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The Vagueness of Salvation

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          To say that Pon was stunned, would have been the understatement of his lifetime. In his hands he had the check, from Lynch’s management company that was the settlement they had reached with Pon, in exchange for not filing formal charges against the bass player. Pon’s mouth was open…gaping like a fish out of water. This couldn’t be real…the decimals had to be in the wrong place. “Die? Could you come here please?” Pon called out. Die poked his head out of the spare bedroom, “What’s up? I’m re-stringing a guitar.” Pon walked down the hall, and handed Die the check. “uh...this.” Die looked at it and whistled, “Damn babe, that’s a shit ton of money, talk about feeling guilty.” Die handed the check back to Pon. “You don’t think that’s a mistake? This is really the amount they decided on?”

          The guitarist shrugged, “Yah, it’s not like he’s hurting for money, and neither is his management company.” Pon still wasn’t sure this was true. “I’m going to call DCR, this has to be a mistake.” Pon walked down to their bedroom, taking out his phone.

          “Hi, this is Hiroto. Uh can I speak to a manager please?” Pon was put on hold. “Hi, it’s Pon. I um just got the check for the settlement with Lynch, I think there’s been a mistake, are you sure this is the correct amount? No! Of course, it’s enough! It’s well over what I thought it would be! That’s why I’m calling…are you sure this is right? Well, okay… um, thank you.”

          Walking back to the other room, “They said it’s right.” Pon told Die. “Cool, what will you do with it?” Picking up the guitar he had just strung, Die started tuning it. “I have no clue, I don’t even know who to go to for this. What do you think I should do with it?” Pon had never seen this amount of money before, it was overwhelming. Die stopped and put down his guitar. “What’s important to you? You said you wanted to donate it to a charity or something, you just have to find one that is important to you.”

          Pon huffed, “You’re not helping,” he whined. Die stood up and opened his arms, “Come here,” he said as he hugged his boyfriend. “I don’t have an answer, you have to choose something that is important to you. But I will say, I would take part of that and put it in a bank account and leave it there, as a safety net.” Kissing Pon on the head, Die went back to his guitars. “Fine,” Pon went back to the living room. “Something that’s important to me…shit! A lot of things are important! Maybe I should ask Ken…or um, Uta!”  Pon had a flash of brilliance, “Yus!” He now knew, exactly what he wanted to do with the money.

          “Hey, are you working today? Cool, can I come by and talk to you? Okay, see you then.”

 

          It was a rare day off from recording and the members of The Gazette were taking advantage of the down time; Kai was spending a lazy day in bed with Yukke, with short breaks for food, Ruki was busy designing more jewelry and Reita and Ayato were sleeping in. The two remaining members were in their flats, agonizing over their feelings for each other. Each man deciding finally to reach out to a friend, after a long day of contemplation and no answers.

          “Hey, are you busy? Uh, okay. I really need to talk to you can I come over please?”

 

          An hour later, Kai had Uruha sitting next to him on the couch. “Um, I knew something was wrong, but this is not exactly what I thought it would be. Does he know?” Uruha nodded, “I told him at the studio, then he left. That’s pretty much an answer, right?” Kai shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I wouldn’t say an answer, but um…”

          “Kai, you’re an idiot, move over.” Yukke pushed his way on to the couch. “Uru, do you love him, like really love him? Or is this just a sex thing? Because if you love Aoi, you need to tell him that. If it’s a fuck and fly kinda thing, then go for it if that’s what you want.”

          Kai groaned, “Yukke…” “What? It’s that straight forward, either Uruha wants Aoi as a fuck toy or he wants to be in a relationship with the man, what else is there? Something in between that I’ve forgotten?” Yukke snarked back.

          Uruha suppressed a giggle, “No, I don’t want him as a fuck toy, I’m in love with him, not in heat over the man.” Yukke nudged Kai, “See.” Kai sighed, “If you’re in love with him, you need to tell him, not like you did at the studio, I mean a real sit down and discuss this situation. If he rejects you, then there’s your answer, a harsh one, but at least you’ll know.”

          “What about Yuki? I know Aoi’s still in love with him, and he’s dating Ken, but that’s all, I don’t know where their relationship is.” This was the major roadblock for Uruha; Yuki and Aoi’s feelings towards the young man. “Ask Pon, they live in the same complex, just ask him what he knows about Yuki and Ken.” Yukke said.

 

          Across town a similar discussion was being had between Aoi and Ruki, who was none too pleased to have his day interrupted by his second guitarist. “So, what’s the problem?” Ruki asked without looking up from his sketch pad. “Uruha confessed to me.” Aoi said with little emotion.

          This got Ruki’s attention, “He what? Confessed? That’s random…or is there something else that goes along with that?” Ruki turned his full attention to Aoi, who then went through the entire scene after seeing Yuki and Ken at Ojisan’s.

