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The Vagueness of Salvation

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                Sitting alone in the doctor’s office waiting room, Koichi wiped his hands on his pants, his palms sweating from fear, it was taking everything he had just to sit and wait for his appointment, wanting nothing more than to bolt and go home.  He had filled out the required paperwork; lists of surgeries, injuries, any medications he was on, the reason for the visit. It had taken him an entire week to get up the courage to even call the doctor, let alone schedule an appointment, but with gentle prodding by Uta and Mao he had finally made the call.

                “Will you tell Tatsu?” Uta asked the evening before the appointment. “No, not yet.” He said quietly, “I’m not sure I want him to know I’m seeing a shrink…he might…” he might think I’m crazy, is what he wanted to say.  “That’s up to you, but I do think you owe him at least a phone call, it’s been almost a month, Kou.” Uta gently chided.

                Koichi wasn’t sure he owed Tatsu anything. His feelings about his husband changed as quickly as a blink of an eye; one moment he felt anger towards the man, the next he was sobbing into his pillow because he knew he was hurting the one person who meant the most to him. “I’ll call him after my first appointment, I promise.”

                For Tatsu, not speaking to Koichi was slowly killing him, if it were not for the daily updates via text and phone calls from both Uta and Sakurai, Tatsu would have long fallen completely apart. “Tell him that I love him, and that I’ll be here when ever he needs me,” was his standard message each time he spoke to the men. What he really wanted was to scream and yell, rush over to Sakurai’s home and force his way in, physically remove Koichi from the home, take him home and care for him. His friends all told him, ‘don’t do it, he’ll resent you for it.’ Fuck resentment, he’s my husband and I want him home!

                The door opened, “Koichi? Come on in.” The doctor had anything but a typical doctor appearance, the man could be Sakurai’s brother, Koichi could do nothing but stare at the man. “Is there a problem, Koichi?” Dr. Takigawa asked, noticing that the young man seemed unnerved. “Um, not really a problem, but um… has anyone ever told you you look like you could be Sakurai Atsushi’s brother?”

                The doctor smiled, “Only one person, and I believe you know him quite well.” Koichi knew that the doctor was talking about Mao. “Oh, yah…I guess so.”  Takigawa looked over Koichi’s paperwork, tapping a pen against his cheek, leaving Koichi to squirm a little in his seat. Looking up at his new patient, Takigawa leaned forward in his chair, “Let’s start with the basics; why you are here and what you hope to achieve.”

                Koichi frowned, “I’m sure you know why I’m here, you have all my records,” he snapped, “I want to stop hurting…myself, my friends and loved ones, I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me, but I think it may be depression.” Koichi crossed his arms over his chest, instantly defensive.

                “Your file says PTSD was diagnosed by Dr. Maeta, do you agree with him on that?”

                “Maeta’s an asshole, that’s the only right thing there is about him.” Koichi huffed. “Well that’s not what I expected, but you have the right to feel that way. Why do you think you have depression?” Takigawa said blandly.

                Koichi didn’t answer, he just shrugged. “You’re the doctor, you tell me,” he said. “I can’t tell you unless you tell me what’s bothering you. That’s kinda how therapy goes, you know…back and forth exchanges between us, but if you’re going to be a sullen brat…” Koichi’s head snapped up, “Excuse me?”

                Takigawa was looking at his clip board, basically ignoring Koichi at that moment. “A sullen brat? What the hell does that mean? You’re not allowed to speak to me like that.” Koichi got up and started walking towards the door.

                “Sit your ass down, Koichi.” Takigawa knew the game and how it was played. “If you walk out that door, you can write me off as your doctor. If you sit back down and speak to me like an adult, we’ll continue, your choice.” Koichi stood at the door, his hand on the knob. Turning back to Takigawa, “Fine, but you have to help me, you can’t talk down to me, that’s not…”

                “Sit down Koichi, you don’t get to dictate what I say or how I say it. If you want help, and yes, I think I can help you, then sit your pretty little ass down in the chair and we’ll continue.”  Koichi walked back over to the chair and sat down in a huff. “Good, now…let’s talk about what happened that put you in the hospital.”

                The remainder of the session was spent on the known aspects of what was going on with Koichi; his attitude towards his friends and his husband and the hospitalization, and the reason he walked out without being discharged by Maeta. “Play time? Seriously, he told me to schedule play time. What the hell does that even mean?”

                Takigawa smirked, “He worded it wrong and pushed you in the wrong way. I believe he simply meant trying to find something that was relaxing, that you would enjoy doing outside of work and your relationship with your husband. He also should not have made those demands in order for you to be discharged, I totally agree with your leaving on your own.”

                He had to work to get Koichi’s confidence in him, he knew that it would be critical in the young man’s treatment. When Takigawa had received Koichi’s records, it pained him to read what the young man had gone through in the last six years, Mao had also offered up some insight to his friend. “The only other of my friend’s that’s had it worse that Kou is Uta, and you already know about that.”

                “Do you think medication will help me?” Koichi asked in a very small voice, a complete 180 on his earlier demeanor, now Takigawa could see through the bluffing. “It’s possible, are you open to trying medication?”

                Koichi nodded, “Mao said it helped him, and he was pretty bad back when we were all dealing with the problems Uta was having,” Takigawa reached over and handed Koichi a tissue, who didn’t realize that he had started to cry. “I just want to be normal again, I’m hurting Tatsu and Taka, all my friends…I’m not like this…this isn’t me!”

                Takigawa didn’t want to start Koichi off on any medication after just one visit, not yet. “I want to hold off on any medication, we need to talk at least once more before I can prescribe it. What I’d like you to do is keep a journal of sorts.” Koichi was going to object, Takigawa holding up his hand. “Before you start whining about it, this is important. I want you to keep track of what your triggers are, it’s not a diary, just write down what was going on right before your mood changed. It might be something as simple as something you saw on TV, something you ate or who you were talking to.”  

                Koichi reluctantly agreed and made his next appointment for the following week. “One last thing; if you agree to it, I’d like to speak to your husband, I know you’re not living with him at the moment, but I think it’s fairly important that he’s included in this process. You can have him call me, or he can come with you, that’s up to you entirely.” Koichi told the doctor, he’d think about it. He’d have to speak to Tatsu, something he hadn’t done in weeks. “The longer you go without speaking to your husband, the further apart you will grow.” Takigawa warned him.

                Koichi left the office building, walking towards the train station deep in thought, almost not hearing someone calling his name, “KOICHI!” Uta honked the horn on his sports car, “Come on! I’ll give you a ride home.” Uta wasn’t going to bring up the therapy session, “Hey, I need to stop at the pet store, is that okay with you?”

                “Sure…” Koichi smiled, thankfully Uta didn’t ask about the appointment. The drive to the store was quick, Uta telling Koichi about the dinner Acchan was preparing, “I hope you’re hungry, he always makes way more than we need.” Finding a parking spot, they walked into the store, Uta grabbing a basket. “Hey, can you find some new toys for Maru and Saki? They went on a killing spree, tore everything they had to pieces, I have to grab some food.” Koichi walked into the toy aisle, picking up random toys, thinking which ones the two terrors would like. A lady came around the corner, holding a carrier, a pair of dark green eyes peeking out the front. She was looking at toys, shaking small balls in front of the carrier.

                “Teepa, you’re so spoiled! You really don’t need anymore toys.” She chuckled, a small cry coming from inside the carrier. “A kitten?” Koichi asked politely. The lady held the carrier up so Koichi could look inside, a black kitten with green eyes staring back at him. “Teepa, he’s not even a year old yet, and yes…I’m spoiling him.”

                “He looks a lot like my baby Teo, he’s five years old and is a pretty tiny cat, maybe only 6lbs. Hello Teepa, you’re a cute lil baby…” Koichi crooned at the kitten. “Koichi, making new friends?” Uta walked up with a basket full of food.

                “He looks like Teo, same green eyes.” A sudden pain in Koichi’s heart hit him, he could feel the tears start, “Um, how are these for toys?” He bowed to the woman who walked away. “Kou? Are you okay?” Uta saw the tears, “I just miss Teo and Gordy,” he whispered. “Let’s get out of here, Acchan’s not going to hold dinner for us if we’re late.” Uta put his arm around Koichi’s shoulder as they walked to the check out.

 

                Takigawa made the call, he knew that if it wasn’t brought up, Koichi probably would avoid contacting Tatsu. “Hello, Tatsurou. My name is Dr. Takigawa and I’d like to speak to you about your husband, Koichi.”

 

 

               

                Dr. Takigawa’s words were an earworm in Koichi’s brain, “The longer you go without…” How long had it been? Uta said almost a month, but Kou didn’t believe that. Picking up his phone and looking at the calendar, he frowned. It had been 23 days since he last saw Tatsu.

                                                                                     23 days.

 

                Koichi didn’t say much on their way home from the pet store, instead he listened to Uta prattling on about Davina’s renovation on her home, Isshi and his boys and how they were coping, Koichi only offering a muttered reply. Walking into the house, Koichi excused himself, “I think I’m going to lie down for a bit, before dinner.”

                Finding his lover in the kitchen cooking dinner, Uta put down the bag of cat food with a sigh, Sakurai seeing the look on Uta’s face, “Did his session with Dr. Takigawa go that badly?” he asked Uta. “No clue, he hasn’t really said much since I picked him up. He did see a lady with a kitten that looked a lot like Teo, maybe that upset him?”  Sakurai frowned, “Let’s leave him alone for now, hopefully he’ll want to eat dinner with us.”

 

                Koichi fell over onto his bed, bone tired, his soul weary and heavy. Tatsu. The one person he could never believe he would ever be separated from, and now it had been 23 days. How could he have let it go on for so long? His husband must hate him by now, abandoning their marriage, their life that they had worked so hard to rebuild, after all the tragedies that had gone on around them.

                Takigawa’s words rang in his mind; “The longer you go without speaking to your husband, the further apart you will grow.”  Was it the same with his friends, would they abandon him as well? How long would it be before Sakurai and Uta got tired of Koichi and asked him to leave? He’d have no where to go, he’d be homeless, would Tatsu throw Teo and Gordy out?  “Don’t be stupid, none of that is going to happen,” he was trying to convince himself, “But what if it does, then what?” he argued back.

                Uta hesitated before knocking on the door, he had heard Koichi mumbling to himself, not able to catch what his friend was saying. “Koichi? Do you want to eat?” he carefully opened the door a crack. “Hey, we’ve got dinner on the table, why don’t you come and join us?” Koichi thought about turning Uta down, “Um…” wait, they might want to kick him out if he says no. “Sure, I’d like that.” Getting up off the bed, he followed Uta down to the dining room.

                Sakurai walked in from the kitchen, putting the last of the bowls on the table. “Koichi, can I get you a glass of wine?” He smiled at the young man. “Um, yes please…white wine would be nice, just a small glass.” He sat down at the table, forcing himself to smile and act naturally, whatever that meant at the moment.

                Placing a glass of wine in front of Koichi, Sakurai sat down and started dishing out the food, not jumping straight into a conversation. “This is excellent, Acchan!” Uta said through a mouthful of pasta. Koichi nodded, “This is really good. Um…how did the cats like their new toys?” Uta laughed, almost spitting out his food. “They’re already dead…all of them, I think Saki killed them all because Maru was walking around with a mouse that had no stuffing.”

                Koichi giggled, “Maybe we just need to put catnip in old socks instead, if their going to kill the toys in the first hour, that’s going to get expensive.” Sakurai’s heart leapt with the sound of Koichi’s giggles, but it didn’t last. Without even a breath in between, the giggles were replaced by tears, alarming both Sakurai and Uta, “Kou-kun, what’s wrong love?” Sakurai asked in a soft voice, as he reached out and covered Koichi’s hand with his.  “I’m sorry…heh, uh sometimes it just happens.” Koichi stuttered.

                At that moment, Sakurai’s phone buzzed in his pocket. Taking it out he saw the name, looked up at Koichi, “Um, I need to take this.” Pushing back from the table, Sakurai walked down the hall to his bedroom, leaving a puzzled Uta with Koichi.  “Hey, why don’t you help me with the dishes, then we can sit in the garden.”

 

                Sakurai sat on his bed, “What can I do for you? No, we were having dinner, it’s not a bother. Oh? That’s not what I expected to hear but it’s logical. I can ask but I’m not sure he’ll agree to it. Yes, of course. I will…give me a few minutes.”

                Sakurai walked back down the hall and into the kitchen, he could hear Uta and Koichi out in the garden, laughing over something the cats were doing. “Please, let him agree to this.” He muttered as he walked out the back door. “Kou-kun, come here for a moment.” Sakurai held his arm open, leading Koichi into the living room. “That was Tatsu,” he waited to see the young man’s reaction. “He wants to call you…is this something you’d agree to?”

                Koichi had a flash of anger, “He what?” Before he could explode, Sakurai put his hand on Kou’s shoulder. “Koichi, please talk to him, he’s in such pain…he just wants to know that you still love him.” With the touch of Sakurai’s hand on his shoulder, Koichi’s anger drained from his body, replaced by fear and anxiety. “He’s going to call in a few minutes, why don’t you go down to your room, take a deep breath and relax, he just needs to hear your voice.”

                Uta walked up behind his friend, “Kou, I think it’s time you talk to your husband, don’t you?” putting his arm around his friend. Koichi wanted to argue that they were butting into his life, but something held him back from pushing them away; the truth. “Okay, I’ll talk to him. I actually was thinking of calling him tonight, I haven’t talked to him in 23 days.”  Uta looked at Sakurai, “I think it’s time then.” Uta kissed Koichi on the cheek. “Go talk to your husband.” Koichi turned quickly and threw his arms around Uta’s neck, “Thank you…I love you, Uta.”

                Leaning against the door as he closed it quietly, Koichi could feel his heart beating rapidly, his chest felt tight and his mouth going dry, “Seriously? It’s your damned husband, you idiot,” he scolded himself. Before he could dial the number, Tatsu called him. Shit.

                “Hello?” This feels awkward.

                “Kou, hi babe.”

                “Hi, um…I was getting ready to call you.”

                “Oh? Well, that’s okay, as long as we can talk…” Tatsu could hear the hesitation in Koichi’s voice. “I’m not going to hide anything from you, I wanted to tell you that Takigawa called me today, I guess after your first session.”

                “Oh? Yah, today was the first time we met…he looks like he could be Acchan’s brother.” Koichi paused, “What uh, what did you guys talk about?”

                “That’s why I called you first, he wanted me to come and see you but I wouldn’t do that without asking you first. He made it sound like I should just barge into Sakurai’s house.” That wasn’t entirely true, Takigawa had suggested Tatsu reach out to Koichi first.

                “You…You want to see me?” Koichi’s voice was quivering.

                “Babe it’s been three weeks since we’ve seen each other,” Tatsu took his chance, “I’d like to come to Sakurai’s…tonight if possible. I don’t want to talk about anything over the phone, please? Uta and Sakurai can even sit with us if it makes you more comfortable.”

                Koichi surprised himself, he actually wanted to see Tatsu, “I’d like that, I uh want to see you too.”  Tatsu jumped off the couch and fist pumped the air, “Great, how about in an hour?” Koichi agreed, “I’ll be waiting, um I love you.”

                “I love you too, babe.”

Chapter Text

                “Okay, I admit it…I need help. I don’t think I can do this by myself. I understand if none of you want to help me, I honestly don’t deserve it.” Aoi had asked his bandmates to his flat, essentially to ask for help, and eventually forgiveness. “I don’t want to do formal therapy, like seeing a shrink or some shit.”  Kai took the initiative in speaking for the band. “What are your goals, Aoi? You’re asking us to help you…help you do what?”

                After the night that Reita came over and bitch slapped him for sending the nasty text to Yuki, accusing him of sleeping with Yusuke of Lynch, Aoi finally had hit bottom. That night he got no sleep, instead he went through his life and his accomplishments and failures, weighing each. Sadly, he had more failures than not, something he had never admitted to himself before, his failed relationships with Reita and Yuki at the top of the list.

                Aoi cried that night more than he could ever remember, sobbing like a child with his face buried in his pillow. There were no phone calls or texts, no one concerned about his well being at that moment, everyone had deserted him, tired of his bullshit behavior. He had thought about calling his sister, then remembered the names he had called her when she kicked him out of her home…with that last thought, he knew he was truly alone.

                Reita wouldn’t look at him, Ruki had his nose in his phone, not giving a shit as he had told Aoi several times, Kai and Uruha the only one’s listening intently. “My goal is not to be an asshole anymore, to um, rediscover who Shiroyama Yuu is. As for how you can help me…I don’t even know, I just want to make sure you guys won’t abandon me.”

                Uruha got up and approached Aoi, “We’ve known each other for ages, Yuu. If you want to find yourself or whatever you want to call it, I’ll help you.” Uruha hugged Aoi, “I promise, I won’t abandon you,” he whispered in Aoi’s ear. “Thanks.”

                Putting down his phone, Ruki looked at Aoi, “Like I said before, I hate Aoi of the Gazette right now, and I’m not too fucking happy with Shiroyama Yuu either, but if you truly mean this, I’ll help you as well. But I swear if the asshole in you comes out again, I’m going to kick your ass all over the damned studio!”  Aoi grinned, “You can kick my ass anywhere you’d like Ru, thanks.”

                Looking over at Kai and Reita who were standing in the kitchen, leaning across the counter, Aoi figured that neither of the men wanted anything to do with him, the conversation had stalled. Kai nudged Reita, who just rolled his eyes. “Fine.” Coming from behind the counter, Reita walked up to Aoi and got in his face, “If you fuck this up, I’ll never speak to you again. You will lose everything we’ve worked for, you won’t be able to join another band , let alone work anywhere else, you will be out of the industry for good.”

                The look in Reita’s eye, the anger and distrust in his voice, Aoi believed everything that the man was saying to him, there would be no do-overs or forgiveness this time…it had to be the last time. Reita then clapped Aoi on the shoulder, “I’m going to make you work your ass off…you’re going to hate me when I’m done with you.” Aoi grinned sheepishly. “Okay, that’s cool.”

                “I was ready to write you off, to the extent that I was looking for someone to replace you. Yukke was the one that kept me from going to management to have you removed from the contract.” Kai paused, walking over to Aoi, “The shit with Pon, now with Yuki…I’m like Ruki, I fucking hate Aoi…but I miss my buddy Shiroyama Yuu and if he’s trying to come through, who am I to say no to helping him?”

                Aoi felt the tears start to fall, wiping his eyes with the back of his sleeve quickly. “Um, thanks … you guys don’t know how much this means to me, I’m so done being a piece of shit,” he paused, “Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to do this, I honestly don’t have a clue.” Ruki snorted, “Figures.” Uruha reached over and smacked Ruki in the back of the head, making Reita laugh…which of course spread. Then the silly boyish pushing and shoving started, Aoi ending up in a group hug, something that brought him to tears, sending everyone else in a fit of teary laughter.

                Kai finally broke up the group hug, reminding them that they had to be at the studio in the next hour, “We have two more days before we start recording, let’s make the best of the time we have left.” A group whiney groan and mutters of ‘kill joy’, and general grumpiness could be heard as they broke up the party, everyone making their way to the studio. Uruha gave Aoi a ride, wanting to corner him alone for a few minutes, “Hey, anything I can do, I will, but my first suggestion is lay off the booze. From personal experience, drinking gives you bad ideas that sometimes you follow through with.”

                Aoi smirked, “Yah, no shit… Okay, no more alcohol for awhile, but I’ll be calling you if I start to slip and want a beer or something.” Uruha chuckled, “That’s fine, that’s what friends are for.”  Uruha didn’t trust himself to say anything more, he didn’t want to expose himself to Aoi…not yet…maybe never.

 

 

                The recording of Lynch’s new album was in the final hours, they were in post production making the tiny changes to each song and Pon couldn’t be happier. Not having to see Akinori every day for hours on end, the man constantly flirting and touching even with Pon having forcefully slapped away the man’s hand more than once. Ken had made a few comments to Lynch’s manager, “You need to rein in your bassist, he’s fucking obnoxious and is harassing Pon, do something about it or I will.”

                The manager had spoken to Akinori, and the harassment died down a bit, but there were still the stares, the sexual inuendo in virtually every comment. If either Asanao or Reo were in the room, Akinori’s behavior turned to the model musician; doing his job and not interfering with the technicians, but the second the men left, it was back to the harassment of Pon.

 

                Pon had left the studio for lunch that day, needing to decompress from Akinori’s constant attention, walking down to the ramen shop near the studio. “Irasshai.” Pon stepped up and ordered, finding a seat against the back wall, eating his ramen in peace. One more day…that’s all he needed to deal with and be done with Akinori.

                “Irasshai,” Pon looked up as the door chimed, seeing Ken walking up to the counter, “Hey…no breaks for the head technician, Ken.” Pon joked, as he waved Ken over. “You escaping too?” he asked Ken. “No, not really…just decided to get some air and real food.” He sat down with his ramen, “Hiding from him?” he didn’t look at Pon, “Not really hiding, just needing a break, just thankful that it ends today, at least the recording part does. I don’t really want to get Die involved in this.”

                Ken snorted, “Maybe you should, I’m sure if he knew, he’d be pissed as hell.” Ken knew about the fight that happened between Aoi and Die, when Pon went after Reita, he was sure Pon could handle himself against Akinori.

                Pon shook his head, “No…I just have to get through today, then it’s done, now if he tries shit after this? I’m not responsible for Die’s actions and I wont’ stop him from beating the snot out of Akinori.”

                Ken snorted, “I’d pay good money to see that, Akinori has no idea what he’d be dealing with, I’ve seen a pissed off Die and it’s nothing to be blown off.” They talked a little while longer until Ken made the call that they needed to get back to the studio. “Only a few more hours, then you’re safe.”

               

               

                Aoi was listening to what Kai and the others had planned for him, Kai of course starting with Aoi’s abysmal diet, “You eat like shit, part of your problem is your brain is dying from eating all that crap all the time. Eat better, feel better.” Kai turned towards his drum kit, “Oh, and no alcohol,” he said over his shoulder. “I second that, beer is included…you need to detox.” Uruha raised his hand.

                He wanted to complain, throw a tantrum and tell them all to fuck off, and leave in a huff. But he didn’t, he heard Reita’s angry words in his head, he could still feel the sting of the slap and the humiliation of being left on the floor like trash.

                “Can I at least have soft drinks? Cutting out alcohol and cigarettes is going to be brutal, I need some sort of legal drug.” Aoi tried not to whine, he didn’t want to sound ungrateful for the help. Uruha thought for a moment, “Yah, I guess caffeine isn’t too bad.” Aoi bowed to him, “Thank you Senpai!”

                The mood in the practice room was lighter than it had been in months, the laughing and joking aside, the business at hand was to get ready to record a new album and secondary but not less important, bring Shiroyama Yuu back into the Gazette and leave Aoi for the stage.

                Pon and Ken could hear the Gazette’s practice as they walked down the long hall to the recording room, “Hey, going to use the bathroom, I’ll be there in a few,” Pon pulled up short at the bathroom door. Walking towards the urinals, Pon was shoved forward into one of the stalls, the door slamming as his face hit the wall. With blurred vision and bells ringing in his ears, suddenly there were hands on his crotch, pulling at the buckle of his pants, “You’re going to love this” was whispered in his ear, a bite and a lick on his neck as hands grabbed him.

                “GET THE FUCK OFF ME!” Pon growled, struggling and fighting back. Pon knew instantly who this was, “AKI GET OFF ME! ASSHOLE!!” Pon knew if he didn’t fight back, Akinori would likely get what he ultimately wanted, “Shut it Pon… come on boy…I’m not askin… SHIT, YOU LITTLE FUCKER!” in the struggle Pon slammed his head back, catching Akinori in the mouth and bloodying it, which earned him a hard shove into the tile wall, stunning the smaller man and leaving him bleeding at the temple.  

                Akinori watched in anger as Pon slid down, falling in between the toilet and the wall leaving a smeared trail of blood. “Dumbass, if you would had just given in…now I’m fucking bleeding, stupid fucking kid.” Akinori left the stall, left Pon lying on the floor, grabbing a wet paper towel, Akinori left the bathroom.

                “Take a break guys, Aoi’s doing the pee dance.” Kai finally took pity on his second guitarist. “Hey, I had three cups of coffee today… cut me some slack. I’ll be right back.” Aoi hurried out of the room and down the hall, rushing into the bathroom. Opening the door, he stopped dead, “Pon? WHAT THE HELL?” Pon had gotten up and staggered out of the stall, trying to get out and go to the management office, “Uh, I don’t…” he fell to his knees, “Can you help me please?” he reached up to Aoi.

                Aoi grabbed Pon’s hand, pulling him up, “Who did this to you Pon, was it Akinori?” Pon nodded, “Come on, let’s get you to our room.” With his harm around Pon’s waist, Aoi guided the injured young man back to the Gazette practice room, kicking open the door.

                “Take him!” he growled, Uruha being the closest, takes Pon in his arms, watching as Aoi ran out of the room, “Follow him!” Kai hissed at Reita, who was already half way out the door, he had an idea where Aoi was going, and sure enough, he could hear the shouts and what sounded like a fight. “Damn…AOI!” Shoving his way into the room, Reita grabbed the first person he saw which was Aoi, who had Akinori by the shirt as he screamed at Aoi, “STOP IT WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?” Ken grabbed Akinori from behind, pulling him away from Aoi.

                “THAT SON OF A BITCH HURT PON! THAT’S WHAT’S FUCKING GOING ON!”

                “He’s lying! I never touched that kid!” Akinori struggled against Ken. “Aoi probably did it himself! He’s always wanted Pon, don’t you Aoi? Chasing after that kid, trying to fucking rape him…yah I’ve heard the rumors. Oh, and look! How convenient, your partner in crime is right here too!”

                The guitarist lunged at Akinori, “AOI! Come on… we’ll deal with him later…” Reita struggled to get Aoi out of the room. “Ken, come down to our room!” Reita yelled over his shoulder as he wrestled Aoi down the hall. “Shit, Pon!” Aoi broke free and ran back to the practice room.

                Bashing through the door, Aoi walks up to the injured man, “Pon, are you okay? Did he um…” Aoi stuttered, “He tried, but I headbutted him, so no, he didn’t rape me.”  Aoi knelt down next to the couch where Pon was sitting, a wet towel on his temple, the amount of blood was significant. Ruki was in the corner on the phone, waving his arms wildly, “Die damnit JUST COME TO THE STUDIO!” Ruki snapped his phone closed. “He’s on his way Pon,” Ruki told him, “I’ll be right back.” Grabbing Kai, Ruki left the room.

                Uruha got Pon a clean towel, “You’re going to need stitches I think, three or four at least.” Pon nodded, “I’ll have Die take me.” The door flies open and Ken is there, kneeling in front of Pon, “Did that asshole do this?” Pon nodded, “Damn him!”

                Ruki and Kai came back to the room with the manager of the studio, who took one look at Pon, frowned angrily and left the room. “He’s going to deal with it, he’s calling the police then the rest of the band,” said Kai. They all turned towards the door as they could hear someone in the hall screaming, “PONNN!” Getting up, Pon opened the door, “Pon are…baby!” Die’s hands were shaking as he reached for Pon’s face, “you’re bleeding…” he whimpered. “I’m okay, but I think I need to get some stitches in my head.” Taking the towel away, Die paled when he saw the cut, reaching out to touch it, “Pon-kun…why?”

                “It was Akinori, Die. Aoi found him in the bathroom, that asshole cornered him in a stall and put his hands on Pon.” Ken walked up to Die, putting his hand on the man’s shoulder. “The cops are going to come, management already knows.”               

                Die’s face grew very dark, something Pon had never seen before…a scary angry Die. Reaching up for Die’s face, the man kissed Pon’s hand, then turning and leaving the room. “Give him a head start,” Aoi told Ken, “At least ten seconds,” “Aoi no, Die’s going to hurt Akinori, I’d rather the cops get him, please Aoi?” Ken groaned.

                Aoi put his head back and groaned, “Fine… Come on Ken, let’s go save that asshole from Die.” Ken slowly walked towards the door, “Do we have to? Let’s take our time getting there, ne?” “KEN! AOI! GET OUT OF HERE!” Kai growled.

                Throwing the door open to the recording studio, Ken and Aoi found Reo and Asanao holding Die back in a corner, Hazuki kneeling next to what looked like an unconscious Akinori, lying bloodied on the floor. “Good job Die!” Aoi laughed, “We’ll take care of him, you guys are going to have to talk to the cops, so stick around.” Die wrenched himself out of Reo’s arms, bending down next to Akinori, “You ever come near my boyfriend again, I will kill you, then I’ll take what’s left of you and give it to Kyo, believe me when I say that I am now your worst nightmare,” Die spit on Akinori then left the room.

 

                A DCR manager was standing outside the Gazette practice room, holding Die back from going in, “Wait here for a moment, I don’t want you involved in this part. The police are in there taking statements, Aoi you need to go give yours.” Aoi nodded and went in, Die huffed and leaned against a wall. “How bad did you do him?” the manager asked. “Oh, I barely touched him, but I think he fell and hit his face on a wall a few times, maybe he’s drunk.” Die deadpanned.

                Ken was speaking to a police officer, Aoi was sitting with Pon, “You okay kid? You don’t look so hot.” Aoi leaned over and nudged Pon’s shoulder. “I’ve felt better that’s for sure.” Pon smiled weakly. “Hey um thanks for uh, you know like saving me and shit.” Aoi looked at Pon, “Dude, I’m the last guy on earth you should thank, I didn’t do anything worth noticing. I just found you and brought you to the room. I didn’t save you, you got hurt…that’s not saving someone.”  Pon cocked his head, “You didn’t walk away when you could have. That’s worth something, Aoi.”

                Kai clapped his hand loudly, “Alright gentlemen, we are done for the day. Tomorrow’s practice will start at 1pm, no early morning call, I think we all need to sleep in.” Pon started to get up but swayed a little, grabbing Aoi by the arm, “You okay?” Aoi asked, “Stay here, I’ll go get Die.” Pon sat down again, watching as Aoi trotted over to the door, “Hey Daisuke, your boy needs you right now.”

                Die came into the room, looked around quickly until he saw Pon, “Hey babe…” he walked over then knelt next to Pon’s chair. “We need to get you to the hospital to get some stitches, are you ready to go?” Die patted Pon on the leg. “Yah, I’m just a little woozy, that’s all and my head kinda hurts.” Before Pon could stand, Die scooped him up in his arms, “I’ll get you to the hospital,” he kissed Pon’s nose, then walked to the door, “Thanks again Aoi,” Die said as the man held the door open for them.

 

                Two hours after the incident, Aoi’s state of mind at that moment was in shambles. He was sitting in his flat alone and desperately needed a beer. “Just one beer…that’s not really drinking.” He bargained with himself. Going to the fridge, the second he pulled the door open, he groaned, where his beer should be, a note was in its place,

                                                                “Don’t Drink! Call Me!”

                He sighed and took out his phone, he knew who had stolen his beer, Uruha,

                “Hey, so when did you do it?”
                “Before we left for the studio, poured out all your alcohol as well.”

                “Okay, I called you, so now what?”

                “What made you want to drink?”

                “I’m alone, it’s too quiet here.”

                “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

                “Wait! NO!” Shit, he hung up.

 

                Ten minutes later, much to Aoi’s disappointment, Uruha is sitting on his couch with his legs tucked up. “Pretty intense day, right? I mean you saving Pon and all that.” Aoi groaned, “I didn’t save Pon! Damn you’re all acting like I did some huge thing, I just got him into the room.”

                “But you did do something, you got him somewhere safe, before you went after Akinori, the Aoi six months ago wouldn’t have done any of that.”  Aoi turned red and shifted uneasily in his spot, “Don’t make it out to be such a huge deal, I told you guys I wanted to change…besides me and Pon, we’re already okay. The bigger question is why are you here?”

                Now it was Uruha’s turn to blush, “I…I told you I’d help with the alcohol thing, and uh…you sounded like you needed some support, so here I am!” Uruha bounced a little. Dropping his chin to his chest, Aoi took a breath,                   “You can go home now, really…I’m fine. Thanks for the support,” Uruha took the hint and got up and walked to the door, Aoi standing behind him, just as Uruha reached for the knob, he quickly turned and hugged his friend, with an almost unperceivable grind against Aoi.

                “Okay, I’ll pick you up tomorrow on my way, let’s say about 12:30?” Aoi could do nothing but nod at Uruha. As he closed the door, he couldn’t help imagining that Uruha leaned in with his hips.

                 “What the hell was that? Did he really just…?”

 

                Uruha leaned his head back in his seat, as he banged his hand on the steering wheel, “Fuck…that’s it, now he’s going to think I’m some sort of perv. Why did I do that?” he was sure that Aoi felt the tiny grind, he was also sure that Aoi had no idea of his feelings.

 

 

                Die moved slowly and quietly, trying to get into bed with Pon and not wake him. He had gotten one leg in, and was ready to sit down, “Get in bed, you dork.” Die made a rude noise. “You could have just told me that you were awake.” Pon giggled, “No way, I wanted to watch you try to be quiet, but you always fail…it’s kinda cute really.”

                Die pulled the covers up then pulled Pon into his chest, “Still hurting?” he murmured in Pon’s hair. “A little, mostly just feels like a bad headache. Am I like all bruised up?” Pon didn’t remember the loud gasp from Die when he helped him into pajamas. “I think you’ll be surprised, but yah you are pretty banged up.”  Pon leaned hard into Die, burying his face in the man’s chest. “Why?”

                Die wanted to say something clever, but this wasn’t the time for that. “I don’t know baby, I truly don’t. I mean I understand why they pick you, you’re sexy and funny and smart. I don’t get why it seems that none of them will take no as an answer, until it gets really physically ugly.”

