m ready.” Getting into the cab, Uta gave the driver the directions to the private hanger at Narita. Checking his documents again, he didn’t look back. There was nothing there to see. No memories, no treasured moments. The ride to Narita took longer than expected due to early morning traffic. “Gomenasi, I hope you won’t miss your flight young man.” The driver looked at Uta in the rearview mirror.

                “It’s fine, I’m going to a private hanger, I have a plane waiting for me. Thank you for your effort.” Uta nodded to the man. Luna and Saki were quiet, as long as Uta was there with a hand laid near the door of the carrier, both kittens were happy.

                Pulling up to the hanger, Uta see’s Boh’s bald head waiting at the curb. The driver helped grab Uta’s things out of the trunk, Uta getting out and setting the cat carrier down. “Boh-san” Uta smiled sadly. “Uta…I’m so pleased to see you!” With an unusual move, Boh pulled Uta into a hug. “I worry about you quite a bit young man, you’ve seemed to have hit me in my heart. I hope you will be happy again in Maastricht.”

                Boh led Uta through the hanger to where the plane was waiting. “I’m sure your little babies are going to have quite the adventure, perhaps you can let them out to wander the cabin for a bit to stretch their legs.”

                The same middle-aged flight attendant stood at the door of the plane. “Welcome aboard Uta-san, and to your cute little kittens!” she cooed at Luna and Saki. “Take your seat, we will be departing in about ten minutes, can I get you anything before we take off?” Uta assured her all he needed was a blanket and a bottle of water. He put the kitten’s carrier on the floor in front of him, making sure they were strapped in well enough for the carrier not to shift during the flight. Both kittens peered through the small wire door, taking in their new environment with cool composure.

                Boh got on the plane and closed the door, choosing a seat towards the rear of the plane, just to assure Uta some privacy. The man had not asked Davina why Uta was coming back to Maastricht but with the sound of her voice, he could tell it was serious.

                The plane taxied to the runway, then powered up for take off. Uta settling back in his seat. Once they reached cruising altitude, the captain came over the intercom. “Master Uta, we should arrive at Schiphol airport in about nineteen hours, then it will be another forty-five minutes to Maastricht.”

                Uta was offered a light snack before the cabin lights would be turned off.  With his water bottle, a blanket and a pillow, Uta put the eye shades on, pushed his seat back and hoped that he would sleep through most, if not all of the flight. “Teiji, I’m coming home…I love you.”

 

                “I don’t know, he just left me a voice mail saying that he had to take some time off that he didn’t know how long he would be gone.” The crew of the HBG were all standing around the front counters for an early shift meeting that Taka had called.

                “I’m going to assume he’s with Davina, which means he could be anywhere in the world. I know she had houses in several different countries.” Taka added. “But why did he leave? I thought he was finally happy!” Mao claimed, “Kyo just gave him the kittens! He was so happy when we left that day.” Mao was close to tears, he was mad and upset with his best friend.

                “Look, all we can do is hope for the best, hope that he contacts us eventually and let it go.” Nobody was happy with the decision, but there was little to nothing that they could do. “Let’s get ready to open, I’m going to need to work on the schedule to re-arrange coverage.”

                Taka had one other phone call to make, before he felt comfortable writing Uta off. “Yutaka? It’s Taka…I need to speak with you at some point today. Yes, it’s about Uta…he’s gone. I’d rather not, can you just come to the HBG today? Thanks, ja ne

                 

                “He’s gone, what do you mean he’s gone?” Tomo had gone home after the meeting, telling Ruki what had happened. “He called Taka and left a message, that he was leaving and didn’t know when he’d be back. Taka thinks he’s with Davina.” Ruki was a little less than shocked. “Fuck, first Reita and now Uta? What the hell is going on? Damn it!”

 

                “How did I know that it would all lead back to him.” Taka was sitting with Hide and Yutaka on the patio at the HBG. “I heard everything,” Yutaka explained, “Sakurai confessed to Uta, told him that he loved him and wanted Uta back in his life. I think it probably scared Uta and that’s why he left”

                “To be fair to Sakurai, he did tell Uta that he would never act on his emotions, that he had to confess in order to avoid a break down, though I’m not sure why Uta felt the need to leave the country.” Hide didn’t have any answers either.

                “I’m sure he’s with Davina, but I don’t want to call her just yet. I’m hoping that she will call one of us eventually. Most likely it will be me…she’ll know that I’ll be worried.” Yutaka hoped that would be true. “I’m guessing that Davina sent her private jet for him, you can’t just randomly leave the country and get a flight without booking it ahead of time.” Taka reasoned. Hide looked at Yutaka, they both knew that yes, Uta could just randomly go and buy a ticket, a first-class ticket…he did have the money, but they said nothing. “If we hear anything, Taka-kun…we will let you know.”

 

                Reita had more than his normal five drinks that night, he was up to seven and there was at least another hour before the club closed. This had been his fifth consecutive night going to the strip club to watch the boy Ken, dance. He had chosen a table front and center of the stage, after the second night, the boy always looking for him as soon as he came on stage. It seemed that Ken was just as interested in Reita, as the older man was with him. He started to dance more seductively, lying on the floor, crawling towards Reita.

                The bouncer had also been watching the two men, secretly pleased that Ken was attracting a regular customer. Ken had not been one of the favored dancers, he was pale and doll like, something that a lot of the customers didn’t find attractive.

When Reita showed up that first night, the bouncer took a chance and asked the manager if Ken could dance, that there was a customer that might enjoy the fragile looking young man, and he was right.  Reita had shown up every night thereafter, always waiting for Ken and not paying much attention to the other boys.

                The third night, Reita asked for a lap dance from Ken, he needed to speak to the boy…it was more than just lust and desire, something else pulled him towards the boy. Reita sat in the small private room, waiting for Ken, his cock twitching in anticipation. Ken finally came through the door, standing in front of Reita.

                “Anata wa nihongo o hanasemasu ka?” Reita asked first. “Hai” Just as Ken was going to straddle Reita’s hips, Reita moved to keep the boy at arms length. “I don’t want the dance, I want to talk with you.” This surprised the dancer, not that it was completely unusual, it just didn’t happen often.

                “What do you want to talk about?” Ken went down on his knees, sitting at eye level with the obvious bugle in Reita’s pants distracting the boy. “I want you to come back to my hotel with me.” Again, not an unusual request, something that Ken routinely disagreed to…but Reita didn’t give off the aura of a mad killer or rapist. “Okay…what are we going to do at the hotel, just talk?” the boy asked with a sly grin.

                “Talk first, yes…maybe something more, it’s up to you.” Reita didn’t want to just come out and tell the dancer he wanted to fuck him into the wall. “Sure, wait for me out front.” Ken got up and started to leave the room, then he turned and walked back to Reita…and slid his tongue across the older man’s lips as a promise for something more.

 

                “Uta-kun, we’re going to be landing soon.” Boh had watched the young man all during the flight, the boy restless in his sleep. “Already?” Uta sat up and stretched, looking around for Luna and Saki, finding them sitting with the flight attendant. “Okay you two trouble makers, back in your carrier. Thank you for keeping them company.” Uta bowed at the flight attendant. He had let the kittens out during the long flight, putting a travel litter box at the back of the plane. The kittens had explored for a time, then finding the flight attendant and Boh, had chosen which laps the would sleep in.

                “You’re welcome, they’re truly beautiful little cats.” She helped Uta put them back in the carrier. Looking out the window, he saw that they were near the airport in Maastricht, having slept through the landing and refueling of the private jet in Amsterdam.

                The plane landed and taxied to the hanger, Uta looking out the window and seeing Davina standing at the hanger. He almost started crying at the sight of the only woman he loved. As soon as the plane had stopped, and the stairs dropped down, Uta was off the plane and running towards Uta…Boh following behind with the cat carrier.

                “My love!” Davina threw her arms around the young man that she so desperately needed to comfort. “Mistress,” Uta sobbed. Davina held the boy close for several minutes, waiting for Uta’s sobbing to subside. “Uta, here are your babies.” Uta turned to look at the carrier. “Babies Uta? You’ve been busy since I last saw you.” Davina teased. “Kyo gave them to me…I guess it’s a thing with him, he gave Koichi a kitten when the were dating.”        

                The ride to the flat was short, Uta not speaking but tightly clutching Davina’s hand. As they pulled up to In Den Ouden Vogelstruys, Uta could see Marcel and his sons standing outside, waiting for them. Getting out of the car, Marcel walked straight to Uta, grabbing him in a bear hug. “Uta, Welkom thuis” Davina watched her friend greeting Uta, loving the fact that Marcel was also treating this as Uta’s home.

                “Uta-kun, I’m so happy to see you.” Yoji was standing next to Davina. “Naga…I mean Yoji, thank you for letting me come.” Yoji shook his head, “There was no question, this is your home Uta, you don’t need permission to come here.” Uta still didn’t know about Davina’s estate planning to leave the Maastricht flat to him when she died.

                “Snoepjes Uta?” Marcel winked, “Nee, frites met kroketten alsjeblieft.” Marcel laughed, “Tell Uta his Dutch has improved,” he told Davina. “I think he’s been studying a little, my friend.” With Yoji taking the kittens in, and Davina with her arm around her young man, the trio went upstairs to the flat. Davina had discussed earlier with Yoji, how to approach or not approach Uta with his problems and why he was back in Maastricht. “Let him come to us, I’m sure it won’t be very long before he’ll break down. For now, love him and care for him.” Davina looked at her lover, a man she had known for years, wondering if Teiji did in fact send Yoji to her, to make her happy and to want to live again.

 

                 The news that Uta was missing spread quickly, everyone baffled by the announcement. Mao spent the day in his bedroom crying, Kyo checking on him every hour or so. “Babe, come on. Let’s get you in the shower and get dressed. Let me take you to dinner…Ojisan’s?” Kyo was sitting on the side of the bed, petting Mao’s hair. “Okay, Ojisan might have some answers…right?” Mao sniffed. “He may or may not, but let’s go anyways.”

                While Mao was in the shower, Kyo texted the others and let them know they would be at Ojisan’s for dinner and to join them if they could. He got replies from Taka and Koichi, saying they would be there along with Die and Hiroto. He kept quiet around Mao, figuring it might be easier of his husband didn’t know.

               

                “Irasshai gentlemen, would you like to wait until the others arrive?” Ojisan asked Kyo and Mao. “The others? Who else is coming?” Mao didn’t know about anyone joining them. “Just wait, they’ll be here in a minute. Yes Ojisan, let’s wait for the others.” Kyo hated hiding things from his husband, but tonight he just didn’t feel like dealing with hysterics.

                Thirty minutes later, everyone had arrived, beers and ramen were in place. “I think he’s with Davina.” Taka announced, the general consensus agreed. “Why he was slipping I don’t know. Is he truly that unhappy? I thought he was making progress.”

                “I know I don’t know him very well, but whenever we hung out, he seemed to be happy, except for…” Hiroto didn’t want to make any conclusions. “Except for what? Did he say something to you?” Mao asked hotly. “Mao, sit down” Kyo put his hand on his husband’s leg. “The last time we hung out was a few nights ago, before you gave him the kittens. We were talking about different things, he asked me if I’d heard about his boyfriend being killed.” Hiroto was uncomfortable in front of all of Uta’s long time friends, Die noticed and picking up his boyfriend’s hand, squeezing it gently.

                “I told him I’d heard about it, I didn’t know it was Uta’s boyfriend. I told him my parents knew about the Morrie thing because of Kai and Yukke, I didn’t know about that other guy that was beating him. I told him he didn’t need to tell me about those things, he said he wanted to, but then he went inside…I found him crying in his bedroom.”

                While everyone was speaking, Ojisan was looking at Kyo intently, studying his face. Kyo finally noticed the man looking at him “Ojisan?” Everyone turned to look at the ramen maker.

                “The young one has not healed his heart, I don’t think he ever will. His gentleman is pushing him, even as he denies it. Uta is afraid of his gentleman. Uta is with Mistress, he has gone home to be with Teiji. He finds solace in the great temple that is near his home, he is surrounded by people that love him and he will remain there for some time. Mistress and her new lover will help Uta heal, it will take time and he needs to be left alone until then.”

                They all talked among themselves, offering each other some comfort, but it was Kyo who laid it on the table. “We leave him alone, nobody tries to contact him, nobody calls him. If Ojisan is right…which he usually is, nothing we can say or do will change the way Uta feels. He has Davina and Nagaharu, the people in Maastricht as well.”

                “Maastricht? How do you know he’s in the Netherlands?” Koichi asked. “Ojisan said the great temple, I think that means that Basilica…um St. Servaas I think it’s called. Davina told me he was spending a lot of time there right after Teiji was killed. It makes sense that Uta see’s Maastricht as being home, it’s where he was with Davina.” Kyo had a gut feeling that Uta was in fact, in Maastricht, which satisfied him in relation to Uta’s safety.

                As everyone got ready to leave, Ojisan stopped Kyo. “Young man, keep your husband in check, I fear for him becoming involved with contacting Uta. Your husband means no harm, but it will do nothing to ease Uta’s torn soul.” Kyo nodded, “I will Ojisan, thank you.”

               

                Davina slowly opened the door to Uta’s bedroom, seeing the boy fast asleep, dead to the world with Saki and Luna on the pillow next to him. Closing the door quietly, Davina walked back downstairs to the pub. “He’s sleeping, those two beautiful kittens are next to him. He looks pale and tired, almost as bad as when we were first here.” Davina told Yoji, Marcel listening as well.

                “Davina, take Uta to the Basilica in the morning, he will find solace there and one who misses him.” Marcel set down the two cups of coffee at the table, turning back to the kitchen. “I think after coffee, I would like to go to the Basilica, Yoji, would you stay here in case Uta wakes?” Yoji leaned over and kissed his lover, “Yes, of course.”

                Davina finished her coffee and made her way across the large ancient plaza to the Basilica of Sint Servatius. Walking in through a side door, she was not surprised to see the old woman in the same pew as always.

                “Hallo Josez, hoe gaat het met je?” Sitting down next to the old woman, Davina leaned over and kissed the woman on each cheek. “Mistress! Please…let us speak English! I am good, you look well, is the boy with you?”

                “Yes, Uta came home this morning, but he is not well. He still suffers from the loss of his lover. I do not know how to help him with, Oma. All I can do is be there for him when he cries.” Davina liked the older woman, she was gentle and wise and had come to love Uta a great deal.

                “Oh, my Uta… Please Davina, have him come to mass with me. We will light two candles, as you no longer need a third…you have a new young man that loves you as much as your other, ja?” Davina giggled, “Ja Oma…you must come to meet him, come and have koffee and vla with us. Perhaps tomorrow?” Davina and Josez made arrangements to bring Uta to the Basilica tomorrow, and to join them at the pub. “Uta will be pleased to see you Oma.” Kissing the older lady twice, Davina returned to the pub. Please let him find peace, Teiji…help Uta!

Chapter Text

                There was no conversation as Reita and Ken walked from the Century Longue down the short four blocks to Reita’s hotel, the elevator up to Reita’s room was equally quiet. Putting the Do Not Disturb out, Reita made sure the door was locked, he wanted no interruptions.

                Ken sat in a chair by the window, “Got anything to drink?” he asked causally. “Whatever is in the mini bar, go ahead…I just want the vodka.” Reita removed all the alcohol from the fridge, placing it on the table in front of Ken. Sitting across from the boy, the first five minutes in the room consisted of nothing but two men getting drunk.

                “What’s your name? I’d like to know in case I need to use it tonight.” Ken pried for any information on the mysterious man that was sitting across from him. “Akira…” Reita muttered. “So, Akira, what are we talking about tonight?” Ken was no amateur but he wasn’t a slut either. He knew how to play the game, never asking for money up front…he had actually made a great deal of money from just dancing for Reita.”

                “Do we have to talk?” Reita downed his last shooter bottle of vodka, getting up he moved toward Ken. “No, we can do other things.” Ken reached for Reita’s belt, letting his hand linger on the bugle that was evident. “Naked…now.” Reita growled, grabbing Ken by the hand and pulling him to the bed. “Demanding, aren’t we?” Ken slowly took his clothes off, enticing Reita with a dance. It was with that dance, that Reita lost all sense of control, shedding his clothes, he sat on the edge of the bed, watching Ken strip. Seeing the boy completely nude, Reita’s breath hitched, “God, you’re beautiful…so pure.” He moaned.

                “Hardly pure, Akira-kun…but thank you for the compliment.” Moving slowly to where Reita sat, Ken dropped to his knees and reached for Reita’s already hard cock. “This is truly beautiful” the boy hummed as he flicked the slit with is tongue.

                Reita reached down, sliding his hands under Ken’s arms, “Come here.” He murmured. Pulling the younger man to the bed, Reita laid over Ken. “You want me to fuck you, don’t you? You want it hard and fast…nasty in every way…tell me.” Reita’s voice had dropped to a low growl, sending cold shivers along Ken’s body. “Hai.”

                The next few hours were filled with the type of sex that only comes when you’re drunk or high, rough kissing, hard fucking and explosive orgasms. It was the second or third round, when Reita completely lost control. Ken was on his hands and knees, begging for harder, faster from Reita. What he didn’t ask for was Reita screaming Pon’s name out as he came, “Fuck… Pon… now! Pon!!!” Ken didn’t have time to react as he reached his limit seconds after Reita, falling forward as the weight of the older man’s body collapsed on top of him.

                Waiting for his breath to slow, Ken laid quietly as Reita panted in his ear. After nearly five minutes, Ken wasn’t hearing pants, he was hearing soft snores from the man who he lay trapped under. “Figures.” Wiggling out from under Reita and rolling the drunk man onto his back, Ken went into the bathroom to clean up. He was drunk, but he knew better than to be as drunk as whomever hired him. That lead to questionable bruising the next day.

                As Ken was getting dressed, he looked over at Reita, passed out drunker than hell. “Let’s make sure…” Ken covered Reita with a blanket, hoping the man wasn’t going to get sick and choke on his own vomit. He really didn’t want the man to die, and it was worth it for him to stay. A dead client can’t fill his G-string with twenty-dollar bills. Looking in the closet Ken found an extra blanket, looking at the bed he decided to just sleep in the chair, he didn’t want to risk angering the man in the morning, when he would wake with the worst hangover of his life.

 

                “Hey, are you okay? I know it’s rough what’s going on with Uta, can I help you at all?” Die had Hiroto in his lap as they sat together looking at the note that Uta had left. “I’m okay I guess, better than the others. I’m not so deeply involved with Uta, we’re new friends. I can’t imagine what Kyo’s husband is going through, Mao is probably devastated.”

                Die tightened his arm around Hiroto’s waist. “He at least left you a note, I’m sure he’ll be fine, especially if he’s with Davina, she loves Uta in a weird way.” Die smirked. “Weird way?” Hiroto raised an eyebrow. “Teiji, Uta and Davina had strange lifestyle. Teiji was Davina’s personal pet, Uta was Teiji’s lover. Davina was a dominant to both of them, though Davina never asked Uta to do anything.”

                “Wait…personal pet?” Hiroto was still naïve to the BSDM community. “Did Uta tell you about that Natsu guy?” Hiroto nodded, “Not a lot, just that he was an abusive boyfriend…” Die sighed, “God I love you Pon,” Die nuzzled his boyfriends neck. “Natsu was an abusive dominant…not a boyfriend. He um… shit how do I put this? He did stuff to Uta that no respectful ethical dominant would ever do to their pet.”

                “Oh, so personal pet means slave?” Hiroto assumed. “No, slave is not generally used…Personal Pet is the polite term. Teiji was Davina’s personal pet before he met Uta. The relationship just evolved from there.” Die knew he would have to explain more to get the idea across.

                “Davina is important, is what I’m trying to say. Uta will be safe with her no matter what. The woman has more money than she could ever spend, houses in several different countries and her own private jet. Uta’s safe with her and most importantly, she loves Uta beyond all reason” Die slid his hand up Hiroto’s shirt, teasing a small bud, “If you want to, I can show you some of those personal pet tricks hmm?” he whispered as he nibbled Hiroto’s ear. “Um…yes…sir…” That’s all it took for Die.

 

                “Ohayo, coffee or tea Uta?” Uta walked slowly out of his bedroom after fourteen hours of sleep. “Where are Luna and Saki?” Uta asked as he stretched. “Out on the terrace watching the pigeons in the street. Davina is downstairs doing something.” Yoji answered. “Do we have Douwe Egberts coffee?” Yoji chuckled, “The moment she knew you were coming, we went to the store and bought fresh Douwe. I can understand now why everyone drinks it!”

                Pouring Uta a cup of coffee, Yoji and the young man chatted, laughed as Luna came running into the room, Saki right behind her. “They are entertaining as well as beautiful cats. Davina said Kyo-san gave them to you? Unusual gift, especially from an ex-lover.”

                “Kyo’s like that. He remembered that years ago when we were dating, that I had mentioned that if I had my own flat that I wanted two Siamese kittens. He knew I’d been lonely living in my flat, so he went out and found Luna and Saki.” Luna was now under the table, doing figure 8’s around Uta’s legs.

                “Kyo-san is not as rough as his appearance, he seems to me to be a very gentle kind man. Just don’t anger him, I’ve seen what he can do.” Yoji observed. “I don’t remember it exactly, but he went after Natsu when they rescued me at the Fetish Club, and he went after Sakurai when he was stalking Taka.”  Uta’s voice quivered when he said Sakurai’s name, which led Yoji to believe that the dominant was the crux of all Uta’s problems.

                “Uta, my love you’re awake!” Davina came through the door carrying a box that Uta recognized. “You didn’t?” He asked “I did! All of them!” Davina placed the box on the table taking the lid off. “Ohh!!” Uta squealed, reaching in and grabbing his favorite. “Isn’t it too early for stollen? I thought it was only for the holidays? We still have three months until Christmas.”

                “Marcel bribed one of the local bakeries to make a small batch just for us! Make sure to thank him when we go downstairs.” Davina petted Uta’s head. “I will…oh my god, this is so good! Can I have more coffee please?” Davina watched as Uta ate his pastry, Yoji was looking at the news on his computer, she started to giggle.

                “Um, what’s funny?” Uta mumbled with a mouthful of stollen. “We look like a normal family…don’t we? At least at the surface…could you imagine what people would think if they really knew us?” Yoji snorted, “Like I would even care if they knew. I’m not ashamed of you my love, nor am I ashamed of Uta or anything to do with this little family.” Yoji snorted again, returning to reading on his computer.

               

                After breakfast, Uta went downstairs to thank Marcel for the stollen. “You must come for lunch! A surprise for you!” Marcel said in English. “Hai!” Going back upstairs, Uta found Davina and Yoji sitting close and speaking softly. “What are you planning you two?” Uta asked. “We’re not planning anything, at least not right now.” Davina winked.
                “I don’t want any surprises please.” Uta said uncertainly. “I just want to live normally; no surprises mean’s I won’t get hurt again.” Uta got up and went to his bedroom, closing the door quietly. “I think it’s time, do you want me to go in with you?” Yoji asked. “No, I’ll go in alone…I’ll call if you I need you. I love you, Yoji” Davina kissed her lover.

                Tapping on the door before she opened it, Davina took a refreshing breath and walked in. “I think it’s time, ne?” She asked as she walked to the side of the bed, sitting down. Uta nodded. “What happened to make you want to come home so quickly? You sounded happy the last we spoke.” Davina stretched out on the bed, Uta scrunching down next to her as she then wrapped her arms around the pale frightened young man.

                “Sakurai…who else is it? Well and the dreams…nightmares really.” Uta explained his dreams, the flashing back and forth of Teiji and Sakurai’s faces, hovering over him. “Then he asked to see me again, two days ago. He told me he had to tell me that he loved me and wanted me back in his life, to avoid a break down. He said he would never do anything, that he just had to say it.”  

                The tears had started to silently flow for both of them, no sobbing or wailing, just silent tears flowing freely. “I get nervous around him, sometimes my um…well I get a little hot…if you know what I mean.” He didn’t want to say that he got aroused around the man that he detested. Davina just let Uta talk, to get it all out before she said anything.

                “My brain is screaming that I never want to be with him ever…but sometimes my heart is saying yes…go back to Acchan. Then two nights ago, when I got home from seeing Sakurai, right as I was about to fall asleep, I felt a breath on y neck, Teiji whispered to me and told me to go home, that he’d be waiting for me!” This now was too much for Uta to handle, at that moment, the sobbing started. Deep bone wracking sobs coming from Uta, loud enough that Yoji peeked in the room, Davina nodded and mouthing “It’s alright.” Yoji nodded and shut the door quietly. “Am I crazy, Davina? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just move on…I don’t want to be weak, I don’t want to be taken care of!”

                “Uta, you need to be taken care of right now, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be like this. It’s just been barely a year…if it were not for Yoji, I’d be in the same condition you are. My love, we lost Teiji in the most horrific way, he was wrenched from our lives in one small instance. You’re going to grieve, it’s going to take some time, how much is up to you. Do not let others goad you into believing that you are done…you obviously are not.”

                Uta’s body shaking sobs filled the room, he cried until he had no tears, then fell asleep in Davina’s arms. Luna and Saki were laying on the end of the bed, watching their boy fall apart. Once Uta was asleep, Luna took her place on Uta’s pillow, and Saki laid on Uta’s legs, both kittens purring. “My lovelies, take care of our boy, ne?” Davina moved slowly off the bed, kissing Uta on the forehead and covering him with a blanket, Saki moving to curl up against Uta’s tummy.

 

                The noise is what woke him up. Reita puking his guts up in the bathroom. Ken got up, got a glass from the counter and filled it with cool water, walking into the bathroom to find Reita laid out on the cold tiles. “Here…rinse your mouth then drink this, you’ll feel better.” Reita reached for the glass. “Why are you still here?” he moaned.

                “I was worried that you might choke on your own puke if I left. If you died, I’d have no one to dance for anymore.” Ken was being honest. “Look I didn’t die, so you can leave now.” Ken shrugged, “I’ll wait until you shower, wouldn’t want you to kill yourself by falling in the tub and hitting your head.” Ken walked back into the bedroom, grabbed his blanket and curled up in the chair, turning on the TV.

                “What the fuck?” Reita replied. “Just go home Ken…I’m fine.” Reita turned on the water for the shower. “Nah, I’ll stay for a bit longer, oh and it’s Ayato, Ken’s just my stage name, the management said my real name was too ethnic.” Ayato flipped through the channels, trying to find something to waste the time. Reita ignored the young man, getting into the shower, holding on to the walls for support.

                Ayato had made good use of the time Reita was in the shower, checking drawers and cabinets. He came across Reita’s visa, “Damn I thought…”  Hearing the shower turn off, Ayato went back to his chair and curled up again.

                “Okay, now you can go, I didn’t die in the shower.” Reita said roughly. “Why are you hiding in LA Reita?”  At first the man didn’t even hear Ayato use his name, then he stopped mid stride. “How did you…?” Turning and glaring at Ayato, Reita started walking towards the bed. “I looked at your visa when you were passed out last night, just in case I had to call 911. So why are you hiding in LA?”

                “I’m not hiding, I just needed to leave Japan. Why are you hiding in LA Ken?” Reita snapped back. “I’m not hiding, I live here…have my own apartment and all that shit.” Ayato said calmly. “Sure, a pretty Japanese kid leaves Japan for Los Angeles? That’s not what you’d call normal.”

                Ayato shrugged. “Parents didn’t like the fact that I was openly gay, I’ve got no talent to be in the music industry, sure…I could have gone and worked in Ni-Chome, but you know as well as I do, they don’t make shit for money.” Reita was digging around for clothes, carefully glancing at Ayato.

                “Are you like an illegal alien? Has your visa expired?” Reita slipped on a clean pair of pants. “I’m still on a visa, I have to go back within the next two months. I figure I’ll just work at a host club long enough to be able to buy another ticket, then I’ll come back here. I can at least afford a flat and food here, I don’t have to be fucking homeless like I was in Japan.”  The fact that Ayato was blowing all of this off like it happened every day, for some reason bothered Reita.

                “Still doesn’t explain why you’re in LA.  What did the Gazette kick you out of the band for something?” The way Reita snapped his head around to glare at Ayato, answered the boy’s question. “Damn had to be pretty bad for you to get…”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP NOW! GET OUT! HERE’S YOUR $20 FOR LAST NIGHT...NOW LEAVE!”

                Ayato looked at the money on the dresser, then back at Reita. “I didn’t have sex with you last night for money, I’m no prostitute. I did it because I wanted to, you’re cute…so you can keep your lousy twenty bucks, asshole.” Grabbing his shoes, Ayato pushed past Reita and left the room. “Fuck him, I’ll have him thrown out if he shows up again.” Ayato muttered as he entered the elevator.

                “Fucking little shit…trying to tell me he’s not a fucking hooker, of course he is!” Reita stormed around the room. Realizing something, Reita went to the drawer where he had his wallet…opening it he sighed, the money was all still there. Sitting on the bed, Reita couldn’t think straight, his stomach was roiling and he knew if he didn’t eat soon, there would be more vomiting. Looking at the hotel guide, he saw that there was a restaurant in the hotel. Putting on his shoes, grabbing his wallet, Reita went down to the lobby and into the restaurant.

                The waitress came over, asked if he wanted coffee. In broken English Reita attempted to communicate what he wanted to the waitress, who shrugged until Reita just pointed at a picture, the waitress smiled and nodded.  Going through three cups of coffee even before his meal arrived, Reita was starting to recover. He took his time over his meal, drank more coffee and decided to go for a short walk before returning to his room.