          “Hmm, a blow job? Well, not like any man will turn that down, even if there’s not romance or whatever. What did he say when you tried to talk to him?” Aoi leaned back in his chair, running his hands through his hair, “He said it meant nothing, it was just something that happens, but then he confessed.”

          Ruki snort giggled, “I’d like to know when and where these blow jobs just happen!” Ruki could see that Aoi didn’t think that was funny. “Sorry, so what are you going to do? I know you sorta still like Yuki, right? But he’s dating Ken…”

          “That’s the problem, I don’t know what to do! I don’t want to hurt Uru…ever! But if I stay true to my feelings, then I’ll be alone forever because there is no way in hell that Yuki’s going to be a part of my life, I fucked myself over with that.”

          Ruki sighed, “I can’t give you an answer, I don’t have one. You know his feelings, he’s in love with you, and from what you’ve said, it’s been a long time. Sorry buddy, I can’t help you on this one.” Ruki felt badly for Aoi, the man was a complete mess most of the time and now, when he had just gotten over all the Pon stuff, and then Yuki, Uruha is dumped into his lap. “I suggest you guys get together and talk it out, maybe ask Pon about Yuki and Ken, that could give you at least some direction.”

 

          Both Aoi and Uruha left with no answers, no surety and maybe even more confused. Uruha kicking himself for confessing to Aoi, and Aoi upset that he can’t move forward from Yuki. Aoi sat in his car for a good ten minutes, Ruki’s suggestion of getting together and talking to Uruha, shouted in his mind. “Can you come over please, we really need to talk about this. No pressure, I promise.”

          He stared at the text, Yukke’s words playing in the background, “Okay, I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Better to get it over with sooner than later, spending hours a day in the studio with this tension between them wouldn’t be good, for anyone. Pulling up to Aoi’s flat, Uruha was shaking, “What the hell am I even doing?” he muttered as he walked up the stairs and knocked on the door.

          “Hey, come on in.” Aoi opened the door. “Um, do you want something to drink?” Uruha shook his head, “No thank you.” They sat on the couch, Aoi facing his guitarist. “Sooo… um I think we need to talk about all this, it’s going to make life difficult if we’re always awkward with each other.” Uruha just nodded.

          “You said you’ve loved me since even before I was dating Reita? Why didn’t you ever tell me that?” Aoi leaned in. Uruha looked down at his hands, shrugging his shoulders, then the words came rushing out, “There never seemed to be a right time. You were happy with Akira, so I just ignored my feelings, then you guys broke up and I was going to tell you, but you kind of turned into a huge slut. The thing with Pon, that just made me hate you, I wanted you to feel like shit and that’s why I told you that I hated you…deep down though I wanted to reach out and save you.” Uruha sighed, “I’m not making much sense, sorry.”

          Aoi leaned back on the couch. “What about now?” Uruha snorted, “Now I just feel like a complete asshole, I should have stopped you but I was willing to take what I could get, even if you didn’t really mean anything. You love Yuki, he’s cute and young, I understand that now.” The man finally looked up at Aoi, “I just don’t want things to be weird at the studio, or on tour. I apologize for um, telling you... I’m sorry.”

          The tears falling from Uruha’s eyes were burning holes in Aoi’s heart, his beautiful friend spilled his guts, confessing and Aoi did nothing about it. “What, what if I said yes?”

          “Yes? To what?”

          “Yes, I’d like to try us…”

          “Us?”

          “Yah, like I want to date you? Have you been sniffing hairspray?” Aoi tried to lighten the mood.

          “But you love Yuki! I don’t want to be a substitute, I’m not that pathetic.” Uruha didn’t believe what he was hearing.

          “Yuki’s not in love with me, he’s moved on with Ken. I think I should try to move on too. I’ve always loved you, well you know like as in bandmates and friends, but what if we try and see where this other kind of love could go?”

          Shaking his head, Uruha wasn’t going to agree, “I don’t think it’s a good idea, Yuu. What if we…” suddenly there were lips on his, pressing softly as Aoi’s hand came up to caress Uruha’s cheek. “I think it’s a wonderful idea, ne?” Uruha mewled, “Yuu…” The renewed kiss brought a feeling of passion just under the surface, that if Aoi kept kissing him, they would be naked in bed in minutes. That’s not what Aoi had in mind, he didn’t want to rush this new relationship, surely it would break before it got started if he did.

          Pulling away from Uruha, Aoi sat up. “Here’s what we should do, to squash any rumors, we tell the band, but keep it at home right now, we’re recording and we don’t’ really need any more distractions. How about tomorrow night we hit up Ojisan’s for dinner?” If Aoi was going to try with Uruha, he was going to try hard, and do it the right way.