                Pon looked up, resting his chin on Die’s chest, “I think it’s age,” he said confidently, “Look at Aoi, he’s not as old as you, but way older than I am. He’s my senpai, and I shouldn’t refuse anything my senpai asks of me. Akinori is technically my senpai too.”  

                The swell in Die’s heart just about choked him, the fact that Pon was trying to explain away Akinori’s attack as some sort of cultural issue instead of an asshole musician that couldn’t take no for an answer. “Baby, maybe it’s just that Akinori is an asshole, um… what did Yuki call it? Self-entitled prick musician. Rape or attempted rape is not a cultural excuse, in any culture.”

                Die tightened his grip on Pon, “I’m going to take you to breakfast tomorrow morning, I don’t have anywhere to go, and I’m sure no one expects you at the studio, so after breakfast we’re coming home, I’m going to make love to you and fall asleep in your arms. How’s that sound?” When Pon didn’t answer, Die looked down, Pon’s mouth was open just enough to snore softly. Reaching up to turn off the light, Die then kissed Pon’s head softly, “I love you, Hiroto.”

 

 

                Two men sat opposite of each other, both not knowing how to start the conversation. The younger of the two men looked pale and wane, the older was drawn and haggard. They were not strangers, they knew every little detail of each other’s lives, there was just something there, that was blocking them both; Fear.  Fear of rejection and fear of the unknown, would they be able to find their way back to each other. Someone had to start. “I love you.”

Chapter Text

          “I love you too, but I’m scared.” Koichi’s voice was barely above a whisper, as he spoke to Tatsu. He couldn’t stop the tears from falling, “I’m scared that you won’t love me anymore because I’m crazy, that you’ll find someone else that’s healthy and can give you what you need. I’m not that person right now.”

          Tatsu didn’t say anything, he just listened. “I cry for no reason; a stupid song will come on the radio and I have to stop what I’m doing just to cry, I’ll see something that reminds me of our past, or I’ll hide in my room and stare at the computer, trying to figure out what’s wrong with me.  Nobody really cares, they’re just helping and saying nice things because they feel sorry for me.”

          Tatsu’s heart was breaking, his beautiful husband believed that no one cared for him, that he was some sort of freak that was mentally ill. “Babe, I know telling you that all of that isn’t true, won’t help you, but I can tell you that I’ll be right beside you, doing whatever it takes.” With his elbows on his knees, Koichi hid his face in his hands and cried.  “I know you feel obligated to help me, we’re married so you can’t just walk away, but maybe you should.”

          Tatsu got up and moved to sit next to Koichi, “I’m not leaving, I won’t walk away from you. I did that once before, when I thought you’d be better off without me, do you remember how horrible that was?” Koichi nodded, the ordeal with Masa was the second lowest point of his life, up until now. Koichi leaned int Tatsu “How do I fix this?” Tatsu kissed the top of Koichi’s head, “We fix it by going to therapy together, being there for each other and understand that sometimes the words we’re saying to each other are out of frustration and not hate or anger. If Dr. Takigawa thinks medication will work, we’ll start there, it might take a while to find the right one but I’m confident that the doctor knows what he’s doing, he helped Mao didn’t he?” Koichi nodded.

          “It’s getting late, I need to go home and feed the monsters, will you be alright tonight?” Tatsu wanted to beg Koichi to come home with him, though he’d be met with resistance and possibly resentment, so he’d let it go for now. “Okay, uh thanks for coming to see me. I’ll let you know when my next appointment is. Give Teo and Gordy kisses for me.”

          Tatsu stood up and hugged Koichi, kissing him on the forehead, “I will, just text me when you know the time and date for the appointment. I love you, Kou.” Leaning against the front door, watching Tatsu get into his car, Koichi wanted nothing more than to scream for Tatsu to take him home, but why didn’t he? “Because I’m pathetic, that’s why. He’s going to want a divorce after that first session.” Koichi knew that once they were sitting with Takigawa, Tatsu would be done with him.

          Walking down the hall to his bedroom, Koichi’s tears started again, “so fucking pathetic,” he muttered to himself as he closed the door. He didn’t bother changing into pajama’s, he just got in bed with his clothes on, “makes no difference.” Pulling the covers over his head, Koichi prayed for a dreamless night.

 

          “I just heard Tatsu leave, let me see if Koichi’s still awake.” Uta and Sakurai had been lying in bed while Tatsu and Koichi talked. “Baby, just leave it please. If Koichi’s awake, he may not want to talk to anyone, so keep your sexy ass in bed with me.” Sakurai quickly reached out and grabbed Uta around the waist, pulling him back onto the bed. “Really? Can’t I just go see if his light is on in his room?” Sakurai muffled any more questions with a rough kiss, the type of kiss that left Uta mewling and forgetting everything else.

          Koichi could hear the giggles and unmistaken sounds of sex, coming from Uta and Acchan’s bedroom, at least someone was happy, he thought. What would make him happy? Tatsu, his friends, Teo and Gordy, the house he shared with his husband. “Then why am I sleeping in Acchan’s guest room? Why haven’t I gone home yet?” His tears started again, “fucking pathetic” as he continued to beat himself up, “do something dumbass!” he muttered. He reached for his phone, “he loves me,” text or call? “I want to come home, can you come and get me please?”

          Koichi wrote a short note to Uta; “Thanks for everything, tell Acchan too. I’m going home. I’ll call you later.”

          Stuffing what little he had with him in his bag, he quietly left the bedroom, leaving the note on the counter in the kitchen. “Thanks, Uta, Acchan.” He whispered as he went through the front door, standing in Sakurai’s driveway, to wait for Tatsu. “He loves me,” he had to hang on to that in order to move past his depression and regain himself.

          He heard Tatsu’s car before he saw it, giggling at the ratty sound of the muffler, as Tatsu pulled along side the curb, leaning over to open the door, “Hey babe, are you ready to go home?” Koichi nodded, “Yep, let’s go, I want to sleep in my own bed tonight, with you and the cats.” Sliding into the passenger seat, Koichi leaned over and kissed Tatsu, “I love you.” Without another word, Tatsu pulled away from Sakurai’s house, happier than he’d been in weeks and hopeful for his and Koichi’s future.

 

 

          Pon turned over onto his back, his body reminding him of what had happened the day before. Reaching over for Die, who was still snoring, Pon rolled onto his side to wiggle         against Die’s back, spooning him and throwing his arm around his lover’s waist, sliding his hand under Die’s shirt, ghosting his fingertips over the small nub of a nipple. Pon’s head was still throbbing, as he buried his face into Die’s back and sighed. What would be the next step, would he have to testify in court or would it just be swept under the rug because of who Akinori was, and who he wasn’t?

          “Probably,” he mumbled against Die’s back. “Probably what babe?” Die rolled over, “That nothing’s going to happen to Akinori, because he’s a well-known musician and I’m just a studio engineer.” Die sat up in bed, “Don’t think that you’re not anything special, damn it! You are worth just as much as that fuck stain Akinori! You’re not just an engineer, you’re a person with rights just as anyone else has. Just don’t…” Die was sputtering so much he couldn’t collect his thoughts properly, it pissed him off that Pon would think less of himself.

          Pon’s eyes grew wide, “Die…” he said softly. “Damn it Pon! I hate what that bastard has done to you!” Die got out of bed, “I’m going to make sure that asshole pays for what he’s done to you… to MY boyfriend!” Die stomped off to the bathroom, slamming the door. Die turned the water on in the shower, stripping down quickly and getting in before the water was hot.

          “That mother fucker did this shit to my boy! He’s going to regret every fucking second of the rest of his life. He fucked with the wrong fucking person, GOD DAMN HIM!” Die ranted loudly.

          Pon could hear Die’s screaming, and it scared him. Would Die now go after Akinori, and cause even more of a problem? “Shit, he can’t do that!” Pon scrambled out of bed, and went into the bathroom. Taking his clothes off, he got into the shower with Die. “Pon? This is a surprise, so what the hell are you doing?” Pon putting his hands on Die’s hips, turned Die around to face him, “I’m making sure that my overly concerned and protective boyfriend doesn’t do anything stupid.”

          “Um, taking a shower with me is going to do what?” Die laughed. “Well, if I play my cards right, taking a shower with you will lead to other things, and hopefully those other things will keep your mind on making love to me, instead of killing Akinori.” Pon put his arms around Die’s waist, sliding his hands down to grab and massage the taller man’s ass. “Pon…” Die whimpered. “Okay, shower time is over!” Die reached behind him and shut the water off, then carefully picked Pon up. “Um, we need to dry off, don’t we?” Pon tried to reach for a towel. “Oh, we’ll dry off, don’t worry about that!” Die stepped gingerly out of the shower, kicking the door closed and walking to the bedroom. “I love you, you know that?” Die leaned back and fell onto the bed, still holding Pon. “Show me how much you love me.” Pon whispered, and Die always did what his boyfriend told him to do.

 

          Waking up in Tatsu’s arms, it was as if the last month hadn’t happened to Koichi, his life hadn’t been in shambles with disturbing visions and thoughts. When he had gotten home with Tatsu that night, Teo and Gordy were both very wary of Koichi, which of course upset him to the point of locking himself in the bathroom to cry. It took Tatsu a half hour to calm the young man and get him to come out. “Kou just lay down on the bed, I bet both of them will be cuddled up to you in a few minutes.”  Koichi sniffed, “You think so?” Tatsu kissed his small husband on the forehead, “Yes, I think so. You’ve been gone for almost a month, I think they’re in shock to see you.” Tatsu prayed that Koichi would believe him.

          Thankfully, what Tatsu had said was exactly what had happened. Koichi changed into pajamas and got into bed, calling for Teo and Gordy. Once Tatsu joined Koichi, it wasn’t ten minutes later when both cats were on the bed, Teo standing on Koichi’s chest, head butting him and Gordy tapping him in the face. “Gordy! Not with your claws out!” Kou giggled. Tatsu was relieved, he had not counted on the cats not accepting Koichi, but once the cats had settled down, Tatsu pulled Koichi close, “This feels so good, I love you Kou.” He nuzzled Kou’s ear, “Mmm, it does feel good. Thank you for coming to get me.”

          Breakfast that morning seemed about as normal as in the past, though Tatsu was a little on edge, anticipating Koichi’s mood. The cats were screaming to be fed, Tatsu dancing around trying not to step on either one, leaving Koichi giggling. “You should have gotten up earlier to feed them, you know how they are in the morning.”

          “Damn it, Kou, it’s not like they’re freaking starving. They get fed every day at the same damned time.” Tatsu groaned. “Fine! Here you little monsters!” Tatsu put the bowls down and the screams of starvation ceased. Tatsu poured two cups of tea, then joined Koichi at the table. “Do you have plans for today?”       

          Koichi shifted in his chair, “Uh, I have an appointment with Takigawa today, um… will you go with me?” he looked down at his lap. “Of course, there’s nothing pressing for me to do today, MUCC is on a break of sorts. Takigawa said he wanted me to come to some of your sessions, today is fine.” Koichi peered up through his hair, “Are you sure? I can um, go by myself…it’s fine if you don’t…”

          Tatsu put his hand up to stop Koichi. “Babe, I’m going with you, there’s no question about this. I’ll go to every session you have, if Takigawa wants to see just you, then I’ll be there, waiting for you to be done. You’re not going through this alone, Kou.” Tatsu reached over the table, putting his hand over Koichi’s. “You’re never going to be alone in this, ever. If I can’t go for some reason then you call Taka, or Shinya. You know that they’ll be here to help as well. Hell, I bet you could get Kyo and Ruki to go with you! Could you imagine Kyo with Takigawa? Or shit…Ruki and Kyo together? God, I’d pay money to see that.” Koichi snickered, “I wouldn’t do that to Dr. Takigawa, that would be so mean!”

          They spent the rest of the morning just reconnecting. Koichi laid on the couch, his feet in Tatsu’s lap with Teo on his chest. Tatsu was on his laptop going through DCR stuff, making comments here and there about what was going on at the studio. Then he came across the problem between Pon and Akinori, frowning and reaching for his phone.

          “What’s wrong?” Koichi saw Tatsu’s face change. “Pon…looks like he got into some type of fight or something, I’m calling Yukke.” Koichi listened to the one-sided conversation, and whatever had happened to Pon, was obviously disturbing judging on Tatsu’s side of the call.

          Snapping his phone closed, Tatsu leaned his head back on the couch, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Is he okay? What happened to Pon?” Koichi sat up, pushing Teo onto the floor, he didn’t like the expression on his husband’s face.

          Looking over at Koichi, Tatsu wasn’t sure how much he should tell him, “It seems that Pon has been having problems with Akinori from Lynch. He was the sound engineer on their new album.” Tatsu paused, watching Koichi’s face carefully. “Yukke said Akinori has been harassing Pon…like sexually harassing him.” Koichi made a soft noise that to Tatsu sounded like ‘no’. “Yesterday, Akinori got Pon trapped in a bathroom stall, and something happened where Pon ended up with a gash on his forehead that needed stitches. Aoi found him and it all went down hill from there, Die ended up beating the snot out of Akinori. Yukke said they’re not sure what’s going to happen next.”

          “Is Pon okay?” Koichi whispered. Tatsu nodded, “Just stitches I guess, Die took him to the emergency room. Kai is livid of course, Yukke had to keep him from going after Akinori, you know how scary Kai can be when he’s pissed. I’m sure we’ll hear about it in the next day or so, since management had to get involved as well as the police.”

          Koichi’s face paled, “The police? Was it that serious? Is Pon going to be okay?” Tatsu noticed that Koichi repeating a question, almost as if he didn’t remember he had just asked about Pon. “Just a few stitches in his forehead, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Yukke seemed a little worried about Die…Pon’s going to have to restrain him from going after Akinori.”

          Koichi’s lip trembled, “What about Kyo? Will he go after Akinori too?” he asked softly. Tatsu hadn’t expected this, “Um, I don’t think so babe, why would Kyo get involved?” he asked carefully. “Because Kyo and Die do everything together, you know that. I just thought that Kyo would help Die.”

          Reaching for Koichi, Tatsu pulled him into his arms, “Everything will be fine. Kyo’s not going to be involved, Die and Pon will work through this with the DCR team. I don’t think you have anything to worry about, ne?” Koichi nodded, a soft “okay” Kissing the top of Kou’s head, “I think we need to get ready for your appointment, let’s go get dressed.”

 

          His mouth was so dry he couldn’t swallow correctly, his tongue sticky and thick. Sitting with Tatsu in front of Dr. Takigawa, Koichi was terrified. Would he say something so bizarre that Tatsu would get up and leave? Koichi must be shaking, Tatsu had a good firm grip on his hand, constantly patting it in reassurance. “It’s okay, I’m not going anywhere,” Tatsu leaned over to whisper.

          Dr. Takigawa put down his notepad, “You’ve gone home, have you? That’s great Koichi, a good first step in your recovery. How have you been feeling?” Glancing at Tatsu, who nodded, “Go ahead, Kou.”

          “Um, well I found out this morning, that a friend of mine was hurt yesterday, and it is um, upsetting.” Dr. Takigawa wrote on his note pad, “Is it upsetting because of the person involved, or is there another reason?” Koichi looked at Tatsu, “Um, I guess because he um, has had problems in the past and also who was involved.”

          Takigawa looked up at Koichi, “Is this person close to you?” Koichi looked down and shook his head. “Not really. He’s Kai’s nephew and he’s Die’s boyfriend.” Dr. Takigawa looked at Tatsu, “Can you explain these connections.” Tatsu went through his band, “Kai is my bassist’s husband. Pon has been in the city for just about a year, maybe a little longer. We’re not super close with the boy, but he’s family none the less.”

          The session went on from there, Takigawa digging to come up with a connection to Koichi’s emotions and Pon’s assault, with Tatsu adding what he could. “Koichi, how confident are you that you are going to be able to deal with your depression?”

          Koichi shrugged, “Maybe 70% confident, at least right this minute. You know how that can change in a heartbeat.” Takigawa took out a pamphlet from his notebook, “This is the medication I’m going to start you on today. Every known side-effect of the drug is listed. I want you to start tonight, then we’ll see how you do. If you experience any of the side-effects, stop taking the medication immediately, then call me.”  

          With a prescription in hand, and Tatsu’s arm around his waist, Koichi left Dr. Takigawa’s office feeling confident. “Can we go get this filled now please?” he asked Tatsu. “Yep, right now. Let’s hope it works for you, but like Dr. Takigawa said, don’t become too upset if this isn’t the right medication, there are a lot out there and you have to start somewhere.”

         

          The mood was high, and Tatsu felt he could somewhat relax, not watching Koichi constantly. For his part Koichi tried to keep up a positive attitude and decided to call Taka, he hadn’t spoken to Taka in what felt like years.

          “Kou! Oh my god, I’m so happy to hear your voice!”

          “I’m sorry Taka. I’ve been a horrible friend.” Koichi wanted to apologize first.

          “Really Kou? There’s nothing to be sorry about, you’re struggling with things and you’re doing the best you can. I totally understand that and by the way, everyone at work says hi and they hope you’re feeling better and want you to come by for a visit.” Koichi hadn’t thought of the HBG in awhile, mainly due to embarrassment for being such a shitty person to his friends.

          “I’d like to come and see everyone, but um, I’m starting on medication tonight. So hopefully this starts to work.” They talked about Pon, Sato had been contacted by Yukke, “I’m surprised Die didn’t kill Akinori, seriously. I’m sure if Kyo would have been around, it would have been worse.” Taka said.

          With the mention of Kyo’s name, once again Koichi’s mood changed, “Why would you even bring up Kyo? Are you saying that I should dump Tatsu and go back to Kyo? What a fucking stupid idea, Taka! Fine, I’m done.” And with a snap of the phone, Koichi hung up on his best friend.

          Tatsu had been listening from the kitchen, hearing the change in Koichi’s voice, “Uh oh,” he muttered under his breath. “Hey, how’s Taka? I bet you’d like to go to the HBG for a visit.” Koichi glared at Tatsu, “No, I don’t want to go to the HBG, I have no friends there.” He got up and left the room, not quite slamming the bedroom door.

          “Well shit.”

 

 

 

          Pon looked at the document in front of him from DCR and Lynch’s management team, explaining his options on how he wanted to proceed against Akinori. Die sat next to him but said nothing, he couldn’t influence his boyfriend as much as he wanted to tell Pon to file charges against Akinori.

          One of the options was for Akinori to pay Pon, for damages at a negotiated price. The other option was obviously filing criminal charges for sexual assault and battery. “How long can I think about this?” Pon asked the DCR representative.

          “You have up to seven days, which I would suggest you take. This is not something that we take lightly, this is no different than what you went through previously.” Pon was thankful the man didn’t mention names.

          “I’d like to take this with me, I’ll have an answer for you in a few days.” Pon got up and pushed back his chair, Die getting up to follow. They walked silently out to Die’s car. It wasn’t until ten minutes into the drive home, that Die noticed Pon crying. “Babe what’s wrong?” Pon quickly wiped the tears away with his sleeve.

          “I don’t really know what to do. I don’t want to ruin Akinori’s career, but I can’t let him off with no punishment.” He truly did not want to be the cause of the end of the bass player’s career.

          Pulling into their parking spot, Die turned off the car. “I can’t tell you what to do, Pon, and I won’t tell you what I’d like to do to Akinori, though I bet you can guess.” Pon sighed, putting his head on the back of the seat. “You want to kick his ass from here to hell and back, but that doesn’t help me decide.”

          The remainder of Pon’s day was shit, he had to make a choice. “I’m going to see if Ayato is home, I’ll be right back.” Pon left his flat. Knocking on his friend’s door, he was surprised to see Reita. “Hey is Ayato here?”

          “Pon?” Ayato peered over Reita’s shoulder, “Yah um, can I talk to you for a minute?” Ayato gently pushed Reita aside, “Yah, let’s go down to the bedroom.” Looking over his shoulder at Reita, Ayato gave him a ‘don’t bother us’ look, with Reita nodding. Closing the door, Ayato pulled Pon over to sit on the bed, “Okay, what’s up?”

          Pon took the document out of his pocket and handed it to his friend. “I um, I’m not sure what to do. Part of me wants to press charges, but I don’t’ want to ruin the guy’s career.” Ayato read the document carefully. Folding it back up, he handed it to Pon.

          “I can’t tell you what to do either. All I can do is support your choice. What he did to you is not okay, but is it bad enough to kick him out of the industry? That’s what you have to decide, not me and not Die. I’m sorry.” Ayato patted Pon on the shoulder.

          “I’m going to ask Reita what he thinks.” Pon got up, Ayato held him by the arm, “I wouldn’t do that…leave him out of it please Pon,” Pon looked at Ayato, “Okay…maybe you’re right, he doesn’t need to know, you won’t say anything will you?”

          “Nope, not a word. I can keep my mouth shut, unlike a few others we both know.” As they walked out of the bedroom, Pon could hear Die. “Uh, what are you doing here?” asked Pon. “Just visiting, I got lonely when you left.” Die’s fake puppy eyes appeared, making Pon groan. “Lonely? I’ve been gone ten minutes, come on…let’s go home, you big baby.”  Grabbing Die by the hand, “Thanks, Ayato.” Pon and Die went home. Reita looked over at Ayato, “You’re not going to tell me what that was all about, are you?” Ayato smirked,

           “What all what was about?”  Reita flipped Ayato off. “Is that an offer? If it is, meet me in the bedroom.” Reita thought about it for half a second, jumped up off the couch and ran over, grabbing Ayato and throwing him over his shoulder. “I don’t need an invitation, do I?” he asked as he smacked Ayato hard on the ass. “Nope…no invitation needed.” Grabbing the door as they entered the bedroom, Ayato closed it with a slam, just before Reita dumped him on the bed. As Reita started to strip, he leaned over his lover, “This is my RSVP.” Ayato giggled, “You’re a huge fucking dork, you know that? But I guess that’s part of why I love…” Ayato didn’t finish, it was hard to talk with your boyfriend’s tongue shoved down your throat.

 

          Pon shroveled around in bed that night, visions of Akinori hovering over him, ripping his clothes off and succeeding in raping him, then there was Aoi, saving him by pulling the other musician off him. Die would slide his arm around Pon, pulling him close for comfort, hoping to keep him safe from his demons.

          He woke exhausted, looking like hell. Reaching for Die, that side of the bed was empty. Sitting up, the smell of breakfast hit him, and the sounds of Die humming and singing in the kitchen. “Food.” He muttered as he got up, using the bathroom and then padding into the kitchen, hugging Die from behind.

          Die leaned his head back as Pon kissed his cheek, “Morning babe, eggs and or rice?” Grabbing a cup for coffee, “both please, and I’ve decided.” Pon sat at their kitchen table, looking down at the document. “Oh? Well that’s good. You were pretty restless last night, kept whimpering. If you’ve decided then I’m going to guess you’ll sleep better tonight.”

          Drinking his coffee, Pon waited for Die to sit with him. “So, what did you decide?” Die placed Pon’s plate in front of him. “I’m not going to file criminal charges against him. I’m going to look into a suitable fine, then I’ll find a charity and donate the money.”

          Die smiled through his rice, “Gooftideaff” he mumbled. “I’d also like to issue a warning of sorts to Akinori, something like if we hear that he’s harassing anyone else, I’m going to file charges then. Maybe he’ll get the freaking idea that what he did isn’t fucking acceptable.”

          Die nodded, “I’m sure that Lynch’s management will be having words with him, not to mention DCR is going to hound him like crazy. He’s not going to take a chance on repeating this, if his own band doesn’t kill him first.”

          Pon finished his coffee, “I’m calling the studio, do you want to go with me?”  Die waved his bread in his hand, “Go get ready, I’ll be done in a minute.” As soon as Die heard the door to the bedroom close, he fist pumped the air. The last thing he had wanted to do is go through some kind of court trial. He had had enough of that during Morrie’s trial, and it had left a very bitter taste in his mouth, a taste he never wanted to revisit.

Chapter Text

          Isshi and his boys were healing, they cried less often, and there were fewer nightmares, leaving them with a sense of vague grief that Isshi believed would always be part of their lives. Stepping back into a normal routine was less difficult, though Isshi and his boys had yet to take up Davina and Madame F’s pleas to join them at Vinyl Fetish, Isshi looking to Ruimaru and Karyu for a sign that they were ready.

          Davina had tried several times to entice Isshi out, but was always met with resistance and a lame excuse of “my boys are not ready yet, Mistress, give us time to heal.” Turning to Sakurai and Uta, Davina asked the Dominant to step in, “I’m going to invite Isshi and his boy, along with yourself and Madame F, to the manor for lunch. I’d like Uta to gage where Ruimaru and Karyu are with their grief, Isshi just will not commit to any social outings.”

          Sakurai had spoken to Uta about the proposition, “Your Mistress is worried, do you have any objections to speaking to Ruimaru and Karyu?” Uta snorted, “Of course not, I’d be more than happy to, especially if it means we can go to the club and I can wear my collar.” At the mention of Uta’s collar, Sakurai’s cock twitched, the last visit to Vinyl Fetish with Uta had caused a scene both in the club and a beautiful scene in the bedroom.

          Kato would also be involved with enticing Isshi to be more social, by way of speaking to Ruimaru and Karyu, as well as Ormond who was instructed by Madame F to encourage the two submissive boys to speak to Isshi. “We need to assist Isshi in moving on, not forgetting Leda but he can not live in a constant state of grief forever, it’s not healthy for any of them.” Madame F was firm in her opinion.

          With a luncheon finally arranged, Davina put in a call to Niihara requesting that some extra niceties be included in her private room. “I think you understand what I’d like done, Niihara.” The club owner assured his patron that everything would be in place an hour before they arrived at the club, “Just call me that day and it will be done, Mistress.”

         

          Isshi had a vague feeling that Davina, Madame F and Sakurai were going to push him into going out with them to Vinyl Fetish that very night. He had asked Ruimaru and Karyu their opinions on the idea. “Are you ready to return to the club?” he asked them. Ruimaru and Karyu asked to be dismissed so they could talk it over, which Isshi granted.

          Ruimaru gave his opinion first, “I think it would be good for Sir, he needs to be with his friends. He’s just been so sad since Leda…” Karyu nodded, “I was going to say the same thing, he needs to be happy again, I can’t stand seeing Sir like this.” Returning to Isshi, both boys stood in front of their Dominant, “Sir, Karyu and I say yes, we are ready to return, because we want you to be happy. I miss seeing Mistress and Madame F, and the Senpai’s.” Opening his arms, Isshi hugged his beautiful boys, “Then it is settled, we lunch with Davina and we return to the club.”

          The luncheon had been the needed boost for Isshi, with Madame F and Davina gently scolding him for not coming sooner. “Tonight then, we will rejoin the community.” Isshi announced. Ruimaru and Karyu had a separate lunch in the kitchen with Kato, Ormond and Uta. Ruimaru threw his arms around Uta and squealed in delight over seeing the young man. “I’ve missed you Uta-kun!”

          The Dominants caught up with their lives, Sakurai mentioning that Koichi had been staying with he and Uta, but had just returned home. “The poor boy is suffering from depression and PTSD, something that came up with the news of Leda’s death. It seems it triggered feelings that he had repressed since the rape by that animal Morrie, and the problems he had when Tatsu was being blackmailed.” Sakurai explained.

          Madame F sighed heavily, “When will all these precious boys catch a break and live happily?” Davina turned to Sakurai, “Acchan, how is our Uta holding up? There haven’t been any more health problems?” Sakurai felt somewhat sad for Davina, Uta had not picked up their relationship where they left off after Teiji’s death, and he knew that Uta’s absence from her life, hurt the woman a great deal.

          “He’s happy and healthy, a bit of a snot really. He’s constantly teasing me, he drives that car like a maniac, and encourages Saki and Maru to terrorize Tsubaki and Luna, essentially, we live a fairly normal life. He had been worried when Koichi was living with us, though now that Koichi has gone back to Tatsu, our life has returned to semi-normal.”

          Madame F raised an eyebrow, “Semi-normal, Acchan?” Sakurai blushed slightly, something that both Madame F and Davina hadn’t ever remembered seeing. “Since the night at Vinyl Fetish, Uta has um,” Sakurai coughed, “Let’s just say there is nothing wrong with Uta’s libido, especially if the collar is involved.”      

          Davina was the first to start to giggle, then Madame F chuckled, and the look on Isshi’s face was one of feigned shock, Sakurai covered his eyes with his hand, as the two women started to laugh. “If that’s the worst thing in your life, Acchan…consider yourself lucky.” Madame F teased. Before anything else could be said Kato and the others rejoined their Dominants.

          Making their pardons, Isshi and his boys left Davina’s manor, with the promise of seeing them all that night at Vinyl Fetish. Once they had departed, Davina could speak freely, “Kato, what are your thoughts on Karyu and Ruimaru?” Kato bowed, thought for a moment before speaking, “They seem that they have recovered more so than Isshi-san, who apparently has very dark days. Both boys are concerned about that, to the point that the only thing that seems to cheer Isshi-san, is Emi…the cat they brought home from Sakurai-san’s estate.”

          Uta cleared his throat before speaking. “I think they need another kitten, but a specific breed. Ruimaru said that Isshi-san had another cat from before…something to do with his ex-submissive? But they don’t know what kind of cat it was, and they don’t want to ask.”

          Davina frowned, “They couldn’t mean Byou…I doubt Isshi would ever utter that boy’s name again. As for the cat, I do remember that Byou took it with him when he ran away, as to what breed it was, I don’t remember.”

          “Scottish Fold,” Sakurai said. “It was a Scottish Fold, a female if I remember correctly. Isshi loved that little cat and it devastated him when Byou stole her away.” Sakurai was surprised he remembered the breed. Uta bent down and whispered something to Sakurai. “Hmm, well he seems to be the expert in these things, but I don’t think we need to get him another of the same breed. Perhaps just a normal domestic shorthair, like Emi.”

          Davina and Madame F looked questioningly at Sakurai, “Acchan?” Uta smiled, “I just asked if maybe we could call Kyo.” Davina laughed, “Excellent idea.” Now Madame F was completely confused. “What does Kyo have to do with any of this?”

          “Kyo has a particular talent, he likes to give people kittens. He gave one to Koichi, he gave me Saki and Luna, and he also got Mao two babies, Sumo and Chibi. If anyone can find the perfect kitten, it’s Kyo.” Uta said. “I think it’s something that we might think of doing. Kittens have a way of fixing heartache.”  Details were made for that evening and the three Dominants left the manor.

          Kato placed a cup of tea in front of Davina, “Mistress, may I ask a question?” he asked. “Of course.” Kato wanted to word this as carefully as he could. “Tell me its’ none of my affair, but Isshi had an experience with an abusive submissive?” Davina had thought that this would come out.

          “Yes, it’s been at least five years, maybe longer since Byou disappeared. Isshi had loved the boy even as he loves Ruimaru and Karyu, but the little shit took advantage of Isshi’s love and did some horrid things to the man, not limited to having a sexual relationship with a man outside of the community. He would leave for a few days, then come crawling back to Isshi, begging forgiveness which of course Isshi gave him. It wasn’t until Isshi came home one afternoon that Byou and the cat were gone, and he had left a rather nasty letter.”

          Kato said nothing and Davina continued. “This is why when I found Ruimaru at that club, I knew that he would be perfect for our Isshi. I had Teddy train him, and gave Isshi some liberties with the boy, that I would not have given anyone else, and thankfully it worked out for the best.”

          Kato sighed, “I am so unused to these situations, I don’t remember anything like this happening when I was with Mistress Astrid, but perhaps she kept me unawares on purpose, as I’m sure that this is not uncommon in the community.”

          Davina reached up and stroked Kato’s cheek, “I can understand why Astrid would not expose you to such things, you are naturally a kind soul, these issues would have upset you, Astrid loved you and wanted to keep you as pure as possible.” Davina kissed Kato, “I love you just the way you are.”

 

 

          Ken sat at the counter with a beer in front of him, Ojisan making small talk as he waited for Yuki. “The young one is happy these days?” Ojisan asked. “I think so, he never seems to be in a bad mood, part of why I like him so much.” Ken said bashfully. He had called Yuki and asked him out to dinner, nothing fancy he told the younger man, “Ojisan’s sounds great right now.” Yuki was enthusiastic about the date.

          “Irasshai, welcome young one.” Ojisan greeted Yuki as the young man walked in, taking a seat next to Ken, “Can I have a beer please, Ojisan? Have you been waiting long?” turning to talk to Ken. “No, just about ten minutes, how was work today?” They went through the predictable conversation, easing their way into the date. Yuki still harbored conflicting emotions about the older man. He had days that felt better than he could remember, and then there were the nights that he had to admit, he missed Aoi.

          With their dinner in front of them, Ken knew he had to tell Yuki about Pon. “We had some rather big excitement at the studio yesterday, I’m not sure you’ve heard.” Yuki shook his head, “I haven’t seen anyone lately, why what happened?” Ken explained the incident at the DCR studio, Pon being attacked by Akinori and Aoi rescuing him.

          “I guess Die beat the shit out of Akinori, left him lying on the floor. Not sure what’s going to happen next.” Ojisan stood in front of Ken, “Was Pon-chan injured badly?”

          Ken shrugged. “All I know is he needed stitches in his forehead, I haven’t seen him or Die yet.” Ojisan’s face grew dark. “This is the one with the long hair that I warned that day, is it not?” Ken nodded, “Yep, same one that was drooling over Ayato.”

          The door chimed, “Irasshai gentlemen,” turning to look at who had entered, Ken groaned, Aoi and Uruha. Not who he wanted to see while on a date with Yuki. For Aoi’s part, if it hadn’t been for Uruha’s hand on his back, he would have turned and left the small restaurant.