                Ayato left the hotel and called for an Uber to take him home, the thoughts of Reita screaming at him. “Pfftt, as if $20 would have been enough anyways, asshole” Walking the stairs to his apartment, Ayato was tired. A hot shower and a long nap before work was the plan. He thought about Reita possibly showing up again at the club, but he blew that thought off right away. “He wouldn’t dare…I’ll have Angelo throw him out if he even tries to come in.” Ayato knew the large bouncer would back him up, trouble with patrons was not good for business. One last thought before he closed his eyes; Suzuki Akira.

 

Image result for ayato datura  Ayato of DatuRA

Chapter Text

 

                Hiroto was faced with a difficult decision; Wait until The Gazette repaired itself, then continue working with them, find another band to work with or learn the backside of management. He knew for sure that he did not want to return to working with The Gazette, the animosity between himself and Reita would be too significant to remedy.

                Gazette’s manager completely understood, he was apologetic and assured Hiroto that he would assist in finding him a suitable position with DCR. Working with another band appealed to Hiroto but the question was, what band?

                “You could ask our manager, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind” Die offered. Hiroto shook his head, “Nope, conflict of interest.”

                “How is it a conflict of interest?” Die wasn’t seeing the same thing as Hiroto. “You’d be with me all the time, even on tour and at lives! It would be perfect!” Hiroto leaned over and kissed his lover. “That’s exactly why it’s a conflict of interest. It’s the same thing that I’m fighting with Gazette over. Sleeping with a member of a band that I’m managing. I told you that the night we were all at the restaurant, remember?”
                “But that’s different! I’m a great guy, you love me…why is that a bad thing?” Die whined. “It’s a bad thing because we’d get sick of each other and I wouldn’t feel comfortable reprimanding you for something.”

                “Why would I need to be reprimanded? I’m an angel on tour!”

                “No Die, I won’t work with Diru, so that’s the end of this discussion.” Hiroto stood firm. “Fine…what about MUCC?” Die suggested. “Nope, I’m related to Yukke, if I said something to him, it would probably get back to my parents. I’m a big boy, I don’t need my Ojisan tattle tailing on me to my parents.”

                This discussion and Hiroto’s clear thinking is what eventually had him working in the recording studio, learning about the process of creating new music.

                “Has anyone heard from Reita yet? It’s been what…going on two weeks now?” Die asked. “Something like that…as far as I know, he hasn’t contacted anyone, although Kai thinks he’s in California” Hiroto wasn’t sure he agreed with Kai, although California would be an easy place to hide.

                “He’s still acting like a jackass, it’s a shame that this could be the end for The Gazette. They’re a great band, he’s an amazing bassist, Totchi admires his abilities” added Die.

                “I don’t want to be the reason that The Gazette breaks up, at the same time I will not become a victim just to keep that from happening.” Hiroto said hotly. “No baby, you’re not going to be a victim, I will personally keep that noseless freak away from you.” Die pulled Hiroto into his lap, kissing Hiroto soundly. “I love you, Pon.”

 

                “MAO! IN MY OFFICE…NOW!” Taka growled at his co-worker. Mao had been in a shitty mood since the day they found out Uta had disappeared, constantly snipping at everyone and belligerently doing his job. Taka was pushed over the edge with his attitude when Mao snapped at Tomo for not cutting the lemon’s properly (there was no proper way to cut a lemon). Tomo was a quiet man that had a gentle soul and didn’t deserve what Mao was throwing at him.

                “Close the door and sit down.” Taka said sharply.  “Before you say anything, I’d like to acknowledge your pain and frustration with Uta being gone. That being said, I will NOT accept your behavior any longer, Tomo did not deserve what you just said to him, nobody deserves your anger, period. You’ve had a shit attitude since the day of the meeting and I’m done with it. You’re not the only one that’s hurting right now, we all are. I have known Uta for a long time, but this is not just affecting you as his best friend. As of today, I’m going to send you home and you will take one week off. I’m not firing you, but you need a serious break from work in order to get your emotions under control. I can’t have you being a huge bitch to your co-workers just because you’re hurting…we’re all hurting Mao.”

                Half way through Taka’s scolding, Mao looked away, staring at anything other than Taka. “I’m sorry Taka. You’re right, I’m not the only one that’s hurting. But I can’t go through the day acting like nothing’s happened, I can’t fake being happy Taka, I’m terrified that Uta’s going to die!” Mao looked up at his boss…his friend. “You heard what Ojisan said, Uta is in Maastricht with Davina and Yoji. Davina won’t let anything happen to Uta…you know that Mao, Davina would lay down her life for him.” Taka was on the verge of tears.

                “But why does he want to be with Davina? I don’t really get that! Why wouldn’t he want to be here with all of his friends? It hurts me to think that Uta would rather be with Davina than…than with me!” So that’s it…Mao is jealous of Davina.

                “Mao, it’s not that he doesn’t want to be with you, Davina is his last link to Teiji, he was her pet and his lover. Everything good that has happened since Uta got away from Natsu and Sakurai, revolves around Teiji and Davina.” Taka tried to explain.

                “That’s why I’m forcing you to take a week off. You’ll get paid, I’ll speak with the owner, who by the way is just as upset as we are. He feels responsible for everything that has happened to Uta in the past.” Taka stood up. “Go home Mao, make Kyo take you to an onsen, go see his sister Yume and her family.” Taka patted Mao on the shoulder, “If I hear anything you’ll be the first person I call, I promise.”

                Mao went out and stood in front of Tomo, apologizing for his behavior. “I know you’re just really worried about Uta, so I’m not mad, Mao. It’s okay.” Tomo hugged his friend. After gathering his things, he stopped at the office, “I’ll be back in a week. I promise to not be such a shit-head when I come back.” Taka waved as Mao left the HBG.

 

                Sitting on the patio of In Den Ouden Vogelstruys, Davina and Yoji were enjoying a light breakfast, still waiting for Uta to wake up, the boy had been sleeping soundly all night exhausted from the flight and his constant worries over Sakurai. “I love the kittens, they seem to adore Uta…especially Luna.” Davina had falling in love with the kittens immediately. “Let me guess, a kitten will miraculously appear on your Christmas list this year?” Yoji would give Davina the world if possible.

                “No, I’m satisfied with Luna and Saki for right now.” Davina teased. “Ohayo, Uta-kun” Yoji looked up to see the sleepy young man come onto the patio. “Sleep well?” Davina held her hand out, Uta taking it as he sat next to her. “I didn’t have any nightmares” Marcel appeared with a cup of coffee, “Alsjeblieft Uta.”

                “Uta, would you like to go to the Basilica this morning? I think we may need to light a few candles.” Davina had leaned forward, tucking a strand of hair behind Uta’s ear. “I had planned on it. I wonder if Oma will be there?”

                “Ja, Oma is heir” a softly spoke woman walked onto the patio. “OMA!” Uta jumped up and flung his arms around the elderly woman. “Hallo Josez” Davina greeted the woman warmly. “Hallo Davina, hoe gaat het?” Once Uta had stopped clinging to the older woman, Josez sat down with the little family. “In English Davina?” Josez didn’t want to confuse everyone with the three-way language party they normally would have.

                “Josez, this is Yoji Nagaharu, my boyfriend.” Yoji stood and bowed deeply, “I’m very pleased to meet you, Josez, yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” Davina translated for Yoji. “He is very handsome Davina, you look very happy. Much better from last time, ja?”    

                Davina smiled, “Ja Josez” While Davina spoke to Josez, Yoji was watching Uta, the boy’s eyes starting to fill with tears again. Very quietly Uta stood up, bowed to Davina and went back upstairs to their flat. “Davina, why is the boy crying? Has his heart not healed?” Josez looked back into the pub, watching Uta go up the stairs.

                “I don’t think things are as good as he wishes, Josez. He called me two nights ago, saying he wanted to come home, and that Teiji told him to come back to Maastricht. Last night he cried himself to sleep.” Yoji reached over to hold Davina’s hand. “Keep him here Davina, let Uta live in Maastricht for now, he needs you more than his friends.”

                “Maastricht has become Uta’s safe place, he feels that Teiji is here…” Davina wasn’t sure how much she wanted to expose, but Josez chose for her. “Is there no other that loves Uta? Is he completely alone?”

                “There is one, but Uta wants nothing from him.” Davina went on to explain (in both English and Dutch) the problem with Sakurai and what the man had said to Uta the night before he returned to Maastricht.

                “Is the man truthful? Does he indeed love Uta as he says?” Yoji snorted, causing Josez to raise an eyebrow. “Yoji does not care for Sakurai, he believes he will do nothing but harm Uta’s emotions.”

                “You care for the boy, ja?” Josez leaned over to speak to the man. “Yes Josez, I only want what’s best for Uta and I do not believe it is Sakurai Atsushi.” Davina translated, “Goede” Josez smiled. Then the woman had a rather strange request. “Do you have a picture of this man that loves Uta?” Davina looked at Josez like she was an alien.

                “Why would you want to see a picture of Sakurai?” Josez looked at Yoji and winked. The man pulled out his cell phone and pulled up an image gallery of Sakurai. “Which is most current?” Josez looked at the pictures, Yoji pointing out a fairly recent picture. Josez took Yoji’s phone, and looked intently at the picture of Sakurai, then she paged down and saw photos from various times in the man’s life.

                “He was a beautiful man when he was young, he is still a very handsome man.” Josez’s gaze locked on a particular picture, taking her glasses off to view it closely.  She put her glasses back on and handed Yoji his phone. “Josez?” Davina was curious as to why the woman would want to see a picture of Sakurai.

                “That one has a damaged heart, this is not the first time that man has competed with a dead man for the other’s love. He is doing it now as we speak. There is no ill intent, no maliciousness, just loneliness, pain and fear. He fears he will die alone, but will never approach Uta, he will not break his promise to the boy.”

                “What does she mean, competing with dead men?” Yoji didn’t know the relationship between Sakurai and Yoshiki, “I’ll explain later, it’s involved.”

                “What do we do for Uta, Josez? Should he live with us for ever? Should I send him back to Japan?” Davina wasn’t sure what to make of the comments regarding Sakurai and Yoshiki. “Nee, keep the boy here…this is his home. He will tell you went he wants to return.”

                Just as Josez was going to leave, Uta came down stairs. “Oma, gomenasai” Josez cupped Uta’s face in her hand. “Schatje, you don’t need to apologize, come with me.” Taking Uta by the hand, the old woman and the young man walked across the large plaza towards Sint Servatius.

                “She’s wonderful, how did you meet her?” Yoji was impressed over what she had told Davina about Sakurai. Davina told the story of finding Uta and Josez sitting together in a pew inside the Basilica, the lighting of the candles and the warmth she gave to Uta. “She’s the Ojisan of the Netherlands.”

Yoji asked again, “What did she mean by competing with dead men?” This sounded a bit bizarre. “Sakurai had a long relationship with Yoshiki…yes that Yoshiki. But Hide came and stole Yo-chan away from Sakurai. Once Hide died, Yoshiki came back to Sakurai, but he couldn’t let the man into his heart completely, there is only room for one…and that’s Hide. Now Sakurai is competing with Teiji for Uta’s love, but as Josez said, he won’t break his promise about speaking to Uta.” Yoji thought it over for a moment, “Competing with dead men for love, is nothing that will ever happy naturally. It’s doomed to fail from the start.”  

 

                Sakurai arrives at the studio to speak with their tour manager about their upcoming season. As soon as he opened the door, there was a weird aura in the building, something was off. Walking down the hall to their practice room, Sakurai notices that it’s rather quiet, then remembering that The Gazette were on permanent hiatus.        

                “Ohayo…” Sakurai pushes the door to Buck Tick’s rehearsal room, stopping short by the expressions on Hide and Yutaka’s faces. “What?” Yutaka got up and walked towards his vocalist. “I fucking despise you, Sakurai Atsushi” then he slapped Sakurai hard in the face. “WHAT THE FUCK?” Sakurai reeled back from the blow. “You deserve that and more.” Hide said as he followed Yutaka out the door.

                “What the hell is wrong with you people? Why did I deserve that?” Sakurai rapidly searches the room. “Uta is missing and it’s your fault. He left Japan because you had to fuck up and confess to him. The boy is now destroyed but hopefully he is with Davina now. You’re a fucking idiot.” Toll walked out the door. “Uta’s…missing?” Sakurai sat heavily down on the couch. “You should have kept your thoughts to yourself and your mouth shut, you’ve fucked the poor boy over again, you couldn’t just leave well enough alone,” Imai said as he was walking towards the door. “We’ll call you when we want to see you, so just stay away Sakurai.”

                Sakurai hadn’t heard anything past, Uta is missing. Images are flashing through his mind quicker than he can see, his heart beating in his ears. He quickly took out his phone, thankful he never removed the number.

                “Kyo...where’s Uta? TELL ME KYO WHERE IS UTA?!”

                “Fuck off Sakurai, I thought you had changed, but here you go and do it again. Whatever you said to Uta, you scared him enough that he left the country. I take back everything I said to you at Ojisan’s. You’re still a fucking monster. Forget about Uta, that’s the best thing you could do for him. Just fade away.”  Kyo snapped his phone closed. “Fucking asshole.”

                He was running down the hall, barreling through the door and jumping into his car quickly. He didn’t even look, he just tore out of the parking lot, not hearing the screeching of brakes or the blare of horns. “Mother fucker,” Sakurai drove like a fiend, anger pushing it self to the surface. Pulling into the clinic’s parking lot, he slammed on the brakes, getting out of his car without even shutting he door.

                Stomping up the stairs, he burst into Dr. Maeta’s office. “Can I help… SIR YOU CAN NOT…” The receptionist cried out as Sakurai slammed open Maeta’s door. “YOU MOTHER FUCKER…THIS IS ALL YOUR FUCKING FAULT!” Sakurai screamed at the doctor. A patient that had been sitting in a chair beat a hasty retreat out of the room, leaving Sakurai to confront Maeta.

                “YOU FUCKING TOLD ME TO CONFESS TO UTA! YOU SAID IT WOULD HELP!” Sakurai advanced on Maeta, backing the smaller man into a corner, reaching and grabbing the doctor by the front of his shirt.

 

                “UTA IS MISSING BECAUSE OF YOU! YOU TOLD ME TO CONFESS AND I DID!!! I SACRED THAT BOY SO BADLY HE LEFT THE FUCKING COUNTRY! THIS IS YOUR FAULT YOU MOTHER FUCKING PIG! NOW HE’S LOST TO ALL OF HIS FRIENDS, I DON’T CARE ABOUT ME…HIS FRIENDS ARE NOW ALL IN A PANIC! THEY ARE THE ONE’S THAT WILL SUFFER THE MOST, THEY’RE THE ONE’S THAT NEED ANSWERS!! I SHOULD SUE THE FUCK OUT OF YOU FOR FUCKING MALPRACTICE!!”

 

                Sakurai shoved the doctor into the wall, spinning and leaving the room, with a battered Maeta trying to make sense of what just happened. Running down the stairs, his car door still open, Sakurai slammed his car into reverse and then tore out of the parking lot.

 “Where? Where do I go? What the hell can I do? Uta baby!! I’m so sorry… I can’t help it…but I should have never said anything to you…that fucking asshole! Now I am going to break down, I hurt you again…I love you…mother fucking shit!”

Not paying attention to where he was going, Sakurai ended up in Fujioka, his home town, he had driven for hours, making turns and changing highways without even thinking. Sakurai pulled into his home town, slowly driving the main streets, finally stopping at a small park.

It was getting close to dark, the stars appearing on the far east horizon and the birds quieting for the night. Leaning against the hood of his car, Sakurai tried to calm his internal beast that was still raging but slightly under the surface. If he thought of Maeta, the blood would begin to boil, instead he kept his thoughts on Uta. Where was he? Was he safe with Davina and Nagaharu?

It was safe to assume that Kyo and the others were back to reviling him, condemning the man to a fiery death, which as of that moment, he fully felt that he deserved. There were no arguments, he owned what he told Uta and he would never regret anything more in his life.  Sakurai got back into his car and headed back to Tokyo, trying to plan ahead on what he could do…or not do, to help Uta, he had no one to talk to…unless.

                Sakurai quickly and carefully this time, made his way back to Tokyo, driving straight to the only person he knew that would not lie to him. Parking his car, he ran, skidding to a stop and sliding the door back, “Irasshai, Sakurai Atsushi.”

Chapter Text

 

                Ayato’s mind was not on dancing that night, rather on the drunken night he shared with Akira, or as he had found out later, Reita the bass player for The Gazette, who was hiding, (although he wouldn’t admit it) in Los Angeles for some egregious crime.  Ayato had struggled falling asleep once he got home, even though he was dead tired (and sore), visions of Akira flashing through his dreams. Watching him dance, drinking and most of all…having some of the best sex of his short life.

                “Why’d you have to end up being a real asshole? I would have stopped…” Ayato sighed, “Get real…he just needed a quick fuck before he went back to Japan.”  Rolling out of bed, Ayato went through his afternoon routine in getting ready for the night’s work. “Oh shit!!” he groaned as he looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. Grabbing some makeup, Ayato spent the next twenty minutes trying to cover a rather large ‘love bite’ just over his left nipple. As he was applying the makeup, he started to blush with the memory of receiving the love bite. “Damn it! Stop it, you stupid boy, he’s not thinking twice about you.”

                Riding the bus to work, Ayato fought with himself… denying that he had any damned feelings for Akira. Going in through the dancer’s entrance, Angelo the bouncer waved, stopping quickly. “Ken! What the hell? Did that guy hurt you? You look a little sick.” Ayato waved it off. “No, I’m fine…just a little tired. Hey, if he comes tonight, don’t let him in, he’s kind of an asshole, we ended up not getting along very well. I just don’t want to see him again and I won’t dance for him.”

                Angelo smiled sadly at Ken, he really had wished that the boy would have made some sort of connection, hoping the boy could leave the life of a stripper, he didn’t have the right personality to keep dancing. “Sure Ken…I won’t let him in.” Ayato thanked him and went back stage to change and wait for the few dances that he would do.

 

                “Housekeeping?” A knock on the door. “No thanks, I’m fine.” Reita slurred, “just go away and leave me alone.” He moaned. It was day two of a real bender for the bass player, and he wasn’t in any hurry to get sober. The memories of the previous night with Ayato were hazy… the vision of the beautiful boy under him, moaning his name, the fight that morning, but the memory of Reita calling out Pon’s name as he fucked Ayato, was lost to him.

                “Little shit…shouldn’t have been snooping around.” Reita reached for the large bottle of vodka he had bought while he was out for a walk after eating his first full meal since he’d landed in Los Angeles. The walk had done little to improve his mood, the noise and the general griminess of the airport area felt like a sludge that coated his skin. He had thought about trying to go down to the beach, but it would mean he’d have to stop drinking, something he had no intentions on doing.

                He had drunk himself into oblivion every day since he arrived in Los Angeles, it had become a pattern now, passing out in the chair by the window, waking up in the same position, but not having to run to the bathroom to puke his guts out. “Must be the food…” Staggering into the shower to wake up enough to go back down to the restaurant in the hotel to eat, it was the same routine as the day before, but it was starting to get expensive, he knew he had to change something.

                He had walked by the Century Lounge during the day, the outside gritty and dirty, the light of day bringing the reality of what it was into focus. Neon nights shadowed the building, making it appear that club was something special. Reita laughed, the only thing special about that club was Ayato. He was fairly sure he wouldn’t be allowed in again, the boy most likely went to the manager and told him as much. At that point Reita didn’t really care, at least that’s what he was telling himself.

                Back in his room, he grabbed the vodka and poured another shot, just enough to take the edge off his hangover, with the obvious negative results of getting drunk again.  Ordering room service had also become an expensive habit but it kept him from leaving the hotel, the last thing he needed was to be arrested in a foreign country for being drunk in public.

                 But that didn’t cross his mind at that moment…no, he wanted to leave the hotel and walk, maybe find a McDonald’s…those were universal in their menu…drunk food for sure. He could see the sign down the street, but worried about being able to walk that far without causing a scene. “Doesn’t hurt to try”, taking a deep breath, Reita started towards the Golden Arches. Reita was doing fairly well, he hadn’t stumbled or run into anyone, this was until he had to walk in front of the Century Lounge. “Ayato… don’t’ do it Aki…you’re going to get hurt.” Reita continued down the street towards McDonald’s.

                Angelo watched the drunk Japanese guy, he was ready to stop him if he tried to enter the club. He saw Reita pause on the sidewalk, looking longingly at the front of the club. Angelo almost went out to talk to the guy, second guessing Ken’s request, maybe it had just been the booze talking when they argued.

                “Hi Angelo, what’s up?” Another one of the boys, Leo…had seen Angelo watching the front of the club. “Nothing, just checking the parking lots. Everyone here tonight?” A little chit chat and Angelo took one more look down the street, not seeing Reita, and went into the club.

                Reita was proud of himself, making it all the way down the street to the McDonald’s, ordering in barely slurred English, consuming his meal and walking back towards his hotel. He had noticed some less expensive hotels along the way, making mental notes to see if they would be more affordable…he knew they wouldn’t be as nice, but he had lived rough before.

                “That trek deserves a drink!” Reita changed into track pants and went to the vending machine to find some sort of mixer, “Getting too hard on my stomach” He bought three Sprites, grabbed some ice and headed back to his room. Settling down for a long night of drinking alone, Reita had a tiny flash of a thought to go see Ayato…but he knew better. “Let it go, Aki…let it go.” It took less than an hour before Reita had drank himself stupid, wallowing in self-loathing.

 

                “Hello Ojisan, you were expecting me?” Sakurai sat at the counter, Ojisan putting a cola in front of him instead of a beer. “What can I do for you, Sakurai Atsushi?” Sakurai looked at his hands, “First, I’d like some ramen, second, maybe answers if you chose to give it to me.” Ojisan bowed. “We will see.” Sakurai felt like he was in for the long haul that night, one bowl of ramen would not be enough. “You have run away today, ne?” Ojisan was adding the egg to the ramen.

                “You could say that. I have no idea what was going on with Uta until this afternoon, when my band mates attacked me.”  Sakurai answered with a sneer. “I was following the suggestions of my so-called therapist, who said that I needed to confess to be able to move on and avoid a breakdown, guess what? That didn’t fucking work!” Sakurai had decided not to question any of Oijsan’s answers or comments, just take what the man said as truth.

                Ojisan watched Sakurai’s face change in an instant. “Did you injure your doctor?” Sakurai shook his head, “No but I made a scene and screamed some obscenities at him.” Ojisan removed the cola and replaced it with a beer. “Did it solve anything?” Sakurai snorted, “You’re starting to sound like my therapist, no it did not solve anything, but I hoped it showed what could happen if a mental health professional pushes a patient to do something against their wishes.” Ojisan moved to stand in front of him.

                “Uta is safe with Davina and her lover. They are surrounded by friends who love them and will keep them safe, but you have hurt the young one Atsushi, with your confession, even with the promises in place.” Ojisan placed another bowl of ramen in front of the man. “I have no answers for you Sakurai, there is no clear picture or path in front of you. You may have to seek out another to help you with your own problems, do not go back to that therapist, he does not have your best interest in mind.”

                Sakurai finished his second bowl of ramen, then looked up at Ojisan. “I want you to know that I love Uta, that I would never intentionally hurt him, I am trying to do what’s right and yet every effort seems to blow up in my face. I don’t know if I can just ignore my feelings and stop caring, let alone stop thinking of Uta for the rest of my life, I don’t know how or what to do, Ojisan.”

                “You are at least now clear with your thinking, how or what to do is not up to me to decide for you, Sakurai Atsushi. Seek out another who has dealt with these issues before. He had such problems that it ruined his family, drove him insane for over a decade. He had others that lied to him as well, he threw away all his friends and family based on what was told to him.”

                Paying his bill, Sakurai left the tiny ramen hut and walked to his car, trying to figure out who Ojisan was speaking about, someone that lost his family for over a decade, someone he knew? As he drove home, he mentally filtered through all his friends and peers who had some sort of problem for over a decade. Pulling in to his driveway, he still hadn’t come up with a name. “Who the hell is he talking about?”

                Laying in bed, the constant replay of the list of names, the idea of going back to rehab in California, Yoshiki…should he call the man? They had not spoken since their breakup and Sakurai wasn’t sure it was wise as this point. Closing his eyes in hopes of getting some sleep, just before his brain shut down, the name and face flashed in his mind. Toshi.  Of course, the twelve years of brain washing by a cult, Toshi lost all his ‘family’, Yoshiki, Hide, Pata and Heath.

                Reaching for his phone Sakurai paged through his contacts, looking at the time he knew that Toshi was most likely awake, all musicians kept strange hours.

                “Toshi-san, could you spare some time to meet with me? It is important.”              

                Closing his phone, he laid back down, hoping to hear from the man within a few days.

               

                “Ken? What are you looking for?” Angelo knew he should have asked ‘who’ Ayato was looking for but respected the boy’s privacy. “Akira, I’m surprised he hasn’t tried to come back. Something doesn’t feel right” Angelo looked out the entrance to the club, “I did see him walking down the street the other day, he stopped and looked at the club but kept walking…he didn’t seem too steady on his feet either.”

                Ayato frowned, “Thanks, Angelo.” Ayato turned and went back into the club. He didn’t have any shifts until later that night, so he took a chance and called the hotel. No answer from Reita’s room. “Okay, maybe he’s gone out for food?” Leo looked over at his friend, “What’s wrong Ken?” Ayato waved off the concern. “Nothing, just trying to reach a friend.”  I’m stupid for even caring what that asshole is doing, not like he cares about me.

                Reita hears the phone ring, “Who the fuck would be calling me?” He can’t be bothered to get up out of his chair to answer the phone, not with the bottle of vodka was sitting in front of him. Reita leaned forward to grab his glass, missing the table completely and falling out of the chair. “Shit…” he mumbled. His stomach hurt, he needed to eat. Too much of a bother to get up and do anything about it, lying on the floor where he fell, Reita lost consciousness.

                Ayato called the hotel one more time before he left work, with the same results of no answer. Now he’s scared, what if the man puked and choked, hit his head and is injured? Forget that the man means nothing to him, he was just a quick amazing fuck, but he’d hate for Reita to die…alone. Washing off his makeup and getting dressed, Ayato takes a chance and walks to the hotel.

                Knocking on the door, there was no answer…Ayato put his ear to the door listening for…what? Moaning? Pleas for help? All he could hear was the TV. He knocked again…nothing. “Fuck…asshole!” He walked away, swearing under his breath about why he should care what some asshole famous musician that was amazing in bed, did with his life. “Dumbass.” Ayato made it into the lobby before he stopped. “Really? You’re going to do this…” He sighed and turned to the concierge.

                “Excuse me, I’m worried about my friend in room 725…he hasn’t contacted me in a few days and he’s not answering his door. He has a drinking problem as well. Could you do a welfare check please?” Ayato tried to sound genuine in his concern. “Of course,” The concierge replied, grabbing a room key.

                Ayato stood in front of the door, the concierge knocked first and slowly pushed the door open. “Mr. Suzuki?” Ayato peered in… “Oh fuck! Akira!” Reita laid on the floor, completely unresponsive. “Would you like me to call for an ambulance?” The concierge was shaken. “No…I’ve dealt with this before. Thank you for letting me in, I’ll get him sobered up take him home. Can you close out his account please?” Thankfully the concierge agreed to close Reita’s bill out.

                “Akira…come on, get up off the floor.” Ayato tried to lift the man onto the bed, but he was a slender boy… all he managed to do is drag Reita a foot or so. “Whaaa...ssttpp it! Levsshme alone…” Reita slurred. “Akira, get on the bed! You’re too damned heavy for me to lift!”  Ayato sat on the floor next to the nearly passed out man. “Pon…?” Reita mumbled. Who the hell was Pon? “Akira…open your eyes, look at me.” Reita peered up at the boy sitting next to him. “Ayato? Was yous here?” Ayato shook his head, “I don’t know…maybe because I didn’t want you to die from alcohol poisoning, I’d feel bad if I was the last person to see Reita alive.”

                Ayato tried again, this time successfully to get Reita on the bed. “You’re coming home with me…I’ll get your stuff.” Looking for a suitcase, Ayato started packing up Reita’s clothing. “I’m not…I’m not going any..no..not with you.” Reita slurred. “Too late, I told them to close out your bill, you’re coming home with me…so shut up already.” Reita tried to sit up in bed. “Why? I was…I yelled at you.”

                “Yah you did, you were a real asshole to me. But you also liked my dancing and I think you’re cute, so just drop it. You’re taking a shower before we leave…you need to sober up enough to walk.” Turning on the hot water, Ayato guided Reita into the bathroom, stripped his clothes off and got him in the shower, then adjusting the water to a little on the cool side. “HEY!! IT’S FUCKING COLD!!” Reita yelled. “Duh… you need to wake up, I can’t carry you to my place… just wash up. You smell.”

                Ayato moved back into the bedroom, making sure he grabbed all Reita’s belongings, double checking for his wallet and visa. He heard the shower turn off, “Hey, I need a towel.” Ayato rolled his eyes, “Okay old man…here. I have clean clothes for you, brush your teeth then let’s get going…I’m tired, I worked tonight.”

                “You didn’t have to do this…I’m perfectly fine by myself.” Reita complained. “Yah, you’re so perfect by yourself that you ignored phone calls, and me knocking on the door twice. I had to get the staff to let me in, and where did I find you? Passed out on the floor. The concierge wanted to call for an ambulance…that would be great for the media to find out…Famous Japanese Musician Found Passed Out in Hotel.”

                While Reita struggled to get dressed, Ayato called for an Uber. “You ready? Have all your things? Why do I feel like I’m babysitting a four-year-old?” Ayato tried to hold Reita’s hand to steady him, the man pulling away quickly. “I can fucking walk” he snapped. “Hey…what about my vodka?” Reita turned to grab the bottle. “Nope…no more booze…you’re a failure as a drunk.”