          Uruha’s head was swimming with a thousand things at once, “Um, okay. Do we tell them at the studio, or should we like text them?” Aoi thought for a moment, “Let’s text them, I don’t think we need to make a big production out of it, is that alright or do you have a different idea?” Uruha shook his head again, “No, no…whatever you want.” He couldn’t believe what Aoi was saying, “Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, Yuki…”

          Aoi leaned in and started to kiss Uruha again, this time with an urgency that Uruha could tell, Aoi meant what he was saying, “Was that sure enough?” he grinned, “Um, maybe one more just to be extra sure?” It took more than just ‘one more’ before Uruha was convinced.

 

          They decided on a group text, announcing that they were going to try dating, everyone replying with a positive response, “See, I told you they’d be okay with it.” Aoi reassured Uruha again. The text made things at the studio the next morning a little easier, there were no stares, just a general sense of acceptance. Pon noticed something was up and asked Reita, “What gives? You guys are in a weird mood,” he asked the bass player.

          Reita smirked, “Aoi and Uruha are dating now, just happened last night. We’ve all got our fingers crossed for them.” Pon smiled, “That’s great.” In his mind he wasn’t so sure, if Ken found out, would he tell Yuki? For Ken’s part, he either didn’t’ want to see it, or was oblivious to it, Die, on the other hand figured it out right away, patting Aoi on the back. “Good deal man, good to see you happy again.”

          The new couple tried not to distract each other, Aoi leaving the room when Uruha was recording, going down to the offices and visiting, Uruha doing much the same for Aoi. That first night after recording, Aoi took Uruha to Ojisan’s for ramen and beer, also hoping for no weird comments by the mystic ramen maker.

          “Irasshai gentlemen, beers for a celebration tonight I see, give me one moment.” Ojisan said smiling broadly. Uruha nudged Aoi, “How does he know we’re celebrating anything?” he whispered. Before Aoi could answer, Ojisan was placing beers in front of them, “There is a shining aura about you both, a new romance is always to be celebrated.” Ojisan winked and turned back to his tiny kitchen, leaving Aoi and Uruha with their jaws hanging open.

 

          The new couple were not the only one’s celebrating, Ken had caught on to what was happening between the members of the Gazette, giving himself internal hi-fives, an Aoi in a relationship meant he had a better chance of keeping Yuki to himself. He had said nothing to his young lover when he arrived at his flat, just happy to know that he didn’t have Aoi’s shadow hanging over them.

          The invitation to Yuki’s for dinner and drinks, was a huge surprise for Ken, they had only done dates with others, or gone to Ojisan’s. This date was more intimate and he was hoping he could get a better feel for where their relationship might be going. He would take a chance and if the topic came up, he would let Yuki in on the information about Aoi and Uruha.

          “Oh, good god, no dessert! I’m not going to be able to move for at least an hour, just pour me on the couch and I’m good.” Ken groaned as Yuki started to clear away the dishes, “I’m not that great of a cook, spare me the groans.” He laughed. The dinner had been relaxing and pleasant, Yuki trying with everything he had to envision he and Ken in a more serious relationship, but there was that nagging feeling that Aoi would change.

          Yuki wanted to dig a little, but without being obvious, “How’s recording going? I haven’t seen Pon or Reita much, I’m guessing you’re working them to death?” Ken laughed, “Hardly, recording involves a lot of sitting around, brief spurts of playing, then more sitting around. There is um, something new that popped up though; I guess Aoi and Uruha are dating now, odd couple to be sure.” Ken took the leap, hoping for… for what?

          “Hmm, I don’t see that working, I’ve heard stories from Reita about Uruha’s weirdness OCD stuff, and Aoi? Oh please, he’s a slob.” So that was it, Aoi had moved on. Yuki felt a certain sense of relief, more so than regret. It left him the opportunity now to move on himself, with Ken.

          “Horror, RomCom or funny?” Yuki plopped down on the couch next to Ken. “Hmm, I detest RomCom, they’re just so sticky… how about horror? I love having a scared young man hiding his face in my chest…always a bonus!” Ken was hoping exactly for that; too bad Yuki wasn’t easily scared.

          “Sorry to burst your bubble, but I love horror films, the gorier the better, I won’t be hiding my face in your chest.” Yuki went through the movies and picked a classic, slid the DVD in and snuggled up next to Ken, who put his arm around the younger man’s slight body, kissed him on the head and turned his attention to the movie.

          Within thirty minutes, it was plain to see that Ken did not in fact, like horror movies; he was the one closing his eyes and making ‘eww’ noises, leaving Yuki laughing, “Here, let me hold your hand to comfort you.” Yuki giggled. “Pfft, I’m an old man, I can han…eeeewwww!” Ken hid his face in Yuki’s shoulder. “You’re a big baby,” Yuki kissed Ken’s forehead, Ken looking up, “Um, my lips are right here, please don’t waste a kiss,” Yuki reached over and cupped Ken’s face, holding him there as he pressed his lips against the older man’s.