          Yuki’s breath caught, trying to ignore the sudden rush and throbbing in his ears. “Hey guys,” Uruha greeted them, Ken just nodding and Yuki saying nothing. “Ojisan can we please get two orders of pork ramen to go?” Ojisan nodded and went back to his tiny kitchen. Initially Aoi and Uruha were going to stay and eat, but with Ken and Yuki there, Uruha thought it best that they grab and go.

          Ken figured he’d try to ease Yuki’s discomfort, “Hey have you heard from Die or Pon yet? We start on your album in a few days, just wondering if he’s going to be working on it with me.” Aoi mumbled something as he stared at the floor, “I haven’t heard from either one, so I’m assuming it’s still on schedule, so not sure what’s going on with Pon.”

          The tension was awkward, Aoi not saying anything, refusing to look at Yuki, with Ken an Uruha trying to sound normal. “Here we go gentlemen, and Aoi-san…thank you for helping Pon-chan, I am thankful that.” Ojisan bowed lightly. Uruha paid for the food, and without saying anything else, the two men left the ramen hut.

          Yuki let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding, his shoulders sagging. “You okay?” Ken put his arm around Yuki’s shoulder. “Yah, it was just awkward as fuck,” he chuckled.  Ojisan watched Yuki’s face, he could see the truth in the young man. “Your former lover has changed, ne?”

          Yuki snorted, “Maybe, I don’t really know. I mean I’m happy that he was able to help Pon, but that doesn’t erase all the bullshit he put me through. He’s still a prick…sorry Ojisan.” The ramen maker waved off Yuki’s concern. “I think there is a redeemable quality in the man, but who will bring that out is yet to be seen.”  Ken got up and paid the bill, “Let’s go, I’ll take you home.” Ojisan watched the couple leave, shaking his head sadly, “There is heartbreak waiting for both of you.”

 

          Taking the food out of the bag, Uruha was unsure what to say. It was obvious that seeing Yuki, upset Aoi as the man hadn’t said two words since leaving the ramen hut. “Hey, are you going to be okay?” passing a bowl of ramen. “Yah, I’ll be fine. Let’s just eat.” Uruha went to the fridge, grabbing two beers. “Here, I think you need this right now…but just one,” handing a beer to Aoi.

          “He seemed happy, didn’t he?” Aoi murmured. “Hard to tell, he didn’t say anything. Ken seemed happy though. They’re kind of cute together.” Uruha didn’t want Aoi falling apart, or did he? “Yah, I guess. Ken’s older than I am by a few years, Yuki must like older guys.” They ate in silence. “Want to watch a movie or something?” Aoi asked. “Sure, why not.” At least he’s not trying to kick me out, Uruha thought.

          Cleaning up the table and dumping everything in the trash, Aoi told Uruha to pick a movie, he was going to change into track pants. Uruha found a comedy, anything else would have been depressing. “Find something?” Aoi flopped down on the couch next to his bandmate. “Yah, a stupid comedy…you have crap for DVD’s.”

          The movie wasn’t funny, it sucked but it kept Aoi’s attention away from thinking of Yuki, at least for the first thirty minutes. Uruha wasn’t watching at all, he just kept stealing glances at Aoi, watching for … whatever. Figuring after thirty minutes that Aoi was going to be okay, he heard the first sniffle, which he chose to ignore at that moment.

          Looking at Aoi, he could see the the tears had started to fall, albeit silently. Uruha reached over and took Aoi’s hand in his, Aoi then leaning against his friend. They sat there for a few minutes, then without warning, Aoi toppled over and put his head in Uruha’s lap, and sobbed. “Why? Uru…Why doesn’t he love me?”

          Uruha started carding Aoi’s long black hair, “I don’t know, Yuu. There’s so much between you guys, maybe Yuki isn’t the right guy for you.” I’m the right guy for you! I’m here! I love you!  With Aoi’s head in his lap, the man moving around just enough, Uruha’s cock started to twitch. Shit, he hadn’t counted on that happening.

          It took several minutes for Aoi to stop crying, and in those few minutes, a semi hard Uruha was poking Aoi in the back of the head. Is he? There’s no way! Aoi nuzzles Uruha’s thigh, then moves his head slightly, there’s no mistaking what he’s feeling. Nuzzling his friend’s thigh again, a soft mewl comes from Uruha.

          Uruha’s almost in a panic, torn between sitting still and pushing Aoi onto the floor and then running out of the flat. Aoi makes the choice for him, turning over to face Uruha, he nuzzles the man’s crotch, moving one hand to slide behind Uruha’s back. “Aoi…please…”

          Aoi mouths the hardening cock through Uruha’s pants, then reaches between them and unzips Uruha’s pants pulling his cock out, stroking it to full hardness. “Uru,” The last thing either one of them had thought would happen that night. As Uruha peaked, he thrust his hips up and cried out Aoi’s name, Aoi making sure to lick every drop, as he fisted himself to the end, cumming in his hand.

          Neither moved, they didn’t want to break the trance, the moment would be ruined as soon as one of them spoke or moved. After holding a handful of sperm for several minutes, Aoi was the one to break the moment, getting up and going into the kitchen to wash his hands. He could hear Uruha zipping up his pants, and getting up off the couch. “I um, I need to get home. I’ll see you tomorrow at the studio.” And without even one look at Aoi, Uruha left the flat, leaving a very confused Aoi standing alone in his kitchen.

          Running for his car, Uruha jumped in and slammed the door, turning on the car he raced out of the parking lot. Tears were nearly blinding him, he just needed to get home, he couldn’t let anyone see him like this. He turned into the parking lot for his flat complex, running up the stairs and into the flat. He slammed the door behind him and leaned on it, how could he have done that? He should have stopped Aoi, the man didn’t’ love him.

          “You’re a fucking idiot Kouyou, now you’ve lost his friendship too. Good job, dumbass.” Reaching into his pocket and taking out his phone, he turned it off, he wanted no weird texts from Aoi later. He had to see him in the studio tomorrow and it would be bad enough having to face him then, with their bandmates watching.

 

          Yuki was very chatty on the drive home, trying not to let Ken see that he was upset. Ken knew exactly what Yuki was doing, the man wasn’t stupid. He could see that running into Aoi that night had upset his date. “Um, I guess I’ll give you a call later in the week,” Ken pulled into the parking lot of Yuki’s complex.

          “Would you like to come in for a bit? Watch a movie or something?” Yuki didn’t want to be alone, he didn’t trust himself not to text or call Aoi. “Uh sure, that’d be nice.” Ken was now wondering what Yuki had in mind…he couldn’t really be asking him to…?

          “Hey Yuki, want to come in for a beer?” Ayato had just walked out of his flat, “Um, I don’t know…do you want to?” he turned to Ken. “Sure, that’d be nice.” Ken would take whatever Yuki threw at him, no matter how little or insignificant it seemed. “Let me put my bag away.” Ken followed Yuki, “Are you sure you’re okay with this? I haven’t seen Ayato for a few days.” Ken waved off Yuki’s concern. “It’s fine, let’s go have that beer.”

          Sitting around in the common area of the complex, Ayato and Reita brought the beers, Yuki bringing what snack food he had, “Where’s Pon and Die?”  Ken asked. “I think they went to the studio today, Pon had to speak to the management about the um…well you know.” Ayato couldn’t tell them about the legal issues, he had sworn to Pon that he wouldn’t bring it up to anyone. “They may be back soon though.”

          Yuki brought up seeing Aoi at Ojisan’s, “He was with Uruha, they didn’t stay…just got take away.” Ayato searched Yuki’s face for any clue, all he got was a tiny shake of the head and narrowed eyes that told him to mind his own business. Ken and Reita talked about the upcoming recording sessions, “I’m assuming Pon will be my 2nd chair, hopefully this will go smoothly and quickly, I need a break from the studio.” Ken laughed.

          Ayato and Yuki went in to get more beer, “Everything okay?” Ayato asked. “Yah, it was just weird seeing Aoi after all this time. He seems happy, I don’t know, but Ojisan said something weird.” This got Ayato’s attention, “he said that my former lover has changed, but that’s all he said. He can be so creepy sometimes.”

          Yuki stopped Ayato before they went back outside, “Did Aoi really save Pon? Ken told me what happened,” Ayato smiled, “It seems so. All I know is that Aoi found Pon in the bathroom after he’d been attacked, and he brought him into the Gazette practice room before running out to beat the snot out of Akinori.” Yuki looked at Ayato but chose to say nothing.

          “Hey, now it’s a real party!” Die and Pon were sitting next to each other on the porch of their flat, beers in hand. Yuki walked over to Pon and hugged him, “I’m sorry this shit happened to you, it’s so fucking not fair. I heard Aoi saved you, I’m glad he was there when you needed him.”

          Pon chuckled, “According to Aoi, he didn’t save me, because I got hurt, he said that’s not saving anyone. He did get me into the practice room, then he ran off to kill Akinori.”

          “I was the one that killed that shit stain,” Die growled, Pon patting him on the thigh, “yes babe, you were a natural born killer,” he giggled. “If Kyo would have been there, there would have been a lot more damage done, I’m sure he would have taken on everyone in the room.”

          Ken cleared his throat, “This is funny, not funny…but that first night when Pon and I went to Ojisan’s,” he looked at Ayato, “and Akinori was drooling over you, you remember the warning Ojisan gave them? Well, they called Kyo a little fuck stain.” Everyone groaned, “I told them not to underestimate the man, they don’t know him like I do, I’ve seen you and Kyo in action and it’s not a pretty sight.” Ken told Die.

          The next hour was filled with stories of Kyo and Die’s rampages against Sakurai, Morrie, Masa and with the addition of Ruki, the younger guys got a lesson in the fighting styles of various band members. “Don’t piss Ruki off, he’s at least, if not worse than Kyo. You should have seen him beat the shit out of Masa, that was epic.” Die laughed until he fell into Pon’s lap.

          Nobody believed Die, “Seriously, Ruki? But he’s like so pretty and kinda delicate, he’s not someone I would be afraid of.” Ayato said. “Babe, believe me when I say, don’t fuck with Ruki. He’s a tough little shit and loyal to a fault. He attacked Masa and beat the snot out of him for making fun of Koichi’s rape.” Then with the mention of Masa, another round of stories came out. “Remember when he attacked Natsu?” Die added.

          Along with the stories, the beers were being consumed quickly, leaving Ayato to come back with the last three, “Sorry, we’re dried up.” It was getting late and Ken knew he, Reita and Pon would be getting up early, so they called it a night.

          Walking Yuki back to his flat, Ken gave him a quick kiss, “I hope you had fun tonight, in spite of Aoi showing up.” Yuki nodded, “I did…it’s always fun to hang out with the guys. Um, give me a call when you can, I know you’ll be busy with recording.” Ken kissed Yuki again, this time with some honest passion. “Okay, I’ll text you tomorrow.” Yuki watched as Ken walked out to his car, then closed the door to his flat. “What the hell am I doing?”

          For Ken’s part, he felt more confident with the direction he was going with Yuki, despite Aoi’s intrusion. He liked Aoi, thought that the man had some good qualities, but had to agree that he had made some huge mistakes with Yuki…mistakes he didn’t want to repeat. As much as he wanted to be more physical with Yuki, in the back of his mind he knew that it would be the one thing that might push the boy away. “Keep your pants on, he’s not going anywhere.”

         

          Looking at the house, his heart was torn. Should he just go up and knock on the door? Or would it be slammed in his face? Had he hurt him so badly that there would be no chance of reconciliation? “Pfft, of course dumbass.” Just as he was turning to walk away, the front door opened, a young man with bright yellow hair ran out, “I’ll get the mail Sir!” The exuberant boy ran to the mail box, grabbing what was inside then running back into the house. So, he has replaced me…with one so young and so beautiful, and you deserve it Isshi, you deserve to be happy.

Chapter Text

          He was prepared for anything, and was completely taken by surprise when he woke the first morning, feeling virtually the same; depressed. Koichi’s first morning on his new medication, dawned uneventful and with frustration. Coming out of the bedroom, he shuffled to the kitchen and made a cup of tea, then parked himself on the couch, his expectations of a miracle cure ground into the floor. “Shit doesn’t even work,” he muttered.

          Tatsu came through the door from the garden, “Hey babe, you just get up?” Leaning over to kiss Koichi. “Yes, and I’m not happy,” he grumped, “shit medication didn’t do anything, I still feel like crap.” Tatsu sat down, ‘Kou, you’ve had one dose of the medication, Dr. Takigawa said it would take a few days before you’d start noticing a difference. Make sure to take your pill today and we’ll go from there.”  Koichi muttered something under his breath, though it wasn’t directed at anyone in particular.

          There was one thing that Koichi wanted to accomplish that day; to apologize to Taka for going off on him about Kyo. He knew in his heart that Taka hadn’t deserved his anger or accusations, it was the depression talking, not him. “I’m going to go to the HBG today,” he told Tatsu, “I need to apologize to Taka.” Getting in the shower, he went over what he would say, and how he would control his anger, if it flared up. “Just remember, he’s your best friend.”

          Peering around the entrance to see who was working, Koichi took a deep breath before walking up to the counters. “Koichi!” Mao screamed, then disappeared, only to come running around the corner and throwing his arms around his startled co-worker. “Oh my god, I’m so happy to see you!” Koichi laughed, “Me too.” Mao took Koichi by the hand and led him to the back door. “Taka!” he yelled, “Kou’s here!” Taka rolled his office chair out into the hallway. “Hey Kou…” Taka grinned.

          Koichi hesitated for a moment, “Mao, I need to talk to Taka, give me a minute okay?” “Sure Kou, Aki’s here too, just make sure to see us before you leave.” Koichi went into the office, closing the door behind him. “Hey, um…I want to apologize for the other day.” He stared at his feet, scuffing the floor. “I know you didn’t mean anything about Kyo, it was the depression talking, not me. So, I’m sorry…okay?”

          Taka got up and hugged his best friend. “I knew you didn’t mean anything by it, really, I didn’t take it personally. Thanks though, you know I only want the best for you, ne?” Koichi sighed, lying his head on Taka’s shoulder. “I know, but it hurts me when I say shit like that, you guys don’t deserve any of my crap.”

          Taka would have stood there forever, with Koichi in his arms, the feelings he had for the slight man never completely disappeared. He loved Koichi, from the moment they met, though he would never act on those feelings. “Yah, I understand. It’s got to be frustrating for you.” Pushing Koichi back, and touching foreheads, “You’re my best friend, I’ll love you forever no matter what, just remember that.” Taka kissed Koichi on the forehead, then sat back in his chair.

          “I need to ask you this, do you think you’ll come back to work?” Taka had to decide what to do, with one man down on the crew, he either needed to wait for Koichi to return, or hire someone new, which he really didn’t want to do.

          Koichi leaned against the file cabinet, “I don’t think so if I’m honest with myself. I think I could probably help out with a DCR event, but I just don’t see myself coming back to work on a regular basis. Could I be on call or something like if someone calls out sick or whatever?” This wasn’t what Taka wanted to hear, but he had to be realistic, “That could work out, especially for the events. It also means though that I’m going to have to hire someone else, that’s not going to bother you is it?”

          Would it bother him? “It stings a bit, sure. It’s not my place to say yes or no, Taka. You have to do what’s right for the HBG, I can’t commit so you need to replace me, it’s fine really. I’m not leaving the country or anything, I just won’t be here all the time.”

          “Will you find something else to do, or maybe just the DCR work?” Taka asked. “No, I’m done with the DCR job, that was even more stressful than here. Until I find the right medication, I’m not going to do anything.” A knock on the door interrupted the conversation.

          Mao poked his head in the door, “Kou if you don’t come out here and talk to Aki, he’s going to have a heart attack, sorry.” Koichi sighed, “Sure, just a minute.” Turning back to Taka, “We should talk more about this, but at home or something.”

          Aki was standing outside the door, not giving Koichi a chance to say anything before Aki grabbed him. “Kou…” Aki whispered into Koichi’s shoulder, “Hey Aki,” Koichi said softly, as he hugged Aki back. “Are you okay?” Koichi asked. “No, I miss you.” He could feel Aki’s tears on his neck. “I miss you too,” Koichi pushed his friend back at arms length. “Hey, don’t cry…”  Aki quickly wiped his eyes on his sleeve. “I’m not crying, it’s allergies.” Koichi laughed, “Sure.” Mao was at the front counter with a customer, glancing back at the two men, he could see Aki had been crying. “Shit.” He muttered.

          “Are you coming back?” Koichi shook his head, “No, probably not, but I’ll be here for events if I’m needed, or maybe as a back up if someone calls out sick. I’m okay with it, Aki. Everything’s going to be okay.” It felt weird to be comforting someone over his problems, were they all really that concerned?

          Mao came up behind Koichi, throwing his arm over Kou’s shoulders. “You do whatever it is you need to do, we’ll be fine. We’ll just torture whomever Taka hires, he’s going to have to live up to some pretty high standards to fill your place.”

          The remainder of Koichi’s visit was spent gossiping about customers, and the news about Pon. “He’s okay though, right?” Koichi had heard about it via Yukke calling Tatsu. Mao filled him in, “Yah, he got something like five stitches in his forehead, Die’s knuckles are a little sore too. It’s a good thing Kyo wasn’t there.” Koichi snorted, “That’s what everyone’s saying, Kyo would be in jail I think.”

          “What’s going to happen to Akinori, does anyone know yet?” Mao shrugged, “Die hasn’t said anything to Kyo, so no clue. I would assume that Pon would press charges for sexual assault and battery.”

          It had been over an hour and Koichi was starting to get tired, “I need to go, I need a nap. I just started this medication so I’m not sure how I’m going to react.” Mao reached over and picked up Koichi’s hand. “Which medication do they have you on?” Koichi mentioned the name, “Hmm, I didn’t try that one, it took two different meds though to find the one that worked best for me, so don’t give up if this isn’t the one.”

          With more hugs and a few more tears from Aki, Koichi left the HBG, Mao’s words running circles in his mind. “Two different meds…” he whispered. He just had to be patient.

 

 

          The first day of recording the Gazette’s new album started in typical fashion. Pon sitting next to Ken at the sound board, Kai was first up to record his part for the first song. Pon had been a little distracted since he had chosen to have a fine leveled at Akinori instead of pressing formal charges. He now would have a significant amount of money to donate to a charity of his choice. Pon did warn Akinori, “If I hear that you’ve done anything to anyone else, I won’t hesitate to file charges against you.”

          Akinori looked like hell, Die’s wrath showing on his face with a black eye, busted up lip and a nice dark bruise over one cheek. He said nothing during the meeting, not making eye contact with anyone, let alone Pon. Lynch’s management team thanked Pon for his choice, promising that Akinori would live up to his part. With a formal apology from the rest of the band, the meeting ended. “I still don’t trust him,” Die muttered as they left the studio.

          It was the lack of trust for anyone, as the reason for Die being in the recording studio, sitting quietly writing as Pon worked. “I’m not leaving you alone if I can help it. The band is just going to have to deal with it.” For their part, the members of Gazette were understanding of Die’s presence, even if they did tease both he and Pon. “You’re about as bad as it gets, Daisuke.” Ruki laughed. “Okay, Takanori. You’d be doing the same with Tomo, so don’t even go there with me.” Die shot back.

          There was a weird tension in the room, something everyone noticed but said nothing. Aoi and Uruha were both in the room, going over their parts of the first song, but not really talking. Aoi waited until they took a lunch break before trying to speak to Uruha.

          Stopping Uruha from leaving the room, “Hey, can we talk?” Uruha pulled away from Aoi. “There’s nothing to talk about. I just had too much to drink at dinner.” Uruha left the room leaving a very hurt Aoi standing alone. Neither one of them saw that Kai had been watching the interaction. “Hey, what’s going on?” Ruki walked up behind Kai. “Not sure, but it’s weird whatever it is.”

          Aoi went after Uruha, following the man out the back door where he found him smoking a cigarette. “Don’t tell me it was nothing, Uru. We didn’t drink that much, unless all of a sudden two beers get you sloppy drunk.”

          Uruha turned his body away from Aoi as he leaned against the wall, “It was nothing, just one of those things that happens sometimes.” Aoi’s jaw dropped, “One of those things? Since when do blow jobs just happen? When was the last time you got sucked off and it was just one of those things?” Uruha kept his back turned. “Talk to me Kouyou.” Aoi kept pushing, reaching out, he turned Uruha to face him, only to see that the man was in tears.

          “Why…why are you crying?” Aoi asked, Uruha just shook his head. “Kou, are you in love with me?” Uruha’s eyes grew wide, “Um… I uh,” he stumbled over his words. “How long?” Aoi pressed. Uruha dropped his cigarette on the ground, stepping on it. “Years, since Reita.” Aoi was stunned, “Reita? Why haven’t you said anything? Why didn’t you tell me?”

          Uruha shrugged, “Never seemed like the right time. You were upset with Reita, then you kinda slutted around…then the shit with Pon, I hated you at that moment, but I wanted to save you too. Instead I just did nothing. Then you and Yuki happened, and that was it. I was done with you.”

          Aoi didn’t know what to say, this was something that he’d never thought of, he had never looked at Uruha as a love interest. Sure, the man was gorgeous, but to be in a relationship with him? “I don’t know what to say.” Uruha pushed away from the wall. “There’s nothing to say, it was a one-time thing.” With that statement, Uruha went back inside, leaving Aoi shocked and stunned, standing alone to grapple with the confession.

          Watching his guitarist come back from the break, his eyes red from crying, Kai approached Uruha, “You okay?” he patted the man on the shoulder. “Yah, just allergies, bad this time of the year,” Uruha lied. “Okay, well let me know if I can help.” Kai wasn’t buying the allergy excuse. Kai went back to his drum kit, putting his headphones on and signaling to Pon and Ken that he was ready.

          The guitarist sat down near Die, picking up his guitar and strumming through some progressive runs, ignoring everything around him. Die side-eye glanced at the man, “Hey, that sounds great, can’t wait to hear the finished product.” Uruha grunted, “Thanks,” then went back to ignoring Die.

          For the next hour, Pon and Ken’s attention was solely on Kai’s portion of recording, not seeing the little quiet drama being played out behind them. They didn’t see the looks between Uruha and Die, and when Aoi returned, neither man felt the tension that arose. Die was stuck between the two guitarists, Aoi on one side of the room, pointedly not looking at Uruha, and the same for Uruha, making sure never to look directly at Aoi.

          When it came time for Uruha to record his opening riff for the first song, Aoi got up and left the room, he’d had enough of the silent treatment. “I’m going home, call me when you’re ready for me.” Aoi announced as he left, Kai getting up to run after him.

          “Aoi, what the hell is going on? Why are you leaving?” Kai walked along with Aoi. “Nothing, I just don’t need to be here right now, I have other things to do. Call me when you want me to record.” And with that brush off, Aoi left the studio and got into his car. He stared at Kai who was standing at the door, then pulled out of the parking lot and drove away.

 

          He stood in his closet, thumbing through his various kimono’s trying to find the right one for that evening. He leaned towards one that was mostly black with a few deep red details, though it sent out vibes of funeral wear. Isshi sighed, none of his Kimono’s were appropriate, though he rarely wore any other type of clothing. “Sir? Do you need help in choosing a kimono tonight? Karyu and I could help.” Ruimaru peeked into the bedroom, watching as Isshi fretted over his choice of clothing.

          “Yes please, my Angel, as I can not decide for myself.” Isshi walked over and sat on the bed, watching as Ruimaru and Karyu shifted through the closet. “Hmm, I like the blue one, which one for you?” Ru asked Karyu. “I like the dark red one with the black butterflies the most.” A bright smile lit up Ruimaru’s face, “Wait!” He reached in the very back of the closet, pulling out a dark blue kimono that had black butterflies adorning the back. “Oh Ru! Yep, I think this is perfect.” Karyu giggled.

          Ruimaru took the kimono out and held it in front of him, “Sir, we’d like you to wear this one! I mean, if you agree with our choice.” Isshi raised an eye brow, “I have not worn this one in a long time, years actually.” Ruimaru’s smile faded, did he make a mistake? “Uh, we can find a different one!” he turned back to the closet, mortified that he had made the wrong choice. “No, my Angel. I will wear this one tonight, at your suggestion.”

          Opening his arms, Ruimaru and Karyu threw their arms around Isshi, who kissed each of them on the head. “Now my beauties, prepare yourself, no playing or touching! I want you unsated tonight.” With two passionate kisses for his boys, Isshi sent them away to get ready for the night’s entertainment both at Vinyl Fetish and later that night in his bed.

 

          It was obvious that Madame F and Mistress Davina had been at work, for as soon as Isshi and the boys walked up the stairs to Vinyl Fetish, they were met by the owner, Niihara and his senior server Velvet, who was holding a bouquet of flowers. “Isshi-san, I’m so pleased to see you here tonight” Niihara bowed deeply, the respect that he felt Isshi deserved and under the circumstances it was warranted.

          Isshi’s hand flew to cover his mouth and attempting to hold back tears, “My dear Niihara, I am speechless.” Karyu and Ruimaru were both shocked, the flowers were amazing, and the reception by the club owner, it put their Dominant in a new light for them both.

          “Madame F and Mistress Davina are already here, Velvet will take you to the room, once again, welcome back, Isshi-san.” Niihara bowed deeply. “This way please, Isshi-san.” Velvet led them to Davina’s private room, “Isshi, I’m thrilled that you’ve decided to join us tonight!” Davina rose and hugged her friend, Velvet putting the flowers into a vase, placing it on the glass table, then excusing herself from the room.

          “Are these of your doing, Davina?” Isshi gestured to the flowers. “No, actually they are not. I had only contacted Niihara to let him know that we were coming out tonight. He did those all on his own, and I must say they are beautiful.”  Ruimaru and Karyu stood next to Ormond and Kato, both older submissives wearing black suits with no shirts, their long hair loose down their backs. “Where is our Acchan? Has he backed out of the evening?” Isshi sat down, Ruimaru pouring a glass of champagne for him. “No, he’s just running late, something about a slight argument with Uta about his clothing choice.” Davina rolled her eyes, “I can’t even imagine what the boy will be wearing tonight.”

          Another round of champagne was poured before Sakurai and Uta joined them, and Davina indeed, did roll her eyes. There was no denying that Uta was Sakurai’s submissive; Tiny shorts, a bare midriff top, thigh high stockings and kitten heeled boots, his black hair piled on his head and the ever present collar with a light chain leash attached.

          Ruimaru giggled as Karyu just gaped at Uta, Madame F raised an eye brow and Kato gasped, “Acchan, really? Must you?” Madame F scolded the man. Sakurai raised his hand, “I am not responsible for this outfit, this is 100% purely Uta, if you must scold, I suggest that perhaps Uta be spanked.” Uta jerked his leash, “ACCHAN!” Davina laughed as Madame F got up from her seat, walking slowly towards Uta. Ormond was watching, trying with some difficulty to suppress his laughter.

          Madame F stood in front of Uta, her hands on her hips, tapping a foot. “Boy, why must you vex me so? You are truly a spoiled brat who has complete control over your Dominant. You do deserve to be spanked!” Uta’s face paled, he looked down at the floor. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, he hadn’t been chastised by a Dominant since Natsu, a rush of negative energy flooded his body.

          “Madame…” Davina groaned. “YOU ARE AWFUL!” Without warning, Ruimaru threw himself at Uta, wrapping his arms protectively around the boy. “I DON’T CARE IF YOU BEAT ME BUT YOU’RE MEAN!”

“RUIMARU!” Isshi got up and slapped Ruimaru, who still clung to Uta, Ormond and Kato were stunned, they didn’t know who to go to first.

          “Everyone, please…calm down!” Sakurai had gotten up and approached Madame F, which gave Ormond the lead to move to his Dominant, placing himself between Sakurai and Madame F. The room was in turmoil, Uta and Ruimaru still clung to each other, and Karyu was crying. Sakurai pulled Uta to his side, Ruimaru returned to the wall, his cheek a deep red.

          There was silence in the room, Madame F still stood in front of Sakurai, looking at Uta. Davina had just sat down again, Kato by her side. Isshi looked horrified over what his submissive had said to the leading Dominant in their country.

          Sakurai sighed, “How shall we deal with this mess?” Davina cleared her throat, “I believe that we all need to take our pets to a private area and have a little discussion with them.” She meant of course, Isshi and Sakurai. “Yes, I agree.” Isshi said tersely, rising and taking Ruimaru’s hand and gathering Karyu on the way out, followed by Sakurai and Uta, who still had not looked up.

          “Madame F, I think you may have stepped over the line with Uta. Please take this as no disrespect. I don’t think Acchan has ever reprimanded the boy, the last person to do that was Natsu.” Davina said carefully. For her part, Madame F felt badly, she had been too severe with the boy, and the results were obvious. “I agree my dear, I overstepped my boundaries with Uta. He does vex me, though I should be more upset with Acchan than Uta.”

          In the hallway, at the back of the club, Sakurai had a sobbing Uta in his arms. “I wasn’t trying to be bad, why does she hate me?” Sakurai petted Uta’s hair, “She doesn’t hate you baby, you’re just a little more than she can handle. She doesn’t realize that you are not my submissive, not in the true sense. We have no contract, the collar is for our benefit, to play with. I will make sure she is reminded of that. Now, go into the bathroom and wash your face, your make up is all over the place.” Sakurai kissed Uta softly, then patted him on the ass and sent him off.

          On the other side of the private area, Isshi had a handful to deal with. “I can not believe that you would be so rude, Ruimaru. That was completely unacceptable behavior, I’m so angry with you that I’m shaking.” The young man was looking at the floor, his hands behind his back, “I don’t care.” He mumbled. “What did you say?” Isshi demanded. “I don’t care if you’re mad, Madame F was being mean to Uta, he didn’t deserve that from anyone, not even her.”

          Karyu didn’t know what to do, his Dominant was angrier than he’d ever seen, yet he thought Ruimaru was right, Madame F had been mean to Uta. “I think we will wait until we get home to discuss this further.” Isshi turned and walked away leading Karyu, Ruimaru didn’t move from the wall, he had no intentions on following his Dominant.

          Returning to the room, Isshi sat down and Karyu went to stand next to Kato, Uta had returned from the bathroom, face cleaned of running makeup and was now sitting in Sakurai’s lap. Davina was going to ask where the other boy was, but held her tongue, instead sitting quietly, the tension in the room was overwhelming.

          He watched as the pretty boy with the bright yellow hair stood alone against the wall. He had seen Isshi, the kimono he was wearing brought back memories, some good some bad. Isshi had been scolding his young lover rather harshly, something he himself had felt many times. He had hidden behind a wall, watching as Isshi walked away, leaving the boy with the yellow hair behind. Taking a chance, he approached the boy, “Um, are you okay?” he asked.

          “I’m fine, thank you.” Ruimaru answered, not looking up. “You don’t look okay, are you being punished?” the boy with the blonde hair spoke softly. “Yes, you’d better go away before Sir comes back, he won’t like me talking to a stranger.” Ruimaru looked up at the boy. “I’m fine, really. Thank you for asking.” He smiled weakly, then looked back down. “Okay,” the boy walked away, stopping once to look back.

          Nobody came to get him, he wondered if he should just go home alone. Deciding to wait another five minutes, Ruimaru stood against the wall. If no one would come to get him, he would leave and take the train home.

          The discussion that was going on in the room was making the submissives uncomfortable, to the point that Ormond whispered something to Madame F and she waved him off. “If you plan on wearing the collar, you should have a contract. This is not something to play at, you know that as well as anyone Sakurai, I should not have to remind you about the basic tenants of our community, you can not have a lover that wears a collar unless they are contracted. You are well aware of this.” Madame F was less hostile, but still frustrated and angry.

          Sakurai nodded, “While I don’t believe Uta warranted your severe reprimand, I do deserve it. We will discuss this when we get home tonight.” Isshi was watching the door, waiting for Ruimaru to come in, becoming concerned with the passing of each minute. “Excuse me.” Getting up, Isshi left the room. As he walked towards the area where he had left his young man, his gut started to tighten, turning the corner he saw that Ruimaru was not there. “Shit.”

          The rocking of the train lulled Ruimaru into a light sleep, his eyes burning from crying. He had waited, yet no one came to retrieve him from his spot on the wall. To him, this meant that his contract would be voided, and he would be asked to leave Isshi’s house. He deserved it, mouthing off…no, screaming at Madame F. “Uta didn’t deserve that from her or anyone.” He was angry with himself, but he was angrier with Madame F., and disappointed with Isshi.

          Getting off at his stop, he walked the mile or so to the house, grabbing the key from under the planter. Going to his room, he took out his bag and started to fill it with his clothes, taking off his collar and laying it on the dresser. Changing out of his club clothes, he put on sweat pants and a hoodie, and sat on the floor, leaning against his bed to wait for Isshi to come home and void their contract. He heard Emi cry, getting up to open the door to let the little cat in. “I’m going to miss you, Emi. You have to be good and stay with Sir and Karyu, they love you.” He nuzzled the cat’s soft fur as she licked the tears from his face. Leaning his head back he closed his eyes, thoughts of what he would do after this…as if there was anything after life with Isshi.

Chapter Text

          Day four of Koichi’s anti-depressant was the day it really started to kick in and affect his mood, though not for the better. He moved through his day with a sense of impending doom, but not recognizing that it was a side effect of the medication. Tatsu was away at Miya’s, working on a song, leaving Koichi to deal with it himself.

          Trying to keep his mind occupied, Koichi watched tv, played games on his tablet and watched videos. He felt a creeping sensation working its way up his spine, a feeling of someone standing behind him, with their hands over their heads as if to strike him and there were shadow people lurking in his peripheral vision.

          The constant churning in his stomach threatened to make him vomit, causing him to have the sweaty shakes all day. Looking at the information on the medication he was taking, he couldn’t find anything that related to how he was feeling, “No shadow people, no sweating, it’s just me.” Checking the time, he knew Tatsu would be home within an hour or so, probably wanting dinner at that point. Koichi wasn’t sure he could cook as the smell of food was nauseating.