                Getting Reita loaded into the car and giving the driver his address, Ayato sat in silence on the drive home. It took only fifteen minutes to get to Ayato’s apartment…dragging both the man and his suitcase out of the car and up the stairs. Looking back at Reita who was still standing on the sidewalk, “Are you going to sleep there? It’s against the law, the cops will come pick you up. Quit being a baby, get up here.” Reita’s shoulders slumped, “Fucking little kid ordering me around…asshole.” Walking into Ayato’s door, Reita was unsure what his life would be in the next few days.

 

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Chapter Text

 

                “Why are you freaking out so much.? It’s like what…two weeks? I’m going to be busy at the studio, you’ll be busy playing lives. It will go by fast!” Hiroto was trying to reason with a panicky Die, who was getting ready to leave on a two-week mini-tour. “But what if you meet someone…and they’re like…oh he’s super cute…and then you like him, because he’s younger or better looking or…” Hiroto stopped Die with a kiss. “Really? You really believe I’m going to do that? Who confessed first? Who wanted to have sex first? Yah…me.”

                Die pulled the young man into his lap. “I’m sorry, this is just new to me…” Die nuzzled Hiroto’s neck, leaving his boyfriend to shiver, a soft whine slipping past his lips. “Pon…I love you. I um…I have something for you, it’s not what you think either…it’s just a gift.” Die shifted and reached into his back pocket, pulling out a small velvet bag, handing it to Hiroto.

                Hiroto untied the small strings and poured the gift into his hands, gasping softly at what he saw. “It’s the same as mine…I know it’s like corny high school stuff, but would you wear it?” In Hiroto’s hand was a smaller version of Die’s Chrome Hearts cross necklace. “You want me…to wear this?” Hiroto was stunned, sure it wasn’t an engagement ring, but neither one was ready for anything that permanent, but it was sort of high schoolish, but the look on Die’s face made it special. “Put it on me!”

Handing the necklace to Die, who carefully put it around his lover’s neck. “This is awesome…I love it! Why though? Not that I’m complaining, I just wasn’t expecting…” Die kissed the boy silent, “You’re mine.. you will always be my boy…the boy I’ve wanted since forever. I don’t really have a reason, I saw it when I was out shopping and thought of you, so…yah.” Die fumbled with his words, but Hiroto knew what he meant. “I am your boy, I don’t want anyone else…ever.” With another kiss, Die put his arms around Hiroto and stood up, “You’re mine…” walking down to the bedroom, Die wanted to put as many of his marks on his boy as he could.

 

“That is one hell of a story, Acchan, if it were anyone but you I wouldn’t believe it.” Toshi sat with Sakurai, coming to see his long-time friend who had called unexpectedly the night before, worrying the vocalist. “Then you see my problem? I don’t know what to do Toshi, my life is out of control, I have no one to turn to for any sort of help. My band is angry with me, I don’t trust therapists any more, and well you know Yo-chan won’t speak to me, especially about this topic.”

“Acchan, what do you truly want? Do not think of anyone but yourself right now, be honest and selfish.” Toshi asked. “Uta…I want to be married to Uta, living in our home, with friends over for barbeques, New Year’s Eve parties, and Christmas mornings.”  Sakurai said without hesitation.

“Is that obtainable?” Toshi was going to start with the hard questions.

“Probably not.” Sakurai’s shoulders dropped.

“Why?”

                “Uta’s afraid of me, he hates me.” Tears were creeping to the surface.

                “Why is Uta afraid of you, why does he hate you?” This would be a key question for Sakurai. “Um…I can’t answer that. I don’t know, most likely my controlling behavior in the past.”

                “The boy knows you had no part in his lover’s death, it was you who drove him away, but from what you’ve said, the man who killed Teiji would have done it with or without Uta being a part of Teiji’s life, ne?” Toshi was pushing his friend to see things a little clearer, one hurdle at a time. “Why then does he still hate you?”

                “I honestly don’t know.” Sakurai held his head in his hands, staring at the floor.

                “You need to find the answer to that, only then will you be able to move forward with your life, whether that means fulfilling your dream to live with Uta or leaving it behind as another chapter in your life. You must reconcile this…it will do you no good, nor the boy…if you keep  ignoring the elephant in the room.” Toshi got up, hugged his friend and went home, leaving Sakurai to figure a way how to obtain Uta’s truth.

 

                “You kinda look like shit, Akira… want something to eat?” Ayato was moving around his apartment, putting Reita’s bag away, pulling out pillows and blankets, “You can sleep on the couch, it’s pretty comfortable.” Reita was watching the beautiful boy out of the corner of his eye, not wanting to make complete eye contact, embarrassed to have a kid taking care of him.

                “Why are you doing this?” Reita was still slurring his words, three days of drunk fest wouldn’t be remedied by a cold shower and food. “Hmm, good question, I’m not really sure. It could be that I don’t want to be the last person to see you alive, then word gets to the media back home, they start looking for me, I become famous and then I blow it all on cocaine.” Ayato’s quick mind had become his defense mechanism for not wanting to admit to the truth, something he’d developed to protect himself.

                “Look, we had a bit of a connection at the club, and I do appreciate the tips you gave me…that’s not something I’m used to. Then we had that fun filled fuck fest at the hotel, which by the way was amazing. I even thought at that point, that you might be someone special, then you fucked it up and threw me out.” Ayato was in the kitchen, his back turned to Reita.

                “I fucked it up? You were fucking snooping through my things! How is that ME fucking up?” Reita challenged. “You lied about who you were,” Ayato shot back. “You did too…Ken!” Ayato whipped around, “That isn’t lying about who I am, that is business related, it’s my professional name! Not many guys are interested in skinny Asian boys named Ayato!”

                “HYPOCRITE!!” Reita yelled back. “I told you my real name… Reita is my PROFESSIONAL NAME!” Ayato threw a plate down into the sink, shattering it. “You could have told me your name, it’s not like I wouldn’t have let you fuck me,” the younger man said in a shaky voice. “But I misread you… I thought at first that you might be a genuine guy, but you’re like everyone else, fuck the pretty boy…then dump him. Yah, this is my fault for being stupid and assuming that someone from my own country, would find me attractive. I’m going to bed, there’s ramen on the stove.” Without another look, Ayato went to his room and quietly closed the door, leaving a stunned Reita on the couch.

                “Asshole…” Ayato muttered as he got ready for bed. Everything that Reita said had hurt…the reality of his life slapping him in the face again. “Nobody wants a girly Asian boy in LA, hell…not even someone from Japan wants me.” Rubbing his face roughly, Ayato crawled into bed, reaching for an old worn teddy bear, he pulled it close to his chest…the only thing that comforted him at night.

                “Oh god, this is good!” Reita was standing in Ayato’s kitchen eating the ramen the boy had left on the stove. Considering how little Reita had been eating the last few days, the ramen felt like a feast. As he ate, he stared at the bedroom door that Ayato had closed so quietly, wondering why the young man didn’t slam it, he certainly seemed mad enough. Shaking his head, he drank the rest of the soup, rinsed the bowl and left it in the sink. “Where the hell is my bag?” Finding his things shoved in a corner, Reita pulled out a pair of track pants and changed. Arranging the pillows and the blankets on the couch, the slightly drunk man laid down, hoping for sleep to capture him quickly.

                Opening the door quietly, Ayato looked over to the couch…making sure Reita was there. He padded silently and stood next to the couch, watching the man sleep. Why does it have to be you? Of all the fucking people in the world… it’s fucking Gazette Reita,  I’m an idiot. Bending down, Ayato softly kissed Reita, his tongue teasing the sleeping man’s lips. Standing back up, the sleeping man sighed and mumbled something that sounded like Pon. Who the fuck is this Pon person? And why is he so hung up on him?

                Going back to his room, he took out his phone. Searching online, he looked for The Gazette’s record label, “Danger Crue Records”  He cleared that search and went into the site that held the Japanese phone listings and found the number to the studio.

                “Moshi mosh? Hai…my name is Kenta and I wanted to inform you that Reita, Suzuki Akira is living in Los Angeles. He is safe but has no contact information or phone. Yes, that’s right.

                He hung up the phone quickly, “Sorry I ratted you out Akira…you need to go home before you get into more trouble…I need you gone too, you’re not interested, so sayonara.” Turning over and grabbing the worn-out teddy bear, Ayato closed his eyes and fell into a restless slumber.

 

                “WHAT? ARE YOU SURE? Holy fuck…I was RIGHT!!” Kai is in the kitchen on the phone, screaming, causing Yukke to run to the kitchen. “Kai! What the fuck…” Kai whipped around, a huge smile on his face. “Someone just called the studio, they said Reita is in Los Angeles! I knew that’s where that little shit would go hide!!”  Yukke sat down. “LA? Does he know anyone out there?”  Kai was still speaking to the studio, waving his arms around, “Wait…they didn’t leave their name? Kenta? I don’t know anyone by that name. That’s all they said? Well it’s a start, at least we know where he’s at and that he’s at least safe. Yes…thank you!”

                “I texted the others for you…it’s still a little early, I’m guessing you’re not coming back to bed?” Yukke was not an early riser, 7am was much too early for him to be functioning. “No, I need to meet with the others, shit! I have to call his parents.” Kai took out his phone and made a quick call, explaining what little information they received, promising to call when he found anything more about their son.

                The flurry of activity was noticeable the moment Die and Hiroto arrived at the studio, Die was there to make last minute tour arrangements, Hiroto there to work in the recording studio. “What the hell is going on?” Hiroto went into his office, before heading to the studio, Die making his way down to the rehearsal room. “Pon, meet me in the conference room.” Kai had poked his head in the door, then quickly walked away. “Shit…I hope it’s not…” Die came back just as Hiroto was walking down the hall. “I have a meeting with Kai…it must be about Reita.”

                Just before Hiroto turned to walk down the hall, Aoi came in behind him, brushed against the younger man and kept walking. “Asshole” Die muttered under his breath. “I heard that Daisuke, fuck you too, old man.” Aoi called out as he kept walking. “I’ll text you when I’m done.” Hiroto kissed his lover and went down to the conference room.

                All the members of the Gazette were sitting at the long table, most looking like they had just woken up. Kai didn’t waste any time, “We got an anonymous phone call from someone named Kenta, that said Rei’s in Los Angeles, he’s safe…but then they hung up.” Ruki snorted, “You called it, Kai. You said that’s where he’d run to.” Uruha looked over at Aoi, “What? Like I know where the fuck he is?” Uruha shrugged, “Maybe, you know anyone named Kenta?” Aoi flipped Uruha off, “No I don’t know anyone named Kenta, the only person I know in LA is Yoshiki and it’s not like we’re best friends.”

                “What’s the next move we make?” Uruha asked Kai. “Track him down, see what his condition is and then get him home.” Kai was expecting some flak from Aoi, and he was right. “Then what Kai? Just kick him out of the band again? Why bring him back, if you’re just going to fire him? That’s a little sadistic, don’t you think?”

                “Would you rather we did nothing, Yuu? Leave Akira in LA to live on his own? Or would you rather have him here, in Japan so we can work together on the problems we’re having? Answer me, Aoi!” Kai was getting tired of the pissy attitude that Aoi had been displaying ever since the initial meeting.

                Aoi said nothing, just crossed his arms on his chest and looked down. “Right, now we need to figure out where he is in LA and who he’s living with, I’m going to assume it’s this Kenta person. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this?” Kai turned back to the issue at hand. Ruki cleared his throat, “Could we call Yoshiki? I’m not sure how he could help, but he’s the only person we know in LA, right?”

                “I think we should speak with Koichi.” Hiroto interrupted. Aoi gave him a dirty look. “How would Koichi be of any help?” he snapped at Hiroto. “He’s toured with MUCC in America, he’s done extensive research on venues and cities in California. He might be able to come up with something, a hotel maybe.” Uruha winked at Hiroto, “I think it’s a shot. We have to assume that Reita flew into LAX, there are a lot of hotels right on that main street out of the airport. Reita wouldn’t try to rent a car, would he? He can barely drive here.”

                “I’ll call Koichi in a minute, what else is there?” Hiroto started to get up. “What there is, is the stupid little shit you’ve pulled throughout this entire issue. Reita’s in California because of YOU! You just need to go the fuck away, work with some other band, better yet don’t work for DCR at all! I’m sure you could find some little pussy outfit over at PSC or wait… go work for CLJ… that’s even better, then we won’t have to see you at all!” Aoi slammed his fist down on the table and got up.

                “Fuck you, Aoi. You’re still trying to pin your actions on me, as if refusing to let you fuck me was some sort of crime. I’m not the guilty one here, Reita and you are the only problem.  So go fuck yourself, Aoi. I’m done with you and Reita professionally and personally. I will remain friendly with the others, but you two make me sick. Die was right, you’re both predatory pieces of shit, you’re shit musicians and you’re going to destroy your careers over a piece of ass. Fucking pathetic for a man YOUR age to be chasing after me. Can’t find anyone that will let you fuck them, Aoi? Huh? Starting to get desperate, you can’t find your own boy to love, so you chase after me? Dude, you are a fucking joke. You couldn’t have a serious relationship if you tried.”

                Both Uruha and Ruki started clapping slowly. “Amen, Brother Pon, preach it baby, preach!” Ruki laughed. “Pon, let’s go to your office so you can call Koichi.” Kai and Hiroto turned and left the conference room. Aoi turned on Ruki and Uruha, “Why the fuck do you defend that little cunt? Huh? We’ve known each other for twenty years and you’re still siding with that little wannabe manager? Thanks for your support.” Now it was Ruki’s turn.

                Ruki got up from the table, walked to the other side where Aoi sat and slapped the man hard. “Listen to me, maggot. I’ll defend Pon over any of you, all damned day! Why? Because what you and Akira did was fucking WRONG AND ILLEGAL AS SHIT! You want to go to jail Aoi? Huh? You want to have your assed fucked , against your will? TELL ME AOI! You need to shut the fuck up, play your stupid guitar and show up for work, stay the hell away from Pon. If you don’t, I’ll give you the worst Ruki Rampage you’ve ever seen. Go ahead, Yuu…piss me off enough. You’re getting close to pissing me off more than Masa or Natsu…wanna go Aoi? You know better old man…so shut up and go home.”

                “Don’t even look at me, Aoi. I’ll back Ruki up, I might not be as tough as he is, but don’t get me involved in a bitch fight.” Uruha got up and followed Ruki out the door, leaving a pissed off and angry Aoi, sitting alone in the room.

 

                Ayato walked out of his bedroom, not stopping to check Reita, rather straight to the kitchen to start his coffee. “Ohayo” Reita muttered from the couch. “Ohayo, did you sleep okay?” Reita sat up and stretched, “If you count passing out as sleeping, yah I did.”

                “Would you like some coffee? I don’t have any tea, can’t find decent tea here unless you go to either China town or Whole Foods, I don’t have the time or money to do either of those, so you’re stuck with coffee.” Ayato had promised himself that he would at least attempt to be civil with Reita, but he was certain that telling him about the phone call, would anger the man. “Coffee will be fine, thank you.”

                “Look, here’s the deal, Akira. I like you, a lot and not because of who you are. Honestly though, you’re a fucking wreck, you were drinking yourself to death. I don’t want to know why, it’s none of my business.” He sat down next to Reita.

                “Why do you even care? You don’t know anything about me, you know what you’ve heard from the media, if you even follow the news from Japan. So, why are you doing all this?” Reita was thinking clearer that morning, which led to the baffling question of why Ayato was going to such great lengths to help him.

                “I don’t know, but I do care.” Ayato put his coffee cup down. “I called your record company last night and told them that you were living in LA and that you were safe.” Ayato’s heart stopped for a minute, waiting for the blow up he was sure that was coming. Reita was silent, no obvious anger building. “I can do one of two things today, I can either take you to the airport, or you can stay here if you’re not ready to go back to Japan.”

                Reita didn’t say a word, but also was not looking at Ayato as he spoke. “Or, you come with me when I go back in two months, then we can separate, and I’ll disappear at the airport, you’ll never see me again.” Ayato got up and got another cup of coffee. “The other conditions are that you contact someone back home and speak to that and you stay sober while you’re living here. I don’t need to come home from work to find a drunk Akira puking on my floor. You need to go back to the Gazette, you need to go back to being Reita, and not Akira.”

                “Six weeks until you go home?” Reita asked. “Yep, or we can go earlier if that’s what you want. I have to be there for at least a year, I need to find a job and a flat, save the money I can to come back here. When we leave is totally up to you.” Ayato got up and went to the kitchen to make breakfast. “Would you like something to eat?”

                “Sure, that would be nice. Can I borrow your phone? I’ll pay for the call.” Reita wanted to get the call over and done with. “Sure, you can call in the bedroom if you want.” Ayato handed Reita his phone. Reita wasn’t looking forward to the call, but Ayato was right, it needed to be done.

                “Kai…It’s Aki”

                “AKIRA!! Oh my god, you have no idea how fucking happy I am to hear your voice! Are you okay? Why did you run, Aki? You scared the shit out of all of us!”

                “I had to deal with the issue myself, I’ll explain it when I come home.”

                “When are you coming home, Aki?”

                “Probably in about six weeks, maybe sooner, I’m not sure yet. I have some things I need to do here first before I can come home. I don’t have a phone anymore, so you can’t call.”

                “Who’s Kenta?”

                “Um…just someone I met here. He let me use his phone. Just leave Kenta out of this please, he doesn’t need to be dragged into our drama. And don’t send any one here to look for me. Just leave me be until I get home, then we can talk, ne Kai?”

                “I’m not happy with this Akira, but as long as you’re safe I really don’t have any control over what you’re doing. You know if you get into trouble you could reach out to Yoshiki…he lives in LA and he’s probably not that hard to contact. Just come home, Aki…we can work all the other stuff out.”

                “I’ll call again at some point, ja ne, Kai.” Reita closed the phone. “Six weeks…”

Chapter Text

 

                The texts never slowed, almost to the point of annoyance. Hiroto’s phone was buzzing in his pocket…again. “Die, really? You haven’t even been gone eight hours yet.” Hiroto sighed. Die had become very clingy the minute he got on the tour bus, texting Hiroto constantly.

                “I’m kinda busy right now, can I text you when I get a break?”

                “Sure babe, sorry. It’s a boring drive and everyone else is busy.”

                “Give me two hours, I’ll text you then.”

                “Okay! I love you!”

                “I love you too.”

                The studio engineer chuckled, “Ah, the joys of new love.” He teased Hiroto, who smacked him lightly on the shoulder. Turning to the sound board, Hiroto went back to work, learning the recording side of being a band manager. He had been surprised at the amount of knowledge that he would need as a manager in the studio; scheduling, making sure that the gear was ready, the list of songs that needed to be dealt with, and even keeping the band happy with food and drink.

                Die sat on the bus, looking out the window at the boring scenery flashing by. Kyo was writing, Toshiya was watching some idiotic anime on his tablet, giggling like a child, Kaoru had a dozen pieces of paper spread out on the table in front of him, and Shinya was sleeping. Die sighed, “This sucks.”

               

                “Hey Pon, what are you doing tomorrow night?” Tatsuro stopped by Hiroto’s office on his way out of the studio. “Um… nothing, texting Die…” Tatsu chuckled, “Newbie relationship, anyways…want to come to our live? We’re doing a Shunoto only live, just a one man.”

                “Yes! I’ve always wanted to see you guys play, perfect timing!” In all the years that Yukke had been with MUCC, Hiroto had never once see his uncle perform with his band. “You can ride with Yukke, be at his house by 6pm.” Tatsu waved and went down the hall.

                “Hey, guess what?” Hiroto wanted to make sure Die knew exactly what he was doing.

                “Um, you bought a pony! No wait…you died your hair pink? New Tattoo?”

                “Weirdo. No, I’m going to a MUCC live tomorrow night, Tatsu just invited me. It’s a fan club one man.”

                “Nice! I think you’ll have fun, they’re great live. I have sound check in about an hour, can I call you after that?” Die tried to sound excited, secretly he wasn’t happy.

                “Sure, I’d like that. Go be Diru Die! I love you!”

                “I love you Pon.”

                 

                “You’re going out front?” Yukke thought this was a bit strange. “Yes, I want the full MUCC experience, I can’t get that standing back stage. I’m going to go out and fanboy a little, but not over you…that’s gross.” Hiroto wanted to watch the performance from the crowd side. “Who will you fanboy over?” Yukke pouted, which Hiroto thought was creepy.

                “I’m not telling you, that would be weird, it’s just not you.” Hiroto laughed as he made his way through the corridors and out to the venue, making a quick trip to the bar before the band started.

               

                The concert exceeded all expectations of what Hiroto thought it might be. Tatsu prowling around the stage, Sato playing with a fierce energy and Miya torturing his guitar, making it wail and sing all at once. Hiroto gained a new respect for his uncle, Yukke went from cute to serious, being teased by Tatsu or standing shoulder to shoulder with Miya. Hiroto had to admit that MUCC live was just as good as The Gazette, with subtle and not so subtle differences.

                Navigating his way back stage, through the crew and crowd of well-wishers, Hiroto walked into the large dressing room that was now crowded with people. Finding Yukke, Hiroto hugged the sweaty man. “That was fucking amazing! You guys were awesome, why didn’t you invite me before this?”

                “Pon, you have always been twelve years old in my eyes, a MUCC live is not the place for a twelve-year-old. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, how do we compare to Kai’s boys?” Yukke knew he was putting Hiroto on the spot, but it was all part of being in the industry.

                “Just as good…the style is different though. MUCC plays a little more intensely than Gazette, a lot of the songs have a heavier feel to them than Gazette, but comparing? Straight across, equal.” Hiroto knew how to be diplomatic without sounding like an ass.

                There was a sudden increase in the noise level, with words of surprise and congratulations being thrown out. Yukke stood on tip toes to look over the crowd. “Wow, now I wasn’t expecting them to show up! Come with me Pon…I want to introduce you to someone.” Following Yukke towards where Tatsu was standing, Hiroto’s breath caught.

                Hazuki and Reo of Lynch were standing next to Tatsu, talking about the concert. “Hazuki-san! You’re the last person I ever expected to see back here!” Yukke greeted the vocalist of Lynch.

                “Yukke, as always MUCC puts on a hell of a show.” Hazuki bowed lightly to Yukke. “Hazuki, Reo…this is my nephew Hiroto, he’s starting out as a management intern. Pon, Hazuki and Reo…where are the others?”     

                Looking around, Akinori, Asanao and Yusuke were standing with Miya and Sato. “Come with me Pon, I’ll introduce you to the guys.”  For the next hour, Yukke introduced Hiroto to everyone that he thought (without telling Hiroto) might help him with moving on to becoming a manager in the industry. For his part, Hiroto was much more comfortable with Akinori and Yusuke than he was with Hazuki, Reo and Asanao.

                Hiroto flittered like a little moth, attracted to the flames of the various people that were at the party. He eavesdropped on conversations that he thought may help him later; listening in when Reo was speaking to Kai about the leadership role in a band, Tatsu and Hazuki about keeping a healthy voice, Sato and Asanao were talking about the role of the band with the fan clubs. All of this Hiroto absorbed throughout the night.

                The after party was starting to break up, Yukke went looking for Hiroto, finding him sitting next to Akinori on a couch…sitting a little too close together for Yukke’s liking.

                “Hey Pon, we’re getting ready to leave…” Yukke tried not to give Akinori a dirty look, but his tone of voice was not lost on the other bass player. “Sure, thanks for talking with me Aki…you should come by the studio sometime.”  Akinori gave Hiroto a small side hug, as the younger man got up to leave, swaying unsteadily on his feet. “Woah, beers just caught up with me!” Hiroto giggled.

                “Okay boozer, let’s get you home, you’re spending the night, I’m not letting you drive to your flat like this.” Yukke pulled the concerned family member card on Hiroto. Hiroto laughed, “I’m hardly a boozer, Ojisan…you’re just such a Kaasan!” Hiroto turned and waved to Akinori, who oddly…blew him a kiss, Hiroto just drunk enough to think it funny. “Really Aki? Blowing the boy a kiss?” Hazuki sat down next to his bass player, “He’s fucking cute as hell…” Aki insisted. “Do you know if he’s even into guys? Your gay-dar going off?”

                “Like you wouldn’t want that under you…don’t try to bullshit me ‘Zu. I’m sure that you and Asanao would trade blows if you had a chance with him…and I’d still come out the winner.” Akinori didn’t need ‘gay-dar’ to lust after Hiroto, regardless of his sexual proclivity. “Let’s just say I may be visiting DCR once in a while.”

 

                “Pon, answer your damned phone!” Yukke yelled at his nephew. “It’s been buzzing since we got in the car!” Looking back, to his surprise, Hiroto had slumped over and fallen asleep, or passed out.  “Shit, looks like I’m babysitting tonight.” Yukke told Kai. “It’s a one-time thing, I can almost guarantee it. He’s not the type to get shit faced drunk like others I know.”

                Getting Hiroto out of the car and into the house was challenging, Kai finally just hoisting the younger man over his shoulder. “I don’t want to be out here all-night coaxing Pon to walk, this is just easier.” Kai put the boy on the couch after stumbling through the door. “His phone is still fucking buzzing…it has to be Die.”

                Yukke dug through Hiroto’s pants, pulling out the phone. 28 texts…all from Die. “He’s going to regret this.” Yukke said looking at his nephew. “Pon got drunk tonight at the after party, he’ll text you in the morning.” With that text, Yukke turned Hiroto’s phone off. “He’s going to be pissed at you tomorrow, Pon…” Yukke murmured as he led Hiroto down to the bedroom.

 

                “I asked my boss, and he said yes you could come with me, as long as you don’t drink, don’t distract or talk to me when I’m dancing.” The relationship between Ayato and Reita had been strained from the moment the dancer brought Reita back to his apartment from the hotel. Reita sulking and Ayato not giving a shit if Reita sulked.  Their conversations those first few days were mostly one-word questions and answers. “Coffee?” “Yah.” That was it.

                The night before, when Ayato had come home from work, Reita was in his normal spot on the couch in front of the TV, not looking like he had moved all day. “Hey…what’s up?” Ayato moved around the apartment, then into the kitchen to make some ramen. “Same thing as yesterday and the day before. Watching TV that’s in English, that I don’t understand completely, being bored out of my skull and on top of everything? I’m sober as hell.”

                “You don’t have to stay in the apartment all day, you could go just walk around the neighborhood.” Ayato suggested, to which Reita snorted, “Yah, then I get lost, try to find the apartment, get lost even more…then what? Ask someone for directions? No thank you.”

                “Why can’t I just hang out at the club? I’ll even pay to get in, at least I’d be doing something.” Reita was sure that this suggestion would never fly, with both Ayato and the owner of the club.

                Reita was shocked when Ayato told him the news; “You’re kidding? He said yes? What’s the catch?” Reita had a rough time believing this. “Like I said, don’t drink, don’t talk to me when I’m dancing. You can come tonight if you want…right now I’m going to eat, then I’m going to bed.”

 

                After Ayato introduced Reita to Angelo and the owner of the club, Reita chose a table away from the stage. With a glass of cola, Reita sat through the first shift of the dancers, really only watching once Ayato had started to perform. Reita was once again, captivated by the boy, Ayato was dancing for him and only him. There were a few customers up next to the stage that had been drinking heavily, to the point that Angelo had moved closer to the stage…just in case.

                One of the men was ogling Ayato intently…licking his lips as he watched the boy. He waved a twenty-dollar bill at Ayato, who then kneeled down on the stage, the man slipping the bill into the dancer’s shorts. Angelo was watching both men…Reita and the customer, ready to jump if there was a problem, thankfully there was not.

                As the evening passed, the dancers wore skimpier outfits with each shift, ending in something that was supposed to be a g-string, but was more like a piece of dental floss with lace attached.  One of the final dances of the evening was a group dance with four of the boys, Ayato being one of them, the Latin boy Leo, the surfer with the long hair and a very emo looking boy.

                Angelo moved to the side of the stage, these group dances sometimes got a little out of hand. The music was an energetic house mix, the boys grinding against each other. Reita’s cock twitched more than a few times while watching the boys, visions of Ayato under him that night in the hotel.

                The boys were just getting ready to kneel down for their tips, when the Latin boy Leo cried out, “THAT FUCKING HURT!” Standing up, Leo’s g-string was missing, the man in the front row waving it around, his buddies cheering him on, Leo’s hands were on his crotch, covering up what looked like a very serious scratch.

                Even before Angelo could move, Ayato pushed Leo behind him, reached over and snatched the panty out of the man’s hand. “DO NOT TOUCH THE DANCERS…ASSHOLE!” The man gaped at Ayato, reaching up he grabbed Ayato by the arm…pulling the boy down and slapping him. “Listen bitch, I’ll grab who I want…stupid cunt.” One of the man’s friends reached over and groped Ayato, “Hey he’s got a nice little boy pussy…come on little one, let’s play.”

                Ayato started swinging, screaming obscenities and spitting at them man who grabbed his crotch, the other boys jumped down into the fray like a cat fight. Even before Angelo could reach the boys, Reita was there, pulling men away from the boys on the ground, “GET THE FUCK OFF HIM!!” He’s screaming in Japanese. Angelo was right beside him, swinging on the man that had first touched Leo, Reita grabbing the man who groped the boy.

                Angelo grabbed the first offender and Reita the second, dragging them out to the parking lot. “Get the fuck out of here now, or I’m calling the cops. Don’t say another word, just leave.” The two men were about ready to say something, but their friends pulled them off and headed towards their cars, flipping everyone the middle finger.