          Ken took charge of the kiss, his lips ghosting against Yuki’s, sliding his tongue in and slowly savoring the feel of the kiss, Yuki reached up and cupped the back of Ken’s neck. The kiss deepened quickly, Ken gently pushing Yuki back on the couch, stretching over the smaller lean body of the boy. Ken slid his hand up over Yuki’s side, breaking the kiss for a moment, “You’re so fucking sexy, you’re going to kill me one day…just giving you warning.” Yuki responded by pulling Ken back down into a kiss, murmuring, “It’s going to be a beautiful death for us both.”

          The kissing and touching continued for some time, Yuki didn’t want to have sex that night, but it was going to be sooner than later. Shirts were pushed up, nipples teased, bitten and licked, soon it got to be a little too much for both of them.

          “Um, I know you’re not ready, so we’d better stop, or I’m going to have to use the bathroom and um, take care of this.” With a little hip grind, Yuki could feel the stiffness in Ken’s pants. “Yah, uh… not quite there yet… but it’s going to be a short trip to get there.” Ken moved and put Yuki in front of him as they lie on the couch, Ken’s arm around Yuki’s waist, holding him close and trying hard not to grind against the cute perky ass of the boy.

          The movie played but neither man was really watching; Yuki had his eyes closed, Ken could feel the steady even breaths, he kissed Yuki’s neck and wondered how the hell did he get this lucky, an old man with something this young and cute, he could see himself starting to fall hard for Yuki.

          Both men fell asleep, Yuki waking only as the press on his bladder reminded him that he had a lot to drink during dinner. Sliding out from under Ken’s arm, he ran to the bathroom, “Oh god, so much better.” He sighed. Going back into the living room, Ken was sitting up, “I should get going, early call tomorrow and I need to get some sleep, which I won’t get if I’m plastered to your ass behind you on this couch.”

          With a few more minutes of languid kissing, Ken said his good nights, with his promise of texting or calling Yuki after work. Closing up his house, Yuki made his way to bed, with his thoughts about Ken filling his mind. “Just try to make it work, Aoi’s not waiting for me, I shouldn’t wait for him either.” Getting into bed and snuggling down into the covers, Yuki fell asleep quickly, with a smile on his face and the taste of lingering kisses on his lips.

 

          He looked down at the angel in his bed, the sorrow he felt for having slapped the boy. They had talked well into the night, Isshi making sure that Ruimaru knew exactly why he was being punished for his crime of screaming at Madame F.

          “My Angel, you understand Madame F’s standing in our community, do you not?” Ruimaru wouldn’t look up at Isshi, “Yes, Sir I do.” Tipping the boy’s chin up as to look him in the eyes. “Your act of loyalty towards Uta is commendable, I would expect nothing less from you. Your actions towards Madame F are something entirely different that we must address.” Ruimaru knew he’d be punished, and he deserved it, but he also knew he’d do it again in a heartbeat, but he kept that information to himself.

          “Your punishment is as follows; There will be no scenes with myself or Karyu for two weeks. You will write three letters of formal apologies to the other Dominants. You will not be attending me at Vinyl Fetish anytime in the near future, until you’ve proven to me that you will follow all protocols that I have put forth in your contract. Do you understand all of this?” Isshi wanted to cry, he couldn’t stand the fact that he was denying his Angel anything.

          “Yes, Sir. I understand and agree to everything. Please accept my deepest and sincere apologies for my behavior at Vinyl Fetish.” Ruimaru bowed deeply. “I will have the three letters written by the end of the day.” Ruimaru held the bow until Isshi petted his head, “My love, I’m sorry that I have to punish you so, but that is what my responsibility as your Dominant, is. Please Ruimaru, do not give me any reason ever again to punish you, as I feel this is a punishment for myself and Karyu, denying you in our beds. I love you, my Angel.”  Isshi kissed his lovely boy and sent him on his way, “How will I keep my end of the agreement? Two weeks is a long time not to have you in my bed.”

 

          The boy with the blonde hair sat at a computer at an internet café, trying to find information on the boy he saw at the club, the same one that lived with Isshi. He scouted the known sites for the community and came up with a name, Ruimaru. In his search he also found information on Karyu and of Leda. He read the story about Leda with some horror, not believing that the boy had killed himself over something to do with Isshi. “He’s never been that bad.”

          He also found information on Sakurai Atsushi and Uta. “The HBG? Hmm, might have to visit this place.” As he continued to search, he found the story he’d been looking for; The death of Teiji. “Mistress…how did you live after that? He was your everything.” He muttered. Taking some notes, the blonde-haired boy left the internet café and headed to the hostel he was staying at. His plans included finding a suitable Dominant, one that was low profile. It was the only way he could get close to the others.