          The day wore on, Tatsu calling to say that he’d be a little later than he had thought, “When I get home, we’ll go to Ojisan’s,” he told Koichi. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had ramen.” Koichi sighed in relief, the small ramen hut had become somewhat of a sanctuary for Koichi and his friends. “I’d like that, a lot.”

          Tatsu could hear the hesitation in his husband’s voice, closing his phone he was frowning as he rejoined Miya at the kitchen table. “Problem?” Miya asked. “I don’t think so, Kou just sounded a little off.” Tatsu blew it off and got back to writing lyrics. “I’d like to wrap this up in an hour, I’m going to take Koichi to Ojisan’s for dinner.”  

 

          Koichi stood at the large front window of his house, waiting for Tatsu to come home, his nerves were still strung tight, his gut still roiled. He had taken a long hot bath in an attempt to calm himself, worried that Tatsu would notice his anxiety and back out of going to dinner. Tatsu pulled into the driveway and honked the horn, Koichi waved. “Hi, you ready for some ramen?” Tatsu asked as Koichi got into the car.

          “Pork cutlet for me tonight, but no beer. I can’t drink alcohol while on this medication.” Koichi reminded his husband. “Cola for both of us then.” They talked about the new song Tatsu and Miya were writing, “It’s a ballad, I want to keep it simple, but Miya has other ideas.” Tatsu chuckled.

          “Irasshai gentlemen.” Ojisan greeted them with a wide smile. “It has been some time since you’ve sat at my counter, what can I make for you tonight?” Placing their orders, Koichi leaned hard into Tatsu’s side. “You okay?” Tatsu kissed Koichi’s head. “Tired, that’s all.”

          “How was your visit at the HBG? You never really said much.” Tatsu asked. “Aki cried a little, he says he misses me. Mao grabbed me before I could even get to the back door,” Koichi giggled, then a serious expression darkened his face, “I told Taka that I’m not coming back to work, at least not on a scheduled basis. I’d do DCR events, and maybe come in if someone calls out sick, but I don’t want to go back to work.” This was fresh news to Tatsu. “Oh, and I’m done with DCR as well, there’s just too much stress that I don’t need in my life right now.”

          In Tatsu’s mind, this wasn’t an idea situation, leaving Koichi without anything to focus on other than the depression, seemed to be counterproductive. He said nothing, just nodded and agreed. Ojisan was in his kitchen, listening intently, then went to stand in front of Koichi. “Young one, it will do worse for you, to abandon your work. Keeping busy and focused on normal everyday activities can only help you.” Ojisan turned and went back to his kitchen.

          Koichi felt the anger boiling up, it took everything he had at that moment to not scream at Ojisan to mind his own business. Tatsu could see it in Koichi’s eyes that he was upset with Ojisan’s words. “Maybe you can find something else to keep you busy, volunteer somewhere?” Koichi’s head whipped around, he glared at Tatsu. “Don’t tell me what to do,” he snapped, “I’ll be fine.”

          Tatsu looked at Koichi, wanting to respond but opted instead for a smile and an “I love you.” Ojisan hugged Koichi as they got ready to leave, “Your life will get better, Koichi-kun, just have faith in your treatments.” Koichi smiled weakly, “I’ll try Ojisan.”  Walking back to the car Tatsu reached over and held Koichi’s hand, squeezing it gently and getting a squeeze back. “Did you have enough to eat?” Tatsu tried to talk to Koichi, “Mmm, yah I did, thanks.” That was the limit of the conversation.

          There was no teasing or gentle banter between the couple as they got ready for bed, Tatsu doing his nightly duty as chef for the cats, Koichi lying in bed looking at his phone and waiting for his husband. “Ready?” Tatsu asked as he walked into the bedroom, “Yep, I’m tired and I always eat too much at Ojisan’s.” he laughed, his mood changing in an instant. “It’s easy to do that, his ramen is just that damned good.”

          Cuddling Koichi close, Tatsu kissed him good night, “I love you, Kou.” Koichi snuggled down in the covers, one leg over Tatsu’s hip. “Mmm, I love you too.”  With Teo sleeping on Tatsu’s legs and Gordy curled up behind Koichi’s back, the little family drifted off peacefully.

 

          He wasn’t sure what woke him up, whatever it was, it was scaring him badly. Someone in the room…no, there can’t be. Koichi rolled over carefully and looked at Tatsu, who was sleeping soundly…or appeared to be. Shit…he’s going to be mad at me, what did I do? I should leave, but where do I go?

          Carefully pushing the covers back, Koichi slowly got out of bed and walked quietly to the bathroom. I need to get out of here before he wakes up, this is bad…I shouldn’t be here. He had no clothes in the bathroom, just a pair of slippers, “This will have to do.” As Koichi left the bathroom, he glanced over at Tatsu who was apparently still sleeping soundly. Koichi went into the living room and found a jacket, taking the keys to the car he crept silently out of the house. Getting into the car, he started it and quickly left the house, driving towards Tokyo Tower, his mind flashing a thousand images of what was waiting for him.

          Koichi drove around the city for awhile, not sure where he should go. He knew he didn’t want to go back to Uta and Acchan, he had ruined that friendship quickly. Who would take him in and not tell Tatsu? Aki and Tora? No…that wouldn’t work. Going to Taka and Sato’s was out, so was Shinya and Miya. Koichi knew Yukke would call Tatsu. That left only one person, someone that had always loved him.

          Kyo always slept deeply, usually missing any noise that of course Mao could hear, but the constant knocking noise woke him up. “What the fuck?” grabbing track pants, Kyo goes to the door and opens it just a crack, “Kyo? Can you hide me please!” Koichi begged, “Kou? What the fuck are you doing here!” Kyo opened the door and dragged his ex-lover into the house.

          A disheveled and obviously panicked Koichi stood in the genkan of Kyo’s flat, “Kou, babe what are you doing here? It’s almost 3am, did you and Tatsu have a fight?” The young man in front of him, Kyo barely recognized; the wild eyes, the panicked look and the shifting from foot to foot, while wringing his hands. “Um, I just need to hide! Please, I’ll sleep in the bathroom, just don’t tell anyone I’m here!”

          A sleepy Mao came into the room, having heard voices, “Kyo? What’s going on…Koichi? What’s wrong Kou?” Mao walked up to his friend, throwing his arms around Koichi who was visibly shaking. “Can I sleep in your bathroom please?” Mao looked at Kyo, “Um, sure Koichi. What if we make Kyo sleep on the couch, you can come sleep with me?” Koichi nodded, “Can we lock the door? If he finds me, I don’t want to talk to him!” Mao put his arm around Koichi’s waist and led him towards the bedroom, looking back at Kyo and mouthed ‘call Tatsu’.

          Getting Koichi’s coat off, “You’re already in pajama’s so lets just get into bed, you look cold. Look, Chibi and Sumo want to sleep with us too!” Mao moved the small cats to make room for Koichi. “Do you want me to leave a light on?” Koichi shook his head, “No, I like dark,” he whispered.         

          In the living room, Kyo was on the phone with Tatsu, “I don’t know what’s going on, you tell me!” Kyo growled, he was angry and scared. “Let him just stay here, if you show up now, he’s going to freak out even more! Damn it Tatsu, I know how this works remember? Mao did weird things on the wrong medication too. No, he’s sleeping with Mao, he wanted to sleep in the bathroom so you couldn’t find him. He’ll be safe here, I’ll call you in the morning, jaa ne.

         

          He couldn’t think straight, how did Koichi leave in the middle of the night and he not know it? Tatsu was thankful that Koichi had gone to Kyo’s, it made sense that his husband would search out someone he had a deep connection with, with his mind in a panic, Kyo had always been his soft place to land. Lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, Tatsu tried to go back to sleep, but it was futile. It was 4:28 am.

 

          As he held his lover in his arms, Sakurai Atsushi cursed his stupidity and Madame F’s scathing reprimand of Uta at Vinyl Fetish. The woman overstepped her boundaries in scolding Uta over the way he had dressed for the evening, and calling him a ‘spoiled brat’, which of course led to Ruimaru defending Uta and screaming at Madame F, and Isshi slapping the boy as punishment.

          Kissing Uta on the head, “Baby, please stop crying.” Sakurai couldn’t come up with the words of comfort he needed. “Let’s talk about all this, ne? Come on…let’s go get some tea.” Handing Uta some tissues, Sakurai got up off the couch and walked to the kitchen. Putting the kettle on to boil, he went through the motions of making them both a cup of tea, putting out Uta’s favorite tea biscuits on a plate.

          Uta went to the bathroom to wash his face, coming back in to sit at the table, Sakurai placing his tea in front of him, and sitting down. He looked at Uta, the boy he had loved since the moment they met, reaching over and covering Uta’s small hand in his large one. “First thing, Madame F was out of line completely. She did not have the right to scold you, you are not her pet, you were in my control. I think she simply is afraid for you.”

          Uta snorted, “Yah, right. What on earth would she be afraid for me over? You don’t abuse me, we were having fun.” Sakurai thought about his words carefully. “I believe she thinks that you will have some sort of mental breakdown, related to Natsu and your previous life in the scene.”

          Uta’s lower lip started to quiver, “Doesn’t she realize that you’d never do that to me? I told her the first time we went, that I wanted to go out and wear my collar, she should understand that you’re not forcing me to do any of this!”

          “I agree, she should understand that, if anything Davina would be able to assure her that we are in fact happy together,” Sakurai paused, “There is one thing that I will have to agree to; you should not be in full collar, in public without being contracted and that is my mistake.”

          Uta’s hand started to shake, “Does that mean we … I mean you, want to write a contract?” Sakurai shook his head, “No, it means that you will no longer wear your collar to the club, other than that nothing changes.” At the mention of his collar, Uta’s hand reached up and fondled the beautiful silver piece that encircled his neck. “But I don’t want to take it off, I love it! You chose it for me.”

          Getting up to pour more tea, Sakurai was unsure of how to proceed, “If it came down to it, would you rather stop going to Vinyl Fetish so you could keep your collar or, do we write a very loose contract?” He poured more tea for Uta, and placed a few more cookies on the plate.

          “You can’t stop going to the club! You’re part of the community and you have responsibilities, can I keep wearing my collar but you go to the club without me?” Uta would rather stay home than take off the jewelry. Sakurai sat back down at the table, “I’ve left the community before, I will leave it again if it’s causing a problem for us, you are much more important to me than that life.”    

          Uta started to say something, then stopped. Would it be so bad if they had a contract? Even if it was a fake one…just for appearances sake? Taking a deep breath, he made up his mind, “I want a contract.” He said bluntly.

          Sakurai nearly dropped his teacup, “What …you what? A contract? Baby…no. There will never be a contract between us. I love you as my equal partner, you are not my submissive and you are not my pet, you are my lover and my life. No Uta, I won’t do that.” Uta started to huff, “But you have…you can’t just…I want a contract! I will not take off my collar, ever! If you want to stay in the community then we need a contract, it doesn’t have to be specific or anything, it’s not like we have to go through negotiations or anything that formal, Acchan, I want this!”

          Sakurai stared at Uta in disbelief, “What about the consequences? What if you start having flashbacks, or this brings the nightmares of Natsu back? I’m not willing to put your health in jeopardy over a piece of jewelry and unwritten binding laws of that community. No. No contract.” Sakurai got up, put his teacup in the sink and walked away from the kitchen, Uta hearing the door to the office close with a snap. “This is stupid, it’s a piece of damned paper, Acchan!” Uta screamed down the hall. “NO CONTRACT!” Sakurai yelled back through the door.

          That’s how the night ended, with Sakurai yelling, and Uta ignoring him. Getting ready for bed, the two men snipped at each other under their breath, “Stubborn old man.” “Reckless brat.” Getting into bed, they kissed each other, then rolled over to their respective sides. “I love you, old man,” “I love you too bratty kid.”

 

 

 

          Leaving Vinyl Fetish without Ruimaru in tow, Karyu was inconsolable, Isshi was angry and scared. “Sir? Um…Ruimaru?” Karyu whispered. “I’m sure he’s at home sulking, my love. If he’s not then we will go look for him, there will be no repeat…” Madame F had given her pardon on Ruimaru’s actions, “I was out of line, Isshi. Ruimaru is a devoted loyal friend, you know that as well as any of us. He saw that I was attacking Uta, so he did what he would have done for anyone, he called me out as it were. I was overly harsh with Uta and I regret it.”

          Pulling into the driveway of their home, Karyu jumped out of the car and ran to the front door. “Sir!” he pleaded, “Yes love, one second.” Isshi opened the door, Karyu rushing in and running to Ruimaru’s bedroom, with Isshi walking quickly behind him. Turning the corner, Isshi saw Karyu standing in the doorway of Ruimaru’s bedroom. Peeking in, he saw the boy lying on the floor asleep, next to a bag stuffed with clothes. “My love, go to your room.” Isshi whispered, Karyu looked between Isshi and Ruimaru, then walked away.

          He carefully sat down beside Ruimaru, reaching out to pet the young man’s vibrant yellow hair. “My Angel, what do we do now?” The young man stirred, then opened his eyes and looked at his Dominant. Without saying a word, he got up off the floor and retrieved his collar from the dresser, wordlessly handing it to Isshi. Bending over to pick up his bag, Ruimaru left his room. He paused at Karyu’s door, but decided against it, walking straight to the front door. As he reached for the knob, arms wrapped around his shoulders, a head laid on his, “I never said I wanted you to leave me.” The young man stands still, saying nothing. Isshi removed his arms and Ruimaru reached for the knob again, but was surprised with Isshi reaching over his head and putting his collar back on, “You must wear this, I want everyone to know that you are my Angel, for ever.”

          With a sob, Ruimaru drops his bag and turns to bury his face in Isshi’s chest. “Sir…” he whines as he clutches at Isshi’s kimono. Without a word, Isshi scoops Ruimaru up in his arms and carries him to the bedroom, closing the door with a soft click.

 

 

          Peeking into the bedroom door, Kyo saw Mao and Koichi laying together, Koichi clutching Mao’s shirt. It was 7:30am, and he knew that Tatsu would be showing up soon. Walking over to Mao’s side of the bed, Kyo gently shook him awake, “Hey babe, um, Tatsu’s probably going to be here soon, we should get him up, ne?” Mao stretched, “Did you get any sleep?” Kyo bent down and kissed his husband, “A little, I’m going to start tea, let’s get Kou up.”

          Mao gently shook his friend awake, “Koichi, hey buddy you’ve got to get up, it’s morning.” Koichi moaned, “Five more minutes Tatsu…” Mao giggled, “Uh, sorry to disappoint you, but I am so not your husband, sorry Kou.” Koichi’s eyes flew open, “Holy shit! Mao! What the hell?”

          “Don’t you remember coming over last night?” Mao sat up in bed. “Uh, sorta, what time?” Koichi’s memory of the early morning visit was fuzzy, “Oh, around 3am I think. You just showed up and asked to spend the night. Kyo slept on the couch. Want some tea?” Mao got out of bed and used the bathroom, “I’ve got to feed the horde, I um, I’m sure Tatsu will be here soon, should I make breakfast for all of us?”  The look of disbelief on Koichi’s face was almost comical, “Uh…I don’t know.”

          “Hurry up or your tea will get cold.” Mao wanted to play this off as if it was the most normal thing for his friend to randomly show up at 3am. He knew that Koichi would be fuzzy on the details, possibly not remembering his panic attack and anxiety that Tatsu was hunting him. The side-effects of anti-depressants can sometimes cause some bizarre actions.

          Looking for his slippers, Koichi, realizes he’s in his pajamas, the memories of the night before, or rather earlier that morning, were starting to come back. Why had he thought that Tatsu would harm him and why did he end up at Kyo’s and in their bed? Going out to the living room, Mao handed him a cup of tea, “Tatsu called, he’ll be here in a bit.” Taking Koichi by the hand, Mao led him to the couch, to cuddle under a blanket.

          “I’m guessing I had a bad reaction to my meds, didn’t I?” he asked. Mao chuckled, “You could say that, but it’s okay. You totally picked the right person to come to. Kyo knew it had to be your meds, he went through the same thing with me. I said some really crazy stuff…Kyo? What was the weirdest?”

          The short spikey man came into the living room, with a cup of tea in hand, “Hmm, maybe that you thought I was going to divorce you an marry Ruki? That was pretty funny, but so was the night that you thought the cats were like baby wild cats or some shit.”

          Koichi felt a sense of relief as he listened to Mao and Kyo going back and forth about the weird side-effects of the anti-depressants. “I’m sorry I just randomly showed up, I don’t even remember the reason to be honest.”

          Kyo patted Koichi on the leg, “Baby, if there was anywhere to go, you chose the right place, you know I’ll always love you and you’ve always got a place to go if things get rough, though I may buy a bigger bed, sleeping on the couch sucked. I wouldn’t mind being the sausage between you two buns.”

          Mao spit his tea out, all over Koichi’s pajamas, “What the fuck did you just say? Sausage and buns?” Koichi started to giggle, Kyo just shrugged. “Yah, you guys would be the buns, and I’d be…” Mao slapped his hand over his husband’s mouth. “I don’t need specifics, sausages and buns is more than enough for a really disturbing visual. Are you sure you haven’t taken one of my pills?”

          The mood in the flat lightened, until Tatsu knocked on the door. Without a word, Kyo let the man in. “Hey, he’s on the couch.” Tatsu walked over and kneeled in front of Koichi. “You okay babe?” he asked softly. “Yah, I’m really sorry…I don’t remember much, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Koichi stared at his hands.

          “Kyo called me, so I knew you were safe…thanks Kyo, you too Mao.” Tatsu was thankful to have supporting and understanding friends. “Let’s go home, we need to call Takigawa and get those meds changed, this one is a definite no.” Koichi hugged Mao, then Kyo, “Thank you, I love you both.” Tatsu gathered up his husband and drove home.

          Gathering up the teacups, Mao put them in the sink, “I hope he finds the right meds soon, I don’t think we…” as Mao turned around, he found Kyo curled up on the couch, tears falling. He knew how his husband felt about Koichi, though he was never threatened by it. Kyo had always loved Koichi, from the day they met, that first giggle. He also understood that the only man on earth for Koichi, was Tatsu… not him.

          “Hey, he’s going to be okay, he’s got us to fall back on,” Mao took Kyo by the hand, leading him to the bedroom. “I didn’t get much sleep and I know you didn’t either, so let’s go take a nap, neither one of us has much to do today,” Getting into bed, Mao put his arms around Kyo, “I love you.”

Chapter Text

          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.

Chapter Text

 

          They weren’t arguing per se, but they weren’t talking to each other…much. Uta and Sakurai were at an impasse, neither one giving ground to the other. Uta refusing to take off his collar, Sakurai refusing to write a contract. Pissyness in the bedroom, pissyness in the kitchen. Anytime one tried to talk to the other, the conversation started and ended with a ‘pfft’ and walking away.

          “I’m not writing a damned contract for him, fuck no, no way.”

          “Asshole wants me to take off my collar, fuck no, no way.”

           The cats were anxious, Luna not knowing where she should sleep, Saki constantly going back and forth between the two men, standing on chests and crying. “I know, he’s being unreasonable.” Uta told Saki one morning, “He won’t listen to me…going right back to the old Sakurai.” Sakurai was standing outside the bedroom door when he heard Uta talking to the cat; am I going back to the old me?

           Uta came out of the bedroom, “I have to go to work, I’ll be home later.” A kiss on the cheek and Uta left the house. Sakurai heard the roar of the small sports car, as Uta drove away with tires squealing. “Shit.”

 

          The Gazette had a late start in the studio that day, giving Pon time to go to the HBG in hopes of talking with Uta. He had an idea of what he wanted to do with the money from the settlement, but had no clue on how to proceed. Uta had some small experience with the matter, leaving Pon with hopes of gaining some direction.

          Uta walked towards the back door of the HBG and saw Pon waiting for him, “Let me dump my stuff then we can talk.” Pon wandered over to the patio, and sat at a table. “I’ll be out on the patio for a bit Taka, Pon needs something. Just yell for me if it gets really busy.” Taka waved Uta off, “Don’t worry, Aki and Tora will be here in a bit.”

          Uta grinned at Pon, “Hey, what’s up? You sounded a little desperate when you called. Please don’t tell me the plumbing is fucked or something.” Pon just laughed, “No, I’m not here because of that, but it does have something to do with landlords.” This intrigued Uta, “Oh? Do you want a new one? Shit, you’re not moving out, are you?”

          “No, I’m not moving out,” Pon rolled his eyes, “I need advice and you’re the only one I can think of to ask.” Pon went on to explain the circumstances of the problem with Akinori and how it was resolved. “Well that sounds good, a lengthy public trial isn’t what anyone wants, at least no one in the industry. So, what’s the problem?”

          Pon shifted in his seat, “It’s not really a problem. I got a lot of money from the settlement and I don’t know what to do with it. I originally thought of donating it to a charity or something, but that’s before I knew the amount.” Pon told him the amount.

          Uta whistled, “What? Seriously… that’s a lot of money!” Pon nodded, “Yah I know. That’s why I came to you. Could you introduce me to Mistress Davina?” Uta looked puzzled, “Uh sure, but what does Davina have to do with anything?” Pon told Uta what he wanted to do, “I just don’t know how to do this, and since Davina has experience with this sort of thing, I thought she’d be a good person to ask. But I can’t very well just show up at that club and introduce myself.”

          Uta giggled, “You’re so cute, you’d have Dominants swarming you. Yes, I’ll introduce you to Davina, how about you call me after you’re done at the studio tonight and I’ll bring her over? That would be easier than trying to go to the manor. I need to talk to her as well.” Uta wanted to talk to her about his problem with Sakurai.

         

          Uta wasn’t the only person that wanted to talk to Davina. Sakurai had called her and asked her over so they could discuss the problem he was having with Uta, which she agreed was in fact, a problem.

          With a cup of tea and Saki in her lap, Davina listened to Sakurai as he explained the problems he was having with Uta. “I heard him say that I was going back to the old me. Davina, that scared me! Am I really being that unreasonable? He can not go to the club with me, wearing a collar but with no contract.”

          Stroking the soft fur of the cat, Davina smirked, “Uta wants a contract and you do not? This is a true twist of fate, Acchan.” Sakurai didn’t appreciate the irony of the situation. “I do not want to fall back into the old habits, I’ve worked hard not to return to those actions. Uta should never be contracted, I allow the collar because…” Davina raised an eyebrow. “Because what, Acchan? It sets your cock afire when you see the boy under you, naked and writhing in lust. Is that why you’re allowing the collar, purely for your benefit?”

          It was as if Davina had gotten up and physically slapped Sakurai, the look of shock on his face was the same. “My benefit?” he murmured. It was true that seeing Uta naked and wearing the collar ignited feelings that were barely controllable, but was it just for his benefit?

          Davina smiled, “Now tell me the true reason you don’t want to contract Uta, this has nothing to do with the collar or the community.” Sakurai opened his mouth…but then thought better of it. “I’m scared he will become ill again.” There it was, the truth behind all of this. “With a contract, he will see that as restrictive and controlling. His flash backs of Teiji, or Natsu…that animal Morrie that raped and nearly killed him. They all have ties to the community; a contract may bring those ties to the surface. I can’t lose him, Davina.”

          And there it was, the core problem; Uta’s health. “Do you believe a contract with Uta will bring those past problems to the surface, Acchan? Or is this your problem, and not Uta’s? He seems to be in complete control of himself, Madame F’s scolding was far worse than any contract you should write. Trust in him Acchan, if Uta wants a contract, then write one. You’re causing him more stress by arguing the point than it’s worth. If you’d like I can draw up something, with very loosely written terms that we can discuss now.”

          Was it really his problem? Sakurai thought about it…yes, it was his problem. He was reverting back to old behaviors by not listening to Uta. The burn of shame showed on Sakurai’s face, and to Davina this was reassuring to know that the man in fact did understand what he was doing. “Let me talk to Uta first, I don’t want to do anything quite yet. Thank you, Mistress. Your wisdom and insight to our boy wins over my stupidity yet again.” They chatted a little more, Davina telling Sakurai what Madame F had said, “She was mortified after the fact, considering I reminded her that the last Dominant to reprimand Uta was Natsu.”

          With a hug and a kiss, Mistress Davina left Sakurai’s home, and left a happier more optimistic Dominant who had finally realized his stupidity and his errors. “Tonight…” he whispered.

 

          “Mistress, you received a call from Uta while you were out, he would like you to call him.”

 

 

          Dr. Takigawa handed Koichi a new prescription, “This medication is in the same family as the first one, but with less side effects. I’m hoping that this will be the right one for you. Again, if you have any side effects, discontinue the medication and call me right away.”  Koichi and Tatsu had gone home from Kyo’s that morning and called the doctor and made an appointment, then both went back to bed, neither having slept much while Koichi was at Kyo’s.

          “How are you feeling?” Tatsu stretched and sat up in bed. “Tired, a little fuzzy but other than that, I’m okay…I don’t feel like you’re hunting me down or anything.” Koichi gave Tatsu a weak smile. “Would you like pancakes for breakfast…well brunch actually.” Tatsu got out of bed, “Yummy! Yes please, I’m going to take a shower first.” Koichi reached out and grabbed Tatsu by the hand, “I love you, and I’m sorry I’m being weird.” Koichi kissed Tatsu’s wrist.

          Tatsu sat on the edge of the bed, “Baby you’re not being weird, you’ve just had some bad reactions to your medication. Takigawa said it might take a while to find the right one. Always remember I love you, we’ll get through this, I promise.” Tatsu kissed Koichi on the forehead, “Now get your cute little ass in the shower while I make pancakes.”

          With the new prescription in his hand, Koichi wanted to start it right away, and with the doctor’s approval, Koichi took the first dose that afternoon. The trouble with the new medication is that they were both watching…waiting for trouble or problems. Finally, Koichi couldn’t stand it anymore, “I’m going to the HBG, I can’t just sit around and wait.”  With promises of being careful, Koichi took the train to the small bar under Tokyo Tower.

          “Hey Kou! Just the man I needed to see.” Taka greeted his best friend, “Uh, why?” Koichi frowned, “Well, Tomo is out with the flu and a DCR event was just announced for the weekend, can you work for Tomo?”  Koichi wasn’t sure if he should accept, “I um just started a new medication today, that gives me four days I guess to see if I have any bad reactions.” He didn’t feel comfortable telling Taka about his incident at Kyo’s.

          “Well, let’s leave it as a maybe? It would be easier if I had an extra hand, but we’ve worked short before. If you can’t work, will you at least be coming?” Taka asked. “Probably, since it’s a DCR event, means Tatsu has to be here.”  Uta and Tora were working that day, both giving Koichi a huge hug, “We miss you! Are you going to work the event?” Koichi shrugged, “Not sure, I just started a new medication today, so I can’t really make any commitments until I’m sure that I don’t have any side-effects.”

          Koichi stayed a little longer, just catching up with his friends, but with his interrupted sleep from the night before, he needed a nap. “I’ll let you know as soon as I can, Taka. I want to say yes, just keep your fingers crossed that this is the right medication.” With a hug and a kiss, Koichi left the HBG and went home.

          “Taka asked me to work the DCR event…what do you think?” Koichi found Tatsu in the office, typing out lyrics on the computer. “Hmm, I’m not sure, how do you feel about it?” Koichi turned Tatsu’s office chair around and sat on his lap. “I want to, but what if the meds…” Tatsu’s arms tightened around his husband, “I’ll be there, so if you start feeling crappy, I’m sure we could leave. I know how much you like working the events, so I say take a chance and see what happens.”

          Koichi threw his arms around Tatsu and kissed him hard, “Thank you! I really want to do this, it’s going to be something normal that I’ve done before and hopefully no surprises.”

 

          For the second time that day, Davina sat in front of someone that was wrestling with a large problem. First Sakurai and his reluctance to write a contract for Uta, and now Pon, with a larger problem. Davina had driven to Pon’s, a little wistful as she walked through the small complex, memories of Teiji in the back of her mind.

          Davina sat facing the two young men, “What can I do for you, Pon-chan?” Pon went through the issues leading up to the problem at hand. “I now have a large sum of money, more than I ever thought I’d get.” He told Davina the amount, she raised an eyebrow. “Go on.” She said.

          “I’d like your help in purchasing some flats, a lot like these if possible, and set them up much like what Uta has done. Affordable flats for young people in need or in transit from their parent’s homes. Can you help me with that please?”  Davina smiled, “I believe I can, as it will be a very simple transaction, which will leave you with some extra money to spend on what you like.”

          Uta and Pon looked at each other with puzzled expressions. “Davina… what do you have hiding up your sleeve?” Uta narrowed his eyes, he knew his tricky Mistress much too well. “Would you both kindly follow me please?” Davina got up and walked out of the flat, leading the two men to the parking lot.

          “You see that building across the street?” Davina pointed to a group of apartments much like the one’s Uta owned already. “I own that building.” Davina heard a gasp, “Mistress, you never told me that!” Uta was shocked. “Uta my love, you never asked. You know that I own multiple properties around the world, I also own properties here in Japan. I’m wealthy, I have to spend my money on something and I am not that frivolous of a woman as to spend it on clothing or cars. I spend my money on properties, and as it were, that property is for sale as of right now.”

          “I don’t want to kick anyone out of their apartment Davina! That’s not my goal at all.” Pon objected. “My dear Hiroto, the building is empty, it has been for some time. I was going to renovate it, but then Uta fell into my lap so to speak. I simply put off doing anything with it, it’s been sitting empty since before Teiji died. Would you like to see it?”

          Davina retrieved a set of keys from her car, “Shall we?” Walking across the street, they went in through the locked gate. “This is a nice feature, each tenant would have a key to the door to the street.” The building had two levels, each with two flats. “They are virtually the same layout, the only variations are the locations of the bathrooms, they all four line up, it makes it much easier for maintenance.”

          The flats were in rough condition, they all needed paint, new floors and some fixtures, each flat had two bedrooms, much like the flats that Pon lived in now. “These are nice…they have a lot of potential.” Uta told Pon. “How much work though?” Pon was concerned about the time he would have to put into each flat to make it livable.

          Davina smiled, “Let’s go back to your flat, Pon-chan and we’ll talk.” Uta nudged Pon as they walked back across the street, “Told you she’d help.”  Grabbing her briefcase out of the car, they returned to Pon’s flat. Davina taking out a calculator and some other documents. “I have had these in my car forever, I was hoping to convince Uta to purchase the flats, but now I think I’d rather sell them to you, Pon-chan.” Davina winked and Uta stuck out is tongue at his Mistress.

          The negotiations went on for some time, Pon trusting fully in the Dominant woman, based on everything he knew about her from Die and Uta. Die always spoke highly of Davina, leaving Pon with some questions about their past interactions, suspecting that Die knew more about that community than he let on.

          It was almost spooky that with his thoughts of Die and Davina, that the man himself would come home while the Dominant was still there. “Hello Mistress,” Die bowed. “Daisuke, how are you love?” Davina extended her hand which Die kissed. “It depends, what have you done with my boyfriend? Teach him anything I should be aware of?” Pon and Uta sat in shock, Pon poking Uta in the ribs, the young man just shook his head.

          “No of course not, not without your permission. We are simply making a business deal, are you perhaps interested in some instruction?” Davina laughed. “Not at this time, Davina.” Die blushed. Pon was definitely going to ask his boyfriend about this later.

          With the papers signed and dated, Davina and Pon made an appointment to meet at the bank sometime in the next few days to finalize the sale of the building. “It’s been lovely, but I need to get home to Kato, I’m sure he’s waiting for me.” Davina hugged Pon and kissed him on the cheek. Turning to Uta, she paused, “Young man, you need to go home to Acchan quickly, he’s waiting for you.”

          Pon was in the kitchen, making a snack for he and Die, “How well do you know Davina?” Pon asked, this should be good. “Oh, I’ve known her for quite a few years, at least as long as I’ve known Sakurai. I don’t really know Madame F all that well, Ormond keeps everyone at arms length.” “Ormond? Who’s that?” Pon wasn’t familiar with the woman. “Ormond is Madame F’s personal pet, her submissive. He’s rather tall, long black hair…very handsome. I don’t know Isshi-san at all. Why?”

          Pon sat down next to Die, handing him a plate, “Just the way you were talking to her, I have my suspicions that you know more about that life style than you’ve ever told me. Were you ever a submissive?”

          Die almost spit his food out, “What? No! I was never a submissive, that’s totally not me!” He quickly recovered. “I used to go the clubs a lot back in the day, you could meet a lot of freaky people. I was standing with Sakurai one night and Davina came up to speak to him, he introduced us and we just became acquaintances. And before you ask, no I’ve never slept with Davina. She just likes to tease me about things, she said I should have my own submissive, that I’d make a good Dominant.”

          Now it was Pon’s turn to choke on his food, “You? A Dominant?” he laughed. “It’s not that much of a stretch, I don’t hear you complaining about our sex life.” Die pouted. Pon put his plate down on the table, “I’m not complaining, I just don’t see you as the type that would want to Dominate anyone. You’re too nice, too squishy…you’re a big dork and that’s what I love about you. I don’t understand that life style, well I don’t really know anything about it other than it sometimes involves tying up your lover and maybe spanking them or something.”

          An idea went off in Die’s head, that he knew he may regret at some point, but it was just too tempting to ignore. “Well, I could just show you some basic stuff, nothing painful or humiliating, just some really soft stuff…if you want me too.” He wiggled his eyebrows at Pon. “I’ll be right back.” Die got up and ran down the hall, Pon could hear him in the spare room, rummaging around loudly. “Don’t come in here!” he yelled from the bedroom. Now Pon was wondering if he should have asked Die about Davina.