                Angelo rushed back inside the club, looking for Leo and Ayato, finding them backstage. “Leo, are you hurt?” He held the young man by the shoulders, “No, just a scratch right up my thigh…I can use makeup to hide it.” Angelo turned to Ayato, “Ken?” Ayato waved him off, “I’m fine Angelo… what about Akira?” Angelo shrugged, then nodded his head towards the stage.

                Reita was sitting with a damp towel on his mouth, bloodstains showed that he had been hit at least once. He saw Ayato approaching, he stood and dropped the towel, walking up to Ayato, he grabbed the man in a tight hug, surprising the dancer, who slowly wrapped his arms around Reita’s waist.

                “Are you okay? He didn’t hurt you did he? Fucking bastard, is Leo okay?” Reita murmured into Ayato’s hair. Ayato just nodded, “Mmm, everyone’s fine. You’re bleeding.” Ayato pulled away. He reached up to caress Reita’s lip…it had been split. “Do you want some ice?” Reita shook his head, then slowly backed away. “Um…you’re not…” he looked down.

                Ayato was still in what was considered a ‘costume’ as much as a piece of thread and lace can be considered. “Yah? Like it?” Reita blushed, “Go get dressed, let’s go home.” Smiling at the older man, Ayato reached up and kissed Reita, carefully avoiding the split lip. “Okay, give me ten minutes.” Ayato turned and walked away, Reita swearing he was swishing his hips just to torment him.

                “Hey, Akira…Arigato.” Angelo was standing behind Reita. “You’re welcome.” Reita’s English was not as good as Angelo’s Japanese. “You learn Japanese?” Reita asked as Angelo handed him a beer. “Only two words, arigato, hentai,” Reita burst out laughing, “Thank you, pervert.” He replied in English. “Do I even want to know what this is about?” Ayato returned from the dressing room.

                “He said he knew two words in Japanese… thank you and pervert.” Reita grinned. Ayato laughed, “Angelo, I’ll teach you some words… just don’t throw hentai around too much.” The Uber ride was ready to go, Ayato and Reita waved at Angelo, getting in the car they went home.  

 

                 “Hey, I’m sure you’re sleeping since you guys performed last night. I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for missing your texts and phone calls. I had a few too many beers, and honestly I couldn’t hear much at the party. Will you please call me when you wake up? I love you.”

                Hiroto was dealing with some major guilt for missing all 28 texts and numerous calls from Die. On the way home from Yukke’s he thought about how Die must have felt…that perhaps Hiroto was ignoring him on purpose. Die was the insecure partner in their relationship, still not believing that someone like Hiroto could love him.

                Getting home and rushing through a shower, Hiroto called DCR. “Hi…could you do me a huge favor and tell me what the next stop is for Dir en Grey on their tour? Okay, great. Thank you!”

                “Ah, the advantages of working in the industry.” Hiroto smiled as he closed his phone, “Yus…now for the fun part.” Hiroto quickly got online, looking for the crucial information he needed, and sending out one more text.

                “Hi, it’s Pon. I need a huge favor…

               

                The first thing he did when he opened his eyes is pick up his phone. Reading the text message, he was unsure if he should call. Maybe Hiroto wanted to break up with him because he was clingy and overbearing, or that he wanted to break up because…well just because! But then he wouldn’t have said he loves me, he wouldn’t want me to call… if we were breaking up? “Die, for fucks sake, go call Pon. Please… I didn’t get any sleep last night with you muttering in your dreams. Just go call him.” Toshiya rolled over and put the pillow over his head.

                Die dressed quickly and went downstairs and out to the bus. Knocking on the door, the driver was surprised to see the musician. “Um, I just need to make a really private phone call…” The bus driver grinned, “Sure, I’ll just go get some coffee…take your time.”

                Going back to his bunk, Die laid down and took a deep breath before dialing the phone. “Hey babe…” Die tried to sound cheery.

                “Hi! I’m so sorry I missed all those texts! I totally was not ignoring you.”

                “I believe you, sometimes it’s too noisy and you can’t hear your phone. Did you have a good time?” Die sighed in relief…Pon wasn’t going to break up with him.

                “Yah, the concert was amazing, MUCC puts on a hell of a show.” Hiroto also sighed in relief, Die wasn’t mad either.

                “What are you doing today? You’re not hung over too badly are you?” Die spoke with Hiroto for almost an hour, finally with Hiroto having to finish, “I have some stuff I need to do today, if I don’t get started soon…I’ll be screwed.”

                Die promised to text him later in the day, he was trying so hard not to be the clingy girly-boyfriend. “I love you, Pon.”

                Hiroto closed his phone, he had gotten a text while speaking with Die.

                “Sure…what can I do for you?”

Chapter Text

              “What freaking episode are we on now?” Ayato asked, he and Reita were sitting on the couch, in track pants, binge watching Bleach. “Um.. 68? Isn’t this where we can start skipping filler episodes?” Reita looked online to check. “Um, skip up to 109.”

                There had been little said on the ride home from the club, the night before. The fight with the customers, Ayato being slapped and fondled, Leo being scratched badly,  and nothing said about Reita jumping in with Angelo to remove the unruly customers.

                Ayato had not told Reita that before the boy left for the night, the owner asked if “Akira” would like to be a back up bouncer for Angelo…he could pay Reita under the table, as the man was not eligible to work in the US.

                “We need food before we start watching again. I don’t want any arguments, I’m buying dinner tonight” Reita decided. “Okay…what do you want? We can do pizza, Chinese, Mexican…real Mexican not Taco Bell.” This was intriguing, “I haven’t had any Mexican food since we toured South America…that sounds good. But…we need to have at least one beer each…no vodka, just beer, ne?”

                Ayato raised an eyebrow, “Just one? Okay, both these places are within walking distance, get dressed…or at least put shoes on.”

                A quick fifteen-minute walk to the restaurant, a stop at a large liquor store for two bombers, “You said one beer each…” Reita frowned at Ayato. “This is one beer each, they just happened to be bomber sized beers.” Reita just shook his head and smiled, “You’re trying to get me drunk…to take advantage of me…again.”

                “AGAIN? Wait a minute, you took advantage of me first!” Ayato argued back. The playful banter lasted all the way back to the apartment, with Ayato announcing victory. “Wait? How did you win?” Reita shot back. “You’re living with me, aren’t you?”

                Sitting at the table, they divided up food, got glasses for the beer, “I don’t want to look like a huge alcoholic drinking this straight out of the bottle” Reita snarked. “Um, you were drinking vodka straight out of the bottle…” Ayato accused. “They were mini bottles! How else do you drink them?” Reita sat back, pouting.

                Reita had just raised his glass, when Ayato came out of left field, “Who’s Pon?” he asked casually. Reita spit his beer out, “WHAT?” Ayato got up for extra napkins. “Who’s Pon?”

                “How do you know about Pon?” Reita’s hand was shaking as he put down his beer. “I don’t, but you called out his name while we were fucking that night in the hotel. And I’ve heard you mutter his name in your sleep. Just wondering if I have competition or something.”

                Reita stared at the young man. “Competition? For what?” Reita was confused. “Just tell me who Pon is, then we’ll drop the conversation.” Ayato sat back down, handing Reita some napkins. “I really don’t want to talk about him” Reita was looking anywhere but at Ayato.

                “Okay, sure. I get it… so what episode is next? I’m going to go change into pajamas” Ayato got up, dumped his take-away in the trash and went to his room, closing the door. “Shit…he had to go and ruin everything” Reita groaned.

                It was obvious to Ayato that Pon was a sore subject with Reita…perhaps the reason he left Japan. Ex-boyfriend? “Probably” he whispered to himself.

                Going back into the living room, Reita was sitting on the couch, he had changed into pajamas as well. Picking up the remote, he turned on the TV and chose the next episode of Bleach.

                They sat in silence, both wondering about what the other was thinking, pretending to be interested in the ancient anime. Reita sighed, “Pon’s the reason I left Japan.”  Ayato turned off the TV, “It’s a sore subject, you don’t have to explain. I’m sorry I brought it up.”

                “No, you have a right to know…if I’m screaming his name while having sex with you, yah… you deserve to know.” Reita put down his beer, turning to face Ayato, he then proceeded to tell Ayato the whole story…and he surprised himself by telling the exact true story, with all his words and actions, his intent to rape Pon, and everything he had planned to do with the boy, before he left Japan with a mountain of self-loathing and guilt.

                “If you want me to leave, can you please just call me a cab or Uber, so I can get to a hotel?” Reita started to get up, Ayato reached for his hand. “I never said I wanted you to leave. Sit down and answer some questions.”  Reita sat back down but wouldn’t look the man in the eyes.

                “Pon must be someone special.”

                “No, not to me,” Reita replied

                “Then why go to such extremes, chase him so hard? Even if you would have caught him, would it had been that good? Or would it be just proving a point?” Ayato wanted the truth. “Proving a point,” Reita answered.

                “Okay, what’s the next episode?” Ayato turned the TV  back on, choosing the next episode to watch, completely ignoring Reita for the rest of the night.

                Two hours later, Ayato turned off the TV. Reita hadn’t spoken.  Ayato got up, “I’m going to bed. Good night,” Ayato leaned over and kissed Reita softly, then went straight to his bedroom, leaving Reita to struggle with his feelings and the confusing signals that Ayato was giving him.

 

                “Okay, five hours…would put me there just before the start…Kyo’s already moved his things, leave after first encore…shower…bed.” The plans Hiroto had made to surprise Die were in place…at least he hoped so. Calling the studio and asking for help had been the easy part, the actual executing of the plan was a little less so.

                “Shinya? It’s Pon, do you have a moment? I need your help in something I want to do for Die.”

                Having to arrange a different room for Kyo, getting the information to the man so he could move his things…was a little more complicated. Shinya had to talk to the vocalist on the sly, making sure that Die didn’t suspect anything. Getting on the guest list had been easier, with the manager wanting to know if he wanted back stage access, which he declined. “Are you sure, Pon? I mean you don’t want to see Die afterwards?”

                Being very vague, Hiroto assured the man that he didn’t need nor want Die to see him at the live. He would be watching the band from the back of the venue, wearing a cap to hide his blonde hair. It was after the concert was over, that Hiroto had to rush through things.

                Pulling into the venue parking lot, Hiroto was trembling in excitement. If the plan worked the way he wanted, Die would never have another doubt on how much his boyfriend loved him. Approaching the door, Hiroto gave his name, then made his way to the bar, choosing a spot nearby where he could see the stage but not be seen.

                Watching Dir En Grey perform live, Hiroto was mesmerized by the scene unfolding in front of him. It wasn’t just Die that he wanted to watch, every member was something singular, but blended. They played well with each other, no one member standing out over the other…except for Kyo. Kyo was the center, he was the fire that  the other members fed off of. Hiroto instantly went from someone who worked in the industry, to a fanboy within minutes.

                Holy shit… Die! Hiroto couldn’t stop watching his lover, who seemed to have changed personalities when he played. The soft spoken, goofy and insecure man, was replaced by a rock god, complete with tight pants and windblown hair. Hiroto even giggled, “Rock star.”

                The time went by so fast, that the first encore was starting, “Shit!” Hiroto made his way through the crowd and left the venue, racing over to the hotel to prepare. His phone buzzed in his pocket while he was in the elevator.

                “Hi! Just got finished!”

                “How was it? I’m surprised you’re done already.”

                “Fucking amazing, everything was spot on and the crowd was amazing.”

                “Is there an after party?”

                “Not tonight, I’ll text you once I get to the hotel and shower.”

                “Okay!”

               

                “Shit!! I forgot something in the bus, here’s the room key Die…I’ll be up in a minute.” Kyo stole a glance at Shinya, who winked.

                Die noticed nothing different, not that Kyo’s bag and other things were missing. He went straight into the shower, wanting to wash away the grime that comes with performing. He took his time…his hair took up the majority of his time in the shower. Stepping out, he took the extra towel and wrapped his long hair up into a turban, while he brushed his teeth, then took the towel off and started the long process of brushing out his hair.

                “Shit, I need to text Pon” He muttered as he opened the door to the bathroom. He was so caught up in his thoughts, that he didn’t see what was waiting for him on his bed.  

                “I don’t think you need to bother texting me.” Hiroto said seductively. Die’s head snapped up and his eyes went wide. “PON!” he gasped. “Why are you here? When?” moving quickly to the bed, Die sat down and pulled his young lover into his arms. “Surprised?” Die didn’t even answer, he went straight to the kissing.

                “Yah I’m surprised, why are you here?” Die smiled broadly. “I still feel bad about missing all those texts and your call, so I decided to drive down and surprise you.”  Die hugged Hiroto again, this time running his hands down the boy’s back, cupping his tiny ass. “Um, what about Kyo? He should be…” Hiroto shook his head, “Nope, he has his own room, it’s just us tonight.”

                Die quickly used the hair dryer, nothing worse than sleeping on a soggy pillow, then slid into bed with Hiroto. “I can’t believe you did this…I love you.” He kissed his lover. “I wanted to make sure you understand…there is no one other than you, period. I don’t want someone my age, I don’t care how good looking they are…it’s you. Has been ever since the night at the restaurant. I love you, Daisuke. Now less talking, more touching.” Die always did what his lover told him to do…all night.

 

                Sakurai Atsushi was zoning out at the studio, when he was supposed to be talking about the arrangement of a new song. Finally Imai had enough and punched his friend in the arm. “HEY!! Pay attention, Acchan. What the hell is wrong with you today?”

                “Hmm, oh…sorry. What were you saying? Slowing down the middle chorus?” Sakurai stared at the paper in front of him. “No, I was talking about dumping this song completely, which you never said a word about. What’s bugging you so much today?”

                 “What’s always bugging him…what’s different about today?” Toll sniped. Sakurai glared at Toll. “It’s been almost three months and there’s been no word…at least I don’t’ think there’s been any information…has there?” Sakurai looked at Yutaka.

                “We haven’t heard from her either, we’re just as worried as you are, but we don’t want to invade her privacy, or Uta’s.” Everyone was concerned, it was unnerving not to know what was going on with Uta, especially with the distance between his friends and the Netherlands.

               

                Sakurai and his friends were not the only one’s concerned about not hearing anything from Uta in what was going on three months. Mao specifically was having a difficult time dealing with his emotions, to the point that Taka had sent him home several times due to Mao’s small breakdowns on the job.

                On one particularly rough day for Mao, Tomo came to Taka, “Mao’s in the bathroom crying…what should we do, Taka?” Taka sighed and slouched back into his chair, his hands rubbing his face roughly. “I’ll deal with it Tomo, just go back to the counters…thanks for letting me know.” “

                “Mao, I need to speak to you please” Taka knocked on the door. “Give me a minute, Taka.” Mao washed his face, which did nothing for the swollen red eyes and snotty nose, but it was the best he could do for the moment.

                “Close the door and sit please.” Mao looked frightened. “You’re not losing your job, so stop looking like I just fired you.” Taka chided. “But this needs to be handled and I think you understand why. You’re becoming very unhealthy, Mao. You’re looking like shit and you can rarely get through a day without a breakdown of some sort. We need to talk about this now, then I want to talk to Kyo when he comes home.”

                “I’m sorry Taka…I don’t really know what’s wrong with me…I just can’t stop crying.” Mao’s tears started falling again. Taka leaned over and patted the man on the leg, “I’m pretty sure I know what’s wrong with you, only from experience; I think you’ve got clinical depression.”

                “How do you know?” The word depression scared Mao…he thought crazy people that talk to themselves and may hurt others. “I have clinical depression, I’ve had it for years, even before I knew Koichi, but I didn’t start treatment until after Sato and I were married the second time.”

                “How do you get depression? I mean like was I born with it?” Mao was woefully ignorant about the condition. “You can be pre-disposed, like if a family member has been diagnosed, but sometimes it’s a trauma that brings it on. I had a personal trauma, that once I got out of I thought I was good to go. But then all the shit that happened with Koichi, then Morrie…me and Sakurai, that set it off big time. Sato made me go to the doctor to figure it out, tried a few medications until I found one that worked.”

                “But I haven’t had any trauma…at least I don’t think so.” Mao was a little confused on the terminology. “You have had a trauma…your best friend is no longer in your life, that’s very traumatic. You haven’t spoken to Uta in months, you have no idea how he’s living…that would be a personal traumatic event,” Taka explained.

                “Okay, so what do I do? I can’t just like cheer up, do I need medication?” Mao was scared what Kyo would think.

                “Once Kyo gets home, I think you need to go to a doctor, speak to them…truthfully, and go from there. No, Kyo is not going to be mad or think less of you. If anything Kyo’s going to completely understand…you know how moody he can be, but he treats himself through his music and that’s what works for him.”

                Taka spent a little more time talking about the process of being diagnosed, tests and therapy sessions, then sent Mao back out to work the counters with Tomo. Thinking back to where he was five or six years ago, Taka was actually proud of himself. He had gone from being a victim of an abusive dominant, to finding Koichi and Sato, living through the hell he put himself with Sakurai, the Morrie attacks, and now Taka felt confident enough to be able to counsel Mao on what he thought the man should do. “You’re an adult now…never thought I’d say that to myself.” He muttered as he returned to the never-ending paperwork in front of him.

Chapter Text

               

                Sakurai laid on his couch staring at the ceiling, his mind thousands of miles away, in the Dutch city of Maastricht. “Uta baby…are you well? Are you happy?” Rolling onto his side, his hair falling over his eyes, a tiny tear escapes, dropping onto the soft suede fabric of the couch.

                He couldn’t stop thinking about his boy, the fear of not knowing anything about Uta’s condition, Sakurai’s confession had driven the young man to flee the country, a drastic reaction in most people’s eyes, but to Uta…that confession might as well have been a threat. Should he try to contact Davina just to ask about Uta’s health? Rolling over again, facing the back of the couch, Sakurai sighed, there was absolutely nothing he could do to help Uta other than staying away from him, not contacting Davina…leaving the boy out of his life forever.

 

                Half way around the world, a pale sickly boy lay on a fainting couch near a set of French doors that overlooked the ancient market plaza of Maastricht, the bells of the Basilica of Sint Servatius calling the faithful to mass. At the boy’s feet, a slender young Siamese cat was curled into a tight ball, nose tucked under his tail, in his lap the sister to the other, purring loudly as the boy stroked her soft fur.

                Uta was like this most days, moving from his bed to the couch…perhaps going downstairs to the pub for breakfast or dinner. If he woke in an unusually good mood, he walked the five minutes to the Basilica to sit in a pew with an older Dutch woman, not speaking, just listening to the sounds of the ancient church, his small cold hand warmed in hers.

 

                Josez never pushed Uta to speak to her about anything, they really didn’t need to speak, they understood each other and why they were there. What Josez wasn’t saying to Uta, she was saying to Davina and Yoji, expressing her concerns over the boy’s declining health.

                “He’s fading into nothing, Davina. He has little spark to his soul; his heart is near death as well…he has given up. You must find someone or something to put the life back into our boy.” Josez had whispered something to Uta one afternoon, while sitting in the great church. “Do you hate him so much?” Josez asked without looking at Uta. “I don’t know Oma,” Uta, didn’t have a true answer to the question that was now haunting him.

                His heart was in a constant battle with his mind, one trying to overrule the other. Give Acchan a chance…NO! Keep Sakurai away! The angel and demon on his shoulders were always at each other’s throat. This is what made giving up so much easier, to just wait until the end and have it done and over with.

 

                “He still wants to die…I can see him slipping away again.” Davina sat on the patio of the pub with Yoji, Marcel and Josez, trying to find a solution for bringing Uta back from near death.  “My love, I think the next step is calling Hide and Yutaka, they need to know what is happening. If we can not stop Uta…they need to be allowed to come to see him.” Yoji tightened his grip on Davina’s trembling hand.

                “These are the two men who love Uta as parents?” Josez remembered Davina speaking about the couple. “Ja Josez, they are also band members with the one that still loves, Uta, Sakura Atsushi.” Josez was quiet for a moment. “This is the one that competed with another for the love of a dead man. He may know what to say to Uta, in order for him to want to live. Is the former lover still alive?”

                Davina chuckled, “Very much so. He is the Andre Rieu* of Japan.” This got Josez’s attention. Yoji had quickly pulled up a picture of Yoshiki with Hide, handing the phone to the older woman. She gazed at the two pictures, putting on her glasses and staring intently at the images. “This one, he is the one who has passed, ja?” She pointed to Hide, Davina nodded. “I can see why he is so loved, not just by the one…but by the world. He was special, this one.” A single tear crept down Josez’s cheek, something that was not lost on Davina and Yoji.

                “This one, turmoil filled his life after the death of his lover…he has never recovered fully but has tried many times.” Josez handed Yoji his phone. “Bring Sakurai to Maastricht Davina,” the woman announced.

                Yoji looked at his lover, “You need to call Hide and Yutaka first. Then we will talk about calling Sakurai…I’m not sure this is the best course of action, but right now I’m willing to try anything…even being in the same room as that man.”

 

                Fumbling with time zones, Davina finally picked a time to call Japan. She waited, holding her breath as the phone rang. “Moshi Moshi?” Yutaka answered the phone.

Yutaka…do you have time to speak with me?”

Davina? Of course! Is it Uta? Please…is he…”

“It is Uta, and no…he’s not well. He’s slipping away from us again, Yutaka. Yoji and I are at a loss to how to help him.”  Davina was trying so very hard not to cry…but the tears were pushing to be released.

Oh, god no…Uta…” Yutaka moaned.

What do I do? I…how did Acchan help Yoshiki after Hide died? Was there anything specific that you can remember that he did? Did he force him into therapy?”

He spent a lot of time with Yo-chan, mostly watching the man to make sure he didn’t kill himself. Yo-chan was so very close to doing so, the man threw himself into his work, he stopped sleeping and would go for days before collapsing.”

Yutaka, do you think Acchan can help Uta?” Davina wasn’t hiding the tears anymore, it wasn’t possible. The question set Yutaka back on his heels, never expecting to hear the words Sakurai and help together in relation to Uta.

Davina…I, um…I don’t know. Uta doesn’t want to see Sakurai, he made that perfectly clear the last time they were together. Uta left the country to get away from Acchan…now you want him to help the boy?” Yutaka was concerned what Uta would want.

Yutaka, I’m desperate! He looks like he’s dying in front of me. He’s lost so much weight, he doesn’t eat or get out of bed some days. I’ll try anything, even using Sakurai to save my boy!”  Davina was now crying hysterically, which broke Yutaka’s heart.

Hello?” Yoji had taken the phone from Davina. “Yutaka-san, it’s Yoji. I’m not happy with the suggestion of Sakurai either, but I’m willing to look past that if he can help Uta. Davina was not exaggerating, Uta is slowly dying.”

Yoji, I can speak to Acchan about this, and wait for your decision, I’m sure the man would fly out tonight if needed. Talk with Davina, I will talk with Acchan…there will have to be some ground rules set…I’m not willing to injure Uta any further by letting Acchan see him. Call me when you decide…call me at any time.”  Yutaka closed his phone and walked down to the bedroom.

“Davina just called me, Uta’s dying” he said softly to his husband. “WHAT?’’ Hide sat up quickly. “What do you mean Uta’s dying, is the boy sick?” Yutaka shook his head, “It’s the grief, he’s given up completely. Davina asked me if we thought Acchan could help, since he helped Yoshiki when Hide-kun died.”

Hide got up to hug his lover. “Babe, let’s talk to Acchan and see what he says.” Yutaka leaned hard into Hide’s embrace. “Davina was hysterical, I ended up speaking with Yoji…he said Uta is slowly dying…it’s not just Davina being over reactive.” Hide led Yutaka to the side of the bed, “Get in, we’ll call Acchan first thing in the morning.” Yutaka nodded, “Davina and Yoji are going to think it over a bit longer, then call us. I’m sure Davina will send her jet for him. But I want to make sure there are ground
 rules for his behavior while he’s there!” Yutaka said definitely. Kissing his husband sweetly, Hide pulled Yutaka into his arms, holding him throughout a night of very restless sleep.

                               

                “Do we ask him? I know what the answer will be…he would leave the minute we asked, but is that what we need to do?” Yoji was unhappy at the thought of having Sakurai Atsushi anywhere near Uta. “I think we must, Josez made that perfectly clear. If we do nothing, he will be dead in a month. I’m willing to try anything, even risking Uta seeing Sakurai, to save him” Davina declared.

                “I want to be the one to call Sakurai.” Yoji strongly believed that Sakurai needed immediate boundaries set starting with the phone call. “There is no questioning that.”

                “Let me call Boh first, he will need time to get the jet ready.” Davina’s voice wavered. “Please tell Sakurai to be ready to leave immediately. Boh will call him once he is at the airport.” Yoji nodded. Gathering Davina in his arms, kissing her forehead, he tried to comfort the woman.

                “I’m going to check on Uta.” Davina kissed Yoji quickly, wiped her eyes and tried to put on a bright expression, before she opened the door. “Uta?” She peered in. The boy was in his normal spot on the fainting couch, covered with a blanket. Looking up, Luna chirped at Davina, “Yes dear…I know.” Davina stroked the beautiful cat’s head. Uta appeared dead…the only thing separating him from death was a shallow breath.

                “I have to do this, Uta-kun. You may hate me for it, but I’m willing to accept that if it keeps you living. I love you.” Davina leaned down and kissed her boy on the forehead.

 

                “Sakurai? Nagaharu. Please just listen before saying anything. Uta is dying, he has lost the will to live without Teiji, he is just waiting for death to take him. We need you to come to Maastricht as soon as possible. Davina will be sending her jet, you will be contacted by phone and told where to meet Boh. I must warn you…you will do exactly as I tell you, if I order you to leave, you will. I’m not totally happy with you being here, but we are trying everything to get Uta to live, you’re one of our last hopes.”

                “Thank you, Nagaharu. I understand completely and will follow your wishes. I will be ready when the phone call comes. Thank you.”

                Sakurai closed his phone…Uta is dying. Falling to his knees, he buries his head in the side of his bed and screamed…the sound echoing through out the house. “Uta… no please… you…”

                “Yutaka? Nagaharu. I’m sorry we didn’t get back to you, but we have decided to have Sakurai fly to Maastricht. No, I just spoke to him so there is no need. True, I understand…yes, I will, Davina will call you in a few days to let you know how Uta is doing. Thank you.”

 

                “I just called Yutaka and told him about bringing Sakurai here. All he wants is an update sometime in the next few days. How was Uta?” Yoji opened his arms, folding his lover into a comforting embrace.

                “He was sleeping, he looks like he is already dead. Luna is worried, she wouldn’t even come to me, Saki has not moved from his spot since yesterday. I worry for the cats as well, they know Uta is sick.” Davina looked worn and tired…the stress was starting to take its toll. “Come, let’s go downstairs and have a light dinner, a cup of coffee and some vla. We need to discuss how we will approach Uta once Sakurai is here.”

                Taking Davina by the hand, Yoji led her downstairs, catching Marcel’s eye and nodding. Even before they sat down, Marcel had two coffees on the table. “Davina, I am making soup today, you will have some!” Marcel said gruffly. “Yes Marcel…I will.” With a sharp nod, Marcel went back into the pub.

                Marcel came out with soup for two, taking a seat with the couple. “Have you called the man?” he asked. “Yes, we spoke to him today, he will be here sometime tomorrow.” Yoji nodded. “I want to see this man…before he speaks with Uta. Josez said the same, we wish to question his man. I do not want him upsetting the boy!” Marcel said in Dutch. Looking at Davina, Yoji really didn’t need a translation.

                “Ja, Marcel, je zult tegen hem praden” Davina answered. “Marcel says that he wants to speak to Sakurai himself, I told him yes of course he can.” Marcel sat back, arms crossed over his chest. “I do not like this, Davina!”

                “Marcel, we have to try everything…the next step is the hospital.” Yoji assured the man. The couple finished their meal, leaving to go upstairs to see Uta again and try to bribe him to drink some of the nourishing soup.

 

                “Acchan?” There was no answer at the man’s door, so using their key, Hide and Yutaka entered their friend’s home. “He’s probably in his room,” Hide guessed. Walking down the hall they hear what sounds like crying, “Acchan?” Hide pushed the door open a bit. “I’m busy Hide…I have to pack.” Sakurai’s voice was shaking, breaking up between sobs. “He’s dying and I have to go. I have to go now…if I don’t…” Sakurai stopped, turning he sat on the bed, face in his hands, silent sobs shaking his body.

                “You do what you can, Acchan. I don’t know that it will work, he’s still very angry with you or at least he was when he left. Things may be different now…he may be past the point of caring if you’re there or not. This is a good thing! You can heal your heart and try to heal his. You’re not Teiji…but you will be there for him.” Yutaka sat down next to Acchan.  

                “You must listen to Davina and Yoji’s wishes, Acchan. Davina will shut you out just as fast as she asked you in. Yoji is no different, he holds a lot of animosity towards you and is very protective of Davina and Uta.” Hide cautioned the man. “You follow instructions to the letter. If they ask you to leave… you must leave right then!”

                “I know, I will do what ever they ask of me, I’m praying that it works, it has to work! If he dies… I won’t…I,” Sakurai couldn’t finish the thought, it was to terrible to speak aloud.

                “When will the plane be here?” Hide now was helping Yutaka straighten the bedroom, clothes that were on the floor were picked up, sorted and put away. “I’m not sure, sometime perhaps in the middle of the night. I know that Davina’s man Boh will be calling me, could you take me to the airport? I don’t want to take a cab.” Acchan’s voice had gotten small and quiet.

                “You needn’t really ask, call me when you need to go, I’ll be here in a few minutes.” Hide patted the man on the shoulder. Yutaka cocked his head to the side, watching Sakurai. “Davina asked me a few questions, that you may need to think about during the flight.”

                “She asked me what you did for Yoshiki to keep him from killing himself after Hide-kun died. I’m going to place a bet, she will ask you the same questions. I know it’s difficult to think about that, but you must remember if there is anything you did, that could help Uta.”

                Hide and Yutaka stayed a while longer, making a list of things they needed to do for Acchan while he was gone, assuring him that the house would be looked after and that when Boh called, they would be there within minutes. “Make sure to tell Toll and Imai what’s happening, but nobody else, please.”

                Sakurai couldn’t sleep that night, going through a constant mental checklist of things he needed to do and things that he needed to say to Uta. He was certain that the boy would be resentful of him being there, even more so when he finds out Davina asked him to come. Finally, around midnight, Sakurai fell into a restless dream filled slumber, one ear open for the sound of his phone.

 

                “Boh-san, we will be arriving at Narita in about twenty-minutes, is there anything you require of me while I wait for your return?” The pilot had stepped back to speak with Davina’s agent. “No, just that the plane is refueled and ready to go. I doubt it will take more than two hours to retrieve Sakurai-san and return. Stock the galley as you normally would. Thank you.”

                Boh put his seat up, grabbed his bottle of water and wake fully from the long nap he had taken during the flight. He had been surprised when Davina called him, and became very concerned…no he was scared to death, when Davina told him what she needed him to do.

                “I need you to fly to Tokyo and pick up Sakurai Atsushi and bring him back to Maastricht.” Davina’s voice had an edge to it that Boh had never remembered hearing before. “Mistress, what’s wrong…” He asked carefully. “Boh, Uta’s dying…he’s given up, he says he can no longer live without Teiji. Sakurai is our last hope, if this does not work, then Uta will be placed in a hospital, although I don’t know what they can do for him.”

                “Will Uta be safe with Sakurai? I know they share an uncomfortable history, but I understand the need to try anything. I will be leaving in approximately an hour and a half. Text me his number and I will call him as soon as we land. The jet will be refueled and we should be back late tomorrow or early the next day. Do you need anything else from me?” Boh was going through what he had to do, methodically in his mind.

                “No, my dear Boh, just bring Sakurai here and pray that it helps, if it doesn’t, you may be flying home with an empty plane, but returning with friends and family for a funeral.”

 

Image result for babymetal boh Bassist BOH, (BabyMetal Kami Band)

Chapter Text

 

                “How long is the flight?” Sakurai asked Boh as the jet pulled away from the hanger. “About eighteen hours, depending on the wind. We stop in Amsterdam to refuel, it’s about an hour to Maastricht. Is there anything I can get you, Sakurai-san?”

                Once the phone call had come, that Boh was at Narita with Davina’s jet, Sakurai had jumped out of bed, called Hide and then took a quick shower. The drive to the airport was quiet, Yutaka only reminding Sakurai to stick to his promises and to ask Davina to call him after Sakurai had spoken to Uta.

                Dropping Sakurai off, both Hide and Yutaka got out of the car and hugged their friend, “Be careful with Uta, please Acchan. Help him if you can, help Davina cope with her grief if the boy…” Yutaka couldn’t finish, instead just hugged Acchan tighter.

                Sakurai boarded the small jet, took his seat and settled back as comfortable as his tension and anxiety would let him. He had a long flight ahead of him, plenty of time to go over what he would say to Uta when he finally saw him.

                Sakurai dosed off and on all through the flight, having a small snack and a glass of wine, hoping that it would calm his nerves…it didn’t. Instead he worried more, each hour that passed, each mile that was flown. He must have dosed off again, when the flight attendant tapped him on the shoulder. “Sakurai-san, we will be landing in Amsterdam in about fifteen minutes, could you ready yourself please?”

                Sakurai stowed his things, put his seat up and looked out the window. It was a typical fall early morning in the Netherlands; a soft mist covering the grassy knolls that wove in between the runways, the air heavy with moisture.

                The short taxi to the fueling area, the refueling of the small jet took less than an hour. “We should be in Maastricht in about forty-five minutes Sakurai-san, it is only a twenty-minute drive to the city.” Boh bowed and returned to his seat.

                Once on the ground at the small airport, Sakurai’s stomach tightened. Peering out the tiny window, he sees a sleek Mercedes parked at the private hanger, and a man standing next to it. Once the plane stopped, he rose from his seat, grabbed his bag and went down the the stairs.

                “Nagaharu…” Sakurai bowed deeply. “Sakurai-san, I wish I could say I was happy to see you, perhaps under different circumstances that may be the case…not today however.”

                Sakurai could feel the disapproval from Nagaharu flooding the space around him. Acchan knew that he needed to tread lightly and carefully, the man was fiercely protective of Davina and of Uta. “Come…let’s not waste any time.” Leading Sakurai to the waiting car, the two men started the short drive to In Den Ouden Vogelstruys, where Davina was waiting.

                The car pulled up in front of the pub, Davina standing out front with another man and an older woman. This is it Sakurai…don’t fuck this up. Getting out of the car, Sakurai went straight to Davina, bowing deeply from the waist and holding it as he spoke, “Davina…Mistress, I humbly thank you for calling me here, I want nothing more than to assure you that all I am here for is to keep Uta from dying, I expect nothing else from the boy, or from you.” As he stood up, he saw that Davina was trembling…taking a step forward, Davina smiled sadly. “Acchan…” she whispered, then walked into the man’s arms. “Please…Acchan…help Uta, I don’t care what you say or how you do it, save my boy, please.” Davina whispered.

                Stepping back, Davina held out her hand to her friend…that’s how she had to look at Sakurai now…he was Acchan…her long time friend and associate. “Acchan, this is Marcel,” Sakurai bowed to the man, who wasn’t impressed. “I will be watching you, sir.” He said in English. Sakurai nodded, he understood exactly what the man was implying.

                “You are Sakurai Atsushi?” The older woman approached. “Yes ma’am.” Sakurai replied in English. Josez nodded. “We’d like to speak to you first, before you see Uta” Davina said. Marcel led them to a large table in a darkened corner of the pub, a more private area away from the general dining room.

                Marcel gave them each a cup of coffee, and stood at the head of the table. “Stollen, Davina?” He asked, “Yes please Marcel, that would be lovely.”

Davina sighed as she looked at Sakurai. “I hope you can help us, Acchan. I have to warn you before you see Uta…he already looks very close to death. His appearance is shocking to say the least. If seeing you today does nothing…then I will be putting Uta in hospital, a psychiatric hospital. It will be against his will, but I do believe I can order this to be done. He is not within his sound mind to refuse treatment.”

                “You must do what is best for Uta, there is no questioning that Davina. If I have no effect on him, I would expect you to do no less than that. I hope that I can help you avoid having to make that decision.” Sakurai looked down at his coffee.

                “I’m still very surprised that you called, that you even thought that I may help the boy, due to all our other past issues. He hates me Davina, he’s told that to me time and time again, he’s told Yutaka and Hide…everyone knows that as fact. So why ask me to come?” Sakurai Atsushi was genuinely confused. Before Davina could answer, Josez reached across the table, covering Sakurai’s hand with hers.

                “You love the boy, ja?” She asked softly. “Yes, I do…a great deal, I have never stopped loving Uta from the moment I saw him.” Josez nodded. “You have changed because of Uta…you are not the man you were before.” Sakurai looked to Davina and Yoji, “She knows about Yoshiki and Hide-kun, we have told her your story…yours and Uta’s.” Davina said quietly. “Here me when I say this Acchan, Josez is the Ojisan of the Netherlands…it is no laughing matter, this is no joke. What I’m saying is serious.”

                Sakurai looked at Josez, a small smile playing on his lips. “You know me well then, Josez?” Josez blushed at the smile, “I know in your heart that you love the boy beyond anyone you ever have before, even more than Yoshiki.” Josez replied.

                Marcel returned with fresh coffee and stollen, “Eat first…then we will go to see Uta.” Davina laid her hand on Sakurai’s arm. “I hope that you can help save my boy, Acchan.”

 

                “I want to see Uta, first” Josez told Davina. “Come and translate for me please.” Davina nodded. Entering the room, they found Uta on the fainting couch, looking out the French doors, both cats sleeping closely.

                “Oma?” Uta was surprised to see the older woman. “Josez want’s me to translate for her, Uta.” Davina told the boy as she leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to the boy’s forehead.

                “I want you to listen and say nothing. You are dying by your own hand, Teiji would be angry with you, he would not agree to this. You have many reasons to live, and none to die for. It is selfish what you are doing to yourself and your family. If you die, think of the others for a moment. The couple that love you as their child, the small man and his husband. The boys you work with, and mostly…think of Davina.” Josez waited while Davina translated, her voice catching at his death and how it would affect the others.

                “One who loves you is here, listen closely, let him speak. Believe in what he says, it is in truth that he speaks.” Josez stood up and kissed Uta on the cheek. “Schatje, you must live.”  Davina kissed Uta once again then left the room.

                “Please be gentle, Acchan” Davina asked. Sakurai smiled wanly, “I will, I promise.”

 

                Taking a deep breath, Sakurai knocked then opened the door. What Sakurai Atsushi saw at that moment almost made him break down completely. A pale boy, with dark circles under his eyes, much like a terminally ill patient. Uta was looking out the window, two small Siamese cats laying next to him.

                “Uta” Sakurai gasped. Uta turned slowly, barely noticing that it was Acchan. “Hello Uta,” Acchan was frightened, does he approach the boy?

                “I figured it was you that Josez was talking about.” Uta said weakly. Sakurai pulls a chair closer to the fainting couch. Luna does not move from Uta’s pillow, Saki gets up and stretches, looks at Acchan and jumps into the man’s lap, places his paws on the man’s chest and stretches up to touch noses. Satisfied with whatever he sensed, Saki returned to the couch, curling up against Uta’s tummy.

                “Your babies are beautiful, what are their names?” Acchan spoke softly. “This is Luna, that’s Saki, Kyo gave them to me.” Uta’s voice was dull with weakness, his breathing had slowed considerably.

                Acchan looks at his boy. “Uta, tell me why, please?”

                “Why what?” Uta returns to looking out the windows.

                “You’re dying, you want to die…why?” It was difficult for Acchan to hold back, to sit calmly, wanting to scoop the boy up and take him to hospital.

                “It doesn’t matter anymore, I don’t care about living, it’s pointless.”

                “What about your friends, your family? They will be devastated, Hide and Yutaka, Davina, Kyo and Mao, Taka and Koichi. They’re all your family and your friends…everyone will be inconsolable, I will be as well…” Acchan’s voice was shaky.

                “It won’t hurt for long, they’ll be fine after a few months.” Uta turns his head and looks at Acchan. “Why are you even here?”

                “To be the one to beg, grovel, to plead… anything to get you to live.”. Uta looks away again.

                “Why do you care so much? I’ve said things to you that are unforgivable. I wished you dead, I blamed you for something that you didn’t do. I told you I hated you, you said you’d leave me alone forever, yet here you are…half way around the world.”

                Acchan said nothing, stood up and walked to Uta, sitting on the side of the couch. Gently picking up Luna and placing her on the floor, Acchan looked at Uta.

                Before Uta had time to react and protest, Acchan leaned in and wrapped his arms tightly around Uta, drawing the boy to his chest.

                “Let me go, Sakurai! Now!” Uta struggled weakly.

                “No, I will not.” Acchan kissed Uta on the head.

                “Leave me alone!” Uta tried to wiggle out of Acchan’s grip, thrashing around.

                “No, I will not.” Another kiss.

                “DAVINA! YOJI! HELP ME! Stop it!” Uta managed to scream. The door slams opened, both cats scrambling away, Davina lunges towards Uta, Yoji grabbing her arm and pulling her out of the room. “No, let them be” Yoji said quietly as he shut the door again. After five minutes, Uta stopped struggling, too weak to continue. Acchan laid his cheek on Uta’s head.

                “I love you Uta, until my dying breath. I was willing to lose you to Teiji, he was a wonderful man with a beautiful soul. He loved you so much, he gave his life to protect you and Davina.”

                Acchan felt Uta’s body stiffening, “I would be much happier if you were still in his arms, married to him forever. But that’s not how things turned out.” Uta starts to sob, “Teiji…Teiji!”

                Acchan rocks the boy, murmuring soft soothing sounds as the boy fell apart in his arms.

                Uta slid his thin arms around Acchan’s back, clutching the man’s shirt in his fists, sobs wracking his thin tiny frame.

                ‘ACCHAN! IT HURTS… IT HURTS SO BAD! MAKE IT STOP…I WANT TO DIE! PLEASE…ACCHAN I WANT TO DIE…MAKE IT STOP HURTING…PLEASE ACCHAN!” Uta wailed.

                “No baby, you need to live, live for Davina, for Hide and Yutaka. Live for Kyo and Mao, Taka and Koichi, live for your friends…live for yourself…live for me.” Acchan whispered into Uta’s ear. Uta was wailing, calling for Teiji to come and get him.

                “Acchan…why…why does it hurt so bad! Make it stop Acchan…I can’t do this anymore, please…just let me die.” Uta cried into Acchan’s chest.

                “No Uta, I will not do that. I will do whatever I have to, to keep you alive. You may hate me even more after this, but I can live with that, as long as you are alive.” Acchan nuzzled Uta’s hair, his tears flowing freely.

                Uta’s sobs slowly subsided, his body finally going limp, his hands dropping. Acchan carefully laid Uta back on the couch, watching the boy breathe. The door slowly opens, a loud chirp and Luna ran into the room, jumping on Uta, licking his face frantically. Saki jumped into Acchan’s lap, looking up at the man, “He’s okay Saki, I promise.” Acchan stroked the soft fur of the small cat. Saki jumped off of Sakurai’s lap, laying down next to Uta, curling into a ball and closed his eyes.

               

                The next few days were rough for all involved. Josez was going in between the Basilica and Davina’s flat, lighting candles every day. Marcel had his kitchen going well into the evenings, making sure that everyone had at least one decent meal a day. Marcel had also helped Sakurai find a hotel, one that stood behind Sint Servatius, a ten-minute walk from the pub.

                Davina and Acchan looked like hell, Yoji telling them as much, several times a day. “You both need to sleep! You will do Uta no good if you’re both sick. Acchan, go back to your hotel, do not return for at least ten hours! You need to rest!”  Yoji had stopped calling Acchan by his last name the day after the emotional scene between the man and Uta.

                “I trust you, I had problems learning to do so, but I do trust you now. I believe as Davina does, that you do love Uta. What happens after this…I don’t know.” Yoji told Acchan when the two men were sitting on the patio, enjoying a beer. “I’ve ever only had his best health in mind, I may not have shown or proved it, but I do sincerely love Uta with everything I have. I will never harm that boy again, even if it means I never speak to him.” This time, Yoji believed Acchan.

 

                “Acchan, tell me why you didn’t want me to have my own flat? You never really gave me a reason.” Uta and Acchan had started talking, Sakurai bringing the boy lunch, coaxing him downstairs for coffee. Sakurai resolved to give Uta the 100% truth in his answers.

“I was scared that you would leave me, I wanted to posses you, I would have tried to talk you into letting me collar you, even though I knew that was the last thing you wanted. What I wanted mattered more than your wishes.” Sakurai hung his head, having a hard time looking Uta in the eyes.

“Even when I told you I loved you, that I didn’t want to break up, you still couldn’t believe me.” Uta was also resolved in being honest with Sakurai. “I loved you so much, so much that you could have convinced me to be collared. You were everything to me…then you…” Uta stopped.

“I guess I should thank you…because of you, I was able to meet Teiji.” This was the start of a difficult dialogue that both men needed to have. Uta explaining his feelings when he thought Sakurai was responsible for Teiji’s death, Sakurai having to face his feelings of control and of failure. Both men usually ended up crying at some point in the conversations, but laughter was also starting to be heard.

Uta seemed to be slowly recovering, he didn’t speak of wanting to die, but he also was not eating. “Let’s go downstairs, Marcel says he has your favorite meal waiting for you.” Davina said one afternoon. Usually Uta refused, this day he agreed, sending a small thrill through Davina’s body.

With Yoji steadying Uta on the stairs, the little family made their way to the patio. It was a bright day, with a hint of winter in the air, Uta bundled up more than should be reasonable, but with the weight loss, the boy chilled easily. Waiting on the patio for Uta were Josez and Sakurai, both smiling broadly when they saw the fragile boy coming through the door.

“Schatje, hoe gaat het met je?” She asked the boy, “Ik ben in orde” Uta answered in surprisingly good Dutch. Josez laughed and clapped her hands. “Goed Schatje, goed!” Sakurai looked at Uta with some amazement. “What were you saying?” Josez winked at Sakurai, “Our secret,”

“Alsjeblieft, Uta” Marcel set a plate of kroketten and frites in front of Uta. “Oh! Dank je, Marcel!” All of these interactions were not lost on Sakurai, “What does Schatje mean?” he asked Davina. “Little treasure… more or less. It’s a term of endearment that parents use with their children or grandchildren. Josez has used it since the day she met Uta.”    Sakurai had been told about the odd pairing of Josez and Uta, how they met in the great Basilica.

                “Davina? Please tell Uta that we need to take Acchan to Sint Servatius soon. The man must visit the church, it is important.” Josez asked Davina. “Important Josez? Why?” Davina couldn’t think of a reason for Sakurai to visit the church. Josez didn’t answer, she just smiled softly, which to Davina meant it was one ‘those’ things.

                The day came when Uta felt up to going to Sint Servatius with Josez, Sakurai coming along. The day dawned bright and frigid, December on the Maas river was cold and damp. Bundled up in an oversized coat, with a hat and gloves, the odd trio made their way across the plaza to the Basilica.

                Entering the church, Sakurai stopped and gasped. “Oh my god, this is amazing! It’s beautiful Uta! Now I know why you spend so much time here.” Uta smiled, “I love the Basilica…I find peace here, it’s where I can talk…” Uta’s voice trailed off. “Let’s go to the museum” He smiled at Sakurai, “Show me the way.” Sakurai made a grand sweeping gesture.

                Josez went to sit in her normal pew while Uta gave Sakurai the full tour of the religious relics and treasures that were housed in the Basilica. “Bone? Gall stones? Ew, they keep weird memorabilia of their leaders, don’t they?” Uta giggled, “It gets weirder.”  The giggle went straight to Sakurai’s heart, he never thought he would hear the beautiful sound of his boy’s laughter.

                Uta was looking a little tired and listless as they walked back into the chapel, finding Josez sitting in her pew. They slid next to the woman, sitting quietly for a time. A huge sound startled the trio, when someone started to play the great pipe organ. The tune was a classical piece, not religious.  Sakurai turned to look in wonder at the beautiful organ. “It’s huge!” he whispered.

                Josez looked at Uta, ‘Schatje?” Sakurai turned and looked at the boy. “Uta, let’s go back, you look tired…this has been a long day for you.” Uta nodded, “I have a bit of a headache, I’d like to take a nap.” They made their way out of the Basilica and across the plaza towards the pub, Uta’s hand in Josez’s.

                Uta felt weird, his vision was a little foggy, he stumbled and almost fell, Sakurai catching him at the last moment. “Careful Uta…” the boy nodded. They walked a dozen or more steps…Uta stopped for a moment, took another step and fell to the pavement.

                “UTA!” Sakurai screams, Uta is convulsing on the ground violently with a seizure, “DAVINA!” Sakurai screams. “Uta, baby…I’m right here…it’s okay… MARCEL!!” Josez runs ahead, yelling for Marcel to call an ambulance, yelling for Davina, “Davina, the boy!”

                Davina looks out to the plaza, seeing Sakurai hunched over Uta, who’s on the ground. “Davina… he’s having a seizure!” Josez says sharply. “Uta…” Davina groans as she rushes to the boy’s side. “Uta…Acchan what happened?” Sakurai has Uta in his arms, holding the boy carefully. “I’m not sure, he said he had a headache, then he stumbled, then fell…Davina…I don’t know!”

                Sakurai picks Uta up and runs towards the pub, Marcel on his cell phone and already in the distance the sounds of sirens. Uta’s seizure lessens slightly, his eyes are rolled back into his head. “Uta, baby… come on…wake up for us…open those beautiful eyes of yours.” Sakurai is murmuring to the boy, Davina is in Yoji’s arms, trembling.

                The ambulance arrives, Marcel tells the attendants what was happening. Carefully placing Uta onto a stretcher and strapping him down, he is loaded onto the ambulance, Davina goes with the boy, holding his hand.

                As the ambulance pulls away, Marcel grabs Yoji and Sakurai, “Hospital” he says. He leads the men to a car parked behind the pub, pushing the men into the car, Marcel shouts at his sons to keep the pub open.

                Arriving at the hospital, Marcel speaks to a nurse at the desk, she points down the hall. They are directed to a family waiting area, other families with similar looks on their faces are in the room. Finding a quiet corner, the three men sit and wait for a doctor, or Davina or anyone that can tell them what is happening with Uta. It was going to be a long night.

 

Image result for pipe organ in sint servatius The Pipe Organ at Sint Servatius. 

Chapter Text

 

                The kiss confused Reita…the comment about competition between Ayato and Pon, the weird vibe while watching Bleach. All of it was almost too much for Reita to handle at once, Ayato not speaking to him for the remainder of the night, then kissing him good night…what the fuck did that mean?

                The one thing that was clear to Reita, is that he had to apologize to Pon. He could feel the guilt building once Ayato asked him if Pon was special, and he was harassing the boy to prove a point. What was the point? Was Pon right when he accused Reita of thinking he could fuck whomever he wanted because he was ‘Gazette Reita’? In his gut, Reita knew the answer…yes, he thought because of who he was, that Pon would just beg to have sex with Reita, and it annoyed him when the boy wouldn’t just say yes.

 Reita shrovled around on the couch for close to two hours before sleep would claim him, even then, his dreams were filled with flashes of Pon and Ayato. He woke several times during the night, sweating and chilled. “Shit…” he muttered to the dark.

 

Reita was dead to the world, only brought back to life with the smell of coffee brewing. “Hey… want some coffee?” Ayato asked coolly. “That would be nice, thank you.” They were both walking on egg shells, Ayato not wanting to bring up Pon, Reita not wanting Ayato to bring up Pon… they needed a Pon free zone.

“Uh, can I borrow your laptop for a few minutes today? I need to contact someone, but I don’t want to call.” Reita asked hesitantly. “Sure, I have to go shopping this morning, I need a few things for work.” Ayato was confident that what he had said to Reita the night before had sunk in.

Watching Reita sitting on the couch, Ayato was torn…on the one hand, he liked ‘Akira’, he was funny and sexy as hell, he wasn’t so sure he liked ‘Reita’…that man was pompous and arrogant with a shit attitude. “My laptop is on my bed, I need to get in the shower.” Ayato patted Reita on the head as he walked by. “Okay, thanks.”

Grabbing the laptop from the bedroom, Reita paused a moment, looking around the room. A worn-out teddy bear sitting on Ayato’s pillow, his pajamas on the bed. He could hear the man in the shower, taking a chance he picked up Ayato’s pajama top, put his face in it and breathed deeply.

                Throwing the pajamas down, “You’re a sick fuck Aki…asshole.” He growled. Picking up the laptop, Reita walked into the kitchen. Ayato came out of the bathroom, holding the towel in front of him, but heaving his wet bare ass showing, just enough of a tease for Reita’s cock to twitch.

                Shaking his head clear, Reita went to the DCR website and into the employee section. Looking for Pon’s name, he clicked the link and pulled up the email. “What do I say?” Reita’s fingers hovered over the keyboard…waiting for the word from his brain to start typing.

                “Pon, I know it’s too little, too late, but I want to apologize for everything that I’ve put you through since you started working as our intern. I went way out of bounds with my behavior. I’m not asking you to forgive me…but I would like to talk to you when I get home.             

                Reita.

                Closing out of the site, Reita leaned back in his chair, rubbing his face furiously with his hands, “Fuck” he sighed.

                “Fuck what?” Ayato emerged from the bedroom, fully clothed…with a sly smile on his face, he knew exactly what having his bare ass showing, did to Reita.

                “I just emailed Pon, I apologized but I need to do more. I’ll meet with him when I get back.” Reita honestly wanted to put all of this bullshit behind him. “Well, it’s a start anyway you look at it, hope it helps.” Ayato offered.

                “Do you want to go with me shopping? I have to go into Hollywood…it might be fun.” Ayato wanted to spend time with Akira…not Reita. “Sure…do I have time to shower?” Reita got up, “Yep, no hurry, I don’t have to be into work tonight until 9.”

 

                Riding the bus into Hollywood, the couple chatted about mundane things, “Leo is newer… but Rob the surfer guy…he’s been there a few years. He’s hot as hell, but totally not my type.” Ayato gave Reita the rundown of the dancers he worked with. “What is your type if he’s not it? You’re right, he’s hot as shit…” Reita fished. “Well, I kinda like the gruff type, not afraid to get dirty or nasty…you know…” Ayato wasn’t even going to give Reita the satisfaction of saying that he was Ayato’s type.

                “Oh, so someone like um…Sakurai Atsushi?” Reita picked someone randomly. “Oh god…he’s fucking hotter than hell! Have you met him?” Ayato turned in his seat, facing Reita. “We’ve met several times, he knows who I am, but we’re not like friends, more like colleagues or peers.” He didn’t want to sound like he was bragging.

                “Is he as fucking hot in person as he is in videos? That song Romance? I could jerk off to that every damn day!” Ayato pretended to swoon, fanning his face with his hand. “Oh please… stop.” Reita rolled his eyes. “What?  He’s hot!” Ayato giggled. “Oh, this is our stop!”

                “Welcome to Freak Street…also known as Hollywood Blvd. On your left, you see the neighborhood drunks, fresh off last night’s bender, sleeping in their natural habitat…the gutter! But not just any gutter! The property in front of that liquor store is prime real estate!” Ayato kept the running commentary on the various aspects of Hollywood Blvd, while walking to the shop.

                “Here we are!” Pulling the door open, Reita stepped into the famous Fredericks of Hollywood Lingerie store. “Wait…you’re joking right? I’m not going in there!” Reita was blushing furiously. “Aww, Akira…come on! It’s fun!” Grabbing Reita by the hand, Ayato dragged the man inside the store.

                “Okay, just sit here while I try on some things…maybe I’ll give you a little fashion show if you’re good.” Reita looked around, thankfully the store was fairly empty. Ayato walked around, grabbing things he wanted to try, then speaking with the sales associate, grabbed a dressing room right in front of where Reita was sitting.

                “Don’t look until I tell you!” Ayato shook his finger at the man. “Fine…let’s just get your stuff and go.” This was not where Reita wanted to be. “Ready?” Ayato called out. “Yah. I’m ready.”

                Opening the door and stepping out, Reita gasped at what Ayato was wearing; a pair of red PVC, lace up the back leggings, with a very tiny pair of briefs under and no shirt. “What do you think? You like them?” Ayato turned around, bending over in front of Reita.  “Um…yah, those are uh…nice.” Reita whispered. “Nice? That’s all…just nice?” Ayato pouted. Reita leaned forward, “What do you want me to say? We’re in public!” he hissed. “Fine… should I buy them?” Reita just nodded. “Okay… wait I have more.” Reita groaned, his cock was already half hard just from the leggings…what the hell was he going to do if the next outfit was better?

                “Okay, close your eyes!” Ayato called from the dressing room. He came out wearing the same red lace up leggings, but had now paired it with a cute waist cincher. “Okay…what do you think?” Reita opened his eyes, “Fuck….” He whispered. Ayato smiled, that was the effect he was going for. “Please…no more…I’m not going to be able to walk!” Reita begged. “Should I get this too?” Reita just nodded. “Yay! Okay…I’m done trying on things, give me one second.”

                Reita was starting to sweat a little, his cock was making his pants uncomfortably tight. “Okay… I’m done, I just need to pick out some panties.” Ayato held out his hand, Reita looking up with an odd expression. “Come on! Get up already!” Ayato stomped his foot like a three-year-old.

                Reita was dragged around the store, being asked for his opinion on which panties would look best on the younger man, all the while his cock stiffening even more. “Ayato…I need to um… this is getting to be…uh…” Reita stammered, then glanced down at his pants. “Oh! Well isn’t that special!” Ayato laughed. “I’m done tormenting you, let’s go grab something to eat. I have somewhere special to take you!”

                Walking down Hollywood Blvd was quite the experience for Reita; people randomly shouting, the Hare Krishna’s singing, the punks sitting in front of the record store, and the tourists with their camera’s (even Japanese tourists) in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The tourists seemed to ignore the dirt and the grime, the hidden underbelly of the street didn’t come out until after dark.

                “Okay…we’re here!” Reita looked around, seeing only a long line in front of a tiny food stand. “Uh…and this is?” Ayato punched him in the shoulder softly. “Pink’s Hotdogs! It’s famous! Movie stars and musicians come here all the time…but everyone has to stand in line…doesn’t matter who you are.”

                The line moved quickly, taking only fifteen minutes until they ordered, Reita letting Ayato choose for him, since he didn’t understand the menu. As they grabbed their food, they walked a little bit away from the stand and sat on the curb to eat their food. “Oh my god…this is glorious! What the hell do they put in these things?” Reita was raving after the first bite.

                “Yep… anytime I have to go shopping, I make sure to come here. The stand has been here for decades, it’s all kosher too. It’s a Jewish thing… I don’t really understand it, but evidently it’s important.” Ayato chugged down half of his cream soda in one pull.

                Riding the bus home, Ayato took another chance, knowing that Reita would not make a scene in public. “When was your last relationship?” Ayato asked as he looked out the window of the bus. Reita’s heart jumped a little.

                “Two years ago, with Aoi.” This surprised Ayato, “Wasn’t he in on the abuse of Pon?” Reita nodded, the guilt flowing back into his gut. “Why’d you break up?” Reita wasn’t exploding or even looking angry, Ayato pushed a little more. “He cheated on me with a guy from another band.”