 

          “Tadaima.” Uta toed off his shoes in the genkan, going into the kitchen, “Acchan?” grabbing a beer, Uta went out to the patio in search of his lover. “Where the…” Going back into the house, Uta went down the hall, “Acchan?” with no responses, Uta checked the garage, “Well shit…where is he?” Acchan’s car was gone, no note or anything. It wasn’t terribly late so Uta wasn’t concerned, it just bothered him that Acchan hadn’t left a note. “Maybe all this bullshit really pissed him off.” Now Uta was worried.

          Was his relentless badgering of Acchan over having a contract angered him so much that he left… shit! Running back down the hall and into the bedroom, Uta threw open the closet doors, “thank god,” all of Sakurai’s clothes were still in the closet. Uta had visions of Sakurai leaving for the estate and not telling him.

          “Then where are you?” he mumbled. Luna and Tsubaki were sleeping on the bed, Uta changing into pajamas, moving the cats so he could join them. He would just wait here for Acchan to get home, “He couldn’t have gone far…”

 

          “That is my solution, either accept it or I will formally leave the community again, this time permanently.” Sakurai Atsushi stood in front of Madame F who was seated behind her rather large desk, an attentive Ormond at her shoulder. “You’re demanding I accept this ridiculous piece of paper as a formal contract? Are you insane Atsushi?” Madame F’s voice was strained.

          Sakurai was not in the mood for bickering with this woman. “Yes, I am demanding it. It is a formal contract, written for myself and Uta, it is no one’s business what is contained within the contract, it exists and it is binding within the laws of the community, that’s all that is needed.”    

          Madame F sighed, there was no way she would win in any argument that involved Uta. She had already been scolded by her protégé for her behavior at Vinyl Fetish in her scathing reprimand of Uta. “Fine. I will accept this. I am not pleased with you or that bratty child of yours, you must understand that. This is highly irregular, Acchan.”

          Sakurai smiled, “Uta is a highly irregular young man, wouldn’t you agree Madame?” After being dismissed by Madame F and shown the door by Ormond, Sakurai got in his car and raced home, possibly breaking a few traffic laws. Parking his car in the garage, he trotted into the house, toeing off his shoes. “Uta?” Going past the kitchen, Sakurai went straight to the bedroom, where Uta was curled up with all four cats.

          Sakurai sat down on the side of the bed, gently shaking Uta. “Uta baby, wake up for a moment, I have something for you.” Uta stretched, “Where were you?” Sakurai had a mischievous grin on his face, “I was with Madame F tonight, we were discussing the incident at Vinyl Fetish.”

          Uta frowned, “What did super bitch woman say?” He didn’t really care about her opinion at that moment, it was all because of her that he and Acchan were fighting. Sakurai smiled, “Well, I showed her this,” He held up a piece of paper, “Then I told her to either accept it or I would leave the community again, forever.”

          This caught Uta’s attention, he sat up in bed, “What’s that,” he nodded at the piece of paper. Sakurai handed it to him. Uta looked at it…then at Sakurai…then at the paper again. “You’re fucking joking, right? This can’t be real! Nobody will accept this as a real contract!”

          “That’s the exact response I got from Madame F, then I told her to accept it, or I leave. She then called you a bratty child and that she wasn’t pleased with either one of us.” Sakurai was giggling, something that Uta never remembered hearing. “So, is this our contract? You agree to contracting me? Why?”

          Sakurai sighed, “Because it’s what you want. I heard you talking to Saki, telling him I was turning into the old Acchan again. Then I realized that I wasn’t listening to you or respecting your wishes. I also had Davina come over this morning, right after you went to work. She threw a few things into my face, slapped me around a bit and made me realize what the hell I was doing…ignoring your wishes and not listening to you. I’m sorry baby.”

          Uta re-read the contract again, a smile spreading on his face, “You know, this is pretty much exactly what I wanted in the first place! Nobody has to know what’s in a private contract, there’s no rule to that…right?” Sakurai nodded, “Nope, it’s a private matter between a Dominant and his submissive, so this is what you want?” The answer Sakurai got from Uta, was drawn out…with a lot of murmured words and not a few ‘yes, yes’ whispered well into the wee hours of the morning.  

Chapter Text

          They were having their first argument. Uruha didn’t want to make their new relationship public and Aoi wanted to go full out and basically announce it to the entire industry at the upcoming DCR event at the High Ball Garden.  “Why not? Are you ashamed or scared or what? You’re not giving me a real reason.” Aoi sniped. “I’m just not ready for everyone to know we’re dating! How hard is that to understand?”  Uruha was sitting on Aoi’s couch, arms folded over his chest, watching as his new boyfriend paced around the room.

          “Pretty damned hard, actually. Are you anticipating some kind of fall out or protest? And if you are, from whom?” Aoi kept the pressure on, if he and Uruha were dating, there was no valid reason for them to hide that fact.

          Uruha’s tears were on the verge of spilling, “I’m not … I don’t know! I just want to keep this private for awhile. Why are you so hell bent on announcing it to the world? You just want to throw it in Yuki’s face, don’t you?” Oops, Uruha regretted the words as they left his mouth. “Yuki? What the hell does any of this have to do with Yuki? I don’t give a rat’s ass what Yuki thinks, if you haven’t already noticed…he’s dating Ken and seems to be pretty damned happy.”

          Uruha shut his eyes for a moment as he sighed. “This isn’t going to work, we’ll never be on the same page with each other, let’s just end it now.” He got up from the couch and walked out of the flat, leaving Aoi to stand in the middle of the room with his mouth hanging open. “Well fuck you too, asshole! I don’t need this shit in my life! I’m fine with out you OR Yuki!” he screamed at the door.

          Uruha’s tears didn’t start to fall until he was half way home, almost blinding him. “Just get through the door, just get home,” he whispered through his tears. Parking his car and making the short walk up the stairs, Uruha felt relieved to be alone, even with the dream of a life with Aoi, shattered in a few minutes of a heated argument. “You really thought you could do this, what a joke.” He laughed at himself.  It was better this way, the jokes of him being too neurotic to be in a long-term relationship playing out just as everyone had always said.

 

          There was a definite tension in the air at the studio the next day, Pon and Ken exchanging knowing looks as they watched Aoi and Uruha in the same room. Ruki was the first one to say anything, “Looks like paradise has collapsed.” He commented to Kai, nodding over to the two guitarists. “That was quick, not even a week.” He sighed. Cornering Reita, Kai cautioned him not to say anything, “I don’t know what happened but I’m guessing they crashed and burned, let’s just leave them alone, ne?” Kai knew from experience and twenty years of friendship, just to let things lie when bandmates disagreed, no matter if it was over a song or a relationship.

          Gathering the band together before the recording started, Kai informed them about the upcoming DCR event. “It’s tomorrow night, same place and probably the same issues as always. Management is using this as an end of summer tour, party, I’d like to say that attendance is mandatory, but I won’t force anyone to come.” He obviously said that for Aoi and Uruha’s benefit. With that short announcement, the band got back to recording for the day, Pon calling for Aoi to start recording.

          Ken watched Aoi working with Pon, the man seemed to be unphased. He thought about Yuki, and how his new lover would take the news, a seed of doubt growing in his chest. Taking out his phone he sent a quick text to Yuki.

          “When you have a chance could you call me please, it’s sort of important. Thanks.”

 

          Yuki looked at the text, what could be so important that Ken would want to be interrupted at work? He asked his boss if he could take a short break, then went outside to call.  The conversation was short and to the point, Ken asked if he’d go to the DCR event with him, which Yuki agreed to without hesitation.

          “Before you commit, I wanted to let you know that it looks like Aoi and Uruha have already called it quits.” Ken held his breath.

          “Oh, well that’s too bad.” Yuki replied.

          “I just didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable, we can sit with whoever, maybe the guys from Diru or MUCC.”

          “Well, I’d like to hang out with Ayato and Reita too, it’s fine really. Sucks for Aoi, but I can only imagine why they already broke up.”

          “Okay, cool. Um, I’ll call you tonight when I get home.”

           Yuki closed his phone, shaking his head as he went back to work. Aoi fucked up another relationship before it even got started, what a dumbass.

          “Everything okay?” Pon asked as Ken returned to the sound board, “Yep, just wanted to ask Yuki if he wanted to go to the DCR event. I haven’t been to one in a few years, so it’s going to be nice to have a date to go with.” Ken was smiling.

          Pon hoped that Ken and Yuki could make it work, Yuki deserved more than an idiot boyfriend in the form of Aoi. “Nice, I’m sure we’ll have fun. You guys can sit with us or whatever.”

          Unbeknownst to both men, Aoi overheard Ken’s conversation with Yuki, a burning sensation building through his chest. He should be the one taking Yuki to the party, not Ken, but he fucked that up and now he fucked it up with Uruha and would go to the party alone. “Nothing new about that.” He mumbled under his breath.

 

          Kai was standing outside with Uruha who was smoking a cigarette. “Tell me what happened? Everything was great when I talked to you the other day, how did it go from that to shit in like 24 hours?”

          Uruha shrugged, “It wasn’t going to work out, that’s all. It was stupid of me to believe it would, you guys always say I’m too neurotic to be in a relationship, and you were right. It’s not a big deal, really.”

          Kai could see the pain in Uruha’s eyes, it was a big deal. “No chance of trying again?” Uruha shook his head, “No, it’s pointless. I’m fine Kai, really. I might not go to the event though, if that’s okay with you.”

          “Of course, I totally understand. Remember if you need to talk, I’m here, Kouyou.” Patting his guitarist on the shoulder, Kai went back into the studio.

          Ruki had a similar conversation with Aoi, with about the same results. No big deal, no chance of trying again, he was fine. The difference was he wanted to go to the event, “I’m not going to stop living just because that neurotic fool had a panic attack.” At that statement Ruki raised an eyebrow, Aoi basically said that it was Uruha that called it off. He knew he’d have to speak to Kai to get the full story. “Okay, well if you need to talk…you know where I am.”

         

          Taka had to make a choice, either call and ask Koichi to work, or cover the position himself. With Tomo out, that meant they would be one cashier short, which at the beginning of the event was always an issue, not so much after everyone had gotten one or two high balls in them.  Without any other available choices, Taka called Koichi and asked if he could work the event.  

          “Hey, have you thought about working tomorrow night? I could really use you at the counters in the beginning, not so much later but also as a break bitch…yah I know that’s usually his job, but I figure we’d give him one event that he could go out and sit with Kyo. Oh? That sounds promising, so you’ll do it? Great! A life saver…well a stress saver at the least. Yep, 7pm please. Okay, thanks again Kou, jaa ne.”

          Taka rolled his chair out the door, “MAO!” he yelled. “What? I haven’t done anything why are you yelling at me?” the man whined. “I’m not yelling at you, I just wanted to tell you that you don’t have to be break bitch for this event, Koichi’s coming in.”

          “YAATAA!” Mao fist pumped the air, “Finally! I was ready to tell you that I wanted a special shirt that said ‘HBG Break Bitch’.” Taka smirked, “You have Koichi to thank for this, so don’t make me regret it!”  The rest of the shift was used up with an informal meeting, assigning everyone to their duties and reminding them of the rules. “No playing with your lovers while on duty!” Taka looked directly at Mao, “What? Kyo and I have never done that!”

          The discussion after that was mostly about what Mao and Kyo had or had not done while at a DCR event, Aki and Tora making up random stories that were not true. “You guys are just jealous. You have no idea what Kyo and I have or haven’t done.” Tora made a remark about asking Uta or Koichi, which then set off a round of ‘omg’s’ have they compared notes about Kyo. “I’m not telling.” Mao snickered.

 

          After a long day at the studio, Pon and Ken dragged themselves to their cars and parted ways, Pon being picked up by Die. “I have Ojisan’s waiting at home, you have time to take a shower, eat then I’m putting you to bed, no arguments.” Die pulled the alpha card on his lover. “No arguments from me. Oh, I have a bit of gossip, which really isn’t gossip, but Aoi and Uruha have already called it quits.” Die shook his head, “Who’s fault, or do you know?” Pon grunted, “I’d say Aoi, but from what I’ve heard, Uruha can be a bit of a head case, OCD and all that.” Die laughed, “I’ve heard the same thing for years, so maybe he just freaked out?” Pon snorted, “Maybe, but you know what an asshole Aoi can be, we’ve all seen proof of that.”

          Pulling into the parking lot, Die and Pon made their way to their flat, running into Ayato and Reita, carrying take out bags. “Hmm, looks like we’ve all had the same idea, want to come over and grub with us?” Die offered. “Sure, do you mind if I invite Yuki?” Ayato asked. “We have enough for everyone, go get him.” Pon wanted to see what was happening between his friend and Ken.

          Ayato ran to get Yuki, leaving Pon and Die to set out the food, Reita grabbing a few beers from his flat. “Thanks for the invite guys, I was going to have cup noodles.” Yuki walked into Die’s flat. “Ojisan’s is so much better!” The banter was light as they filled their plates, finding places to sit and started eating.

          Pon was the first to bring up the Aoi/Uruha issue. “You’ve already heard from Ken, ne?” he asked Yuki. “Yah, he called me earlier today, asked if I wanted to go to the DCR event, which I do. Then he told me about Aoi and Uruha,” he paused, “it’s really too bad, I was hoping that Aoi had finally figured out his life, and Uruha always seemed nice, not that I really knew him or anything. Do you know what happened?”
          Pon mumbled ‘no’ through his ramen, “but Ken has said that Uruha is kind of an OCD mess, so I’m going to assume it was something in relation to him, but then Aoi is a general mess…so who knows.”

          Ayato nudged Reita, “Do you know? I mean they’re in your band.” Reita choked a bit, “Nope, no idea. I didn’t see either of them today, Kai probably knows but I’m going to guess that neither one of them told the truth.”

          Yuki grunted, “I’m still going to go to the party, Ken asked so it’s not like I’m going dateless or anything. Pretty sure Aoi won’t even speak to me.” Die had remained silent through the exchange, something that Pon noticed but said nothing.

          After finishing their dinners, everyone went their separate ways back to their flats. Pon had been watching Die all night, the man had been unusually quiet during dinner. “Hey is something wrong? You’ve been pretty quiet tonight.” Die was getting ready for bed, Pon already under the covers. “Nothing really, something just feels off with the Aoi and Uruha thing, it’s probably just me being weird.”

          Die got into bed next to Pon, pulling the man close, “I’m so grateful to have you in my life, you have no idea.” Leaning down he kissed Pon lovingly. Pon’s thoughts turned to Yuki and his struggles, Ayato and Reita’s rough beginnings and where they were all now. “I think we’re just super lucky. I love you Daisuke.”

 

          Entering the back door of the HBG, Koichi had a flock of butterflies bashing around in his stomach. He hadn’t been back at work since the first day he flipped his shit on Taka and quit. Now it was months later, after hospitalization, medication fails and a mad night time escape from a husband he thought was hunting him down. Tonight, was his return to his normal life and with his friends and family together.

          “KOU!” Mao ran over and grabbed Koichi, picking him up and twirling around, “MAO! PUT KOICHI DOWN!” Taka yelled at the man. “Sorry Kou, just happy to see you in your uniform.” Mao giggled. “It’s okay, I kind of missed that actually.” There was a general sense of excitement with the crew of the HBG, all of the original members were working tonight, Aki and Tora, Uta and Mao, Koichi and Taka. “This is weird,” Uta looked at them. “We’re all here together, except for Tomo, but we’re the original crew,” Mao started to say something, then turned away quickly and walked up to the counters.

          “Mao? What’s wrong?” Uta followed him. “Nothing…I’m fine.” Uta put his hand on Mao’s shoulder and turned him around, not really surprised to see his best friend in tears, “Weirdo,” he laughed. “NO! I’m just sentimental, not weird!”

          Taka clapped his hands loudly, “Okay gentlemen, it’s show time, open the counters and try to have fun tonight! Koichi, Mao and Aki are up first, Uta and Tora to the patio please.”

         

          A typical DCR party start; long lines at the drink counters for the first hour, Koichi and Aki pouring as fast as they could, Mao collecting the cash. Light banter between the staff and the customers as per the norm. Kyo jumping up on the counter and stealing a kiss from Mao, Tatsu asking Koichi for a drink when he had his back turned, a sense of old déjà vu. Die and Pon teasing each other, Die grabbing Pon’s ass when he was trying to order, making the younger man squeal.

          Ayato and Yuki showed up, with Reita and Ken in tow, “Lucky you to have the night off,” Aki teased Ayato, not knowing that Taka had purposely not scheduled Ayato in hopes that Yuki would come to the event with him.

          The line died down a bit, with Aoi being one of the last to order their first drink, “Hey Koichi, how are you?” Aoi smiled at Kou, “Good, how’s recording going?” Koichi figured that was a safe topic, he knew the hours spent in the studio, “Good, you know how it is, eat sleep record,” Just a little different than the Eat Sleep Fuck effect that Taka had come up with so many years ago.

          “Kou, you and Aki take your break and send Uta in,” Taka sent the first wave of breaks in motion. Once outside, Koichi made a bee-line for Tatsu, who was sitting with Miya and Shinya, Sato was off talking to Kai and Yukke. “Hey babe, everything okay?” Tatsu patted his thigh, Koichi never had to be asked twice to sit in his husband’s lap.

          “Yep, just the usual, huge line for an hour, then you guys calm down a bit…well except for you, Miya. You’re on your third now?” Miya’s love of the high ball cocktail started Koichi’s life as he knew it now. “I’m watching him Kou-kun, I’ll be driving home tonight.” Shinya smiled. “How are you feeling Kou?”  Koichi leaned hard into Tatsu, “I think this is the right medication, I feel great!”

          A change in the atmosphere announced that Buck Tick had arrived, Sakurai stopping to grab a quick kiss from Uta, Toll going over to talk to Kai and Sato. Imai walked over to the MUCC table, “Imai-san, nice to see you again,” Tatsu greeted his senpai, “Miya-san, can

I have a word with you please?” Miya cocked his head, “Sure, lets go get a drink,” Miya winked at Shinya.

          Aki waved at Koichi, a signal he had to go back to work, “I think I’m doing Patio duty next, I’ll be back in a bit.” Kissing Tatsu quickly, Koichi got up and went back to work. “Kou-kun seems to be doing well on this medication, so far no bad reactions?” Shinya watched his young friend tussling with Aki.

          “No, not yet, but it’s only been two days. I didn’t tell you guys this, but he had a very bad reaction the other night.” Tatsu told Shinya about the incident at Kyo’s flat. “Oh Tatsu,” Shinya sighed sadly. “He was embarrassed as hell, but we went to the doctors that same day, and now he’s on this other stuff, we’ve got our fingers crossed.”

          Mao and Koichi were on the prowl of the patio, making sure that the area was kept clean and tidy, stopping occasionally to talk to people, both of them stopping to speak to Kyo.  “Buy that bigger bed yet Kyo? I do remember the buns and sausage comment, I think that’s the only thing I remember,” Koichi giggled, a sound that always went straight to Kyo’s cock, by way of his heart first.

          “Nah, Mao doesn’t think we need a bigger bed, only one bun for this sausage,” Kyo reached over and smacked Mao hard on the ass, “Hentai!” Mao squeaked. “You knew that when we started dating, why bring it up now? Koichi knows, Uta does too… so why are you blushing?” Kyo was tormenting his husband.

          “I’m just reminding you that I’m your only bun, go talk to Die or something.” A quick kiss and Kyo walked over to talk to Die. “He’s ridiculous, isn’t he?” Mao sighed. “He is, and that’s why we love him. He loves hard and loves for good, don’t forget that.” Koichi slung his arm around Mao’s shoulder, “Let’s go back and give Tora his break.”

          Ayato and Yuki sat alone at a table, Reita and Ken talking about the recording session, Yuki trying hard not to stare at Aoi. “Does it bother you that he’s here?” Ayato asked, “No, not really. I feel sorry for him in a way. He doesn’t know how to adult very well, and he’s older than most of us, you’d think he’d get the hang of it by now.”

          Ken turned to look at Yuki, Reita leaning in, “He’s pretty damned cute, not as cute as Ayato…but close.” Ken laughed, “Ayato’s beautiful, his look is so different from Yuki’s, we’re both pretty lucky.”

          Aoi had stared at Yuki, his heart thumping in his ears. How could he have been so fucking stupid? “Regrets Aoi? You’d better forget it, he’s happy with Ken now,” Ruki told him. “I know that, not like I’m going to make a scene or anything.” Yuki caught Aoi looking at him, and smiled, he didn’t hate the man, he still had feelings for him, but deep down he knew that it would never work out.

          “Hey, how about we call it a night?” Ken squatted down next to Yuki’s chair, “I do have to be in the studio tomorrow, so can I take you home?”  Yuki smiled at Ken, reaching out he cupped Ken’s face in his hands, and kissed him. “Yep, I’m ready, let’s go.” Saying their goodbyes, the couple followed behind Tatsu and Koichi an left the party.

          Aoi had seen the kiss between Yuki and Ken, a knot in his throat kept him from speaking. A hand was on his shoulder, “It’s tough man, I know.” Aoi looked up and Reita and Ayato were standing behind his chair. “Nah, it’s fine. I’m glad Ken is taking good care of him. I trust him more than I trust myself,” he lied.

           

          Tatsu was doing his nightly dance in the kitchen, trying to get Teo and Gordy fed before he joined Koichi in the bedroom. “Seriously? Its been what…three hours since the last time you were fed?” Teo and Gordy voiced their opinions quite loudly, Koichi listening to them scream.

          “I swear, they get worse every damn day. What would they do if we didn’t come home for a night? The way they act, I would think they’d be dead from starvation.” Tatsu huffed as he changed into sleep pants. “They’re just spoiled, we caused it…it’s not their fault.” Koichi countered. “Did you have fun tonight?” he asked as he watched Tatsu change. “Yes, but the bigger question is how do you feel? Did you have fun working?” Tatsu stood in the doorway, brushing his teeth.

          “I’m tired, that’s for sure, but yah…I did have fun tonight though I’m not saying I want to go back to work full time, or even part time, but I don’t mind working events and covering shifts every once in awhile.”

          Tatsu was relieved that Koichi seemed to be ‘normal’, as in no reaction to this medication. “I didn’t tell you what Kyo suggested,” Koichi grinned. Tatsu rolled his eyes, “Do I really want to know?” he slid into bed next to his husband. “When I was over there, you know…Mao made Kyo sleep on the couch, so I could sleep with him in the bed.” Tatsu snuggled down into the covers, putting his arm around Kou.

          “When we were waiting for you to pick me up, Kyo said he wanted to buy a queen-sized bed…” Koichi started to giggle, “Because, and I swear to god I’m not making this up, he wanted to be the sausage, and Mao and I be the buns.” Koichi buried his face in the pillow to keep himself from laughing hysterically, then looked up for a reaction, “I asked him tonight if he still wanted the queen-sized bed, and he said Mao won’t let him have one, because he’s the only bun Kyo needs.”

          Putting his hands over his face and rubbing roughly, Tatsu tried hard not to laugh, “If it would have been anyone else other than Kyo and Mao saying that shit, I’d be pissed off. But considering your past and current connections to those two?” he sighed, “I guess I should just be happy that they didn’t buy a bigger bed and invite you for a sleep over, I don’t think I could handle that.” Koichi started to giggle again, Tatsu reaching over to tickle him, causing him to squeal. It wasn’t until Koichi leaned over onto Tatsu’s chest and kissed him that the tickling stopped. “I love you.” He said softly. Tatsu held Koichi in his arms, “I love you more than life, you are everything to me. I can’t stand to see you hurt or sick, and I’ll do everything I can to make you happy.” Instead of freaking out, crying or hurting himself, Koichi felt safe and loved, showing his appreciation for his husband the best way he could, by loving him back.

 

          Ken pulled into the parking lot of Yuki’s flat, leaning over he kissed the young man, “I’ll text you at some point tomorrow, okay?” Yuki reached over to unbuckle the seat belt when he stopped, “Um, would you like to uh…spend the night?” he asked in barely a whisper. Ken’s heart almost stopped. “Are you sure?” Yuki nodded, “Mmm…Yes I’m sure.” Ken turned off the car, his heart was thumping loudly in his chest. Yuki took him by the hand and led him to his flat.

          Closing the door behind him, Ken quickly pulled Yuki into a kiss, then with foreheads touching, he asked one more time, “are you sure?” Yuki wrapped his arms around Ken’s waist. “Yes, I’m sure…are you scared I’m going to keep you captive or something?” Ken threw his head back and laughed, “If I could only be so lucky.” Taking Ken by the hand, Yuki led him to the bedroom and quietly closed the door.

          The phone that was sitting on the counter chimed, but its owner was too busy to notice or care about the message. The sender of the text waited for awhile, hoping for a reply though knowing that it was a long shot. Turning off his phone, he put the pillow over his head to block out the night.

Chapter Text

          The formal contract brought by Sakurai was riddled with almost outrageous terms and conditions, something that Davina knew Uta played a hand in. “I had Madame F look over it before brining it to you, Mistress.” Sakurai said playfully. The look Davina gave Sakurai at that moment was not exactly one of approval. “This contract is ridiculous Acchan. You’re letting Uta dictate the terms and conditions which is unheard of, the submissive is in control of his Dominant, not the other way around.” She looked at Uta, “You my boy, are a spoiled brat just as Madame F claims.”

          Before either Sakurai or Uta could object, Davina’s features softened, “That being said, this is the perfect contract for you both, and I will happily witness the signing.” With the formalities out of the way, the conversation turned to Isshi and his boys. “Did you receive your letter, Acchan? I almost cried as I read mine, the boy was devastated over his actions, but by his tone, I do believe that he would do the exact same thing if the situation was repeated.”

          Uta leaned in to Sakurai, “It really wasn’t his fault Mistress, he cares deeply for me and he saw Madame F’s reprimand as threatening.” Sakurai patted Uta’s thigh, “Yes he did, his letter was equally remorseful, I do agree however that the boy will repeat the action if necessary. Isshi will always have his hands full with Ruimaru.”

          Davina spoke about the punishment of the young submissive, “I doubt Isshi will be able to last two weeks even with Karyu in his bed. I’m going to bet the ban lasts less than a week.”  Uta laughed, “I give it less than that Mistress.”

          With talk of signed contracts and Isshi’s remorseful boy, Acchan suggested a night out, “I’d love to flaunt the contract in everyone’s faces.” He laughed. “Once word gets out, I’m sure that I’ll be accosted by someone who doesn’t approve.” Davina sighed, “Why must you always be the trouble maker, Acchan? Where is the shining beacon of respectability that was Sakurai Atsushi?”

         “He had been replaced by a contentious, and rebellious man that is completely under control of his submissive, and happily so. That other man no longer exists and it’s all for the better.” Sakurai said. Uta leaned over and kissed his Dominant. “And his submissive is deeply in love with him, how can that be wrong?”

         “There’s nothing wrong with that, ne Kato?” The man had stood silently behind his Mistress, “No Mistress, I love you beyond what is acceptable and normal but there is nothing wrong with it.” Kato leaned down to kiss his lady.           “We are the lucky one’s Acchan. Madame F, Isshi, you and myself, we have been gifted with special people in our lives, I have been blessed twice in my life, with men that love me outside our contracts.”

          After making plans for later that night for a trip to the club, Uta and Sakurai with their freshly signed contract made their excuses and went home. “They are an unusual couple, Mistress. It is easy to see why Sakurai-san is so protective over Uta-kun, he does draw out the protective side out of you.” Uta had a place in Kato’s heart, but a small place, the wholeness of his heart belonged only to his Mistress.

 

           Ruimaru sat on the couch next to Karyu, holding hands with is co-lover as Isshi sat behind his desk, looking warn and tired. It had been a rough week, well not even a full seven, just five days had passed since Isshi had handed down Ruimaru’s punishment. All three men were miserable, Karyu desperate to comfort both his Dominant and Ruimaru, though he was not to have any sexual contact with the young man.

         “My lovelies, please do not look so anxious, I am not here to reprimand or scold either one of you. I want to speak to you about Ruimaru and his situation.” Karyu squeezed Ru’s hand tightly. “As of today, I am cancelling the remainder of your punishment, I can not bare to see either one of you nor myself suffer any longer.”

          Ruimaru’s eyes brightened, “Sir? I don’t understand, are you taking me off restriction?” Isshi’s heart leapt at the childish reference to his punishment. “Yes, as a parent would say, you’re off restriction as of today.”

           Karyu squeaked softly when Ruimaru threw his arms around him, kissing him on the cheek. Then he slowly got up, his eyes to the ground as he approached Isshi. “I am truly sorry Sir,” he paused, “if I’m honest with myself and with you, I can’t say I won’t do it again.” Isshi tipped Ruimaru’s face up with his fingers, “I would ask you to respect those Dominants around you, and to come to me first before defending anyone, if that is possible.” Isshi’s Angel nodded, “Yes sir…but if someone I know and love is in danger, I mean like really going to get hurt…can I do something before I ask you?”

           Karyu stifled a giggle, “Karyu, come here please.” Isshi instructed the boy. “Listen to me, you silly boys. Under no circumstances do either of you put yourself in danger, for anyone and that includes myself. I am perfectly capable of handling untidy issues on my own. That being said, if you saw another submissive being abused and there was no time to fetch me or another Dominant, you may at the very most, scream your pretty little heads off and cause a commotion. That will be the maximum that I will allow. Is this understood.?”

           The two younger men nodded enthusiastically, and Isshi opened his arms to enfold them both in a well deserved group hug. “Tonight, we go to Vinyl Fetish. Mistress has told me that we will be celebrating something, though she’s keeping it a secret. You know what I want my loves, pristine bodies ready for fun.”

 

          Yuki was just falling back to sleep when he heard frantic knocking at his door, “Fine…I don’t get to sleep today.” Stumbling out to the living room, the second he turned the knob he was thrown backwards, almost falling. “YOU HAD SEX WITH KEN?’ Ayato grabbed Yuki by the shoulders. “Did you?”

          Rubbing his eyes, “How do you know?” Ayato grabbed his friend’s hand and dragged him to the couch. “Because Akira saw him leaving your apartment this morning! He was getting ready to go to the studio, and he saw Ken leaving your flat.” That got Yuki’s attention. “He won’t say anything will he? I don’t want Aoi to find out…that’s just going to be a big messy scene. Yes, he spent the night, and yes, we had sex…end of story. Now I want to go back to bed before I have to go to work, go home.”  Yuki tried to get up, Ayato grabbing his hand and pulling him back down.

          “Oh no…you’re not getting away with just that, I need details!” Ayato grinned, “How was it?” Yuki stared at his friend, “I’m not giving you a detailed analysis of my sex life, Ayato. It was fine, okay? That’s all I’m saying. We had fun and he spent the night, then he went home.” Ayato made a whiny noise. “That’s not what I mean!”

          “Please, just go home or wherever, I’m tired and I have to work later, if you’re home when I get off, we can talk then. Good bye.” Yuki got up and went back to bed, closing the door quietly. Groaning as he slid beneath the covers, he pulled the pillow over his head.  Asking Ken to spend the night was an impulse thing, brought on by the constant stare of Aoi as he watched Yuki at the DCR event.

          Yuki did not have the morning after regrets for asking the man to spend the night, in fact he was pleasantly surprised on how attentive and sweet Ken was as a lover. Yuki’s feelings had definitely deepened over night, seeing Ken as a long-term boyfriend.  When morning dawned, Ken rolled over, throwing his arm around Yuki’s waist. “I need to get home to shower before I go to the studio. I um…well last night was more than I could have ever imagined, you’re so perfect and beautiful.” He paused to kiss Yuki, “I’ll call you later this evening.” With a few more kisses, Ken dressed then let himself out, not seeing Reita who had just stepped out of his flat.

 

          Seeing Ken, Reita paused, wanting to say hi, instead he ran back into his house and jumped on the bed, “Babe, wake up! Ayato!” he shook his sleepy lover awake, “What’s wrong?” he muttered. “Babe, I just saw Ken leaving Yuki’s flat.” “That’s nice, call me later.” Ayato pulled the covers over his head, “No!” Reita growled, “Yuki and Ken had sex!” He knew this would get his lover’s attention.

          “How the fuck do you know!” Ayato sat up, hitting Reita in the chin with his head, “OWFUCK!” Reita fell backwards off the bed, “Sorry…how do you know they had sex? What did Ken say?” Ayato peered over the side of the bed, poking Reita with a finger.

          “Am I bleeding?” Reita rubbed his chin, checking his fingers for blood, “No, you’re not bleeding, but you’re going to be if you don’t tell me how you know they had sex!” Ayato snarled. “Duh, what time is it? Like 8am…and he’s wearing the same clothes he did last night at the party. You think Yuki made him sleep on the couch? No…he’s not that stupid or mean. They had sex, I can guarantee it…I gotta get to the studio, I’ll text you later.” Reita stood up and with a hand on Ayato’s head, just to be safe, he kissed his boyfriend and left for work.  Ayato fell back into bed, pulling the covers up. He really just wanted to go back to sleep, but the thought of Yuki having sex with Ken, had been too tantalizing to ignore.

 

 

          The smell of coffee, bacon and pancakes and the tiny taps of a soft paw on his face, woke Koichi the morning after the DCR party. Looking at the clock, Koichi isn’t surprised on how late it was, he and Tatsu had made love into the wee hours of the morning, reconnecting on the basest of levels. As he stretched, he could feel the after effects of that reconnection, which put a smile on his face.

          With the ill side effects of the first medication, Koichi had worried about his lack of interest in sex, even after reading the material that came with the new prescription, though it seemed after last night that he had no reason to worry. Pushing Teo off his chest, Koichi got out of bed and padded into the kitchen and walked up behind Tatsu, sliding his arms around his husband’s waist. “Good morning, did you sleep okay?” Tatsu patted Koichi’s hands, “Mmm, but I’m sore and it’s all your fault.”

          Tatsu chuckled, “My fault? I’m wasn’t the one that kept asking for more, you have to take at least half of the responsibility for your soreness.” Koichi moved around Tatsu, pouring himself a cup of coffee. “Do you have plans today?”