                “Mmm, I bet that hurt.”

                Reita only nodded. “We’re still best friends.”

                “Are you best friends because you want to be…or it is because of the band?” This was as far as Ayato wanted to push.

                “Good question, I’m not really sure anymore.”  The remainder of the bus ride was met with silence, both men dissecting the information and questions.

                Entering the apartment, Reita went to the kitchen, grabbing a bottle of water. “Are you coming with me to work tonight?” Ayato wanted to wear what he had bought that day, but he only really wanted to wear it if Reita would be there.

                “Yah…nothing else better to do, and I get paid to watch you dance.” Reita cracked a little smile. “Good! You need to be out and about.” Ayato turned to go into his bedroom. “I’m going to take a nap…” he hesitated, “Want to nap with me?”

                “Are you sure? We’re only going to nap, right?” Reita didn’t want to assume anything any more, he wanted to be very clear on what was expected. “Yah, just nap…I know the couch isn’t that comfortable.” Ayato opened the bedroom door, “Let me change into pajamas first.”

                Reita nodded. Getting track pants out of his bag, he changed quickly and waited for Ayato to open the door. “Okay… I’m ready.” Reita walked into the room, waiting to be told which side of the bed to sleep on. “You can have the left, I like having my night table next to me.”

                Ayato pulled the covers down, sliding down into the bed, Reita waited a moment before he moved to his side of the bed. “I need to be up by 7, so if you wake up first…make sure I’m up.” He asked Reita. “Sure…not a problem.” Pulling the covers up, Ayato turned quickly and gave Reita a lingering soft kiss then turned back over.

                Reita laid in the bed, wide awake after the kiss, these weird random kisses that the boy kept giving him, what the hell did they mean? Slowly the warmth of the bed, the sound of Ayato’s soft breathing, lulled Reita into a warm comforting slumber.

 

                On the other side of the world, a young man sat in front of his computer, staring at an email from an unknow account. Did he open it? The subject line did say “Pon”, but something just felt wrong. Picking up his phone, Hiroto texted Kai.

                “Hey, do you have a second to come to my office please?” It had to be from Reita, there was no one else that he would receive an email from, but the server and the address…he wasn’t sure.

                “Hi, what’s up?” Kai leaned into Hiroto’s office. “I want you to look at something…” Hiroto pointed to his computer. “Hmm, who’s it from?” Hiroto shrugged, “I don’t know, the server isn’t familiar, but the subject says ‘Pon’, I think it might be from Reita.”

                “Open it… see what it says.” Kai stepped away from the view of the computer, in case the email was private. “Yep, it’s from Reita…just says he wants to talk when he gets home, and that he apologizes. Think he means it?” Hiroto turned to look at Kai.

                “Hard to tell with an email, but I guess give him the benefit of the doubt? See what happens when he gets home…I hope that whatever he’s doing there, it’s helping.”

                “Me too, I really don’t want to have to hate the man, I don’t want to make any enemies…but well you know.” Hiroto sighed, it just didn’t’ get any easier with time.

 

                “Do you believe him?” Die and Hiroto were at the restaurant having a nice quiet mid-week dinner, when Hiroto told his lover about the email from Reita. “I’m not sure yet, I won’t know until I’m face to face. The fact that there was no ranting or name calling makes me want to believe him. Yukke’s not convinced, but Kai is hopeful.”

                “I wouldn’t accept his apology just from an email, like you said, you need to have him in front of you, telling you he’s sorry. What about Aoi? He’s still being an asshole about all of it.”

                “I haven’t seen him lately, I think he’s deliberately avoiding the studio, I just wish I understood why he has to continue with all of this shit. He backed up Reita every time…”  Hiroto sighed. Die had an idea about why Aoi was in on the harassment, but he didn’t want to say anything to his boy…not just yet.

                “Have you heard anything about Uta? I haven’t heard anything…not from Mao or Kyo.” Die asked, hoping that someone had said something in passing. “Nope, not a word. I’m getting a little worried, it’s been almost three months, you’d think he would have called and said what to do with the flats, I’m sending my rent money to a post office box.”

                The couple talked a little more, finally dragging themselves out to the car, “Want to stay over tonight? I don’t have to go in until later.” Hiroto asked coyly. “As if I need a reason to sleep over… of course. I want to ravish that tiny pale ass of yours!”  Hiroto laughed, “That’s all I am, a booty call!” Die grabbed Hiroto and pushed him up against the car. “You’re not just a booty call, you’re my boy… I love you with everything I have.” Die kissed Hiroto rather aggressively, Hiroto whining. “Um, let’s go home, now!” Die didn’t have to be told twice.

 

                “Everyone’s meeting at Ojisan’s, can we go please…I don’t want to cook tonight.” Koichi leaned on Tatsu, giving his husband a little hip grind. “If you don’t stop that right now…no dinner for you!” Tatsu growled. “Okay, so if I stop now…can I start again when we get home?” Koichi wiggled his eyebrows. “I would hope so, I’m going to get you drunk and take advantage of you!” Koichi laughed, “Pfft. You can’t take advantage of the willing.” Tatsu groaned, “That’s so old, Kou!”

               

                “Irasshai gentlemen! It pleases me to see all of you together tonight!” Ojisan stood behind his counter, hands on hips, smiling broadly. “Is there a special occasion?” he asked. “Nope, just needed a couple’s night out, Ojisan.” Kai held the door as everyone filed in. “That’s enough of a celebration, I will wave the beer limit tonight!”

                “Ojisan, why don’t you just erase the beer limit? Any reason is a good enough one for you!” Tatsu teased the man. “If I did that, my hut would be crowded with drunk business men and women. I’d rather not see that if necessary.”

                The joking and teasing of the normal variety went on through the evening, more beers than normal consumed. Ojisan had been going along with the teasing and joking, going back and forth between his tiny kitchen and the counter.

                He was removing ramen bowls and beer bottles, had his back turned to the counter, when something hit him forcefully in the back, making him drop several ramen bowls…something he never did.

                The bar went very quiet, “Ojisan…are you alright?” Shinya noticed the man was shaking slightly. Turning to face the group at the counter, Ojisan’s face was deathly pale, he was sweating and his hands were shaking.

                “OJISAN!” Koichi cried out. “Tatsu!” Before Koichi could finish, Tatsu had run to the man’s side, Miya jumping the counter to reach Ojisan. “Sit down… are you ill? What’s wrong?” Miya looked closely at the man. “Uta…” he whispered.

                “Uta? What’s wrong with Uta? Ojisan!” Shinya cried. “I don’t know…Davina and Uta…something’s…” The man couldn’t finish his thought, the pain that he felt in his heart, the pounding in his head, he’d never felt like this before…his visions and premonitions had always just been flashes or had come to him in his dreams.

                “Sato, close the door and lock it, put the sign out, until we get this taken care of.” Miya stepped into leader-san mode. “Taka, come here and sit with Ojisan.” Taka jumped the counter. Tatsu was standing behind the man, making sure he did not fall backwards, Miya rummaged around the kitchen, finally finding some regular rubbing alcohol. Pouring some on a towel, he placed the wet rag on back of the man’s neck.

                “Ojisan…is Uta… what did you see?” Shinya was holding hands with Yukke, Kai watching the door with Sato. “I didn’t see anything, it just suddenly hurt, a flash of whiteness in my eyes. Davina is crying…Uta…I can’t see him.” Whatever the man was experiencing, it brought him to tears without realizing he was crying.

                Miya once again applied the cold rag to the back of Ojisan’s neck, as a precaution as to keep the man from fainting. The group was waiting nervously, watching the man they had come to love so dearly.

                When the color returned to Ojisan’s face, Miya handed him some water, they all returned to their seats, but kept the doors locked. The mystic ramen man shook his head to clear his thoughts. “I’m sorry my friends, I did not mean to frighten you, I’ve never had anything like this happen before, I am as puzzled as you all are.”

                “Should we try to call Davina? Or…or who? We don’t know where she is, other than Maastricht…do we know how to contact her? Would her phone even work in Europe?” Koichi was leaning hard against Tatsu, shaking slightly.

                “I’m not sure, Koichi…it depends on if she made arrangements with her provider.” Miya answered. “I’m not sure a call from any of us would be welcomed, not out of anger, but of privacy.”

                The time was late and the group needed to leave, “Are you sure you’re okay, Ojisan? One of us can stay with you if you need us.” Tatsu didn’t like the thought of leaving the man alone, not after an episode such as that. “No, my friends, I will be fine, thank you for your kindness. If I hear anything I will be in touch.”

               Image result for fredericks of hollywood store hollywood blvd

 

 Wouldn't Ayato look sooo cute in these? 

 

Image result for pink's hot dogs I miss Pink's!! I haven't had a hotdog from there in years!!! 

Chapter Text

 

                “The seizure was most likely brought on by a combination of issues; Malnutrition, stress and his fever, all of these have played a part in this episode.” The doctor was standing next to Uta’s bed, speaking with Davina and Yoji, giving them a breakdown of the possibilities of cause for Uta’s seizure.

                “If we can get his weight up to normal, keep his fever in check and re-hydrate, there is no reason for a complete recovery.” The doctor looked down at Uta, “You must be a participant in this, Uta. You alone are in charge of your recovery, I can only support it so much.”

                “If all of this is remedied, Uta’s seizures will stop?” Davina was sitting on the side of Uta’s hospital bed, holding his hand, Yoji standing beside her. “Ideally, yes. The brain is not always so easy to understand, once he has had the initial seizure, it does not mean he will not have another. Follow the orders that I’ve given you, and we’ll see how he does, that’s all we can do for now.”

                The doctor bowed and excused himself from the room. “Uta…my love, you must follow the doctor’s instructions and stop being selfish!” Davina snapped at the boy. “Davina…if you would just…” Uta muttered, “HELL NO, YOU STUPID BOY! I REFUSE TO LET YOU DIE!” Davina got up and stumbled out of the room, leaving a dumbstruck Uta and Yoji watching her leave.

                “Uta, she’s scared…you know how she is…” Yoji apologized for his lover. “Does no one care what I want? Has anyone looked at this from my point of view? I don’t want to live without Teiji! I’m tired…I can’t do this anymore, Yoji.” Uta whined.

 “Your view is tainted and clouded with grief, Uta. You don’t believe that there is any life after Teiji, your view is so narrow that you do not see what is around you. Davina is right, you are being selfish. You must stop thinking about yourself all of the time, think on how your death would devastate Davina…she loses the love of her life, only to turn around and lose her second love? You believe your friend Mao would recover after this?”

Uta closed his eyes, he was so tired…tired of people fighting him, tired of people caring, the only one that mattered was Teiji and he was dead. “Uta, look at me please. Answer this truthfully; do you believe Teiji wants you to die? Would that make him happy? I want you to really think about this, would you make Teiji happy with your death?”  Yoji was grasping for anything that would keep the boy living.  “I’m going to check on Davina.” Yoji turned and walked out of the room.

                 Yoji went to the hospital chapel, knowing he’d find Davina there, kneeling in a front pew, he quietly came to sit with her. “Yoji…how do we fix this? How do we force the boy to live?” Davina’s eyes were on the altar, staring intently at Christ on the crucifix. “We can not force him Davina, he has to want to live. He may get well enough to leave, but I believe that at some point, he will get his wish.”

                Davina laid her head down on her arms, “I can’t watch him 24/7, he will want to return to Japan at some point. Do I hire a bodyguard to make sure he eats? Monitor his every move? Do I commit him to some hospital where they will force feed him? What can I do?” Yoji slipped his arm around his lover’s shoulders, pulling her gently next to him. “We do whatever it takes, time is our enemy and our friend. The longer we keep the boy alive, the more he will recover from his grief. If we have to fly his friends here, we will…that may be an option to consider.”

               

                Uta had just closed his eyes, to dream of Teiji was the only escape from his current life, when the door opened. “Schatje…” Josez came into the room, sitting beside Uta’s bed. “Oma…” the boy said wearily, looking at the woman. “Schatje, you must live.” Josez said. “No, Oma. I want to be with Teiji.” Uta shook his head.

                “Uta, I am disappointed with you. You are selfish.” Josez ‘tsk’ at Uta and left the room. “Why am I selfish for wanting to be with Teiji? Nobody understands me.” Uta whined again, pulling the pillow over his head.  It seemed that everyone was visiting Uta that morning, all with the same basic message; Uta was being selfish and Teiji would be angry.

                It was sometime after midnight when Sakurai returned to the hospital, he had gone back to his hotel for a nap and a shower. While it had not been said, someone was always with Uta, Davina having a cot placed in his room so she could stay all night. As he walked into Uta’s room, he saw that Davina was sleeping. He quietly sat in the chair next to Uta’s bed, reaching out to hold the boy’s hand in his.

                Sakurai sat in the dark, the glow of the corridor lights coming from under the door, the only illumination. The steady beeping of the monitors, the sounds of a lullaby being played when a child was born, the paging for doctors and nurses, were the sounds that filled the night. All of these sounds had become mute, the longer they stayed at the hospital.

                Yoji had gone home for a rest, to check on Luna and Saki who were frantically looking for Uta…crying and complaining to whomever came into the flat. “Yes, my dears, I understand you’re upset but I can not take you with me.” Yoji tried to sooth Uta’s babies, but he was not their boy.

                Before Yoji had left, he had placed Davina’s cellphone near her pillow, in case someone needed to speak to her. It was the cellphone ringing that caught Sakurai by surprise, leaping out of the chair to grab it before it woke Davina, moving into the hallway to answer it.

                “Moshi Moshi?” He didn’t recognize the name, Jin Koba. “Sakurai? Hello.”

                “Ojisan? Oh my, I had forgotten your real name. I’m sorry, Davina is asleep.”

                “You are there with her and the boy? How is Uta?” Ojisan was pleasantly surprised to hear Sakurai’s voice.

                “He is doing a bit better. He had a seizure a few days ago and has been admitted to the hospital. That’s where we are now. This is a strange time for you to be calling.”

                “Yes, well I had a rather disturbing thing happen tonight while I was behind the counter, I felt like there was something very wrong with Uta and Davina.” Ojisan didn’t want to say that it was a physical reaction he had had.

                Sakurai went on to explain what was happening, that Uta had lost the will to live, and then the subsequent seizure and the high fever.

                “Will Uta survive? Is there no hope?” Ojisan was trembling, this was worse than he had felt.

                “We have hope yet, Ojisan, but we can also use prayers to the kami for help. Would you like for me to give Davina a message? Would you like her to call you when she wakes?” Sakurai asked.

                “No, please…just tell her I called and that we give her and Uta our love…and thank you for providing what you can, Acchan.” And with that, Ojisan hung up his phone.

                Just as Sakurai returned to the room, one of Uta’s monitors started beeping wildly…with an urgent tone. This woke Davina, “Uta? What’s happening?” She struggled to clear her mind. “I don’t know, it just started beeping like this!” Sakurai reached for the call button, a nurse responding to the room within seconds.

                She looked at the monitor, “You need to leave please.” She ordered Davina and Sakurai out of the room. “What’s happening?” Davina whimpered, “His fever has spiked, please wait outside.” The nurse then pushed another button on the wall, over Uta’s head, Sakurai led Davina out.

                The hallway became busy, more nurses and a doctor rushing into Uta’s room, Davina clinging tightly to Sakurai. “It’s okay, Davina. They’ll know what to do,” He rubbed small circles on Davina’s back, trying to sooth the frightened woman. “Acchan…” Davina cried, “what if he…” she looked up at the man. “No, he’ll be fine…his fever just went up…they haven’t said anything…”

                Two nurses were running towards them, pushing a cart with more equipment on it…harried expressions on their faces. “Yoji! Acchan, call Yoji!” Sakurai dialed quickly. “Yoji, you need to come quickly, something’s happened with Uta’s fever…yes…now!”

Sakurai closed the phone, “He’ll be here in a few minutes,” Sakurai couldn’t help but wrap his arms around the woman, holding her tightly.

                “Davina!” Yoji called out as he ran towards the couple in the hall. “Yoji! Uta…” Sakurai released Davina, she fell into Yoji’s arms, sobbing. “What the hell happened?” he asked Sakurai. “Uta’s fever spiked, that’s all we know, we had to leave the room.”

                It was thirty minutes before anyone came to speak to them, a doctor finally coming out to the hallway. “He’s stable but his fever is still very high, we’ve given him certain medications to remedy that. You may go in and see him, but he may be incoherent or confused, just do not agitate him.”

                Yoji held Davina’s hand as they re-entered the room, Sakurai standing apart from the couple. Davina sits in the chair, picking up Uta’s hand. “Uta my love,” She whispered, “I don’t feel well, where’s Teiji? Is Teiji here too?” Uta whispered. He looked around the room, seeing Sakurai he reached out to the man. “Acchan.”

                Sakurai didn’t know how to react. “Hello Uta,” He said tenderly. “Acchan…” Uta repeated. Looking at Davina, Uta whispered “Teiji?” Davina smiled and nodded, “in a moment my love.”

                “Can we go home, Acchan?” Uta murmured, “I’m tired, I want to go home.” Uta’s eyes closed. “Of course, baby, whenever you want.” Sakurai looked at Davina, tears falling. With a soft snore from the boy, it was finally quiet.

                Sakurai watched Uta breathe for a moment, then left the room. “I’ll be right back,” Yoji hugged Davina.

                “Are you alright, Acchan?” Yoji found Sakurai sitting on a bench outside the room. “No…I’m not. Why would he call for me? Why is he asking me to take him home? Does he not know anymore?”

                “I’m sure it’s the fever, he’s confused…once the fever is gone I’m sure he’ll be fine.” Yoji sat down next to the man, patting him on the knee.

                “God, I thought I was going to fall apart, looking at Davina when Uta called out for me… I can’t hurt the woman any more…this isn’t fair, Uta should be calling out to her, to Teiji…not me!” Sakurai’s gut was in knots.

                “He’ll be fine… just let it lie for now.” Yoji tried to reassure Sakurai.

                “He’s sleeping” Davina had come out of Uta’s room. “Davina…I’m so sorry! I didn’t know he would do that!” Sakurai choked out.

                “His fever, Acchan…he asked for Teiji as well. Please, I understand you meant no harm.” Davina sat next to Sakurai.

                The trio sat in the hallway for quite some time, each reflecting on what had just happened, each trying not to appoint or assign blame. Davina knew in her heart that of course Uta would call out to Acchan, they had had a life together, he had saved the boy from Natsu.

                Yoji, worried about all of the stress that Davina was feeling, the hope that Uta would recover, the thought of having to put Davina back together if Uta died.

                Sakurai, the guilt laying upon him, he still believed that he was the root cause of all of this. If he had only let the boy have his own flat, none of this would be going on, Uta would still be healthy and happy…as would Sakurai.

                “I forgot to tell you, Ojisan called earlier, he said he had some sort of premonition about you and Uta. I explained what had happened, he just wanted to tell you that he loved you and Uta.” Sakurai had forgotten about the conversation in the chaos that had come right after the call.

                “I’ll call him in a few days, as soon as Uta is stable. I’m not surprised he had something come to him… the man is a little creepy that way, but always accurate. I’m going to go back in and try to get a little sleep.” Davina leaned over and kissed Sakurai on the cheek, Yoji leading her back into Uta’s room.

                Uta, I love you and yes, I will take you home with me if that’s what you truly desire, I will not deny you or myself again.

 

 

                Ayato struggled to turn over, “What the hell?” he mumbled as he pushed up from sleep. Looking down, he see’s that Reita’s arm is around him, the man spooning Ayato, snoring deeply. Ayato smiled. Checking the time, he see’s that he still has another hour before he has to be up. Carefully he put his arm on Reita’s, snuggling back against the man, who quietly murmur’s “Ayato.”

                Ayato carefully slips from underneath Reita’s arm, the man had been holding him tightly, randomly nuzzling Ayato’s hair and murmuring in his sleep. The boy really wanted to just stay where he was until they both woke up, the warmth of Reita’s body, the comfortable grip around his waist, he hadn’t felt that cared for in quite some time.

                But duty called, he needed to dance, he needed to pay rent. Looking back at Reita still sleeping, sprawled out in Ayato’s too small bed, the boy smiled. Carefully closing the door, he went to the bathroom to shower.

                Reita had felt the bed move, reaching out for the warm body that was now suddenly gone. Hearing the door close and the sound of the shower, he knew he had to get up, regretting that he had agreed to go to work with Ayato…he had not known how much he had missed sleeping in a bed until that afternoon.

                For whatever reason, when he heard Ayato coming into the room, he feigned sleep, keeping his eyes closed. Ayato moved around the bedroom quietly, his back towards Reita…who was watching the nude man through his lashes. God he’s beautiful, that ass, everything is perfect.

                Deciding that what he was doing was pretty perverted, he stretched, letting the man know he was awake. That didn’t cause Ayato to do anything different. He kept walking around his room, nude…getting ready for work as he would any other day. “Did you sleep well? You were snoring pretty hard when I got up, you looked comfortable.”

                “Thanks, I mean…for letting me nap with you, it felt great.” Reita was trying not to stare at the nude boy in front of him. “Like what you see?” Ayato grinned as he slid on a pair of track pants. “Uh, duh…of course. What’s not to like?” Reita said smugly.

                He watched Ayato dress, packing up the new outfit he had bought that day, “I can’t wait to see you in that get-up, I may have to keep someone off of you.”

                “You mean keep yourself off of me…right?” Ayato laughed. “Maybe…but I wouldn’t force you or anything…that’s wrong.” Ayato turned and looked at Reita, “Funny that you say that now…why not before?”

                “I’m not sure…I didn’t think like that…I wasn’t thinking at all. I would never force you to do anything against your will, or anyone for that matter. That’s not who I am.” Reita was resting on his elbow, watching his roommate put on some basic makeup.

                “I’m glad you think like that, nobody deserves to be forced to do anything against their will… ever. It doesn’t matter who you are, or who you’re living with. No means no.” Reita got the point…very clearly, that Ayato was referring to himself.

                “We’re leaving in forty-five minutes if you want to take a shower.” Reita groaned, then got out of bed, heading for the shower.

                Once he was under the hot water, he was soo tempted to visualize the nude young man and use it for a nice release…second guessing himself, “That’s perverted Aki” he checked himself back. He was done being ‘that’ guy, fantasizing about someone for his sexual needs. “Suck it up…he’s just your friend.” Reita tried to tell himself. His dick still got hard.

                “Can I get dressed in here?” Reita walked back into the bedroom, towel wrapped tightly around his waist, hoping that his semi-hard boner wasn’t showing too much. “Sure, I’m almost done.” Ayato got up and walked to the door, reaching up and ruffling Reita’s hair.

                Reita jerked away, “Pfft…stop it, dork” he muttered. “You love it when I touch you…just admit it.” The younger man teased. “Yah, I do…but you’re teasing me and it’s not fair that I don’t get to touch you back, so please… don’t do that anymore.” Reita whined.

                “I never said you couldn’t touch me…you’re assuming. But I appreciate the fact that you haven’t tried anything.” Ayato went into the kitchen, “Do you want something to eat before we go?”

                The domestic scene that was playing out in front of Reita, was comfortable but confusing. Was Ayato inviting him to … to what? Be his boyfriend? Be his fuck buddy? Roommate… friends with benefits? “Fuck…” he said quietly.

                Sitting at the table together, slurping down some instant ramen, Reita chuckled, “This isn’t even as good as the crap instant ramen at home!” Ayato giggled, “I know, but it’s the closest I can get without having to drag my sorry little ass to China Town or one of the bigger Asian markets. Oh, shit…let’s get going or we’re going to miss the bus!”

                Reita grabbed Ayato’s bag and his, then headed out the door at a trot and down to the bus stop, just making it in time.

                “I’ll see you in a bit, I want to show the boys what I bought.” Ayato turned to walk away, stopping and kissing Reita quickly. “Hey Akira…nice!” Angelo shoulder bumped Reita. “Boyfriends?” the bouncer asked. “I don’t know…maybe?” Reita answered in rough English. “It’s good for Ken.” Angelo liked Reita, the man was ready for a fight if needed, and it appeared to him, that he treated the dancer well.

                “Oh my god, Ken those are soo cute! Sexy shit! What did Akira say? Has he seen you in them yet?” Leo and Rob were both shrieking over the red PVC leggings. “Yah, he went with me, I tried them on for him…he almost couldn’t talk…let alone walk after that.”

                “Are you dating? Or just like friends with benefits? Oh, I bet he’s a good fuck.” Rob leered at Ayato. “No, none of the above…I’ve kissed him a couple of times, we took a nap together today, but that’s it.” The other dancers did not know about his night with Reita in the hotel.

                “Must be nice to have a hunky guy like that hanging around your apartment. Oh… I’d love to see him naked…he looks like he has a sweet ass! Muscle to die for!” Leo purred. “Okay, let’s stop dissecting my friend! I need to get ready for my first shift.” Ayato’s face was flushed, he felt some twinges that he really couldn’t ignore, but he didn’t want his relationship with Reita to move in that direction…at least not yet.

                Angelo and Reita were standing by the bar, the house only about a quarter filled, most of the men and a few women this time, were seated around the stage. Leo was up first, a cute boy but a lousy dancer…which didn’t seem to bother the women. Leo noticed them watching him more than the other customers, so he danced for them, earning a few quick $10 bills in his shorts, leaving the women giggling.

                The other dancers went through their first shifts quickly, it was the early part of the evening, not enough alcohol had been consumed yet for the big tipping to begin. Reita was a little disappointed that Ayato hadn’t worn the red leggings his first shift and that the boy basically ignored him.

                “The crowd isn’t too bad tonight…those ladies out there are a little weird, but they’re tipping well. Wonder what they’ll say when you go out there in those leggings, Ken?” Rob was right, the two women were tipping well, seemed to be having a fun evening. Sometimes the women were better customers than the men…the men expected things, most of the time the women didn’t.

                “Okay, let’s hope they like me!” Ayato peered out the curtain to signal the DJ to start his music. Taking a breath, Ayato strutted out to the center of the stage, grabbed the pole and started to dance.

                Angelo was watching the boy dance, Reita had his back turned, “Akira…Ken.” Angelo nudged the man next to him. Reita turned and looked at the stage, his heart started to pound, “Ayato…” he whispered as he moved closer to the stage.

                Ayato saw Reita walking towards the stage and turned the heat up with his dancing, enticing Reita much like he did that first night…dancing only for him. The view tonight was different… he wasn’t just watching a beautiful boy dance, he was watching Ayato dance. A boy he now had spent a lot of time with, not some random stripper that he fucked in a hotel one night.

                Watching the customers tip Ayato, Reita started to feel uncomfortable, he didn’t like the fact that the customers were touching the young man…even as little as they did, just tucking money into the top of his leggings.

                Angelo noticed a change in Reita, the bouncer saw Reita’s defenses go up, the look on the other’s face, he had seen that look before. Reita didn’t like the customers touching ‘his boy’. Putting his hand on Reita’s shoulder, Angelo gave him the ‘it’s okay’ look, Reita relaxed his stance, not realizing what he had been doing.

                Shaking his head, Reita turned away from the stage, something that Ayato saw…and it caused him to misstep slightly, but recovered quickly when a man waved a twenty-dollar bill at him. Ignoring Reita, Ayato finished his dance and left the stage, shoving his way through the curtain, he pushed past the other dancers and went into the bathroom.

                “Asshole…” he cried hotly. “Ken? Are you okay?” Leo knocked on the door. “Yah, give me a minute.” Ayato checked to make sure his make up wasn’t running and opened the door. “Sorry, had to pee.”

                The rest of the evening, any time Ayato danced, Reita turned away, talking to Angelo or clearing tables. At the end of the night, Ayato tipped his DJ and the door guy, changed and walked out the back door, going to the curb to wait for his Uber.

                Reita watched him, wondering if he had noticed that he had stopped watching the boy dance. “Ready to go home?” Reita asked. “Mmm.” Was all he got out of Ayato.

                Once in the apartment, Ayato went to shower, Reita changed into track pants and sat on the couch, pretending to watch TV. Ayato came out of the bathroom, stopped to look at Reita. “Why wouldn’t you watch me dance tonight?” he asked suddenly. “Was I that bad?”

                “That’s a stupid question.” Reita snapped.

                 “What? That my dancing sucked or that you didn’t watch me? When you did watch, you didn’t look like you enjoyed it, not like before.” Ayato was still standing next to the couch, hair dripping wet.

                “I couldn’t watch you dance… It was…you… never mind.” Reita sighed. “So, you did like my dancing?” The boy asked.

                “Look, I couldn’t watch you dance because you made me fucking harder than hell. I couldn’t go through the rest of the night with a stiff cock, so I had to stop watching. Sorry.” Reita muttered.

                “Oh…Okay.” Ayato felt some relief.

                “I’m not crossing any boundaries with you. I’m just living here until you have to go back to Japan, then we’ll split up at the airport.” Reita snapped.

                “Um, okay…I’m going to bed.” Ayato walked to his bedroom. “Do you want to sleep with me… I mean like sleep in the same bed?”

                “No, It’s fine…I’m good. Good night.” Reita turned off the TV and laid down on the couch. “Okay…good night.” Ayato whispered as he closed his door.

                It took them both a good hour before sleep would claim them, both wrestling with unsaid questions, and no answers.

Chapter Text

 

                Davina had finally collapsed from exhaustion and stress, Yoji taking her home to eat a decent meal and sleep, Sakurai offering to sit with Uta overnight. “Make sure you hold his hand and talk to him. Tell him that Saki and Luna miss him, that Yoji and I love him, tell him that you love him too, please Acchan.” Davina had pleaded with the man to keep the routine she had put in place.

                Uta’s fever waned and spiked throughout the day and into the evening hours. When he was awake, Uta asked for random people; Teij and Acchan, he asked for Kyo several times and Mao. The boy asked for Ojisan, which puzzled Sakurai. “Ojisan’s at work, he’s busy with customers, he’ll come later to see you, ne?” Sakurai told Uta. “I need to tell Ojisan that Teiji really liked his ramen, can you make sure to tell him for me?”

                “Yes baby, I will…just rest now.” Sakurai kissed the boy on the forehead, watching him slip back into his restless fevered state. The doctors were working diligently to keep the fever in check, but Uta’s body condition was working against them.

                “Acchan, I want to go home please, I don’t like it here.” Uta asked for this multiple times, each time Sakurai had to tell him that yes, they would go home soon. As much as this was tearing Davina apart, it was equally hard, if not more difficult for Sakurai, as he knew that he was lying each time he told Uta that they would be going home soon. It tore his heart that he was not the one that was going to take him home, but he took what little happiness he could.

                It was that happiness that was destroyed during the overnight shift he had taken from Davina. Uta had been particularly restless that day, never fully awake, moving around in his bed and crying out for Teiji.  Sakurai had taken to sitting next to the bed, holding Uta’s hand and stroking his arm in an attempt to comfort the young man.

                Sakurai had only been lying on the cot for about an hour when Uta’s monitors started to shriek once more, startling Sakurai awake and into action. Jumping up from the cot, he pushed the emergency call button, then carefully laid across Uta to keep him from thrashing around and tearing out his IV’s. Once the nurses were in the room, he quietly slipped out, to wait in the hallway, and to call Yoji.

                “He’s having another seizure…you’d better get here quick.”

               

Fifteen minutes later, Davina and Yoji ran down the hall towards Uta’s room. “What happened Acchan?” Davina grasped at the man’s shirtfront. “He’s been restless all day, I had just laid down and then the monitor went off, he was in the middle of a seizure…they came and made me leave the room.” Sakurai explained wearily.

Various hospital personnel were in and out of Uta’s room for over an hour, several doctors among them. Davina watched their faces, trying to decipher what Uta’s condition was…what she saw scared her.

Once the nurses started to leave the room, two doctors came out to speak with them, one being a neurologist. “Uta suffered a grand mal seizure.” The doctor explained what that was.  “We have decided to put Uta into a medically induced coma, in order to treat his fever and do a brain scan, we want to make sure that there is nothing abnormal.”

“How long are we talking? A day… a week?” Yoji asked. “Typically, it’s ten days, then we bring them up slowly, that way if they start to seize again we can quickly put him back into the coma, then we will try again. That being said, I’d like to try to keep Uta under for at least three weeks, he stands a better chance of surviving the longer his brain is given to rest.” The doctor looked grim.

“Is he going to die?” Davina whispered, she had her face in Yoji’s chest. “It’s a possibility, I won’t deny that. We will do everything we can for Uta, I would ask you to keep talking to him, keep touching him, it sometimes helps.” The doctors bowed.

Davina tiredly walked into Uta’s room, moving to sit on the side of Uta’s bed. She reached out to caress his face, “Uta…do not leave me…I don’t know that I can survive if you do. I will be beyond heart broken, I lost Teiji…I can not lose you as well.”

Yoji padded up next to Davina, “You will survive, I will hold you up, I will care for you…we will be here when Uta wakes up, we will go back to the flat and live our lives as we choose.” Sakurai stood behind them both, not wanting to intrude as he still felt like the outsider.

“Acchan, come and sit with me, talk to your boy.” Davina held her hand out to the man. Sakurai gasped when she said ‘your boy’, “He is no longer my boy, Mistress. He is yours and Teiji’s, but I will sit with him if my presence comforts you.” Sakurai pulled up another chair, sitting next to the bed, opposite Davina, holding Uta’s hand. “Uta, Acchan is here…can you feel him holding your hand?” Davina cooed at the comatose boy.

“Acchan, will you sit with him please? I need to make a phone call.” Davina asked. “Yes, take your time, Mistress. I will watch over Uta.” Sakurai smiled sadly.

Davina had discussed this with Yoji prior to the call, wanting his advice. “I think you should call…it will be less of a shock.”

 

Going into a quiet area, Davina dialed the number.

 

He closed his phone. It couldn’t be happening…not to the young one, not after all he had been through in his short life. Who to contact first? He had a few numbers, but choosing the one to start the chain, was difficult. He chose the one who had started it all.

Hello, Tatsu? Could you please call everyone involved, and bring them to the restaurant? Thank you.”

 

Ojisan waited until everyone had assembled, closing and locking the door behind him. Some of the gathered realized what this meeting was about, some not sure.

“I received a call from Davina this morning…Uta is in a medically induced coma for the next three weeks, due to severe seizures that they have not been able to control. He also has a very high temperature, Davina had called for the top neurologist in the world to come and look at Uta.” Ojisan looked more worn and tired than anyone had ever remembered.

“Is he going to die?” Mao whispered. “She doesn’t know, the doctors are trying as hard as they can to figure out why he is in this condition. Davina did say that he had stopped eating, rarely leaving their flat.” Ojisan said.

“Old man, does Davina require anything of us? What can we do to help?” Ormond had Madame F in his arms, she didn’t look like the dominant woman they all knew.

“She did not say, other than prayers to the kami. I’m sorry my friends, to be the bearer of such news. Davina asked me to inform you all at once, instead of letting rumors fly. Also, Sakurai is with them, Davina sent her jet for him some weeks ago.”

Yutaka had his face buried in Hide’s shoulder, crying softly. Mao had a blank expression on his face, Kyo in tears. This just couldn’t be happening…not to Uta, not again.

The group sat in stunned silence, nobody reacting much other than crying. “Thank you Ojisan for telling us, if Davina needs anything, please just call us.” Tatsu stood up and with Koichi they left the ramen hut.

“I’ll let anyone else know that wasn’t here tonight, Ojisan.” Taka offered. “Thank you, Taka.” Ojisan bowed.

 

The atmosphere in every home was grim and sorrow filled, nobody knew how to react…they wanted to offer help, but had no idea what that would be. Koichi was rocked to sleep that night by Tatsu, Sato kept Taka away from an alcohol bender. Tomo and Ruki cuddled closely, Ruki in tears.  Shinya was inconsolable, Miya rocking him while they both cried.

Hiroto and Die went back to his flat, he sat out on this porch, staring at Uta’s apartment. “Why? This isn’t fair…that guy has been through fuckin hell! Why now?” Hiroto whimpered. “I don’t know babe…I don’t have an answer.”

Across town, Mao and Kyo were both devastated, crying equally as hard as each other, Mao terrified to lose his best friend, Kyo mourning the loss of an ex-lover who he had come to care for so much even after their relationship ended.

“I don’t think my medication is going to help this…how can I not be depressed? What do we do? I feel like we should be doing something! Anything…I can’t just sit here and worry!” Mao sobbed. “I don’t have an answer…I feel the same way… we have to do something…but what?” They held each other throughout the night, crying for a best friend and an ex lover.

 

Ayato didn’t want to face the day…not with a shitty roommate that was basically ignoring him. After the night Ayato danced with the new red leggings, Reita confessed that he couldn’t watch the boy dance, because he became very aroused. The situation had gone tense, Reita deciding not to work at the Century Lounge, he was becoming possessive with Ayato, something that wasn’t his place to do.

Reita had been thinking about going back to Japan, facing Hiroto and hopefully getting back to work. Looking at his options, it really was the only solution. He wasn’t happy about leaving Ayato, but the boy had already said that they would split up at the airport, just as quickly as they had met.

“Hey… coffee?” Ayato made his way to the tiny kitchen. “Sure…thanks. Hey, could I use your phone for a moment…I need to call someone.” Ayato nodded, “It’s on my night table.”

Closing the door, Reita made the call.

Hello? Kai…It’s Akira.”

Hey…what’s up?” Kai didn’t feel like talking, he didn’t feel like doing anything but curling up and pretending the world didn’t exist.

What’s wrong? Are you sick?” This was weird, Kai was usually a chatterbox.

Um, of course you wouldn’t know what’s going on…but Uta…he’s um…”

What’s wrong with Uta, Kai?” Uta…Reita didn’t know the boy that well.

He’s in the Netherlands with Davina, he’s been sick…they had to put him into an induced coma… he might not make it, Aki. That poor kid has had such a shitty life, then this shit happens! Aki, he’s dying.” Kai cried. Reita heard the phone drop.

Kai…KAI?” he shouted into the phone. “Reita? It’s Yukke…sorry, Kai’s just upset…we all are. There’s nothing we can do to help, Davina’s calling in specialist to see if they can save Uta. It doesn’t look good. Is there something you needed? Something I can take care of?”

Tell Kai I’m coming home, I’ll leave as soon as possible. I don’t have a phone, so I’ll try to get a message to you guys somehow. Take care of him, Yukke…tell him I love him.” Reita slowly closed the phone. “Shit!” he cursed.

“What’s wrong? You don’t look very happy…the phone call?” Ayato had heard Reita in the other room, but didn’t hear anything clearly.

“Did I tell you about Uta?” Reita had grabbed his bag, starting to gather his things. “Yah, the kid that got raped, then had a bad Dominant…why?” Ayato watched the man he had come to care for, move around the apartment almost in a panic.

“He’s in the Netherlands…that’s another story, but I guess he’s in hospital, in a coma…Kai said he might die. I have to go home today if I can.”

“Oh.” Is all Ayato said. He moved to the couch with his coffee, turning on the TV. “Are you going home with me?” Reita asked. “No, I’m not ready, go ahead…I’ll be fine.” The young man answered nonchalantly. “Are you sure? I thought we’d… well…” Reita stopped for a moment, looking at Ayato.

“No, I need to do somethings here before I can go home. Sell my furniture or just leave it, give my two weeks notice at work, just all sorts of things to tie up. Don’t worry, I won’t look for you once I get home. You’ll be free and clear, I won’t tell anyone.”

“How much longer until you leave? You have to be close to the limit for your visa, right?” Reita knew that the boy had to renew his visa soon. “Yah, in like 2 weeks or so.” Ayato flipped through the TV channels.

“Then why not just come with me? Look, I’ll even pay for your ticket…just come with me, please.”

“I told you I’m not ready! Just drop it okay? Shit! You don’t give a rat’s ass about me! So why now all of a sudden you want me to go with you? I’m going to disappear, remember? There will be no dirty little secrets to haunt Reita of The Gazette. Go home, Akira…go home and be with your friends and your band. I’ll be fine.” Ayato got up and went into his room, quietly closing the door.

Reita stood in the middle of the room, his mouth hanging open. “You’re wrong, Ayato…I do care about you, but you won’t let me show you. Would you please just call me an uber and I’ll be out of your life. Thanks for everything, really I mean it.”

Picking up his things, Reita moved towards the front door, “Wait…” Ayato was suddenly pressed up against Reita’s back. “Hey, I’m sorry. I liked having you here with me. I hope your friend gets better.” Reita turned around, dropped his bag and put his arms around Ayato, kissing the boy deeply. “Thanks, I mean it. You’re fucking amazing…sorry this didn’t work out. Take care of yourself, ne?” Reita kissed Ayato one more time…hearing the horn beeping downstairs, Reita pulled away. “Bye.”

“Bye.” And with the closing of the door, Reita was gone. “Well, that just fucking sucked ass.”

 

His emotions were torn, half of him wanted to get back to Japan as quickly as possible, the other half wanted to go back to Ayato, drag him to the airport and take him home. “Fuck” he grunted.

Walking up to the ANA counter, he found an agent that spoke Japanese. “I don’t care where I sit, I need to be on the next available flight to Narita, please.” The agent checked the flights, “I can get you on a flight, business class, that leaves in two hours, will that be suitable?”

 

The flight was close to being full, Reita glad for once that he didn’t have to ride in the economy class. He asked for a bottle of water once he stowed his bag, taking his seat, a Japanese business man sitting next to him, who just nodded. Once in the air, Reita tried to sleep, but his mind was flooded with different images of Ayato, then there were the flashes of Uta, “That poor fucking kid…nobody deserves that.”

Reita chuckled at the irony of his words, considering his actions with Hiroto. So much to deal with when I get home, first is Kai…then find out about Uta. Then Pon…crap I bet Aoi’s giving him shit…well that’s going to stop, I don’t give a damn what he says. Probably never see Ayato again…that sucks…maybe I should go back once everything is taken care of…see if he’s still there.

After the first meal was served, Reita kicked his shoes off, pushed his seat back and tried to find the sleep that was eluding him. Give it up Aki…you’re never going to see him again, just drop it.

 

“Sir, we’ll be landing in about fifteen minutes, can you ready yourself please?” The flight attendant tapped Reita on the shoulder. “Yes, thank you.” Taking the hot towel offered, Reita rubbed his face, hoping to wipe the fatigue away. Looking out the window, the local time was about 2pm, he knew he could catch a train rather quickly since he didn’t have to go to baggage claim.

After going through customs and immigration, Reita walked down to the train platforms, finding the one that would take him home. The train was busy with students and business men and women. Grandmothers coming home from shopping, teenagers giggling in the corner. He had been worried about being recognized, but without his noseband and makeup and wearing a cap, there were only some speculative glances from a few girls.

Getting off at the station, Reita walked the six blocks quickly, running up the stairs and knocking on the door. Kai answered the door, a look of surprise, “Tadaima Yutaka.”

Chapter Text

 

                “Honey, you need to stop crying… you’re not going to be able to see if you don’t. Your eyes are already so swollen, please…stop crying.” Hide was trying his hardest to comfort Yutaka, but ever since the word came that Uta was on the verge of death, the man could not be consoled. “Let me make you some tea, I want you to put this on your face and leave it until I say!” Hide placed a hot wet towel on Yutaka’s face, then went into the kitchen.

                Yutaka had laid on the couch every day since the meeting at Ojisan’s. Rima and Zepp by his side, confused on why the man was so upset. He would stop crying for a bit, take a shower and eat…then he’d see or hear something that would set him off again. Hide was worn out from caring for his husband, but what else was there to do?

                “Here’s your tea.” Hide set the cup down on the table. “Hide…” Yutaka asked with a muffled voice. “Hmm?” Yutaka took the towel off his face. “I want to call Davina, I want to see Uta…can we please go? This may be the last…” The crying started again. Hide sighed, he knew he couldn’t refuse his husband anything… the man was his whole life and entire heart.

                “I’ll call her and ask, let me figure out the time difference, ne? If she says yes, I’ll book us a flight as soon as possible. Come here…” Yutaka rarely did this anymore, they’d been together for ever…but at that moment, he wanted nothing more than to sit on Hide’s lap and be comforted. Hide held his lover tightly, rocking slightly, “I love you…I’ll do anything for you if it’s possible and if you want to go see Uta, then we’ll go.”

                Yutaka looked at his husband. “I love you…thank you.” Yutaka melted into Hide’s arms…but only for a few moments. “Okay, I do love you…but you are not the tiny young thing you were when we started dating…so off my lap please before my legs die.”

                Yutaka giggled, “Okay, sorry…I know I’ve put on a little weight over the decades…but we all have!” Hide hugged Yutaka again. “Let me go look at time zones, I’ll call her as soon as I can.”

 

                Yutaka was in the bedroom, setting out clothes. It was close to Christmas and he knew that Europe could be brutally cold in December, while Hide was in the office, checking time zones and flight schedules. He was surprised that the Netherlands were only seven hours ahead of Japan, which gave him the opportunity to call right then.

                “Babe? Davina said yes…she thinks it may do Uta some good to hear our voices, she offered her jet, I told her no, that we would be there in the next few days. She offered the flat for us to stay in, she’s mostly at the hospital and rarely goes home.”

                “We need to bring some warm clothes…I know it’s very damp there…” Yutaka prattled on about what clothes, medicines and other random things, Hide knowing that this was the way his husband coped with stress. ‘Oh! Rima and Zepp! What do we do about the dogs?”

                “I’ll call Toll, his wife will watch them…the dogs know them well enough. Don’t worry, the babies will be fine.” Hide captured his husband in a quick hug. “Slow down…you’re going to make yourself sick if you don’t’ stop stressing out.” Yutaka blushed. “I’m sorry…you know how I get.”

                A nice glass of wine or three later, a decent meal in their bellies, Yutaka and Hide cuddled on the couch, both deep in their own thoughts of what life would be like if Uta were not in it, neither one able to voice their sadness and fear for the future of the young man.

               

 

                Hiroto sighed as he looked at the workload in front of him; tour scheduling, hotel bookings and other random items that all had to be handled by a manager. Every time he picked something up, visions of Uta in a hospital bed flashed before his eyes. “Damn it!” he growled.

                “Hey Pon…I need you to meet me in the conference room please.” Kai stuck his head in the door. “Okay, give me a minute.” This had to be about Reita, he was never involved in any thing related to The Gazette anymore, that had been a no brainer. Opening the door, he saw the other members of the band but Aoi was sitting on one side alone, his arms crossed over his chest, still acting like a huge douche.

                “With everything that’s going on with the news of Uta being… well he’s sick, we need to try to concentrate on band activities and try to focus.” Kai sat at the head of the table, looking at the other members. Ruki’s eyes were swollen and red from crying, Uruha had a definite look of defeat, while Aoi looked irritated and annoyed.

                “Why does this little shit still need to be here? He doesn’t work for us anymore.” Aoi snapped. “Shut up Aoi, you have no say in who’s involved with our meetings.” Uruha growled.

                “Fuck you, Kouyou! Pon isn’t working with the band anymore, why is he privy to anything we discuss, you’re just another tool defending him instead of standing by your band mates!” Aoi shouted tersely.

                “I’m here because Kai asked me to join him in whatever discussion he’ll be having, so just shut it Aoi…you’re not leader-san.” Hiroto defended himself.

                Before Aoi could say another word, the door to the conference room opened;

                “Shiroyama, shut your dirty fucking mouth NOW!” Reita stood in the doorway, everyone looking at him with shocked surprised expressions. Reita turned to Hiroto and dropped to his knees.

                “Pon, I am offering my most sincere and humble apologies. I was a completely disgusting piece of shit in the way that I tortured you and verbally attacked you. You deserve respect from everyone.  I do not expect forgiveness, but I would at least like to have a working relationship with you.”

                “Akira, what the fuck are you doing? You’re bowing and scraping to this little piece of shit nobody kid? Who the fuck are you anymore?” Aoi screeched.  

                “I’m Suzuki Akira, an adult who shows respect and kindness to everyone, regardless of who they are.” Reita got to his feet and stood behind Hiroto’s chair.

                “Since when?” Aoi challenged.

                “Either you change, or we’re done as friends, Yuu.” Reita was standing his ground.

                “What did you just say? You’re threatening me over Pon? You’re a fucking joke, Akira.” Aoi was closed to laughing.

                “You heard me, I remained friends and roommates after I caught you fucking Arimatsu, in OUR bed! You fucked me over, but I forgave you because I didn’t want to lose your friendship or create a problem with the band. Guess what? Not anymore.” Reita said firmly.

 

                “FUCK YOU AKIRA! PUSSY ASS. YAH, I FUCKED ARIMATSU BECAUSE YOU WERE A DEAD LAY…THAT’S RIGHT! YOU WERE VANILLA AS HELL, YOU’LL BE JERKING OFF TO MY PICTURE TONIGHT!” Aoi jumped up out of his chair…walking menacingly towards Reita.

“YOU THINK YOU CAN COME IN HERE AFTER ALL THE SHIT YOU PULLED ON THAT FUCKING KID AND EXPECT TO BE FORGIVEN? YOU’RE A FUCKING PUSSY, AKIRA! FUCK YOU, I DON’T NEED A FRIEND LIKE YOU, TO BE HAPPY!” Aoi moved away from Reita and walked towards the door.

 

                “You’re all fucking pussies, taking sides with a piece of shit little kid that’s fresh out of high school and treating him like he’s something special…he’s not! So, fuck all of you, I’m done with the band…take your shitty band and fuck the fuck off!” Aoi slammed the door.

                There was stunned silence for a moment, “Welcome home Rei.” Uruha chuckled. “Thanks, Uru…um, can I spend the night?” Ruki snorted, “Nice Rei…real smooth.”  Kai giggled, which lead to everyone just laughing at the spectacle that was just shown.

 

                “Can we talk, Pon?” Reita held Hiroto back. “Sure…” Hiroto wasn’t worried about Reita anymore.

                “I don’t deserve any forgiveness, I don’t expect it either. What I did … I can’t erase that. I’d like not to be on your most hated in the industry list.” Reita asked hesitantly.

                “I’d like to be friends, Reita, it might take me awhile to completely trust you and I’m not the only one you need to convince you’ve changed…you need to talk to Die.” Hiroto knew that his boyfriend wouldn’t take Reita’s confession as truth, not right away.

                “Yah, I’m not looking forward to speaking to him, he may try to kill me.” Reita joked.

                “I’ll tell him not to, I’ll make him promise.” Hiroto laughed.

                “I need to go, I have to find a place to live, I’m done with couch surfing.” Reita opened the door, both men walking towards the front of the building.

                “I may regret this, but there’s an available flat where Uta and I live. It’s two bedrooms and it’s furnished, plus the rent is stupid cheap. I just need to find out who to contact. If you want, you can come and look at my flat, they’re exactly the same.” Hiroto wanted to move past all the bullshit that had been going on for months. He felt like he’d be the bigger man, offer the olive branch and work with Reita.

                “I’d like that…but make sure that Die is there if I come to look at the flat…the last thing I want is an angry Die in my face.” Reita was dead serious…he had seen the fights that Kyo and Die had been in with the likes of Morrie.

                “Let me make some calls… let’s say 7pm tonight?” Hiroto wrote down his address and the men parted ways.

 

                “I’ll be spending every night with you, or you’ll be at my place, I don’t trust Reita just yet.” Die almost told Hiroto no…he didn’t want Reita moving in. But his young lover wanted to move past all the anger and animosity between himself and the bass player.

                “It was epic, the rant that Aoi went into. He basically called Reita a bad lover, he said vanilla…I almost lost it right there. But Aoi was so angry…like seeing red and not thinking, angry. I didn’t know that he and Reita had been involved.” Hiroto was indeed surprised at that revelation.

                “I remember the break up, it was pretty serious…Reita walked in on Aoi fucking this guy Arimatsu.” Die looked back at the incident, at that time everyone thought The Gazette was over.

                “Who is the guy? He’s not a musician, is he?” Hiroto didn’t recognize the unusual name from anywhere on DCR’s roster.

                “He’s a support drummer for Hyde and Kaz when they perform as VAMPS. He’s a nice enough guy, I’m sure Aoi bullshitted him into bed, I don’t see him as being the homewrecking type. Who knows what Aoi said to him to get him to agree to have an affair. Whatever it was, I remember Reita being beyond upset.” Die offered.

                “Well now Reita’s sleeping on Uruha’s couch, that’s why I told him about the flat, maybe he’ll end up with a roommate.” Hiroto kissed his lover, “Don’t worry about him, just keep me happy with lots of sex… you’ll practically be living with me!” Die then decided that they’d have to practice how much sex they’d be having. Hiroto didn’t mind one bit.

 

 

                Ayato moved through the days after Reita left, with a feeling of emptiness. Without realizing it, every shift he danced, he looked out onto the club floor, hoping to see Reita standing with Angelo or sitting at a front table. Everyone else noticed as well. “Is he coming back, Ken? I thought you guys were like a couple.” Rob asked. “No, we weren’t, he had to go back to Japan, someone he knows is in a coma.” Ayato said dully.

                He had given his two weeks notice to the club owner, “I’ll be back in a year, so if I need to…can I come back to dance?” Ayato asked the owner, who said absolutely, he’d love for the young man to dance for him again.

                Ayato had given his red leggings to Leo, hoping that maybe the boy would get better tips, he had thanked Angelo for being there for him, “Thanks for making Akira stay that first night.” Angelo for his part, was sad that the young man was leaving.

                Taking an Uber to the airport, a suitcase and a backpack, with the old stuffed bear strapped to the outside, Ayato lucked out with a window seat on the flight to Narita.

 

               

                Reita was sitting with Hiroto in his flat, Die staring at him cautiously. “It’s nice, plenty of room…maybe a roommate somewhere down the line, but no industry people!” Reita had come to check out the flat, as Hiroto had offered.

                “Die, please…stop staring at me like you want to kill me… I’m not going to hurt Pon, I promise!” Reita whined.

                “Sorry, but I don’t trust you…yet. What you did was pretty fucked up, enough that I don’t trust you, you have to see it from my standpoint.” Hiroto was sitting on Die’s lap, his arms tight around the smaller man.

                “Do you want it in writing? I can do that…” Reita teased. “That might not be a bad idea…HEY!” Hiroto smacked Die in the back of the head.

                “We don’t need anything written down. Just know that Die’s going to be here every night.” Hiroto told Reita.

                “I promise to be on my best behavior, no wild parties, no screaming sex orgies, just Suzuki Akira living next door.” Reita quipped.

“Orgies? Really…hmm I may have to re-think the positive’s about living next door.” Die hinted.

“Orgies Die? Really? I just went through all that shit with him and now you’re suggesting…” Hiroto rolled his eyes.

“I said nothing about participating… maybe just watching?”

“My boyfriend is a pervert…filthy minded individual…” Hiroto said. “He says he just wants to watch…I’d call him out on it…he’d want to join in…isn’t that right hentai?”

“Hey! I’ve gotten no complaints from you…you’ve never said anything but oh…” Hiroto quickly covered Die’s mouth with his hand.

“Reita does NOT want to know that! Hush old man.” Claimed Hiroto. “He’s right Die…I do not need to know what goes on between you two… ever!” Reita was smiling broadly at the couple, realizing just how wrong he was about Hiroto and how absolutely horrible he had been towards the young man.

Hiroto acted as landlord, had Reita fill out the application and he took the deposit, “Can I stay starting to night? I really don’t want to sleep on Uruha’s couch again…it sucks.” Reita asked hopefully.

“I don’t see why not…I have your first months rent and all the other deposits, I have the keys… so here…might as well start tonight.” Hiroto tossed Reita the keys to his new apartment.

“Thanks, Pon. I really appreciate this…and I mean it. California was rough…just to let you know. It took someone special to open my eyes, and when I did…I didn’t like who I saw…so this is a fresh start…no more harassing you. Hopefully Aoi comes around, if he doesn’t…Gazette will look for a new second guitar.” Reita was determined not to let it get to that…but he couldn’t control Aoi.

 

Walking through Narita International Airport, feeling the overwhelming humidity, Ayato now remembers why he left Japan. Getting off the long flight, he laid down for a few minutes at an empty waiting area…stretching his body out completely.

Going through Customs and Immigration, the agent looked at Ayato’s visa, “You cut it very close…only by four days.” The man remarked. “Yep, but now I’m here for awhile.” The agent stamped his visa and sent Ayato on his way.

Grabbing a McDonald’s meal before heading down to the trains, he thought about Reita…how the man had just passed through these hallways a week ago, “Wonder how he’s doing?” the boy muttered to himself.

Getting on a train going to Shinjuku, Ayato knew that there were inexpensive capsule hotels in the area, good enough for him until he could find a furnished flat or room to share. He thought about what he would do for employment, possibly a shop of some kind, he was not the right type to work at a host club and he wasn’t about to resort to becoming a Ni-Chome boy.

Checking into the capsule hotel, he showered first, then grabbed a quick bento from the konbini located next to the hotel. He sat in the common room while he ate, there were a few business men watching some stupid game show.

Once the bento was gone, his body started to scream at him that it needed to sleep. Crawling into the small space, Ayato turned off the light and almost immediately fell asleep.

 

The morning dawned early for Ayato, the hotel allowed him to leave his things in his capsule instead of checking out and re-checking in. He needed to find a realtor that could help him find a flat, he was lucky that there was one in the area. Ayato walked towards the main cross section of Shinjuku, he saw a ‘For Hire” sign in the window of a recycle shop, “Better than nothing.”

Filling out the application and interviewing with the manager, Ayato was pleasantly surprised to be offered the job right away. “I have trouble keeping young people, they all want to work at clothing stores in Harajuku.” The manager explained. “I can see that…I don’t want anything flashy, just a job…I like recycle shops, there’s always something interesting coming in.” The manager liked Ayato right away, “You can start tomorrow if you’d like. I know you said you’re looking for a flat, good luck with that.”

Ayato left the recycle shop in a better mood, he had at least secured employment, now he just needed a place to live.

The lady at the realtor’s office asked the routine questions, sharing a flat and having a roommate, where it’s located…all of the same questions that all realtors ask. She showed him a flat that was very nice, but too pricy for his pocket. She took him to two others, both nice. Her last stop was a small two bedroom flat near the Shibuya station, the other roommate happened to be there.

“Hi! I’m Yukimura…need a place to stay?” The young man had the brightest red hair Ayato had seen in a long time. “Um, yah…” Yukimura showed Ayato the small flat, the shared laundry for the building, and where he could park his car. “I don’t have a car…I don’t drive.” Ayato told Yukimura. “That’s cool, I don’t either, I have a scooter.”

After thirty minutes, Ayato figured that this flat was as good as any other and he liked Yukimura. He signed a six-month lease and got his keys. “I just need to go back to the hotel and grab my bag…I don’t have anything else yet.”

“You can use the extra futon until you can buy somethings, no worries…I don’t mind sharing.” Yukimura seemed genuinely happy to have Ayato as a roommate.

“I need to go shopping, want to come?” Yukimura asked. “Sure, I need to get some stuff…I’ll buy dinner tonight, just you know, to say thanks.”

                “If you’re buying dinner, I’m your best friend now!” Ayato’s new roommate claimed, “Oh, call me Yuki…it’s just easier.” They talked about themselves while they walked to the store. Yuki worked in a clothing store in Harajuku, was an aspiring guitarist hoping to find a band. “Oh? What kind of music?” Ayato asked.