          “I was going to get together with Miya at some point, he’s written some music that I need to hear, but other than that, no. Why? Did you want to do something today?” Tatsu dished up the breakfast, putting it on the table. “Not really. I have been thinking about what Maeta originally suggested, and that Takigawa put into better terms.”  This piqued Tatsu’s interest, “What suggestion?”

          “Mmm, these are sooo good!” he said through a mouthful of pancakes, “that I find some sort of hobby or outside interest other than you and work. I just haven’t really come up with anything yet, what do you think?”  Tatsu frowned, “If it’s not related to the industry or the HBG, I have no clue. You really haven’t done anything other than those two jobs since before we met.”

          Koichi frowned, this was harder than he had expected. “Maybe I’ll go see Taka and we can brainstorm, I agree now that I need to find some sort of outside interest.” As Tatsu raised his coffee cup, he stopped midway, looking at Koichi with a smile, “This is totally out of left field and it’s still sort of related to the industry,” he paused. “would you be interested in learning to play guitar or something?”

          The look on his husband’s face was priceless, “Me? Oh please, I’m tone deaf and have no talent for music. You may as well have asked me if I wanted to be a doctor.” Koichi giggled. Tatsu’s shoulders slumped, “Well, just thought I’d ask. Don’t worry we’ll find you something to do.”

 

          Yuki wasn’t the only one who was getting certain questioning looks, Reita greeted Ken that morning with a rather broad and knowing smile. “Hey, ready for work…or are you too tired after last night?” Reita teased as he walked into the room. Always the professional, and not willing to give into that speculative question, “I’m ready, let’s get started, we have a lot of recording to do today.” This effectively shut Reita down, though Ken wondered how the bassist knew he had spent the night with Yuki.

          He was tired, but in a happy blissful daze. Yuki was everything he never thought he could have; a young, sexy and super cute lover, if he thought about it hard enough, Yuki’s age was almost criminal. The night before threw that concern out the window, considering the response he got from his new lover.

          “Hey, space cadet, pay attention.” Pon nudged the engineer. “Oh sorry!” Ken snapped out of his day dream. “Are you okay? You’re a little out of it.” Pon hadn’t heard Reita’s remark, he had no way of knowing. “Yah, just a little tired, that’s all. I’ll be okay.”

          One person who had heard Reita’s teasing comment was Aoi, and of course the man knew exactly what Reita was implying. That’s why he didn’t answer my text, he was too busy fucking Ken.

          “Well that’s that…no sense in hoping for it now.” Aoi mumbled to himself. “What was that?” Kai walked up behind him, “Nothing, just talking to myself.” Aoi answered quickly. He had also sent a drunk text to Uruha, which of course was also ignored, now he’d been shot down by both men. “Pathetic.” He muttered under his breath.

 

          Drinking alone was his go to behavior whenever life fucked him in the ass, and that night he got fucked hard, as Uruha was a sloppy crying drunk, with a lot of experience. How anyone thought he’d ever be able to have a solid working relationship with someone, was beyond him, hell, even he didn’t believe it, especially right that moment. “Dumbass had to confess, didn’t you? Should have gotten up before he sucked you off, but nooo you had to sit there and let him do it.” Uruha was good at beating himself up over things…almost too good.

          Looking at the clock, he knew that the DCR event would be in full swing, loud boisterous laughter and free flowing alcohol. He was sure Aoi was having a great time, probably spending the entire night staring at Yuki, if the kid was with Ken. “Serves him right to have that shit thrown in his face, dumbass.”

          Uruha’s night came to an end when the text chimed on his phone. He was nearly asleep, falling victim to drinking, when he heard the text. Rolling over he grabbed his phone and opened the text, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me?” and in a fit of anger, he threw his phone against the wall, shattering it. “Who the fuck does he think he is? Like I’m that fucking desperate?” The crying was renewed as he sobbed into his pillow.

          “Hey, can I come over so we can watch some movies?”

 

          Stumbling into the studio that morning, still reeking of alcohol, Uruha looked like shit, enough so that Kai pulled him out the back door, “What the hell Uru? You look like crap!” Uruha pulled his arm out of Kai’s hand, “I’m here to work, leave me alone Kai, just let me record and I’ll leave.” Kai’s eyes got dark, something no one wanted to see, “If you’re going to show up like this at work, then go the fuck home and don’t bother coming in until you’re sober, I don’t need a half-drunk guitarist trying to record.”

          The guitarist glared at Kai. “Fine, then I guess I won’t be coming in at all. Get a session guitarist to record my sections, fuck you Kai.” Uruha shoved Kai back hard, pushing past him, “Kouyou! Wait!” Kai yelled at the man’s back, Uruha flipping him the middle finger. Walking into the studio, Uruha grabbed his bag off the couch. Turning to Aoi, he glared at his 5-minute boyfriend, “I hope you’re fucking happy now Yuu, you and everyone else can go fuck themselves.” Turning, he stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

          Reita’s jaw dropped, “Uh, what was that?” Ken had an idea, he had heard Yuki’s phone chime late, at the time he thought it might be Aoi, the man had spent a good part of the event staring at him and Yuki. Aoi said nothing, just looked at his guitar and started to play, his cheeks flaming in embarrassment.  Ruki bumped shoulders with Reita, then nodded over to Aoi, “Has to be about that, yah?”  Reita nodded, “What else is there?” He so wanted to tell Ruki about seeing Ken leaving Yuki’s that morning, though he knew if he did, Ayato would kick his ass.  Ken stood up at the control board, “Alright gentlemen, I’d rather not be here all night, so can we please start?”

 

          Sunglasses hid his swollen tear stained eyes, a hat keeping his unwashed hair concealed. Standing in line at the store, a large bottle of whiskey and a six pack of beer on the counter, Uruha was ready to go home and continue with the abuse he would inflict upon himself.  The album could be recorded with out him, there were plenty of great session musicians available. By the time the tour for the support of the new album would be scheduled, he’d be done beating himself up over his situation with Aoi, but right now he wanted nothing more than to block out life.

          Putting the beer in the fridge, and taking out a bento, Uruha started his binge in front of the tv, watching a random movie that made no sense. Nothing made sense at that point, not the movie, not the band and definitely not his love life, or lack of. He was fulfilling the band’s conception of him; too neurotic and scattered brain to love anyone.

          The drowning in self pity began at about 2pm, starting with the beer. By the end of the day, Uruha had consumed all six beers and about a third of the whiskey, he was now shit faced drunk. He had tried to get to the bed, but literally fell short in the doorway to the bedroom, so drunk he couldn’t get up. Laying on the floor, sobbing incoherently, he didn’t even have a phone to drunk text Aoi, as he had thrown it against the wall the night before and destroyed it. Slowly he stopped crying and eventually passed out, laying on the floor in the dark.

Chapter Text

 

          Sakurai suppressed a laugh, trying hard to wear a stern expression, but faced with what Uta was wearing, he wasn’t very convincing. “Uh, would you like to explain to me where the outfit came from, babe? I’m not saying I don’t like it, but you may give someone a heart attack when they see you, at the very least there will be a few objections.”

          At this point, with their contract signed, Uta didn’t give a shit what others would say, “What’s your point Acchan? We have a contract, so whatever anyone says is redundant, ne?  I went shopping the other day and I thought this was cute.” The leather waist cincher and the leather garters holding up Uta’s stocking were almost more than Sakurai could handle. “I’m going to be hard, the entire night, so be prepared for when we get home,” he growled softly in Uta’s ear, as his young lover sat on his lap. “That’s fine with me!” the boy giggled. With a slap on the ass, Sakurai and Uta made their way to the garage, getting in the sleek sports car, they sped away.

 

          The two submissives were giggling in the back seat as Isshi drove to Vinyl Fetish, “Lovelies, you’re not playing, are you?” looking in the rear-view mirror, the Dominant peered at the young men. ‘No Sir, we’re not touching…but Karyu looks so good, may I at least kiss him once before we go in, please Sir?”  The Dominant smiled, “Wait until we are at the club my Angel, then I will allow one kiss.” Of course, Isshi didn’t tell Ruimaru exactly what kind of kiss he would allow.

          The punishment Isshi had given Ruimaru for the crime of disrespecting Madame F, had not lasted the two weeks set, in fact it had barely lasted five days, Isshi weakened with every day that he did not have his Angel in his bed. Karyu too, had suffered, more so because he had to watch the two people he loved most in the world, remain apart.

          Choosing their outfits carefully, Isshi wanted to make an impact as they walked up the stairs to the club. The Dominant wanted all eyes on his boys, he loved nothing more than to rub in the collective faces of other Dominants, the fact that he had not one but two beautiful boys. Madame F chided Isshi often, “You are incorrigible Isshi, honestly. You get too much pleasure out of showing off your pets.”

          “After the life I’ve had before my boys, and after? I believe I deserve to be happy, Madame. I need not remind you of a time when I thought I would be happy with just one, and how disastrous that had turned out. So, grant me this little bit of fun, I believe I deserve it.”

          Walking through the club, Isshi and his boys looked out over the dance floor, Ruimaru and Karyu had always hoped that on one night, they’d be allowed to dance. Isshi didn’t see the blonde-haired boy standing on the far side of the dance floor, not that the boy wanted to be noticed, not just yet.

          The club was filling quickly, Davina and Kato having arrived just after Isshi, joining him at the edge of the dance floor, “Isshi, you look stunning in that kimono…I believe I haven’t seen you wear that one in quite some time, ne?” She kissed Isshi on the cheek, “Ruimaru and Karyu dug in the back of my closet and brought this relic out, I have always liked it.” Nothing more needed to be said about the chosen robe.

          Just as Davina was going to speak, a rather loud murmur went through the room, starting at the top of the stairs. Both Dominants turned to see what the commotion was about. “Oh, dear god…” Davina sighed with a smile. Sakurai Atsushi had Uta’s leash in his hand, something that wasn’t out of the ordinary, but Uta’s little outfit, was another issue on its own.

          Spotting Davina and Isshi, Sakurai led Uta over to his associates, “Good evening,” He kissed Davina and bowed lightly to Isshi. Ruimaru and Karyu were wide-eyed looking at Uta, Ruimaru stepping up to Isshi and whispering in his ear, bringing a smile to his face, “Acchan, would it be allowed for my boys to fawn all over Uta?”

          Sakurai nodded, and just as quick Ruimaru and Karyu were at Uta’s side, whispering excitedly, Uta showing off the waist cincher and twirling around to show the back. “He looks happy, Acchan.” Davina said quietly, her heart a little heavy. “He makes me happy, too.” Acchan kissed Davina on the cheek knowing what her heart was feeling.

          Ormond appeared and led them to Madame F’s private room, the woman seated with champagne ready for all. Madame F of course quizzed Sakurai on the contract, “Highly irregular, Acchan.” She said trying to hide a smile. “Uta, come here boy.” Madame F pointed to a spot in front of her. Karyu reached over and quickly grabbed Ruimaru’s hand as they watched Uta move to stand in front of the Dominant.

          Looking into Uta’s eyes, who was by the way staring at the woman defiantly, almost as a challenge, “Uta, my dear boy, I would like to apologize to you for my behavior here that night.” A gasp from everyone in the room was heard, Madame F turning to glower at the others. “I overstepped my boundaries with you, though you do still vex me.” She reached up and caressed Uta’s cheek. “Ruimaru, come here.” She ordered.

          Ruimaru moved to stand next to Uta, taking his hand as he also stared at the woman. “I owe you an apology of sorts as well. While your actions were wrong, the intent behind what you said to me, was honorable. Yes, I was being mean… actually I was being a huge bitch.” Another gasp was heard, “Really?” Madame F looked around the room, before turning back to the boys.

          “Uta, I care a great deal for you, you understand that. It did not dawn on me that perhaps the last Dominant to berate you was that monster Natsu. Certain of my associates rightly brought that to my attention.”

          “And you, Ruimaru. It was also brought to my attention by that same associate, that you are very close to Uta, as he was living with Teiji, and Teiji was your senpai.” Madame F stood, and shocking everyone, bowed deeply to both boys. “My deepest apologies to you both.” She stood up, “Let’s not have another incident like that again, shall we?” Madame F then bent down and kissed each boy on the cheek. Turning to the others in the room, “If I hear that one word of what you have just witnessed, escapes this room, there will be consequences for all of you.”

          Kato put his hand on Davina’s shoulder, she reached up to cover it with her hand. A sniff was heard, Madame F putting her hand on her shoulder, reaching for Ormond. “Well now that all this sentimentalism is over, I think we shall walk the floor, Ladies?” Sakurai stood, picking up Uta’s leash, he held the door open for the ladies, following closely behind. Stopping short for a moment, Uta whispered something to Sakurai, who smiled broadly, “I shall ask,” Ten minutes later, Uta, Ruimaru and Karyu were on the dancefloor standing in a very tight group, with Ormond and Kato watching over them. “My dear Madame F, thank you for that. Uta and I talked it over and he did have flash backs to Natsu, and that is why we now have a contract, so that technically you will not be able to chastise my submissive without my permission first.” Sakurai bowed lightly.

          The night wore on, Uta had asked if he and Isshi’s boys could dance again before they left, “It was so much fun! I can’t remember the last time I danced at a club!” Uta said as he wiped his sweaty brow with a towel. With more refreshments, a little conversation, Uta started to nudge Sakurai. “Shall we?”

          The boys hurried to the dance floor, giggling like teenagers. Isshi watched his pet’s laughing and hanging on each other, a warmth filled his soul; his boys had recovered finally. Davina and Madame F were near the bar, speaking to Niihara, and Sakurai had moved to speak to a tall woman and her very short male submissive.

Ormond and Kato were on opposite sides of the dance floor watching the boys dance. A face appeared across the room, a face that Ormond knew all too well but could not believe it was the same person as his appearance had changed. He stared at the boy, wanting to make a positive identification before saying anything.

          A quick word to Kato and Ormond went off in search of Madame F. A hand on an elbow, a whisper in the ear was all that it took. “Sakurai and Davina, not Isshi.” Ormond nodded, walking off quickly to speak to the other two Dominants.

          Entering Madame F’s private room, Davina and Sakurai were concerned, “Madame?” Davina sat next to the woman, “I believe we may have a rather large problem. Ormond believes he has seen Byou tonight.” Sakurai groaned, putting his hand over his face, “Please let this not be true, Isshi can’t…” Before he could finish, Ormond returned to the room. “He moved to the dance floor, he also spoke with Ruimaru and joined the boys dancing.”

          “Where is Isshi? Go get him, I do not want him to see that boy…not tonight!” Madame F said firmly. “What the hell? This seriously can’t be happening!” Davina snapped. “Let’s just cut the evening short, I want him out of here as soon as we can!” Sakurai nodded, “I’m going to go get the boys.”

          Davina was biting a nail, “What the hell is that boy doing back here? You know he’s looking for Isshi, there’s no way he’d just randomly show up at a club that caters to the community.”

          Sakurai made his way to the dance floor, tapping Kato on the shoulder, “Please gather the boys, Mistress isn’t feeling well and would like to leave.” Kato’s face paled, he turned to first go back to the room, “No Kato, the boys first.” Sakurai cautioned him. Sakurai walked quickly back to the room, hoping that Isshi wasn’t there yet. “Davina, I told Kato you’re not feeling well, play the part.” He murmured to the woman.

          The ensuing confusion, mostly on Kato’s over whelming guilt for not being at Davina’s side, helped with keeping Isshi ignorant to the fact that his former submissive, the one that had nearly destroyed his life, was back in town.

          Everyone said their good nights, Madame F and Ormond lagging behind to talk to Niihara, “Ormond will point him out, there is a boy here that we need to keep an eye on, he is Isshi’s former submissive.” Niihara had not run in the same circles as Isshi at the time Byou was his pet, but he knew the story. “I want you to watch the boy, keep track of the nights he’s here at the club, but do not approach him. Call me by Monday please.”

          Madame F was attended by Velvet while Ormond discretely pointed Byou out to Niihara. “Madame, I will make sure to track this boy. I will call you no later than Monday mid-afternoon.” Madame F thanked Niihara and with Ormond at her side, left Vinyl Fetish.

          “What’s wrong? Davina wasn’t sick, why were you lying?” Uta attacked Sakurai as soon as they were in the car. “I’ll explain when we get home.” Is all he would say, though the word ‘damn’ escaped his lips more than a few times.

          Walking into the house, Sakurai looked at Uta, “Go change, I’m going to make us some tea.” Without any back-talk, Uta did as he was told, “This is bad…I can just tell,” he whispered. Freshly washed and wearing pajama’s, Uta went into the kitchen and found Sakurai sitting at the small table. “Tell me.”

          Sakurai rubbed his face, “That boy you were dancing with, the one with the blonde hair, what did he say to you?” Uta frowned, “Um, he said hi to Ruimaru and just sort of danced with us…why?” he didn’t like the feeing he was getting in his stomach. “Ormond knew who the boy was, he came and told Madame F,” Sakurai paused, “his name is Byou… he’s Isshi’s ex-submissive. He doesn’t look like he did when he was with Isshi, he had long bluish black hair then, not the blonde, though Ormond is positive.”

          Sitting back in his chair, Uta was dumbstruck. “Byou…I didn’t hear what he had said to Ruimaru, but it was obvious that they’d spoken before, I thought it was sort of weird, then I thought maybe it was someone Ru had known from before he was found by Mistress. Oh my god, did Isshi see him? Does he know?” The panic started to rise, Sakura shook his head, “No, that’s why we made such a quick exit, and why we lied about Davina being ill. Madame F is going to speak to Niihara, have the boy watched, outside of that we really don’t have a plan other than to protect Isshi.”

          “How the hell does he know Ru?” Uta sputtered, Sakurai shrugged as he had no answer.

 

          Frustration was Koichi’s biggest issue at the moment. The medication was doing its job, he had not experienced any ill side effects and his mood had started to even out. Along with the frustration, boredom was starting to wear on him, “Are you going to the studio today? Can I come with you?” Tatsu was getting ready to leave, “Sure, you can come, don’t know what you’d do all day though.” Tatsu said. “Never mind, I’ll call Taka and see if he’s working.” Tatsu kissed Koichi and left for work. Taking out his phone he shot out a quick text to Taka, thrilled that the man wasn’t working. “Let’s meet at Ojisan’s.”

          “Irasshai young men, it is good to see you together and both of you smiling.” Ojisan greeted Koichi and Taka as they walked into the ramen hut. “It’s a besties day, Ojisan, I think we both need the pork cutlet and two colas.” Taka ordered for them as they found a place at the counter.

          “How’s it going with this new medication? You seem like you’re in a better mood.” Taka was treading lightly, hoping for his best friend to come back to him. “It’s working great, almost too good but now I’m just bored, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

          The thought of Taka asking him to come back to the HBG was always in the back of his mind, but Koichi was sure that not only would Takigawa object, but Tatsu would throw a huge hissy fit. “Tatsu suggested that I learn to play guitar,” Koichi laughed, “I have no talent for music.”

          Taka snorted, “I can’t really see you doing that, to what end? Join a band or something?” Koichi shrugged, “Exactly…why would I want to learn to play guitar.” He said softly, something Taka picked up on immediately.

          “Okay, let’s try this,” Taka turned in his seat to face Koichi, “If we had never met, and you finished college, what would you be doing right now?” Koichi’s hand stopped mid way to his mouth, “Wait…what?”

          “What would you be doing now, if we had never met? I’m sure I’d be still just working at the HBG, maybe meeting Sato but maybe not. Maybe I would have ended up with Die, or someone else. I never had any intentions on obtaining any sort of degree, I’d be a NEET more or less.” Koichi could see Taka was serious.

          “I, I don’t know…I didn’t have any plans either. I was just going to school and working a shitty job at the cafeteria. I didn’t even have a major or anything, though I probably would have just gone on to some lame office job.” Koichi had a strange feeling in his chest, almost a panic.

          Ojisan had been in his small kitchen listening, turning to the boys to bring them both a fresh cola, “Young one, what makes you happy…at this exact moment?” Koichi shrugged, “Nothing really…other than not feeling like I’m crazy. I’m just sort of … nothing’s making me happy right now.”

          “Koichi, look at me,” Ojisan leaned on the counter, “would it make you happy to go back to work at your high ball garden? To see your friends and be surrounded by those that love you? Or would it make you happier to start a new job, a new career? These are the questions you must face before you can truly be happy.”

          Ojisan winked at the two men, then turned back to his kitchen. “Kou? I know Maeta and Takigawa both said that you shouldn’t come back to work, but Ojisan’s right, if it would make you happy again, why not come back?” Taka wanted nothing more than for his best friend, the secret love of his life, than to return to work at the HBG.

          “Maybe Taka, I don’t’ really know yet.”

 

          Madame F was not happy; the information she had received from Niihara that Monday afternoon, had darkened her mood. She thanked the club owner, asking him to please text her each night in the upcoming week that the boy was there, and to have Velvet available to him if Byou approached her.

          “Madame? Is there a problem?” Ormond placed a cup of tea in front of his mistress. “Yes, a serious problem. I will be inviting Davina and Sakurai to join me tonight for dinner, please prepare a suitable meal and the appropriate wine.” Ormond bowed and left the room, while Madame F picked up her phone and called the other two Dominants.

 

          Davina arrived at the same time as Sakurai, attended by Kato. “Where is Uta?” Sakurai sighed, “He is working tonight and if I may remind you, he’s not truly my submissive, he need not attend me when I go out.” Sakurai was in a foul mood, Uta had been working the entirety of the weekend.

          Ormond showed them to the parlor, offered them a glass of wine, “Madame will be with you momentarily.” Within a few minutes, Madame F came to the parlor, “Good, you’re going to need a glass or two of wine once you hear what Niihara has told me.”

          Moving into the dining room, another glass of wine poured while Ormond was serving, Sakurai spoke first, “Is it as bad as I believe it to be? You don’t look pleased.” Madame F frowned, “It’s at least as bad as we thought,” The first course was served, “Niihara confirmed that it is in fact Byou and that he has been at the club every night since our last visit.”

          Ormond hovered in the background, waiting with more wine. “Niihara explained that the boy actually approached his submissive Velvet, the tall American girl, asking about both a job and a Dominant.”

          “A Dominant? That’s a rather backwards approach.” Davina noted. “What type of job was he asking about?” 

          “Anything that was available, according to Niihara. He did not approach anyone else other than the girl Velvet. He kept to himself, danced alone and stayed out of the way of other Dominants. Niihara reported that Velvet thought the boy to be kind and earnest. Our problem is what do we do about Isshi?” Madame F leaned back in her chair.

          Sakurai asked for more wine before he spoke, “This may seem a little rash, or even threatening. I would like to speak to the boy, but not at the club. We choose one of our homes, offer up a united front with as little hostility as possible. I believe we should have both Kato and Ormond present, whether or not I will bring Uta is up to him,” Sakurai paused, having a sip of wine, “Byou needs to be warned not to approach Isshi or either of his boys, and if necessary, there will be sanctions placed upon him by the community, what those sanctions would be, would be under your care, Madame.”

          “We can’t very well tell the boy he’s not allowed to dance at a night club, Acchan. Niihara’s is not community exclusive, how could we prevent Byou from approaching Isshi?” Davina pointed out.,

          “After we speak to Byou I will advise Isshi of his return. I only want to prevent him from seeing Byou without any warning. Acchan, I agree with your plan, it’s as solid as anything I’ve thought about. Now, who’s home shall we use?” Madame F leaned forward, her finger tips on her chin.

          “You are the community leader, Madame. Shall we use yours if you have no objections? It would certainly get the point across, with a bit of subtle intimidation just in presence alone.” Sakurai said.

          “I’d have to agree with Acchan, the impact of seeing you sitting behind your desk, with Ormond’s death gaze, will get the message across to Byou. Ormond, please excuse my wording of your protectiveness in relation to your Dominant.” Davina smiled, as Ormond slowly winked.

          “Then it is settled, shall we say on Thursday? I will send Ormond for the boy, Niihara will guarantee Byou’s attendance, not that the boy has any choice in the matter.”

Chapter Text

          Waiting for the band to set up, Ken cornered Kai in the studio. “Where’s Uruha?” Kai shook his head, “We’re assuming he’s passed out at home. His phone is turned off and he won’t answer the door. We’ll just work around his parts for now, he can’t stay locked in forever.” Kai went back to his drum set, Ken left with a bad taste in his mouth, something was off and didn’t feel right.

          The day’s recording would involve Reita and Aoi for the most part but as Leader, Kai would be there supervising. None of them had spoken to each other with regards to Uruha, everyone deciding on their own just to ignore the guitarist’s silence. “He’ll show up in a few days,” Reita guessed. Aoi said nothing. He claimed no responsibility for how Uruha was feeling, he had only asked the man to the DCR event and to attend as a couple. He had tried to see Uruha that first night, after the man had stormed out of the studio, knocking on the door, “Kouyou, open the door… we need to talk. Come on, you can’t be that drunk, just open the damned door!”

          Uruha rested his head against his front door as he stood there, his hand on the knob wanting to open it. “Aoi, just go away please. We don’t need to talk, there’s not a damn thing to be said. Go back to chasing Yuki and leave me alone.”

          “If you haven’t already noticed, Yuki’s got a boyfriend. I don’t want Yuki…I want you! Please Kou, just open the door.” Aoi pleaded. “No, Aoi…go away.” A soft thud was heard on the door.  Giving up, Aoi gave up and walked away.

          The others in the band repeated the attempts, Kai and Reita being shut down as well. Ruki was the last one to try, “Kouyou, it’s Takanori. Open the door.” Ruki wanted to see Uruha as a friend, not as a bandmate. “I’m going to sit here until you open the door, Kouyou.” Ruki leaned against the front door, sliding down to sit in front of it, knocking every few minutes.

          Ruki sat there for forty-five minutes, going through his phone, and texting Tomo, resigned to knock until Uruha finally answered the door. “Ru, just go home please.” Uruha whimpered. “Nope sorry. You owe me something to drink and I need to use your bathroom, so move.” Ruki pushed his way through the door and headed straight to the bathroom.

          Uruha fell over on the couch, pulling a blanket over him and closing his eyes. “Whew! Thought I might piss myself there for a minute. Hey, get me something to drink, be a good host.” Pulling the blanket off Uruha, and pushing the man’s feet off the couch, Ruki sat down and reached for the TV remote. “Wh…what are you doing?” Uruha stuttered.

          “Um, want to order take away? Pizza or what?” Ruki flipped through the channels. “OH Shit! The Ring? Dude we’re so watching this!” Uruha reached over and tried to grab the remote, “Go home Ruki! Leave me the fuck alone!”  Ruki held onto the remote, stuffing it down the front of his pants, “If you want it, you gotta suck it!” he giggled. Uruha glared at the smaller man, “Get the fuck out of my flat, Takanori! I don’t need you, or Aoi or anyone…just leave me the fuck alone asshole!” Ruki ignored the outburst. “Sshh, the movie’s starting, just sit down already!” Ruki reached over and grabbed Uruha’s hand, pulling the lanky man down next to him. “Just watch the movie, it’s not that scary.”

          Uruha stared at Ruki, who never took his eyes off the TV. “Why…why are you doing this?” Uruha whined.  Ruki snorted, “Because I love you and I don’t like seeing you in pain. Want to order pizza?” Ruki reached over for Uruha’s hand, gently taking it in his, but not looking at the man. After a few moments, Ruki felt Uruha squeeze his hand tightly, then a small tremor in his arm. Uruha pulled Ruki’s hand in his, up to his face, “Why am I so unlovable, Taka?”

          Ruki reached in his waistband and took the remote out, muting the tv. “Kou, you’re not unlovable, that’s bullshit. As cliché as this sounds, you just haven’t found the right kind of guy yet. As much as I wanted it to work out with Aoi, I had my doubts. He’s an idiot who is a freaking Neanderthal when it comes to romantic relationships. That’s not the kind of man you need in your life, Kou.”

          Uruha cried silently, he didn’t have the strength anymore to fight the tears. “I’m going to die alone, Taka,” he whispered, “you guys are right, I am a neurotic head case. Seriously…what kind of guy can love someone like me?” Ruki reached over and backhanded Uruha across the chest…hard. “STOP IT! You are not a neurotic head case…well maybe a little, but that’s not the point! You need to find someone more like you, quiet and nerdy. The guy who likes to do the same things as you! We need to get you away from stupid musicians.”

          Uruha sniffed, “I’m surrounded by stupid musicians, I’m in a band, how the hell do I meet someone that’s not in a band? Not like I can go out to a club or something.” Ruki admitted silently to himself that finding Uruha a boyfriend, that wasn’t in the industry would be difficult. “I’m sure someone we know has a friend of a friend. I’ll ask Tomo…he has a lot of non-industry friends.”

          Uruha leaned his head on Ruki’s shoulder, they were still holding hands as they watched the movie. “Kou?” Ruki whispered. “Hmm?” “Will you come to work tomorrow please? Aoi won’t bother you, I promise. Just come back to the studio, ne?” Uruha nodded, “Okay,” They spent the rest of the evening watching the movie, Uruha’s head on Ruki’s shoulder, no conversation. Once the movie was over, Ruki kissed his friend on the cheek before he left, “It will get better, I promise. I’ll help you out, okay?” Uruha nodded, “Thanks Ru, I love you.”

 

 

          Byou stood in front of the club owner, wondering why he had been summoned to a private room at Vinyl Fetish, led there by the tall American girl Velvet. Once in the room, Byou’s gaze fell to the floor, “You wanted to speak to me, Sir?” he asked Niihara. “Yes. It has been brought to my attention some information on your past, that I was unaware of. Had I known who you were, I may have refused you entry into my club as a cautionary act for one of my high-ranking customers.”

          Byou had an idea where this was going, “I never spoke…” Niihara held up his hand, “I know you did not approach Isshi-san, but you did speak to one of his submissives. The boy is not at fault as he has no idea who you are.” Niihara paused, “we will be joined in a moment by Madame F’s submissive Ormond, and you will be taken by him to speak to Madame F. There will be no arguing this point, if you resist you will be banned from this club, is this clear?”

          Byou’s head snapped up, “Why do I have to go see her? I haven’t done anything wrong! This isn’t fair!” Niihara stood quickly, walking towards the boy and pushing him against the wall with a finger in his chest. “You will not question me or Ormond, you will do as you are told or there will be consequences.” Before Byou could object further, a light knock on the door and Ormond entered. “Niihara-san, I will take the boy now.” He bowed deeply.

          “Please give my greetings to your Lady, Ormond. Thank you.” Niihara inclined his head. “Come with me please.” Ormond told the young submissive. “This isn’t right, I don’t have to go with you,” he objected. “Please follow me.” Ormond said again. Byou huffed, “Fine, but this isn’t fair.” He followed Ormond as ordered. Why the hell did Madame F want to see him? He had done nothing wrong at the club, he had stayed away from Isshi and he said nothing to the boy with the yellow hair the night when they had danced.

Pulling into the drive way of Madame F’s rather large home, Byou’s stomach was shaking, he had no idea what to expect when he faced the Dominant woman. “Wait here, please.” Ormond left the young man standing in the foyer, as he walked down a hall and into a side room. “Byou is waiting, Madame.” Ormond bowed deeply. Madame F sat behind her large desk, flanked by Sakurai on one side and Davina with Kato behind her on the other.

         “Bring him in.”

          Ormond bowed, then left the room, “We should try to keep our tempers under control, I do not want to unnecessarily frighten the young man.” Madame F murmured. Byou was brought in and shown a chair, he seemed shocked to see the other two Dominants, but remembered his manners and bowed deeply, not raising his gaze. “Sit, Byou.” Madame F directed. Byou did as he was told.

          “I’m sure you understand the circumstances to which I have had you brought to me, if not I will explain. I want to know your motives, and what you have planned. Why have you come back and why of all things, would you go to Vinyl Fetish?” Byou sat silently, wanting to control his temper before speaking.

          “Why I have returned is of no one’s concern but mine. I have no motives and I have nothing planned. I went to Vinyl Fetish as I had heard it was a dance club, it wasn’t until the first night I went that I found out it was connected to the community.” His eyes remained trained to the floor.

          Sakurai was next to speak, “How do you know Ruimaru?” Byou shrugged, “If you are speaking about the boy with the yellow hair, I didn’t know his name until now. I saw him a few weeks ago, standing against a wall. He was crying and I asked him if he was being punished and he said yes, but for me to leave so Sir wouldn’t see me.”         Davina grunted, “You’re going to sit there and lie to us about not seeing Isshi? Do you believe us to be that ignorant? You knew Ruimaru was collared under Isshi, and if you say you don’t, you’re lying.” Davina could tell the boy knew more than he was saying.

          “Yes, I knew he was contracted to Isshi-san, but only after I saw them together at the club.” Byou had had enough, raising his eyes he glared at Madame F, “Why am I here? You have no right to question me about anything. I have not approached Isshi and I have no intentions on doing so. So why am I being interrogated as if I have broken some law?”

          Ormond moved to stand behind Byou. Madame F nodded and the tall man moved back to the wall. “You’re being interrogated because of your past behaviors, do not plead innocent with me, little boy.” Madame F stood and moved from behind her desk, walking over to stand in front of Byou. “You nearly destroyed Isshi. You took his cat and you ran off into the night like some common thief, you broke his heart and you went against every tenant of our community.” Madame F backed up, and leaned against her desk. “What promises can you make me, that you will not approach Isshi and why should I believe anything you’ve said?”

          “Are you actively searching for a Dominant, Byou?” Sakurai asked, hoping for a ‘no’ answer, yet he knew better. “Yes, I am. If I have a Dominant, will you leave me alone?” the young man snapped. The three Dominants looked at each other. “Surely you don’t believe that a Dominant from our community would agree to contract you, knowing your past? I can think of none that would.” Davina said.