                “Visual Kei mostly, but honestly I can adapt to just about anything, rock and metal, no freaking pop music!” Yuki declared. “Girlfriends?” Ayato wanted to clear this up right away…it was always smart to do so. “Um, nooo… I’m um…” Yuki stammered.

                “Me too.” Ayato laughed. “Oh god! I’m so glad! I mean… not like glad glad, just glad that I don’t have to hide it from you! It gets distracting, and no, I don’t have anyone I’m seeing right now…you?”

                Ayato explained his previous living situation in California, but left out anything to do with Reita. “Wow, a stripper? Like naked all the way?” Yuki asked. “No, not completely nude…tiny little shorts and g-strings…that sort of stuff. Pretty tamed compared to other places.”

                Walking back to the flat after shopping, they talked more about family, that both of them weren’t well received when they told their family they were gay. “Yah, I haven’t seen my parents in like 4 years…I don’t care…they don’t love me if they can’t accept me.” Yuki stated.

                “Same, it’s been about 5 years for me, don’t care…they’re not worth my time if they can’t understand.” Ayato was relieved in a sense. He had come home, found a job and a flat and a roommate he liked, all within twenty-four hours, something he never thought he would accomplish. Now he could get on with living his life and try to forget that Reita ever existed.

 

                Reita hung up his basses, moving his equipment into the second bedroom for the time being. Thankfully the things he had left in storage when he fled to California, were still in good condition, the weather had not affected them.

                He went to the grocery store, stocked up on all his normal items… a few special items just to celebrate what he was calling his re-birth. “Not saying that in front of anyone…that’s just lame Aki.” He teased himself. He had stopped at the liquor department and had started to reach for a bottle of vodka…he then decided against it, hearing Ayato’s voice in his head, he opted for a six pack of beer instead.

                After grocery shopping, Reita went into Akihabara to buy a new phone…something the really didn’t miss all that much while he was staying with Ayato, he didn’t feel disconnected at the time, the troubles in Japan not being able to reach him. Filling in his contacts, he realized he didn’t even ask Ayato what his last name was…it’s not like he could look for the man, especially if the man didn’t want to be found.

                Reita felt empty inside when he was alone in his flat…no one asking if he wanted coffee or ramen, no offers of napping in the same bed…it was all gone. “Get over it, Aki…he’s probably already over it as well.” Reita had taken to asking Die and Hiroto over for beers in the afternoon, Die finally starting to relax enough that he didn’t automatically want to kill Reita.

                “I told you, I’m done with that…it’s embarrassing as fuck that I was even thinking it, let alone planning on acting on it.” Reita would tell Die over and over again. “Okay, I get it…it’s just Pon is …well he’s special…I’ve never loved anyone like I do him, and to think that someone would want to hurt him…pissed me off Rei…it really did, bad enough I probably would have gone to prison.” Die was trying…honestly, he was, to forget the sordid details of Reita’s plan. For his part, Reita was trying to forget it as well…as the result of the plans ended with him meeting Ayato…and he didn’t want to think about the boy.

 

 

                Ayato settled in rather quickly, it was easy to do as Yuki was a relaxed laid-back guy, either busy practicing his guitar quietly, or at work. Working at the recycle shop had some huge benefits that both Ayato and Yuki were privy to. A deep employee discount with the bonus of getting to choose from anything new that came in.

                After several weeks, Ayato had added to the flat’s décor with a better couch, a nicer TV and some decent kitchenware. “Ahh, a real wok! This is going to make cooking so much easier!” Yuki raved.

                The only downside to working at the recycle shop was that with the flow of people in and out every day, Ayato was constantly scanning the crowds. He pulled the merchandise out every morning, and pulled it back in every evening, both times searching the sea of people for that one person.

                “Dumbass, he wouldn’t be out in public, even if he was, he wouldn’t talk to me…bad for his image.” Ayato reprimanded himself daily. After three weeks of torturing himself by looking for Reita, he finally gave up. He was angry at himself for caring about the rock star, and angry that he wasted his time with the man. “Just work and get enough money to get out of here…I don’t want to be in this shit hole any longer than I have to.” Ayato was giving himself one year…renewing his visa and then leaving Japan, probably for good…he could fade into the city of Los Angeles quite easily with no one the wiser.

Chapter Text

 

                “I must warn you before you go in.” Davina stopped in front of the door to Uta’s hospital room. “The boy looks dead…I’m not exaggerating, at the very least he looks terminally ill.” Hide and Yutaka had flown in to the small Maastricht airport in Davina’s jet, which had met them at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

                Hide picked up Yutaka’s hand, “It’s okay…” kissing his husband on the cheek. Davina went in first, as was the norm, Sakurai was sitting next to the bed. Upon seeing Hide and Yutaka, the man rose…walked towards his friends and hugged them both. “I’m so glad to see you…you have no idea.” Sakurai said softly.

                Yutaka went to Uta’s bedside, “Oh honey…” he whimpered. Hide was by his side, holding the man up. “Uta-kun…Tousan and Kaasan are here…Rima and Zepp miss you! You need to get well and come home.” Yutaka said gently.

                “I think this may help Uta, these are his parents.” Sakurai said quietly to Davina as they watched the two men speak with Uta. “They’re very special people, I’m so very glad I’m able to count them as friends.”  Hide and Yutaka kissed Uta on the forehead, then went into the hallway.

                “You both look like hell. Go home, Hide and I will sit with Uta.” Yutaka announced. “Please…let Hide and I help, we will start to cover shifts, you’re going to collapse if you don’t eat better and get some sleep. Go home, send Yoji in a few hours, then we’ll come to your flat and get settled in, ne?” Yutaka hugged Davina tightly, “Our boy will be fine…I’m sure of it.” he whispered in the woman’s ear.

                Watching Davina and Sakurai walk down the hallway, Yutaka dragged Hide back into Uta’s room. “You and I will pull night duty, alternate…I want one of us with him at all times…even if the others are here as well. We need to talk to him…it’s supposed to help.” Hide wore a cheeky grin as his husband gave him instructions.

                “Yes, dear.” Hide teased. “I understand…he needs to hear our voices, I’m sure it will help when they bring him out of the coma.”

 

                “Davina dear…?” Yutaka called to the woman. “Hmm?” Yutaka came into the living room, carrying Saki…the cat had taken to the older man almost as a substitute for Uta. “I have an idea that I want to run by you.” Davina went into the kitchen, coming back with two fresh cups of coffee.

                “What do you think about letting Mao talk to Uta…both Mao and Kyo?” Yutaka asked. “You mean on the phone, not in flying them both here…I think that’s a wonderful idea, maybe Uta will respond somehow.” Yutaka got up and gave Davina a smooch on the cheek. “Thank you. Mao has had a rough go of things, he’s suffering from clinical depression, Kyo told us. I think letting him speak to Uta would do wonders for him, and for Uta.”

                Setting up for the call, Davina and the others went back to the hospital, praying for something positive to happen. Kyo and Mao were ready on their side, waiting for Davina to call.

                “Hello Kyo…is Mao ready?” Davina asked.

                “He’s been ready since midnight…he’s driving me crazy!” Kyo chuckled, Davina hearing Mao in the background, smacking Kyo in the back of the head. “Okay, let’s do this. Mao? Are you ready?”

                “Yes ma’am.” Mao’s voice trembled with a mix of emotions.

                “Okay, I’m putting the phone to his ear now.” Davina sat on the side of the bed, placing the phone next to Uta’s ear.

                “Uta? Hey…it’s Mao…buddy you need to come home! I have no one to throw lemons at, Aki and Tora are driving me crazy as well. The HBG isn’t the same without you. Koichi and Tomo are just too quiet to have any fun…and Taka, well you know how he is when he’s in Manager-san mode. There’s going to be a DCR party soon, I don’t want to work it alone! I bet Luna and Saki are huge now! I’m going to make Kyo get me two Siamese kittens for Christmas…then we can have playdates. Okay…Kyo wants to talk now.”

                While Mao was talking to Uta, the blood pressure monitor started to fluctuate, his heart monitor showed Uta’s heart rate increasing.

                “Uta…baby…listen to me. I love you, Uta. I will always love you, you’re the second most, but totally equal, important person in my life. Mao loves you, Koichi and Taka…everyone misses you so much. Ojisan says he wants to have a party when you get home, he said he’d even get rid of the beer limit, then you know it’s going to be a hell of a party. Come home soon, bring Luna and Saki…maybe I can get out of getting Mao two kittens if he has yours to play with. We love you Uta.”

                “Kyo…tell Mao that Uta’s heart rate and pulse both went up quite a bit. Maybe when they start bringing him out of the coma, we could do this again. Tell Mao that we love him, we love you too…ja ne.”  Davina closed the phone.

                Bending down, Davina whispers in Uta’s ear. “I’m sure you’re happy to speak to Mao and Kyo…they’re very worried about you, we all are. You need to get well soon, Josez has no one to go to the Basilica with…and Marcel wants to make you Frites. Just a few more days, my love. Then we can start planning our life again.” Davina kissed Uta’s cheek.

 

 

                “Are you really going to leave the band? Seriously…over the Pon thing?” Uruha was in the practice room tuning his guitar. “I’m not going to discuss this with any of you. I’m going to practice then go home.” Aoi snapped. “Okay…that’s cool. That pretty much says everything to me.” Uruha shook his head, turning his back on Aoi.

                In the next thirty minutes, the other members of the Gazette showed up, Ruki being the last…as was the norm these days, he was much too involved with Tomo to get to practice on time. “Ru…really? We were supposed to start fifteen minutes ago.” Kai scolded the vocalist. “Sorry…” Ruki mumbled. He didn’t want to be there, he didn’t want to have to interact with Aoi…none of them did.

                “I just spoke to manager-san, we have some lives coming up, just small venues like Citta and the Zepps’s. One for the fan club, the others just small lives to keep us sharp. None of these will be overnight stays, so no worries about sharing rooms.”

                Nobody looked at Aoi, but they were all thinking the same thing; relieved that none of them would have to room with him at a hotel.  “Any questions comments or concerns? Good, let’s start then.” Kai went to his drum kit and practice began.

                “Anyone want to go for a beer?” Uruha asked as they finished up the last of the rehearsal. “Only if you’re buying!” Reita laughed. “Um, I’ll buy you one, Rei… that’s it!” Uruha whined. “Hmm, Yukke’s at his brother’s house with Pon, so I’m in!” Kai raised his hand.  They looked over at Ruki. “Fine, I’m in too…but I’m not getting all shit faced drunk! Tomo would kill me.” They turned to look at Aoi, “You coming?” Uruha took a chance. “No.” Aoi grabbed his bag and walked out.

                “Not that we wanted him to come anyways…but didn’t hurt to ask.” Reita noted.  They all walked down to a local pub they frequented near the studio, talking about random things, finally sitting down with a beer.  

                “I’ll drag the dead horse in… what are we doing about Aoi? It sounds like he fully intends on quitting the band after his contract is up. What are we going to do about it?” Reita felt like he was partially responsible for the problem with Aoi.

                “I honestly don’t care. If he wants to quit, fine…let him. I can think of a dozen other guitar players that would die to play for us. If we’re touring, we have guest guitarists. Simple as pie.” Ruki chuckled.

                “I’m with Ru…I don’t’ care if he stays or not. He showed his true personality that day…he’s not a good fit for our band anymore, cut him loose.” Uruha added.

                “Rei? What do you think?” Kai asked. “If he continues to act like this, the fans are going to notice…he won’t do any sort of fan service, I know he won’t play with Uru, he’ll ignore me and you both. I’m undecided, I wish he’d just pull his head out of his ass.”  Three beers later, the band broke up the party and went their separate ways, each member thinking about what was said in the conversation devoted to figuring out Aoi’s next move.

               

                Reita loved his new flat…it was spacious, newly remodeled and cheap. He had heard the reasons behind the rent being so low, Davina wanting to help out young people who may be struggling. The furnishings were new, the bed was a queen size western style, which Reita loved.

                He saw Hiroto and Die often, sometimes just sitting together outside on their porches, drinking beer and talking. Reita really wanted to talk about Ayato, but it was pointless even to think of the man. By now, Ayato had to be somewhere in Japan, living a quiet life…working who knows where. Anytime Reita was out, he scanned the crowds, hoping to spot the young man, but he knew better. Ayato had made it clear that he was going to disappear once he got back to Japan and he that didn’t want to be with Reita.

               

                Across the city from Reita, Ayato lived a life of just existing, nothing else. He enjoyed his job and had all but stopped looking for Reita every time a customer came in. He had gone to some small lives with Yuki, met some new people that asked him out, he always kindly refused. “Why don’t you go out on a date…you might meet someone really nice.” Yuki often asked. “Nah, just not into it right now…just doesn’t feel right for me. I’m okay…it’s cool.” Was Ayato’s go to explanation.

                It had been one of those weeks…just shitty enough that Ayato wished he was back in LA, dancing. One thing after another went wrong; The gate to the store wouldn’t open…they were late by an hour. The computerized register had crapped out. The kicker was once they had opened, a group of teenagers grabbed armfuls of stuff out of the bin in front of the store and took off.

                The monetary loss from the theft wasn’t much, but it was more the principle of it.  The manager was left in an angry mood, yelling at Ayato over something very small. The man came back later and apologized to Ayato, who knew that the man didn’t really mean it…it was just one of those shitty days.

                The day hadn’t gone well, leaving Ayato with a desire to drown out his sorrows in a six pack of beer. He wasn’t much of a drinker, so a six pack would suffice. Coming up the stairs to his flat, he saw that Yuki was home, in the kitchen making something in the wok.

                “Want a beer?” Ayato asked casually. “Sure…what’s up? You look beat.” Yuki took the beer from Ayato, who then explained his day. “Damn. shitty day for sure. Want some dinner?”  Ayato smiled. “Sure…that sounds fantastic.”

                “Okay, so I know someone, who knows someone else…and they know the guys brother… if you follow me?” Yuki was leaning over his plate. “Anyways, would you be interested in going to see the Gazette in like two weeks, the tickets are dirt cheap.”

                 The moment Yuki said Gazette Ayato’s heart stopped. “Um…” he stuttered. “Oh…you don’t like the Gazette? That’s cool…I just thou…”

                “No! I like the Gazette…I just had to think about work and stuff. I’m sure I can get it off…I’ve never asked before.” Ayato almost said something about Reita…catching himself quickly.

                Reita.  What if…? Maybe he would…” Don’t get my hopes up. He probably has already forgotten you, he’s important here, he means something to a lot of people. He has millions of fans. I’m just a stripper that he had a one-night stand with, and crashed on my couch.

                “Having second thoughts? Or should I go ahead and grab the tickets?” Yuki brought Ayato back to the present. “Sorry, heh… yah, go ahead…I’ll pay for mine obviously, but it sounds like fun.”

                “Have you ever seen the Gazette live?” Ayato asked. He was going to have to watch some of their videos, he knew who they were, but wasn’t totally familiar with their music.

                “No, I’ve been a fan for awhile. Sometimes the shows seem to be all women in the audience… fan girls. I like the second guitar player, Aoi. Uruha’s good too, but there’s something about Aoi that just gets me.” Yuki scaled back his comment.

                They talked more about the band and the songs…how many guys may be there, “Not many I bet. The venue only holds 1500, I bet most will be girls. You have to watch out for them, they get rough during the show.” Yuki advised. “I’m sure nobody will even notice me.” Ayato laughed. Yuki thought that was an offhand comment, but didn’t push for an explanation.

 

                The train ride to the venue was nerve wracking for Ayato, he tried to cover it up with jokes about the fan girls and how far would they go to have sex or just hang out with one of the members of Gazette. “I think that the majority of them would want to sleep with Ruki, but I think the least liked member would be Reita…the whole noseband thing.” If he only knew…Ayato thought to himself.

                “I dunno, Kai’s pretty damned cute with those dimples, Uruha’s legs are damned sexy as well. Toss up though.” Ayato countered.

                “If you had a choice…who would it be?” Yuki snickered. Ayato’s heart jumped into his throat… careful of what you say. “Hmm, probably Kai, he seems the nicest…Ruki can snarl like nobody…he’s intimidating.” Nice save.

                Walking into the venue, Ayato was surprised with the seating, 4th row on the left side of the stage, in front of Aoi. “Wow, these are um, close!” he said to Yuki. “I think the first three rows are for fan club members.” Yuki pointed out. “Do you want to buy a t-shirt or anything?”

                “Nah, I’ve never been one for band shirts…go ahead, I’ll wait here.” Ayato waved Yuki off. Breathe, just breathe, he won’t even see you…the lights will be out. Even if he sees me, he won’t do anything…there’s no point. Just enjoy the show.

                Yuki had just gotten into his seat when the house lights went down and the fangirls started to scream. Yuki was bouncing excitedly on the balls of his feet, Ayato had his arms wrapped around himself tightly.

                One by one the members came out on stage to wild cheers, Kai throwing a pair of drumsticks in the crowd. Uruha was next, wearing the strappy pants that showed off his thighs. Aoi was next…with a rather dull expression on his face, not smiling. Something was off, Ayato could see it right away.

                Reita. Akira. The young man’s heart stopped, a rushing sound in his ears, all he could see is Akira. Ayato watched him as he moved around the stage, getting his bass handed to him, taking his stance next to the drum kit.

                Ruki comes strutting out to center stage, starting his MC. Ayato wasn’t listening, wasn’t watching, all he could do is stare at Reita.

                The music starts, and for the next two hours, Ayato didn’t move, he just stared, willing Reita to look at him, but the bass player was all over the stage throughout the performance, moving between Ruki and Uruha, trying to play near Aoi who was flatly ignoring his bandmates. Fans noticed, calling out Aoi’s name, he ignored everything, just looked straight out and played, no emotions showing on his face.

                The first encore ramped up for the finale, a change of clothes and a rush to the end. There were three songs left on the set list according to Yuki, “They always play these three last.” He yelled into Ayato’s ear. He was glad he had come to see Gazette, see Reita…not Akira, being reunited with his band. He could sense that there was some obvious tension from Aoi, Ayato could only guess why.

                “OH GOD I LOVE THIS SONG!” Yuki shouted as the band started Inside Beast. Watching Reita play, Ayato smiled…he really was a rock star. Just as the song ended, it happened. Reita looked straight at Ayato…and the boy knew Reita had seen him.

                Reita’s mouth hung open, he started to walk towards the front of the stage, the fangirls screaming his name and holding their arms out. Ayato smiled sadly, a tiny nod to Reita. The band started the last song, Ruder… a song that Reita had a significant part in.

                As the song ramped up for Reita’s bass, he stepped to the front of the stage and stared directly at Ayato, he was playing for the boy. Reita mouthed something, Ayato thought it looked like “I love you”, but he blew it off as Reita saying it to the crowd and not him. Yuki nudged Ayato, “He’s sort of hot…even with the noseband” he yelled in Ayato’s ear, his roommate shrugging.

                After throwing out swag, trying hard not to look at Ayato, once off the stage, Reita tried to get through the dressing room, to run out to the seating area, but was thwarted by managers, well wishers and Kai, who was ready to choke Aoi.

                “You’re an asshole Aoi, why don’t you just cut your losses and quit. If you’re going to continue to act like that on stage when we perform, I’d rather you didn’t play with us. Even the crowd noticed.” Kai tore into his guitarist.

                “Fine with me, I quit.” Aoi said to Kai and walked out of the room. “OI! AOI! WAIT!” Reita ran after the guitarist. “Really? You’re going to quit? Why don’t you just fucking talk to us and we can straighten everything out? Seriously… why are you quitting?”

                “Because you guys don’t have my back anymore. You chose backing up Pon, instead of me. You’d rather kiss that little shit’s ass, then work with me. So, fine…I’m done. Go kiss Pon’s ass some more.” Aoi turned and walked away.

                Reita went back to the dressing room, “He’s gone…I don’t think he’ll come back either.” He shook his head, “He said it’s because we chose Pon over him, he wouldn’t admit that he was guilty of harassing Pon…” Reita sat down on the couch, his best friend…ex-best friend and ex-lover just quit the band.

                “SHIT!” Reita jumped from the couch and tore out of the room, zigzagging through the corridors, trying to get into the main room of the venue. ‘MOVE!” He screamed at some crew members.

                “Where…?” running out into the venue…it was already empty, cleaning people moving through the aisles. Reita ran up the center aisle, out into the lobby… “FUCK!” The lobby was empty of fans. “Why didn’t you stay? Where are you?” Reita whined.

                “You okay?” Uruha had watched as Reita had run out of the backstage area. “Yah, I just thought I saw someone I haven’t seen in awhile, guess I was wrong.” Reita’s shoulder’s slumped. “Let’s go, I need to clean up.” Reita turned to walk back.

 

                “What’d you think? Great show, right?” Yuki was going through his bag of band merch. “Yah, they’re great…really liked that one song… super fast… Ruder?” Ayato tried to play it off…that no, he didn’t notice Reita looking at him.

                Walking into their flat, Ayato wanted nothing more than to sleep and not talk about the concert. “I’m beat…and I have to open. I’ll see you in the morning. Thanks for this, Yuki. I had a great time, I really appreciate it.” Ayato hugged his roommate then went to bed. Changing into sleep pants, he laid in his bed, staring at the ceiling, going over what had happened. The iffy, I love you, that Reita mouthed…that was for the fans, not him. “It was nice to see him smiling and happy. Hope everything is okay.” Was the last thing Ayato murmured into the night.

 

                Reita methodically went through his post-live routine. Showering, dressing, checking with the crew to make sure his basses were cleaned. He grabbed a ride back to his flat with Uruha, who could sense something was wrong, but due to all the shit with Aoi, the man didn’t want to intrude on Reita’s problems. “See you Sunday.” He said as Reita got out of his car, waving as he walked away.

                He was there…he watched me play…why didn’t I see him sooner? Was he always right there, all night? How the hell do I find him now?  Where does he live? Dammit! Did he see what I said? Wait…I told him I loved him…do I? “Yah, stupid. You do love him…idiot.” He laughed at himself. Now came the hard part, trying to find Ayato in a city the size of Tokyo would be no small challenge. He looked good, healthy…he looked soo good…damn.  “Doesn’t help to worry about it now, Aki ole boy…you’re going to have to work to find him.” Reita turned over and closed his eyes, hoping for dreams of Ayato.

                The doctors had started slowly…taking over two days to wake Uta from his induced coma, in theory to catch any brain activity quick enough to stop and put the boy under again. The first day had been harrowing for Davina and her friends. She sat on the opposite side of the bed, watching as the doctors put the first reversal medication into Uta’s IV lines. “You probably won’t notice anything yet…maybe a little more movement, a sound or two. But it’s not like he’s going to sit up and ask for pancakes.” The doctor joked.

                Three hours later, another injection into the IV lines, there had been no change in Uta’s condition from the first injection. This time he moaned slightly, wiggled in his sleep. Davina would not leave his side, even after a brutal attack by Yutaka, scolding the woman thoroughly for not eating enough or taking any naps. “You’re going to make yourself ill!”

                At the behest of Yoji, Marcel had brought dinner to the group, with beers. He also bought some vla and coffee for dessert. “Call me when he wakes, Davina.” Kissing the woman on the forehead, Marcel and his sons went back to the pub.

                The second day was worrisome, with every injection, the anxiety went up. Sakurai had taken to sitting next to Davina, holding her hand, the others gathered in chairs at the foot of the bed. “His color is better, ne?” Hide said softly to Davina. “His cheeks are a little rosier.” Davina nodded, never taking her eyes off of Uta.

                The last injection came at 9pm, “This is the last one. Uta should wake up on his own sometime in the next twelve hours. We will be increasing his fluids in order to flush out the medication. The nurses will be in every fifteen minutes, and if something happens, you know which button to push. I will be in at 5am to check on him.”

                Uta was restless, moving more and crying some, it was a discomforting sense for the group, they wanted Uta to wake, but he seemed to be in pain. “He’s fine, my love. He’s battling up from deep medication, he may be a little uncomfortable.” Yoji had traded seats with Sakurai, giving the man a break to walk the hallways and stretch his legs.

                “How are you holding up? I know it’s stressful.” Hide walked up behind Sakurai, patting his friend on the shoulder. “I’m scared, Hide. What if he askes for me again? What do I say? Davina will be devastated…” Sakurai’s brow had been creased with furrows for weeks, aging the man considerably. “Sit down, Acchan.”

                “Whatever happens, be it his going back to remembering everything, to remembering nothing, is not the end of the world. The doctors all said that his memory loss would be temporary. That is what you and Davina have to hold on to. We will all work around it. The most important thing is to keep Uta healthy and happy, Davina will agree, she will hold no animosity towards you.” Hide got up, “Let’s go back in.”

               

                Davina’s smile lit up the room, Uta had his eyes open and was looking at the woman. “Uta…” Sakurai gasped, moving quickly to the boy’s beside. “Acchan? Where am I?” Yutaka whispered in Sakurai’s ear, “We’ve called the doctor, he should be here in a few minutes. “Baby, you got sick…so we had to bring you to the hospital. Just rest right now, the doctor will be here in a minute.” Sakurai cooed.

                Uta was looking around the room at each person, with a look of confidence, or in Davina and Yoji’s case, confusion. “Mistress Davina?” Davina reached over and caressed Uta’s cheek. “Yes, my dear…I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.” Uta looked puzzled, “Why are you here?”

                “She was with you when you fell ill, Uta-kun. She’s been very worried about you.” Yutaka stepped up to the bed. “Yutaka…is Hide?” Uta looked past the man, “I’m here too Uta, no worries.”

 

                The group waited outside of Uta’s room, while the doctor examined him. “Uta’s memory loss is most likely temporary, but there is no date for when it will recover. I would expect within a few days, but I have seen cases like these where it’s been months to years.”

                Davina buried her face into Yoji’s chest, the thought of Uta not remembering her or Teiji was too much to handle at that moment. Yoji took Davina and led her to the church chapel. “What do I do, Yoji? What if he never remembers me…or Teiji? Do I just let him go and forget him?”

                “No, you would never be able to do that. You forge a new friendship, one that doesn’t have the memories you’d like him to have, but creating new ones in place of them. Remember my love, we must do what’s best for Uta, and not think of ourselves.” Davina nodded. Yoji gave her a tissue to wipe her eyes. “Let’s go see Uta.”

                Sakurai was standing outside the room, waiting for Davina. “We need to talk.” He said, holding out his hand to the woman. “I’m going to leave tomorrow. He needs to be with you, it does him no good for me to be here.” Sakurai announced. “I’m in the way.”

                “Ask the doctors for advice before you go running off, Acchan. Do that first.” Yoji cautioned the man. Yoji went in to get the doctor. “We need some input,”

                “Sakurai would like to leave, he feels that he’s in the way.” Yoji put it bluntly. Before the doctor answered, Hide and Yutaka came out into the hallway.

                “If Sakurai can not stay here, Uta should go home with him. Separating the two could lead to stress and possible seizures.” The doctor was concerned, he knew the dynamic of the group was complicated.

                “I don’t want this! Its’ wrong, he doesn’t really love me!” Sakurai protested.

                “What if he comes to live with us? Tell him your house is being renovated and he needs to stay with us.” Yutaka offered.

                “If that is the case, I will return to the manor, I will not be separated by thousands of miles. When his memory comes back, we can resume our life.” Davina asserted.

                “Davina can visit when ever she likes, we’ll give her a key, we can keep Saki and Luna with us, the dogs will just have to learn to live with them.” Hide added.

               

                They stayed up well into the early morning hours creating a working plan on how to deal with Uta’s memory loss. Davina had contacted someone in Japan and ordered the manor to be opened, cleaned and stocked. Yutaka had called Toll’s wife, and asked to keep the dogs for a few more days so they could let Luna and Saki get a feel for there house, and would she please make sure there was available cat food and a litter box ready.

                The day Uta was released was bitter sweet. Davina took him back to her flat, which he didn’t recognize, and had to come up with a story about why there were in the Netherlands. “We were on vacation, and you fell ill. I knew Davina had a house here, so I called her. She was gracious enough to let us stay here.” Sakurai was having to learn to think quickly, to come up with plausible stories.

                The day the group left was difficult. Marcel and Josez understood that Uta did not recognize them, but he was sweet and accepted their hugs. Having to see Boh at the airport was also hard, the man telling Uta that he hoped he recovered soon.

                “This is fancy! You have your own jet Mistress?” Uta marveled at the small plane, “Yes, it makes things easier when I travel.” Davina made sure Boh had told the flight crew what they were dealing with, so there were no missteps in conversation.

 

                Arriving at Narita, Davina and Yoji lingered for a moment, hugging Uta and telling him that they would see him soon. Davina did not turn around as they walked away.

                “You’re staying at Yutaka and Hide’s, our house is being remodeled, the bedrooms are torn up, there is no place for you to sleep.” Sakurai told Uta. “So, we’re living there for now?” Uta assumed that Sakurai meant both of them. “Um… well yes.” Sakurai answered, he looked at Hide and shook his head.

Once inside the house, Luna and Saki were shown their litter box, given a meal and left to explore. Sakurai and Uta went into Uta’s old room and readied themselves for bed.

                Once tucked into the futon, Uta snuggled against Sakurai, the man carefully sliding his arm around the boy. “Why haven’t you kissed me yet?” Uta whispered. “Um, well there were always so many people around.” Shit. What do I do? “Okay, but now we’re alone, and I want to be kissed, properly.” Uta purred. Oh god, I’m going to die, this can’t be…it isn’t real.

                The kiss that they shared was both wonderful and sorrowful, Sakurai would now be living in a type of combined Heaven and Hell, and he was not sure if he would survive.