          This one statement hit Byou in the gut, no Dominant would have him, “Am I that horrible of a person? Can I only be judged based on my past and not what I am now? It’s been almost six years, Mistress,” he paused and looked up at Kato, then at Davina, “you no longer have Teddy, you have a new pet now, did you judge him against Teddy?”

          Sakurai groaned, Davina stood and reached out as if she was going to slap Byou, Madame F’s hand grabbing Davina’s at the last second. “You have no right to question any Dominant, Byou, least alone Mistress Davina.” Byou dropped his gaze again, “I’m not going to apologize for this, you are judging me based on who I was almost six years ago. You have no idea who I am now. You are attacking me without any cause or proof that I’ve done anything wrong, in or outside the community. Now if you’re through tearing me apart, I’d like to be driven back to the club so I can go home. I’m done answering questions.” Byou stood and left the room, standing in the foyer waiting to be driven back to Vinyl Fetish.

          “Take him back, Ormond.” Madame F directed. “He has a point Ladies,” Sakurai spoke his mind, “we are judging him on who he was and what he had done in the past. He has not approached Isshi, but now that he knows we are aware that he is living here, I believe we should call Isshi tonight, and either have him join us here, or we go to his home. We shouldn’t waste any time in that.”  Madame F sighed, “Acchan you are right, we should speak to Isshi tonight. The last thing we need is for Isshi to find out randomly that Byou is back. I will call him myself.”

 

 

          Isshi closed his phone then sat back deeply in his chair, the phone call from Madame F insisting that she, Mistress Davina and Sakurai come immediately to his home had his mind running away with the possibilities. “Sir?” Ruimaru poked his head into Isshi’s office, “Do you need anything right now? Karyu and I would like to watch a movie if that’s permitted.” Isshi smiled, “Of course, you and Karyu enjoy your movie, I will be entertaining Madame F, Sakurai-san and Mistress for a while, and I do not need to be attended.”

          Ruimaru frowned, “Are you sure Sir? We can watch it another time if you need us.” Isshi waved off the boy’s concern, “No, you have the night off as I told you earlier today. I suggest you not keep Karyu waiting, I’m sure he’s looking forward to a lovely cuddle and a movie. I will see you before I go to bed.” With a quick kiss and a pat on Ruimaru’s butt, Isshi sent the boy off.

 

“Isshi,” Madame F and Davina kissed the man, Sakurai bowed. The first thing that struck Isshi as odd, was the absence of Kato and Ormond, this was unusual. “Come, let’s go into my study. Karyu and Ruimaru are off watching a movie together and probably having a little fun.” The concerned faces of his friends were one of the first things he noticed; this would not be a social call.

          Madame F waited until they were all comfortable before she spoke. “We wanted to tell you this as soon as possible, as you’d be shocked if you were to see for yourself.” Isshi frowned, “Go on.” He said. Madame F sighed heavily, “Byou has moved back into the city.” Isshi’s face paled immediately at the sound of his ex-submissives name. “He’s what…he’s here in the city? How do you know this?”

          Madame F went through the details of what had happened since that first night they had gone out together, “You were pre-occupied with Ruimaru’s outburst, we had not seen Byou either, but evidently he has spoken to the boy.”  The details came out in a rush, Isshi’s face becoming paler by the word. “Niihara had been watching him for me. I had him brought to my home earlier this evening.”

          Isshi leaned forward in his seat, dropping his face into his hands, “What is he doing here, what does he want of me?” Sakurai leaned over and patted his friend on the shoulder, “He claims he wants nothing from you, but he is in search for a new Dominant. He says he will not approach you, nor will he speak to Ruimaru again. It was by chance that he even met the boy, he had seen you discipline Ruimaru and leave him standing on the wall.”

          They sat quietly while Isshi digested the information, then he looked up at them, “How did I not see him? I watched the boys dancing…I should have seen him if he had been there at the club.”

          Madame F sighed again, “Ormond saw Byou when he was with Kato watching the boys dance. Initially he was unsure if it were Byou, the boy has short blonde hair and he looks nothing like he did six years ago. Ormond came to me and told me what he suspected, I in turn went to look…it was Byou, there was no doubt.”

          “Isshi, what do you want to do about this? We have warned the boy to stay away from you, he was very hostile but he did say he had no intention on approaching you or your boys. As Vinyl Fetish is open to the public, we can not in good faith keep him from attending, though Niihara suggested that he would ban the boy if necessary. Byou had approached Niihara’s girl Velvet and asked about a job as well. He threw it in our faces that were were all judging him based on the person he was six years ago, and had the audacity to speak ill of Davina and Kato. That almost got him a hard slap to the face.” Madame F chuckled.

          Isshi looked tired, this was more than he could handle at the moment. He had just gotten his life back together after the death of Leda, his boys were happy again and now this? Davina looked at the others. “I think that’s all we have for the night. I’m sorry we had to spring this on you my dear, but we wanted to be the one’s to tell you and not have Byou just appear and you being surprised with it. Please call us if there is any thing, we can do for you.” Davina rose from her seat and approached her long-time friend, hugging him tightly. “Thank you, Davina.”

          With their goodbyes said, Isshi slowly closed the front door. He made his way to his bedroom, hearing the laughter and the giggles coming from Ruimaru’s room as the two young men watched their movie. “What do we do now, my lovelies?” Making his way to his bedroom, he dressed for bed. Sliding under the covers and turning off the light, Isshi lay in the dark, digesting everything that he had heard. “Byou, what do you want of me?”

Chapter Text

            Without even being aware of what he was doing, Aoi was a huge asshole. Perhaps he didn’t realize that by not saying anything to anyone, ‘minding his own business’ he was coming off as someone who didn’t give a rat’s fuck about anyone, especially about Uruha. He had fallen back into a familiar routine of showing up for work, recording his part, sitting on the couch and not engaging in any conversation. Ken had been watching Aoi since the day Uruha told everyone to fuck off, watching for some show of compassion towards Uruha, maybe an apology of some sort, but nope…the man was just an asshole.

            “Hey Ken,” Ruki walked in, patting Ken on the back. “Can I talk to you for a moment…um outside?” Following the small vocalist out the back door, Ken sighed, “What happened now?” his voice was tired, these last two bands he worked with, were stretching his nerves thin.

           “Nothing. Do you have any single friends, outside the industry?” Ruki leaned against the wall. “Hmm, um maybe…please tell me you don’t want me to set Aoi up with someone.” Ken groaned. “Pfft, no…but I would like to try to find Uruha someone, but definitely not someone in the industry, he needs like a normal nerdy kind of guy.”

          “Uruha? Uh, I thought he basically was a lost cause, he said so himself. Why are you trying to hook him up?”

          Ruki sighed, “Because he’s my friend, has been for a lot of years and I hate seeing him giving up. He’s fine with being the nerdy guy off stage, the loner and all that bullshit. But seriously?” Ruki looked Ken dead in the eye, “He’s hurting. He thinks he’s unlovable and will be alone until he dies. How can I walk away from him?”

          Ken shook his head, “Unlovable? Damn, that hurts me and I’m not even close to the guy. Let me think about it, if I’m suggesting someone, I’m going to vet them myself. Uruha doesn’t need another asshole in his life. I’ll get back to you.” Clapping Ruki on the shoulder, they returned to the studio.

          Aoi had watched Ken and Ruki leave the room, he knew they were talking about him. He had given up trying to call Uruha, it was obvious his phone had been disconnected, but there was no way that the man didn’t have a new number. Approaching Reita, he was shut down in a flash, “Hey, can I get Uru’s new number from you?” he asked. Reita snorted, “Um, no you can’t.” Tuning his bass, Reita really wanted to tear into Aoi, but Kai asked him not to provoke anyone. “Why not?”

          “You’ll need to ask him, I’m not at liberty to give it out. Ask him.” Reita turned his back on Aoi. “What the fuck?” Hearing Ruki come back in the room with Ken, Aoi turned to him, “Ru, I need Uru’s new number please.”  Aoi didn’t see Reita behind him giving Ruki a throat cutting sign. “You’ll have to ask him Aoi.” Ruki turned away and went to sit on the couch, taking out his laptop. Now Aoi knew something was wrong. “You guys fucking suck, you know? I’m trying to fix things with Kou and you guys aren’t helping, some fucking friends you are…assholes.” Aoi took his guitar off and put it on the rack, storming out of the room.

          Ruki looked at Ken, “And you question my motives in asking you for help?” Ken chuckled, putting both ands up, “Nope, not questioning at all.” The door to the studio opened, and Uruha quietly walked in, “Hi everyone.” He said softly, looking around quickly, “He just left, don’t worry.” Ruki walked up to his friend, “Come on, let’s go in the sound booth.”

          Just as Ruki reached for the door, Aoi returned, slamming the door open, seeing Uruha, he walks towards the man, “Hey! Kouyou… we need to talk!” he snapped. Uruha cringed, with a pleading look to Ruki, “We um, don’t have anything to talk about, Aoi.” 

          “Yes, we do! Away from these assholes though.”

          “These ‘assholes’ are my friends, Aoi… just like you used to be until you decided to run me over, so no, I don’t have anything to say to you. Leave me alone.” Uruha pulled the door open with a snap and walked into the sound booth. Aoi’s mouth hung open, “Run you over? What the hell does that even mean?” Ken stood up, “Hey, we’re here to work, I’d like to leave all this shit until after we’re done please.”

          “Stay out of this Ken, it has nothing to do with you,” Aoi growled at the technician. “Aoi, take this as it is… fuck off. This has everything to do with me because you’re holding up the recording, of which I’m in charge of. So, shut your mouth and sit down or leave, I can always schedule around you.” Ken glared at Aoi, he wasn’t about to back down.

          The anger in Ken’s voice got through to Aoi, “This isn’t over, Kouyou.” He muttered and then sat down on the couch. “Good, let’s get started.” Ken turned to the sound board.

          “Why does he have to be such a prick, Ru? I don’t get it.” Uruha had his back turned to the window in the sound booth. “I dunno, but it’s starting to piss me off big time. Hey, why don’t you come to dinner with me and Tomo tonight? Let’s go to Ojisan’s, maybe Tomo knows someone, just say you’ll come.” Uruha’s whole body slumped, “Sure Ru, let’s go after we’re done here, I could use a few beers.”

          Turning back to the window, Ruki see’s that Pon was sitting next to Ken, both waiting for them to leave the sound booth. “Hey Pon, how’s things?” Ruki asked cheerfully as they walked out into the main room. “Good, are you guys ready?” The business of recording started, with the problems of Uruha pushed back for the time being.

 

 

          “Irasshai gentlemen,” Ojisan greeted Ruki and Uruha as they entered the small ramen hut. “Young man, it has been some time since you’ve sat at my counter, welcome to you and your friend.” Ruki sat at the long counter, patting a chair next to his for Uruha, “Ojisan, this is my friend Uruha, he’s also in our band.” Ojisan bowed to Uruha, “Welcome young man, do not worry so, you will have no distractions here.” Ruki nudged Uruha, “Pay attention to anything he says to you, seriously.” Uruha nodded, he had heard stories about the mystic ramen maker.

          They ordered beer and ramen, and had just settled down with their food, and the door chimed, “Irasshai. Pon-chan! So good to see you.” Ojisan smiled broadly, “Hello Ojisan,” Pon grinned, “Hello Ken-san, how is your young man these days? Your heart is full I can see.” Ken just blushed, “Yuki’s fine, Ojisan…thank you.” Sitting opposite of Ruki and Uruha, Pon and Ken ordered their food and had beers in front of them. “Ojisan, we’re still waiting on…” the door chimed once more, “Irasshai young man,” Ojisan greeted Tomo, who blushed then bowed, “Hi…um…” Ruki waved Tomo over, Ojisan placing a cola in front of him.

          The tiny ramen hut was buzzing with conversation, most of it focused on Uruha and the topic of Aoi. Ojisan stood in his kitchen, cooking ramen and listening quietly. “What’s his problem anyways?” Ken asked, “he always just seems so…I don’t know, asshole’ish, like he wears a badge that says ‘worlds biggest asshole’, and he’s like proud of it.”

          Uruha giggled at the thought of the badge, “I guess he thinks that because I confessed, that I should take whatever he gives me.” Pon looked at Ken, then at Ruki, “He was the same way with me…you know that. Remember how many times he just told me to give in? I thought after all that shit that he and I were good,” Pon shook his head.

          The group started talking about potential dates for Uruha, “You guys don’t have to do this, really…I’m okay on my own.” Ojisan came out of his kitchen, placing everyone’s food in front of them, then looking at Uruha, “Let your friends do this for you, they care enough to help.” Then he turned and went back to the kitchen.

          Pon and Ruki threw around ideas, but they each knew how hard it was to meet anyone when you’re in a well-known band. Up until that moment, Tomo had been fairly quiet, happy not to have to contribute. Ruki had asked him if he had any friends that may be interested in going out with Uruha. “I’ll ask at work,” Tomo said quietly, “Maybe Tora or Aki know someone? They’re not in the industry…well not directly. Mao knows some people too I’m sure.”

          Then the topic turned to what to do about Aoi. “This is just a shot in the dark,” Pon started, “maybe Aoi needs to meet someone not in the industry as well? Yuki always said he had that famous musician ego that he wore. Either that or he needs someone that’s more popular than he is!” This started a whole new conversation on who they could match Aoi up that was more famous, “Sakurai’s out of the mix, what about Yoshiki?” Ken laughed. As names were thrown around, some so old that nobody but Ken knew who they were, Ojisan was wiping down the counter, stopping in front of Uruha.

          “Young man,” Ojisan started, “The one who harassed Pon-chan has confessed ne?” Uruha turned and stared at Ruki, “I never told him that!” Uruha looked back at Ojisan, “Um, yes sir, he has.” Ojisan frowned, “He is not the one for you. There are two that will make themselves known soon, your only problem will be choosing.” Uruha gasped, “Two? You’re joking!” Pon reached over and tapped Uruha on the arm, “I don’t think Ojisan knows how to joke, at least not when it comes to things like this.”

          Ojisan turned and looked back at Uruha, “The angry one,” he looked at Ruki, “Aoi?” Ojisan nodded, “yes, Aoi-san. There is one for him, but it will take some time before they cross paths and Aoi-san will resist, he is associated with the other community.”  They all looked at each other, not understanding the reference to the other community. “We’ll take your word for it Ojisan, I don’t remember you ever being wrong.” Pon said. “Oh, Pon-chan, I have been wrong so many times, I just don’t say anything when I am.” Winking at his customers, the ramen maker went back to his kitchen.

          The group hung out a little more, Tomo promising Uruha that he would ask at work, and they exchanged phone numbers, Uruha thinking he had made a new friend in Ruki’s boyfriend. With good nights and see you at the studio, the small party broke up, Ruki giving Uruha a ride home, “I’ll text you tomorrow Uruha,” Tomo promised.

          “He seems really nice, I like him a lot,” Tomo laid his head on Ruki’s shoulder as he drove them home. “He’s been one of my best friends for a long time, I hate seeing him hurting, more than I hate Aoi. I’m glad you two hit it off, Uru needs more friends outside the industry. Can you believe what Ojisan said? Two guys! Unreal. I wonder who the other one is for Aoi? I hope who ever it is can kick his ass some, he needs to quit being such a dick.”

          Ken walked into the courtyard of the complex with Pon, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He waved and then knocked on Yuki’s door.  “Hey, how was dinner?” Yuki held the door open for Ken, “It was great, wait til you hear what Ojisan said!” Closing the door, Ken took Yuki in his arms and kissed him deeply, “Mmm, this is the best dessert ever.” Yuki pulled back, “You did not just call me dessert! Oh my god, you’re a dork!” A small tussle ensued, Yuki wiggling out of Ken’s grasp and running down the hall to the bedroom, “Like that’s the best place to escape to? Now who’s the dork?” Ken laughed as he ran after Yuki, slamming the door shut.

 

          Uruha looked at his phone, “Dumbass, he doesn’t have your new number remember?” Throwing the phone on the bed, Uruha went in and took a shower, Ojisan’s words swirling in his head, “Two guys? He’s fucking nuts…there aren’t two guys in Japan that would date me,” he snarked. Stepping out of the shower, he wrapped a towel around his head, then put a pair of track pants on, padding out to the kitchen for a bottle of water. Checking that his front door was locked, he turned off the lights and went back down to his bedroom.

          If he didn’t know any better, which he really didn’t, he would have said that Ojisan was just telling him about two men to be nice, but he had heard too many stories to ignore what the man said. Ruki and Tomo both told him that the ramen maker’s visions or whatever, were almost always dead on. Brushing out and drying his hair, Uruha had his doubts, he figured he should just be satisfied with being alone, not like he had any other experience. Getting into bed, he reached over and turned off the light, hoping for a quick slide into sleep.

 

           Taizo walked down the jetway towards the concourse, the familiar humidity of Japan welcoming him back after twenty-five years abroad in America. It was an odd sensation hearing nothing but Japanese being spoken, when he was so used to the different languages he could hear in San Francisco, everything from Thai and Chinese to Swahili and Spanish, though it felt good to hear his native language again. Making his way to baggage claim, he stepped through Customs and Immigration, with a genuine, “Welcome home, Taizo-san,” from the official at the desk. “Thank you, it’s good to be home again.” There was a man in a dark suit that looked vaguely familiar waiting for him, “Taizo-sama, I have your baggage in the car, this way please.” The man bowed and led Taizo to a waiting Mercedes, “It will take us some time to arrive, the traffic is especially bothersome today, please make yourself comfortable.”  Taizo stretched his long legs out, and picked up the newspaper laying on the seat next to him. Yes…it was good to be home again.

Chapter Text

          “I don’t want to volunteer at the animal shelter, you know what would happen if I did! We’d have like 75 cats, rabbits, guinea pigs…whatever. You really think I could be at a shelter and not come home with something every day?”

          Tatsu sighed, “It was just a suggestion Kou, I’m not saying that’s what you have to do.” Koichi had done nothing but sit on the couch, sighing every five minutes while Tatsu made dinner. “What else is there? You don’t want me working at the HBG anymore, I can’t work for DCR, everyone just wants me to stay home and be a good little househusband, BORING!”  Tatsu was done, every suggestion he made was met with resistance. “Kou at this point, I don’t care. Go back to work at the HBG, even DCR…whatever you want to do that will make you happy again, I’m all for.”

          “FINE!” Koichi shouted at his husband. “I’m going to the HBG right now! If you don’t care where I work, then I’ll do what the hell I want to. I’m taking the car!” Koichi grabbed his bag and the car keys, slamming the door on his way out. “Good, go to work, get out of my hair for a minute.” Tatsu muttered angrily. Koichi had been super difficult in the last two weeks, stressed out over finding a ‘hobby’ as Takigawa had suggested. Koichi’s bouts of moodiness, anger and tears, Tatsu’s emotions were wearing thin. He loved his slender husband with all his heart, but the new Koichi on his medication was something to deal with. “Why can’t we just go back to normal?” he whined to himself when he was alone.

          For Koichi’s part, it was no better than what Tatsu was dealing with. He knew he was being a little bitch, but it he was just so tired of trying to find something that would work as a hobby, “That’s bullshit stuff for old ladies” he’d rant when he was alone, usually while Tatsu was at the studio and Kou was stuck at home. “I just want everything to go back to the way it was before all this shit!” Koichi had started to take hours long naps, basically out of boredom, which then left him up until the wee hours of the morning, not being able to sleep.

           

          Koichi walked towards the HBG, hoping that Taka was working. Peering around the corner he saw Mao and Tomo. “Hmm, maybe?” Not bothering to knock, Koichi opened the back door, “Tadaima!” he announced. “Kou? What the hell are you doing here?” Taka rolled his chair out of the office, “I want to start work tomorrow, I can’t stand staying at home anymore. If I don’t do something, I’m going to end up with a divorce because I’m being a little bitch to Tatsu,” Koichi slumped against a wall, “please Taka, put me on the schedule again. Tatsu said he didn’t care if I wanted to come back to work, he even said I could go back to DCR…but I just want to come back here.”

          Taka grinned, “Okay! Then you can open tomorrow with Aki, then Tora and Tomo will be mid and close. How’s that?” Without even thinking what he was doing, Koichi launched himself into Taka’s lap, throwing his arms around the man’s neck. “Oh god THANK YOU!” he kissed Taka on the cheek.

          Taka quickly pushed Koichi off his lap, “Dude, really?” he laughed. The last thing he needed was a squirming Koichi sitting in his lap, grinding his ass into Taka’s crotch. Mao heard the ruckus and looked into the office. “Uh, Kou… I don’t think Tatsu would like it if he saw you sitting in Taka’s lap… Kyo would, but then he’s a perv. What’s going on?”

          “I’m coming back to work…FULLTIME!” Koichi jumped up, grabbed Mao and swung him around. “Koichi put Mao down!” For the next twenty minutes, the HBG reverted back to the early days, back before Morrie and Natsu, before Masa…Taka was close to tears as he watched his best friend joke around with Mao and Tomo.

           A line had started to form at the counters, causing the silliness to cease and leaving Mao and Tomo to get back to work, and Taka trying to nail down a schedule with Koichi. “I’m not going to start you out with a lot of hours, just fifteen this week, I’ll move things around and get a regular schedule set again. I haven’t heard anything about any events coming up, just the normal increase in traffic because it’s getting warmer.”

          Koichi sighed happily, “That’s fine, I just need to have some purpose in my life again. If being retired is going to be like what I just experienced, I’m never going to retire.” With another quick hug and a wave to Tomo and Mao, Koichi left the HBG, smiling all the way home.

 

          The heat on his face was uncomfortable, he could feel the sweat beading on his forehead. Yuki opened his eyes expecting to see Ken looming over him, then disappointed that it was only the mid-morning sun coming through the window. Grabbing his phone, he checked the time. “Shit really? Already that freaking late?” he groaned. Getting out of bed and waddling straight to the bathroom, Yuki’s body was complaining, a long night of lovemaking with a rather enthusiastic boyfriend would do that to a person. Not that Yuki was complaining, quite the opposite, he wished he had someone to brag about it to.

          Ayato would want explicit details, which Yuki wasn’t giving, so he had stopped telling his best friend about his sexual exploits with the older man. “We have great sex, that’s all you need to know, and no, I’m not telling you how big he is…that’s none of your business.” Ayato had tried to wrestle the information out of Yuki after the first time the man spent the night, but Yuki shut him down quicker than he could blink.

          Padding into the kitchen, Yuki put the kettle on for tea, picking up the note Ken left him.

          “Sorry I had to leave without saying goodbye. Recording early today. Don’t make any plans for tonight.

           “Tonight? What the hell plans would I be making that didn’t involve you?” Yuki laughed. Taking his tea to the couch, Yuki grabbed his phone,

           “Sorry, I’m booked solid for at least the next year…you can make an appointment and I’ll try to fit you in.” He giggled as he hit SEND.

            It surprised him how quickly the older man has wormed his way into Yuki’s heart, the guy was older by more than ten years, but had a young person’s soul. He was goofy, liked to play video games and of course there was the music. But he was playful and silly, chasing Yuki around with a dirty plate, throwing food at him…basically he was a 25-year-old in a 40 something body. Yuki definitely wasn’t complaining in the sex part of their relationship, not by a long shot. Careful and loving, considerate and with stamina to spare, Ken was shaping up to be the ideal boyfriend. He closed his eyes and laid his head back on the couch, thinking about their lovemaking from the night before. Ken being silly in the beginning, chasing Yuki down the hall, but when he was captured, Ken was all about making him feel good first. As he felt himself drift back to sleep, his phone buzzed in his hand, jarring him awake.

        “Oh man that’s too bad. Well I was going to invite you to dinner, but since you’re booked up for a year, know anyone else that wants to go out with me?”

         “Dinner? Where?”

        “That restaurant I told you about, the one that caters to the industry. Thought I’d treat you to a nice dinner tonight.”

        “Hmm, seems that I have a cancellation, I think I can squeeze you in. What time?”

       “I’ll be there to pick you up at seven.”

      “Okay, I’ll see you then.”

        Shit! Ayato! Yuki jumped off the couch and still in his pajama pants, he threw on a shirt and grabbed a pair of slippers. Yanking his front door open, he walked over to Ayato’s flat and knocked on the door once and went in, (he knew Reita wouldn’t be there).

       “Well good morning to you too. Um, what’s with the panicked look?” Ayato was sitting at the small table in the kitchen. “I need something to wear!” Ayato looked at his friend, “I dunno, I like the pajama pants…is that Ken’s shirt? And the slippers, man they make that outfit perfect,” Ayato deadpanned.  

        “No, you asshole! Ken is taking me out to dinner tonight to that fancy restaurant that all the musicians go to! I don’t have anything nice to wear…let me borrow something.” Ayato smirked, “Whatever you have will be fine, it’s not that pretentious of a place, if anything you’d be over dressed. But sure, go ahead and raid my closet.” Without another word, Yuki ran down to Ayato and Reita’s bedroom, “Which side is yours?” he yelled back to his friend, “Left side…nothing Akira has would fit you.”

        Yuki started shifting through the clothes, “Do you wear anything but black?” Ayato leaned in the doorway, “Not if I can help it, you know better than that. Here, let me help.” For the next hour they laid clothes on the bed in different combinations until Yuki found something that would both look good and fit. “Thanks…you’re a life saver. I promise not to get it dirty.”

        Ayato snorted, “Please, no cum stains on the pants, it’s a bitch to get out.” Yuki rolled his eyes, “Like he’s going to fuck me in the car or something, please… we both have our own flats, that’s so high school.” They talked a little longer, Ayato having to get ready for work, “Let me know how it goes…I think you’ll like the restaurant, Akira says something usually happens.”

        Taking the clothes back to his flat, Yuki planned out the rest of his day, knowing that he wanted to get some cleaning done and make sure he had plenty of time to get ready, in the back of his mind he thought this might be ‘the’ date.

 

 

          The sounds that Nakamura Taizo woke to were different that morning. There were no car horns, no cable car bells, no general population noise. A gentle breeze blew in through the window over his bed with a hint of sakura blossoms. He took a deep breath, blowing it out slowly; he was home and he was happy. There was but one thing missing from Taizo’s happy return to Japan; Constance.

          As a wealthy high-ranking Dominant on the west coast of the United States, he had lived a life of pleasant luxury. He had the cars and the homes, he had the suits and the jewelry, and he had Constance. She was beautiful and graceful and as a submissive she was as near perfect as one could be, the one flaw that he had not foreseen, she would not leave the United States.

          Taizo needed to return to his home country, troubling business matters had deemed it necessary to return to run his family’s import business as he could not manage it from America any longer. When he had informed Constance of the change, she said nothing and left the room, locking herself in her bedroom for hours. Taizo gave her the space she needed, and went about making arrangements for his belongings to be shipped ahead of him, and for all of the houses to be sold but one.

          “Constance, open the door.” After several hours of silence, he could wait no longer. The woman opened the door then turned her back on her Dominant. “I want you to void my contract please, I will not leave this country,” is all she said. Taizo knew not to argue the point, “Yes love, I will void our contract.” He turned and left the room.

          Meeting with his attorney, Taizo made arrangements for Constance to be cared for, she got the house in San Francisco and a healthy sum of money to live on. She was released from her contract, and he also wrote a letter of praise for her suitability as a submissive if she ever cared to contract with another Dominant. They had one last dinner together, but no scene, just gentle lovemaking through the night. He left the house the next morning before she woke.

          Taizo would temporarily be staying in one of the many houses his family owned throughout Japan, though he knew he wanted his own home of his choice. Rising that day there was a leather portfolio laying on the desk, picking it up he went through the paperwork. Looking at the list of the local community leaders, he noticed two separate names that brought smiles to his face; Madame F and Kato.

          Taizo had known Mistress Astrid, as had most people in the community in America. He had been at her memorial service, offering support for Kato who stoically stood next to her coffin throughout the entire day. He had lost contact with the handsome submissive, but seeing his name next to Mistress Davina’s, who he only knew by reputation, caused him to smile. “You’ve found another Mistress to serve, have you Kato?”

          Contacting the community members would be left for a few days as first he had to go to the offices of his family business and take over the reins. The second important issue was to find a home, a permanent home, after that it would be time for pleasure.

 

 

          As he listened to his husband explain what he was going to do, Tatsu noticed that Koichi’s eyes were shining, his face had an enthusiastic expression and a huge grin. “Fifteen hours for the first week, then Taka said he’d give me a regular schedule, and there are no special events right now,” Koichi paused, “why are you looking at me like that?” Koichi crossed his arms over his chest, ready to snap at Tatsu the second the man put up any objections to his going back to work.

          “Because it’s good to see you truly happy again, because now I know how wrong it was of me, and Takigawa to suggest you find a hobby instead of going back to the HBG.”

          Koichi said nothing, Tatsu assuming he would get some sort of snotty response. What he got instead was a quivering lip and tears. “Babe, why are you crying? I’m happy you’re going back to work,” Tatsu reached out for Koichi, “this is what you wanted wasn’t it? You never really wanted to quit and now you’re going back, so what’s with the tears?”

          The younger man buried his face in Tatsu’s neck, “I’m happy, that’s all…and I was expecting you to yell at me and tell me I couldn’t work and you want me just to stay home and be safe and not get hurt.” The words came rushing out. “Kou, look at me,” Tatsu tipped his husband’s chin up, looking into the teary eyes. “It’s not always about what I want, or what I think is good for you, unless obviously if it was something obviously dangerous, I have only wanted what makes you happy, ever.”

          The couple sat on the couch and cuddled, Koichi’s head tucked under Tatsu’s chin, Koichi sighing in relief that there would be no more battles between the two. “Kou? Let’s go to Ojisan’s for dinner, ne?” Koichi didn’t say anything, “Mmm, okay but can we just stay like this for a little longer?”

 

          Staring at the email she just received, Madame F’s mind was buzzing with the possibilities that could lay ahead, solving a few problems all in one go. It would be appropriate to wait until the man contacted her of course, but that wasn’t to say she couldn’t inform the others of the news. There were of course, some obstacles that she would have to deal with, mainly the idea of Byou cooperating with her, but she was sure that this was the answer to all of their concerns.  

Chapter Text

 

          “You’ll find someone, don’t give up yet. I’m going to ask at work today.”

          “I’m not that confident, I’m sure Ruki has given you details about my past attempts at relationships.”

          “Some, but he didn’t go into detail, that’s not like him. He just wants you to be happy and have someone in your life that appreciates you for you.”

          “Thanks, Tomo. Guess all I can do is wait.”

          Aoi sat in a chair with his guitar in his lap, waiting for Ken and Pon to dial in some different mixes. He glanced at Uruha surreptitiously, the question of who the man was texting was burning in his mind. “Ready Aoi?” Ken asked, drawing Aoi’s attention back to the business of recording.

          Uruha had become great friends with Ruki’s boyfriend Tomo, the two men quietly sharing thoughts, Tomo encouraging Uruha to remain positive about finding someone outside the industry. He knew Aoi was watching him, and as such he played it up while texting Tomo; laughing and giggling much like Ruki had in the early stages of his relationship with his shy boyfriend, knowing that it was pissing Aoi off. He didn’t care.

          Aoi had approached him earlier in the week, asking for his new phone number, “I need it in case something happens with one of the others, if we can’t contact you…” was his weak argument. “You don’t need my number, Aoi. I don’t need you harassing me on an hourly basis either. Kai has my number and as leader he’s the only one that needs it.”

          “Wait…Ruki and Reita have it too, they’re not leader so why do they get it and I don’t?” This time Ruki stepped in, “You’re a dick Aoi, that’s why you don’t need Uru’s number.” The man was left with his mouth hanging open. “Is that what you think of me, Kouyou? Am I a dick?”

          “Pretty much, yes Yuu.” Uruha replied smugly. “You’re the reason that I’m never dating anyone in the music industry again. So, thanks for that.” Pon was listening, smiling at the fact that Uruha was standing up for himself.

          Ken interrupted the bickering again, “Okay children, let’s record…I have a date tonight and I want to get out of here on time.” Ken said that specifically for Aoi’s benefit, perhaps if the man got enough flak on his behavior, he’d change.

 

 

           Nakamura Taizo followed the realtor through the house, not really listening to what she was saying as much as taking in how the house felt to him. He had forgone a free-standing house as he had experienced that in America, and wanting to avoid having to hire someone for taking care of the landscaping, it just made more sense to go with a home in one of the many hi-rise buildings in Tokyo.

          “You have a lovely view of Tokyo Tower, which is very impressive at night,” the lovely young woman pointed out. Standing in front of one of the large floor to ceiling windows, Taizo could see himself living in the home. With five bedrooms and four bathrooms, and over 4600 sq. ft of living space, there was plentiful room for entertaining business associates and the high-ranking members of the community. Yes…this would do nicely.  “Thank you, I’d like to make an offer and if you would draw up the paperwork and fax it to me, I’d greatly appreciate it.

          Leaving the building, the valet had his car waiting for him, “Thank you,” taking the keys he drove slowly through down town Tokyo, getting a feel for how the city had changed in twenty-five years.  Pulling into the garage of the home he was currently in, he quickly went inside and into the office. The next few days would be consumed with the purchase of the house, and he wanted to make sure to take time to reach out to Madame F.

          “Good afternoon. This is Nakamura Taizo, would it be possible to speak to Madame F?

 

          Pulling into the parking lot of Yuki’s apartment complex, Ken took a deep breath before getting out of the car, he wanted with all his heart for this night to be special. Earlier in the day had been marred with the asinine behavior of Aoi towards Uruha, putting a damper on Ken’s attitude. If the other man would just quit being such an asshole, perhaps he’d manage to be happy, “Pfft, not like that’s going to happen anytime soon.”

          Knocking on Yuki’s door, Ken smoothed his hair down and smiled, “Hey, of course you’re right on time, and I’m not!” Yuki laughed as he opened his door. “Give me one more minute and I’ll be ready!” he said as he ran down to his room. Ken was in awe of his young boyfriend, his vibrant personality matched the color of his hair, bright and exciting.

          “Okay, I’m ready.” Before Ken opened the door, he quickly grabbed Yuki around the waist, pulling him into a heated kiss. “You’re so fucking sexy… do we really need to go out to dinner?” Ken pouted. “Oh, hell no! No way Mister! You’re taking me to dinner, I didn’t get all dressed up just to eat pizza!” Yuki smacked Ken gently on the chest. He wasn’t going to let Ken go the way of Aoi, never taking him out to dinner or introducing him to his friends.

          “I’m just kidding! Let’s go.” Ken grabbed Yuki by the hand and led him out the door. “Ayato told me that sometimes stuff happens at this place…do you know what he means?” Ken laughed, “Well, ages ago… Ruki was quite the dine and dash bandit, usually running out on the others without paying. Um… there’s been some other stuff too. You know that Uta and Davina had Teiji’s wake at the restaurant, um…Shinya beat the shit out of Reita there too.”

          “Wait…what? Uh, I don’t know about that!” Yuki knew a lot about what had gone on with Reita before he met Ayato, but this was new. Ken explained what had happened, “I wasn’t there, but from what friends have told me, Shinya beat the crap out of him, dropped him to the floor.”

          Yuki couldn’t believe it, “Shinya? I’ve never really met him but he’s like so thin and kind of scrawny, I don’t picture him hitting Akira…Reita that hard.” Ken shook his head, “He’s a drummer, he might be skinny and delicate looking, but the man is tough.” Pulling up to the restaurant and handing the keys to the valet, Ken guided Yuki towards the door, “Ken-sama, welcome…and to your guest, it has been some time since you’ve last dined with us, please enjoy your dinner,” the concierge greeted the couple. “That’s fancy.” Whispered Yuki.

          Seated at their table, Yuki started to glance around at the other diners, small sounds slipping out in tiny gasps. “Holy crap,” he leaned in and whispered, “Is that Sugizo and Heath?” Ken turned and looked, then waved at the two men. “Yep, are you surprised?”  Yuki nodded, “I told you that this place caters to the industry, you can have a nice quiet dinner without fans or the media.”

          Ken wanted to order wine, but he had a feeling that Yuki may not be a wine drinker. “Um, can I have a gin and tonic please?” he asked the waiter, who bowed and went to the bar. “Gin and tonic? Totally didn’t peg you for that kind of drink, but I didn’t think you were a wine kinda guy either.” Yuki made a gagging noise at the word wine. “Nope, got super drunk on it once and never again, a wine hangover is the worse you can ever experience.”

          Just as they had gotten their drinks, Ken see’s Miya and Shinya walk in, waving them over. “Hey guys, I um…I wanted to introduce you to someone, Miya, Shinya, this is my boyfriend Yuki.” Miya winked at Ken, “Hey Yuki…you sure you’re safe with this guy? He’s kind of dodgy you know…” Shinya smacked Miya in the arm, “Ignore him, he thinks he’s funny. It’s nice to meet you, Yuki, I’m sure you’re keeping our Ken-chan honest.” Throughout the entire exchange, Yuki just giggled, “Um… he’s okay, not too bad for an old man.”

          “Hey!” Ken objected, “Good Yuki… you keep him on his toes. It was nice meeting you, and now I’m going to drag this idiot off.” Miya and Shinya bowed and moved to their table. “He’s nice…” Yuki was still giggling. “They’ve been together forever, probably one of the nicest couples I’ve ever gotten to know over the years, though Kai and Yukke are up there as well.”

          Their dinners arrived and the conversation turned to other couples that Ken had known throughout the years. “It’s not always been great…” Ken’s voice dropped a little, “When Hide died, we all thought Yoshiki was going to commit suicide, I guess it took Sakurai everything he had to keep the man alive, that was a really dark time.”  Yuki had only heard of these things, not knowing what to say, “Oh heh, sorry… Debbie downer right now.”

          “Debbie what?” Yuki laughed, he hadn’t heard the very American term. Ken explained it and all Yuki could do was laugh. Pushing back from the table, Ken ordered them another drink, relaxing as they just spent time talking. Ken was telling a story, waving his arms and being very animated, when he stopped, dropped his arms and groaned. “What?” Yuki turned around to look at what was happening… Aoi had just walked into the dining room.

          “Oh shit…um, just ignore him, he won’t come over here. It’s fine really.” Yuki reached over and put his hand over Ken’s. “It’s okay, he doesn’t bother me anymore.” Ken turned and smiled at Yuki, “You’re a bigger man than he is, that’s for sure.”

          Aoi couldn’t miss that Yuki and Ken were there, he steeled himself and sighed, nodding to Ken and moving to a table in a dark corner, where he could see Yuki. He ordered a drink and his dinner, then sat and just glanced around to see who else was there. He saw Miya and Shinya, nodded hello but made no effort to speak to them, instead just playing with the utensils on the table.

          Ken paid the bill and was leading Yuki out of the restaurant, “Have a nice night Aoi.” He said as he passed the guitarist, “Um, you too Ken.” Yuki turned to look at Aoi, seeing the man wearing a sense of regret on his face, he gave a small half wave and followed his date out the door.

          “He looked sad, didn’t he?” Yuki said as they were pulling away from the restaurant. “Well, he’s fucked up two relationships in less than a year, so yah…he does look sad.” Ken reached over and patted Yuki on the thigh. “Do you want to spend the night at my place?” he asked hopefully. “Mmm, that would be nice.” Yuki laid his head back and looked over at Ken as he drove, he was falling hard for the older man and he was pretty certain the feeling was mutual.

 

          Watching Ken and Yuki eating dinner together, watching them leave hand in hand, Aoi looked down at his plate and shook his head, “Fuckup,” was all that he could think of. Yuki looked happy with Ken, that much was obvious, even more obvious was Aoi’s lack of success in making someone else happy.  Uruha wouldn’t give him the time of day, let alone his new phone number, Yuki has moved on and all that Aoi is left with is… “Not a damned thing, you’re a complete loser.”

          He had just asked for the bill when Miya and Shinya stopped by his table, “How’s recording going?” Miya asked. Aoi looked at the couple, “Good, we have about half the tracks laid down, I think it’s going to turn out amazing.” They made small talk for a few minutes, then excused themselves. Shinya turning and looking at Aoi just as they walked out the door, “He looks miserable, doesn’t he?”  Miya nodded, “Yep he does, but from what I understand from Yukke, he’s brought it all on himself. It’s gotta be hard for him to work with Ken these days.”

 

          Paying the bill and leaving the restaurant, he decided to try one more time and after this he would just drop everything. Driving by Uruha’s apartment, he sees that the lights are off, which means Uruha has already gone to bed, or isn’t home. “It’s a sign, you dumbass, just leave it alone,” he snapped at himself. As he drove home, he thought to stop by the konbini and grab a few beers, “That’s not going to fix anything,” The problem was, he didn’t know how to fix what was broken, and he was the biggest problem.

          Walking up the stairs to his flat, his shoulders heavy with the weight of the understanding that it wasn’t Yuki, and it wasn’t Uruha, it was him. He was the asshole, he was a self entitled prick musician, he was a horrible friend. Falling face first onto his couch, Aoi screamed into the cushion. He stayed like that for awhile, secretly hoping to suffocate but knowing that it really wouldn’t work. Turning over on his back and dropping his arm across his eyes, the guitarist was lost, not able to think of anyone but himself.

          “That’s your fucking problem dumbass, nobody but yourself.” When was the last time he cared about anyone else? Reita…even then he fucked that up because he only saw the problem from his angle and not Reita’s. Ruining his relationship with Reita, the one man he had truly loved, because he didn’t feel needed. Ruining his relationship with Yuki, because he was only interested in his sexual needs. Ruining what had just started with Uruha, because he wanted to announce to the world that they were together, ignoring what Uruha wanted. “It’s all about me, the self-entitled prick musician.”

          Aoi knew he needed to change. That was the first step in any program, admitting you have a problem. “There’s no asshole anonymous club,” he snarked. Therapy? He tried that with Yuki and it was of course an epic fail because he didn’t like what the therapist had to say to him. Getting up from the couch Aoi went and retrieved his laptop from the bedroom, “Have to start somewhere.”

         The first thing he did was search ‘assholes anonymous’ and almost pissed himself laughing when a site came up with a classic 12 step recovery list. He reached for his phone to text… no one. “Have to do this yourself.” As Aoi read the steps, he wasn’t sure this was exactly what he needed, but it was funnier than hell that the site actually existed. The next four hours slipped by as Aoi continued to look for something to guide him yet came up empty. Slamming the laptop shut, Aoi leaned back in the couch, his arms crossed over his chest. “How and where the hell, am I going to find Shiroyama Yuu again?”

 

       Picking up his phone, he saw that he’d been in bed for five hours without sleeping, just lying in the dark throwing himself a grand old pity party. Uruha’s heart hurt every time he saw Aoi, throwing up the brave front at the studio with saying nasty things, yet coming home alone and going back to being a pathetic hermit. He turned down Ruki’s invitation for dinner saying he was working on some music, but thanked his friend all the same.

      Uruha’s heart was screaming at him to call Aoi; just call him! There had been dozens of times since they broke up, that he had dialed the number, only to hang up without pushing that last little button. Thankfully his brain overrode his heart; no, you can’t call him, he’s clueless to what he’s doing to you. As much as he thought he wanted to find someone else, Uruha knew better. Life in a world known band wouldn’t make dating anyone easier, even if he said he didn’t want to date anyone in the industry…where else would he find someone? Not like he rode the train on a regular basis, and that was just creepy to think he could find a suitable date that way. He didn’t go to bars that much, again hard to go to clubs or bars when you’re ‘Uruha of the Gazette’.  The way he saw it, Aoi was his last chance at happiness and it had gone up in flames.

Chapter Text

          It was highly out of character for the normally in control Madame F to be snippy and short in her commands to Ormond, “It has to be perfect, this is no ordinary dinner, you have to understand that!” she snapped again. Ormond was taking it in stride, he was aware of who was coming to dinner and why, smiling and bowing to his Dominant and doing whatever she wished. “Madame, everything will be perfect, I promise you.” Ormond bent down and placed a very chase kiss on his Lady’s cheek.

          Madame F groaned, “I’m sorry my love, I’m just a little out of sorts with this. Nakamura Taizo is…well you know. He has been away for twenty-five years and I want his return to this community to be flawless.” The woman had been on the phone for two days, arranging for the food, for the flowers and calling her associates, “You must be here, this is not a request Acchan, it’s an order. I’ve said the same to Issay and Davina, whether or not you bring Uta is up to you.”

          Mistress Davina had started to laugh as soon as she hung up the phone, Kato coming into the room, “Mistress?” he was puzzled. “Do you know Nakamura Taizo?” Kato’s face paled slightly, “Yes, Mistress Astrid and he were good friends, why do you ask?” Davina patted the couch she was seated on, “Come here,” Kato sat beside her, “Taizo has returned to Japan, and we are to attend a dinner in his honor at Madame F’s, and the woman is unhinged with worry about the details, it’s rather amusing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her like this before.”

          Kato smiled, “Will he be bringing Constance with him? She’s always been a very nice woman, I’ve always gotten on well with her.”  Davina frowned, “There was no mention of his submissive.” Now it was Kato’s turn to furrow his brow, “Really? I would think that she would be attending him.”

          Issay was also flustered at the invitation to dinner, “Shall I have both boys attend me?” he asked Madame F. “That is entirely up to you, if it’s the impression you want to present. If both boys are what you believe are warranted, then bring them both.” Madame F was talking in circles, which amused Issay as well. “Then I will have both boys with me, and thank you for the invitation, my dear Madame.”

 

          He watched as she flitted around the room, a pile of discarded clothing choices lay on the bed, shoes littered the floors. “This one?” she asked as she turned this way and that in front of the full-length mirror. “It’s beautiful Madame, as were all the others before it.” Madame F sighed, why was this so difficult? Sensing his Lady was at her wits end, Ormond walked up behind her, sliding his arms around her slender waist. “Madame, it does not matter what you’re wearing tonight, it’s who you are that counts. I prefer the red dress as it has always been one of my favorites.” Ormond nuzzled her neck then kissed her cheek. “I have some other things to do before your guests arrive.” He stepped away from her and bowed, then exited the room.  Ormond did not hear his Mistress whisper, “I love you.”

          The preparations for the dinner party were complete and the chef that had been hired was timing the readiness of the meals for the arrival of the guests. Ormond was dressed formally in a black on black suit, which complimented his Lady’s red leather dress. The first guest to arrive was Sakurai Atsushi and Uta, quickly followed by Mistress Davina and Kato. “Konbanwa Davina, Kato.” Sakurai kissed Davina on the cheek, whispering in her ear, “That dress has killer written all over it.” A comment that had Davina giggling like a school girl.

          Uta was dressed conservatively, which surprised them all, “Why would I wear club clothes to a formal event? Really Mistress, you raised me better than that.” Uta hugged his Mistress tightly. “Yes, I suppose I did, and you look very handsome, so do you Acchan.” Drinks were served and the submissives took their places along the wall. The last to arrive was Isshi, with Karyu and Ruimaru in tow. “I’m sorry we’re late, I had a difficult time deciding what my boys should wear.” Isshi explained as Ruimaru greeted Davina and Karyu greeting Sakurai.  Madame F left the room to greet Nakamura Taizo who had arrived just behind Isshi.  

          Everyone bowed low, Madame F making the introductions, “Kato-kun, it pleases me to see you with a new Mistress, and one so beautiful to equal Astrid, you look happy boy.” Taizo kissed Davina’s hand.  Bowing and shaking Sakurai’s hand, “Your reputation precedes you sir and your submissive as well, though I am aware of your special situation.” He winked at Uta, who naturally blushed.

          “The infamous Isshi-san, it is a great pleasure to meet you, sir.” Now Isshi was the one to blush, “You truly do have two of the most beautiful boys I’ve seen in quite some time. You’re a lucky man.” Taizo appraised both Ruimaru and Karyu, again winking at the two young men.

          There was a short period of small talk until the dinner was served, Ormond escorting the guests into the dining room, as the wait staff served the meal. “Have you found a place to live yet, Taizo-san?” Sakurai was interested in what type of home the man had chosen. “Yes, actually I have just bought a small little place that is quite comfortable, it’s on the 26th floor of City Tower Takanawa, in Minatou-ku.”

          “Come now, you’re among friends Taizo, there is no such thing as a little place in that building.” Madame F laughed. Taizo nodded his head, “It is quite comfortable, all 4600 sq. ft of it.” He chuckled. “I will be hosting a party in the coming weeks for the community, and some old friends that I have not seen since I moved to America.”

          The conversation turned to the reasons he had moved back to Japan, and it was Taizo that brought up the topic of Constance. “I can not fault her for wanting to void the contract as we had no plans on moving back to Japan. It was a difficult decision, but I left her well cared for in every way.” With a pre-arranged cue, Ormond excused himself and brought the other submissives with him to the kitchen, in the ruse of allowing them to eat.

          “My dear Taizo, take this not as an insult or any other such thing,” Madame F looked at the others, “are you intending on taking on another submissive?” The group collectively held their breath. “It is a possibility, yes. Why? Do you have someone in mind for me?” Taizo had a cocky grin on his face.

          “Not that we would expect you to contract this boy unseen of course, but we do have someone that may fit your needs.” Madame F explained the situation with Byou. “Isshi-san, I had heard the rumors but I did not expect it to be you! You have confronted the boy already?” Taizo had heard the rumors of Byou’s escape and subsequent actions, but had not tied the name to Isshi.

          “We have spoken to him, he is still a rather rude and obnoxious boy. He has said he is looking for a new Dominant and does not wish ill on Isshi. Though we can not rest easy while the boy is uncollared.” Sakurai added. “He has approached Ruimaru twice, once when the boy was alone, and again when they were dancing with Uta. There was nothing said to alert Isshi’s boys to who Byou is. I’m going to say that Ruimaru may act negatively when he does find out.”

          The information piqued Taizo’s interest. “When shall I see this boy?” he asked. Madame F then invited Taizo to join them for the following evening to attend Vinyl Fetish, “It is our top club for the community at this time, it is however opened to the public but we have not experienced any issues..” Taizo accepted the invitation gladly, intrigued with what he had heard about Byou.

          “He’s very handsome, isn’t he?” Ruimaru giggled as he and the others ate their dinner in the kitchen. “He’s dreamy, he doesn’t look old enough though to be gone for twenty-five years, he looks younger than Acchan.” Uta knew that there would be a little fantasy scene later in the evening for Sakurai.

          “Kato-san, how well do you know Taizo-san?” Ormond asked. “Not terribly well, he and Mistress Astrid attended some of the same community functions and benefits, I knew Constance quite well and she was a lovely lady. It’s sad that she would not attend him here at home.” Checking the time, Ormond readied the others to return to their Dominants, who by now were enjoying after dinner drinks.

          The name of the HBG came into the conversation and that Sakurai and Uta had both had some incidents in relation to the popular bar. Taizo had not heard anything about Uta’s first attack, which Sakurai and Davina gently told the story. “That Natsu creature, he actually attempted to join one of the smaller communities in San Francisco, last year.” At the mention of Natsu’s name, Uta uttered a tiny whimper and closed in on himself.

          Looking at Sakurai first, Taizo held out his hand to Uta, “Uta, come here please.” Uta checking with Sakurai, then walked to stand near the other Dominant. “When I had heard what had happened to you, it took everything I had not to track that slimy bastard down and beat him senseless. When I heard that he was in San Francisco, I immediately contacted everyone I knew and had him chased out. How he got into the US, I don’t know, but he is still not welcomed in any community.” Uta nodded, “Thank you.” As he went to return to the wall, Sakurai opened his arms and Uta walked over and sat in his lap. “It’s okay baby, he’s not going to get near you.” Sakurai whispered in Uta’s ear.      

          Taizo looked at Davina, he smiled sadly. “Both Constance and I were besides ourselves when we heard about your dear Teddy. That is something I do not wish on anyone, let alone a Dominant and their submissive.” He then turned to Isshi, “And Isshi-san, I don’t think I need to explain my feelings for you and your two beautiful boys, it was a great loss for you.”

          Madame F changed the topic quickly, as not to end the small gathering on a somber note, asking for Taizo to join them at Vinyl Fetish the next night, which he happily accepted. With the night growing long, the small dinner party concluded and each of the guests made their way home.

 

          “Baby are you okay?” Sakurai noticed that Uta had been quiet after Natsu’s name had come up. “Yes, I’m sorry I’m still such a wimp.” He said in a soft voice. “Uta, you’re not a wimp by any means. What you experienced with Natsu was horrific and traumatizing, it’s only natural for you to react as you did, I’m sure Taizo-san only wanted to let you know that Natsu is still being watched.”

          “I understand, I just haven’t heard that name spoken aloud in a long time, it just sort of rattled me, that’s all.” Uta leaned over in the car, putting his head on Sakurai’s shoulder, “I love you.”

         

          Isshi was so quiet on the ride home, that Ruimaru and Karyu became concerned, nudging each other in the back seat. Walking in the front door Emi greeted them, crying that she was starving, “Come on Emi, I’ll feed you.” Karyu picked up the small cat and carried her to the kitchen. “Sir? Is everything okay? You seem unhappy.” Ruimaru touched Isshi on the arm, as the man sat on his couch.

          “Bring Karyu to me.”  Ruimaru didn’t need to be asked twice, running into the kitchen, “Sir wants to see you, I don’t know what’s wrong!”  Karyu put Emi’s food bowl down and took Ruimaru by the hand and they returned to stand in front of their Dominant.

          “Sit with me, please.” Isshi instructed them, each taking a spot next to Isshi. “I wanted to tell you this before we go to Vinyl Fetish tomorrow night. I’ve been fighting with myself since I learned of this, but I can’t keep it from you both any longer.” Now the two young men were scared, they were not used to seeing Isshi like this, except when Leda died.

          “You know a little about my history with my former submissive, the one that treated me so badly.” Both boys nodded. Isshi turned to Ruimaru, “That night when you were rude to Madame F, I spoke harshly and left you standing on the wall. There was a young man with blonde hair that approached you.”

          “Yes Sir, he asked me if I was being punished.” Isshi smiled, “And he danced with you boys at the club that night, with Uta. Did he say anything to you?”

          “He just said hello, and sort of started to dance with us.” Ruimaru was starting to connect the dots. “That boy’s name is Byou, and he is my former submissive.” Isshi said bluntly. Neither Ruimaru nor Karyu made a sound, they just stared at Isshi. “Madame F has contacted him and asked him what his intentions are. He says he’s looking for a Dominant and will not approach me or either one of you again. I don’t know how much of that is true. He has said he has changed, and his appearance has at least. I do not trust him.”

          “Sir? Will he be at the club tomorrow night?” Karyu broke the silence first. “Possibly, he seems to have taken a liking to it.” Isshi looked at Ruimaru, “You my Angel, will not approach nor speak to Byou, is that clear?” Ruimaru nodded. “I don’t want you attacking him, chastising him or speaking to him. You will not acknowledge him at all, if you do then I will have to reconsider our contract.”

          Karyu squirmed a little in his spot, “Sir? Will Taizo-san be Byou’s new Dominant?” he looked at the floor, not wanting to be scolded. “That is yet to be seen. Tomorrow night we will go to the club, and what will happen is unpredictable. I want you both on your best behavior, there will be no outbursts. Now I want you both to go to bed, I have a slight headache and I am going to bed as well. Good night, I love you both.” With a kiss to each of the boys, Isshi got up and left the room.

         

           

          Uta was careful in selecting his outfit for that night at Vinyl Fetish, he didn’t’ want to go the outrageous way he had in the past, something about Nakamura Taizo made him want to be invisible. “Is that what you’re going to wear tonight?” Sakurai was leaning in the doorway of their bedroom. “Yep, just not in the mood for, I don’t know…fuck me clothes tonight.” Sakurai chuckled, “Anything you wear are fuck me clothes, I don’t need you to dress like that, to make me want to fuck you.”

          Uta turned away from Sakurai, “Oh, okay. I’ll be ready in a few minutes.”  Sakurai didn’t see the tears wanting to push past Uta’s long lashes. “I’m ready when you are, I’ll be in the kitchen.” Sakurai left the room, leaving Uta to take a deep relaxing breath, and finish putting on his makeup, wondering why he felt so vulnerable.

          Sakurai noticed the change in Uta since the night before, but did not want to make an issue of it, unless Uta asked. Watching Uta walk down the hall towards him, he could see the tiniest bit of slump to his shoulders and he was looking down. “Okay, I’m ready.” Sakurai embraced his young lover, “You look amazing, subtle looks good on you.” Kissing Uta, he then took him by the hand and led him out of the house.

          Madame F had alerted Niihara of the arrival ahead of time; she had reserved the largest of the private rooms, and made sure that every detail was in place. She also asked if the tall American girl Velvet would be able to attend Taizo for the evening, something in which Niihara was thrilled to provide.

          “You may gain a new patron tonight Niihara-san, one that would add to the elite status of your club.” Madame F added. “I would be thrilled if Nakamura-san chose my club to frequent, thank you Madame.”

          The Dominant woman asked about Byou, “Yes, he has been here frequently, though I do wish I knew where he was getting his money, I’m hoping it’s under legitimate means. He should be here tonight, as he is still searching for a Dominant.” Niihara had his suspicions about Nakamura Taizo, but he kept that to himself.

         

          Madame F was the first to arrive, she wanted to be there to greet Taizo, and introduce him to Niihara. Davina and Sakurai arrived together, Davina taking notice of Uta’s subdued demeanor and looking at Sakurai. “What’s wrong with him, Acchan?” she hissed. “I’m not sure but think it has to do with Taizo mentioning Natsu’s name.”

          Isshi and his boys were the last to arrive, the Dominant scanning the club for Byou. “He’s not here at the moment, Isshi-san, but if he arrives, I will have Velvet notify you.” Niihara bowed to Isshi, “Thank you Niihara-san,” Taking his boys by the hand, he led them to the private room, and out of what he thought may be danger.

          Madame F with Ormond by her side, mingled with some of the other Dominant’s at the club, Ormond watching the door to alert her when Taizo arrived and he was also watching for Byou.

         

          The evening proceeded much as Madame F and Niihara had planned; Velvet was attentive and excited to be able to speak English with Taizo. Ruimaru and Karyu stayed close to Isshi, though Ruimaru had asked his Dominant about Uta, “Sir?” he whispered. “Is Uta sick? He doesn’t look well, he seems so sad.” Isshi glanced over at the boy, who was sitting in Sakurai’s lap, kind of listless and uninterested in what was going on at the club. “I don’t know my Angel but I will agree, Uta-kun looks ill.”

          Davina was more than concerned, asking Sakurai to let her take Uta to a secluded area to speak to him, “My love, what is wrong with you tonight?” She reached out and felt Uta’s forehead, “You’re not ill, are you? Uta, speak to me please, you’re frightening me.”

          “I don’t feel great, Mistress. Maybe I’ve been working too much. I’ll be fine Davina, really.” Uta gave Davina a kiss, then walked back to the room alone. “This is not you being sick, my love. This is something else entirely.”

          Madame F had Ormond standing out in the club, Karyu attending her in the private room. Ormond was watching for Byou and was to speak to Niihara the moment he saw the young man. It took but an hour for Byou to arrive, Ormond going to find Niihara, “The boy is here, Niihara-san, I will return to my Lady.”

          Ormond entered the room and stood behind Madame F, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s take a stroll around the club, I’d like to show Taizo how well appointed it is.” Madame F announced.

          Taizo followed along with Madame F, while Davina and Isshi spoke to another Dominant. Sakurai had not left the room, as Uta had asked to stay. “Baby what’s wrong? Please you’re scaring me your so quiet.” Uta just buried his head in Sakurai’s neck, “I’m sorry Acchan, I want to go home please.” Without thinking or asking anymore questions, Sakurai scooped Uta into his arms, and walked out the door. As he approached the entrance to the club, he stopped Niihara, “Could you please make my apologies to the others, Uta isn’t feeling well and we’re going home. Thank you.” Niihara bowed and quickly made his way to Mistress Davina, giving her the message.

          “Mistress, is there something wrong with Uta?” Kato still held a lot of feelings for the young man. “I’m really not sure, he seems out of sorts, though he tells me he’s just been working too much.”  Kato didn’t buy that excuse, there was something else…something darker standing behind the young man that he had become so attached to.

          As he surveyed the room, nodding and greeting various Dominants and their submissives, a flash of blonde hair caught his eye on the other side of the dance floor. Leaning in to Madame F, “Is that perhaps the boy?” He nodded his head in Byou’s direction. “Yes, that is Byou, would you like me to have him brought over?”

          “No, I will do this on my own, thank you Madame.” Taizo stood on the edge of the dance floor, his eyes trained on Byou. The young man was watching the dancers, not paying attention. Taizo started his walk towards him, the boy was attractive, the blonde hair was striking enough but did not detract from his beauty. As he got closer, Byou turned and looked straight at him. Taizo walked up, stood in front of Byou, who instantly dropped his gaze to the floor.

          “Follow me.” Taizo ordered. Without looking back to see if the young man was following him, Taizo made his way back to the private room, seating himself on the low settee. It was but a few seconds longer, when the young submissive appeared at the door. “Come in Byou, I’d like to speak with you.” The Dominant nodded for Byou to take a seat across from him. “Yes Sir.”

          Nakamura Taizo studied Byou, looking at what the makeup and clothing was hiding. He was of average build, not overly delicate by any means. This was a young man, not a boy as some of the young submissives appeared. “Do you know who I am?” Taizo asked. “No Sir.” He was shaking, he had never seen this Dominant before, why did he want to speak to him? “My name is Nakamura Taizo, I’ve recently returned to Japan after living in America for some time. Your name was brought to my attention by your former Dominant, Isshi-san.” He waited for a reaction, wondering if the claims of his redemption were true.

          “Yes, Sir.” Was all Byou would say. “I was told you’re looking for a Dominant, is this true?”

          “Yes, Sir.”

          “Look at me, Byou.”

          The young man lifted his eyes, gazing at the Dominant. Taizo was handsome, movie star handsome. They stared at each other for a few moments, Byou dropping his gaze again just to get away from the intense look on Taizo’s face.

          Taizo saw the young man as promising, a warmth pooling in his abdomen, “Would you be interested in getting to know me better, Byou?”

          Was he? Byou thought about his living conditions at the moment, the capsule hotel ended up burning through a lot of his money, and now the griminess of the internet café was starting to wear him down.

          “Yes, Sir. I’d like that.” If he could find someone to take care of him, that he could devote himself to, redeem himself in the eyes of the community…in Isshi’s eyes and ask for forgiveness, he was going to have to take a chance.

          “Come here.” Taizo crooked his finger. “Sit with me.” Rising from the chair, Byou moved to the settee and sat next to the handsome Dominant. Taizo reached over and ran the back of his hand across Byou’s cheek, trailing it down his neck, sliding it softly into the front of the young man’s shirt, drawing a quiet moan.

          “You’re very pretty, Byou.” Taizo leaned in and ran his tongue from the boy’s collarbone to his ear, nipping at the lobe, causing Byou to shiver. Reaching up, Taizo ran a finger tip across the boy’s lower lip, Byou taking a chance and slipping his tongue out.

          “Mmm, I think we need to get better acquainted, and this is not the right atmosphere to do so.” Taizo reached over and tipped Byou’s chin, brushing his lips with a kiss. “Would you like to go home with me, Byou?” The boy’s mind was so jumbled, all he could do is nod. A little more of a teasing kiss, and Taizo stood, “Come, I must make my excuses to my associates, then we can go home.”

          Taking Byou by the hand, Taizo made his way to the main room, finding Madame F quickly. “I will be making my good nights, I have some pressing business to attend to, please extend my apologies to the others. You will be hearing from me soon.” He bowed to Madame F and without another word, left Vinyl Fetish.

          Isshi had seen the interaction, his chest tightened. He had loved Byou deeply, but his mistake wiped that love out in a heartbeat. “He seems to have taken a liking to the boy, ne?” Davina stood next to Isshi, “Mmm, I hope it works. I hope Byou has really changed, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

 

 

 

          “Gentlemen, I believe we have one more week of recording and then it will be all post production. The end is in sight.” Ken announced at the end of a rather long session. Pon sighed and sat back in his chair, rubbing his eyes, “I’ll be soo glad when this is over, I need a seventy-two-hour nap.” Ken laughed, “You mean seventy-two hours in bed with Die,” Pon snorted, “Like that’s not what you plan on doing with Yuki? Please, spare me old man.”

          The joking was a needed relief at the end of a rather long day. The weariness of keeping Aoi away from Uruha was starting to wear thin, the overall dismal feeling of the studio when they were there together was starting to bother everyone. “I’m going home, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Aoi got up and left the room, and not surprising everyone heaved a huge sigh. “Please let post production go quickly!” Pon whined.

          “You’re not the only one that hopes that, Pon-chan.” Uruha snipped. “I don’t want to spend anymore time than I have to here.” Gathering up their gear and getting ready to head out, a knock at the door, “Excuse me, Ken? Can I have a minute?” At the door was a man with very long hair, a little beardy mustache thing going on and deep-set dark eyes. “Sure, Hal, come on in.”  Ken put his bag down, “This is Hal, he’s the bassist for Umbrella, DCR’s really pushing them, um, this is my assistant Pon…err Hiroto.” Pon rolled his eyes, “Just call me Pon, it’s nice to meet you.”

          “Hi, you’re Yukke's nephew, right? You’re dating Die? Oh, we’ve already heard a lot about you, but all good!”  Pon laughed as well, “Yah, gossip travels fast, I’m sorry but I’ve got a hungry boyfriend waiting, it was nice meeting you Hal.”

          Ken nodded over to Uruha, “Have you guys met before?” Hal shook his head, “Not formally,” he went over and held out his hand to Uruha, “Hi, Uruha right? You guys are flipping amazing live, I have a kid sister that flips shit and begs me to take her anytime you play. I have a great appreciation for your style, Reita’s not bad either…but don’t tell him I said that.” Hal said with a cheeky grin.

          Uruha mumbled something and shook Hal’s hand, “Um, thanks, it’s nice to meet you too, I don’t know Umbrella’s music that well,” Pon was standing at the door watching, he glanced over at Ken and winked. “You should come and watch a practice or something, or maybe we could talk about it after you guys record. I have some demo stuff on my phone, do you have time now?”

          Hal turned to Ken, “I’m guessing by the look on your face, you have a date or something, right? I’m sorry…I won’t take up anymore of your time, I just wanted to run some demo stuff by you.”

          Ken laughed, “If you can come by later tomorrow maybe? I can listen then, or maybe Uruha can listen, and then give me his opinion.”

          Hal looked at Uruha, “I don’t want to take up your time, I’m sure you have someone waiting for you too, I can…”

          Uruha reached out and touched Hal’s arm, “No, it’s okay, I have time right now, I don’t have anyone waiting for me.”  

          “Great,” Hal sat down on the couch, Uruha dropped his bag and got out his glasses, “Sorry, I don’t have my contacts in, I know I look geeky.” Uruha mumbled. “Please, if you want to see geeky, I’ve got plenty of old pictures to show you.”

          Pon and Ken slowly backed out of the room, closing the door quietly, “Um…what was that?” Pon asked Ken, “I don’t know, but it’s going to be interesting if all of a sudden Hal and the boys from Umbrella start hanging around more.”

 

Image result for sorimachi takashi This is Sorimachi Takashi, an actor. 

                                                  But he is my Nakamura Taizo

 

Image result for Visual Kei band Umbrella Hal, bassist for Umbrella.