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The Light at The End

Chapter Text

        As Isshi slowly walked through the house, he could hear the soft voices coming from just outside the back door, voices that were still devoid of laughter and lightness, he closed his eyes and sighed, “How long will it take for you to heal?”

      The property was older, but suitable enough for the small family; a decent sized house, with three bedrooms and a well-appointed kitchen, it wasn’t as grand or as stylish as Sakurai’s property, but Isshi wasn’t looking for that. This was to be their second home, not a vacation retreat, he wanted his family to feel just as secure here as they were in Tokyo.

      The barn at the back of the property was set up for smaller farm animals; goats or sheep, and there was a chicken coop just outside the barn doors. When they arrived, Isshi and the boys went through the house, but as soon as Ruimaru saw that there was a barn, he asked Isshi if they could go out to check for any signs of feral cats, all three hoping to find a litter of kittens.

          Isshi had taken Davina’s suggestion of buying his own property, after Ruimaru voiced his fear of staying in the city, due to the brutal chain of events with Masamoto Umeji. Contacting Sakurai’s realtor and explaining what he had in mind had taken a few days for the woman to find three different properties, all located near Sakurai’s estate and Karyu’s former family store, for Isshi and the boys to inspect.  

          Isshi knew that the recovery process for Byou, Ruimaru and Karyu would be long and difficult, though he was most concerned about Byou, the young man having suffered the worst of the abuse. The saving grace for the small family was Karyu; he had stepped into the role of being their strength in the days after the rescue.

          “Sir?” Karyu came into the house, “Yes love?” Isshi was brought back from the day dreaming search for the means to heal his young men. “We’ve met the neighbors; would you like to come and speak to them?”

          “Neighbors? Have you decided that this is our new home, without me?” he teased. “No… well sort of, but please…just come with me.” Karyu reached out and took Isshi’s hand, leading him through the yard and out to the road.  Turning the corner around the barn, Isshi saw Byou and Ruimaru leaning over the short hedge and speaking to a middle-aged couple, who were seated in a horse drawn cart.

          “Konnichi wa, Shinohara-san. I am Saito Mahiro and this is my wife Naho, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” The couple bowed their heads lightly.

          Isshi returned the bow, “Hajimemashite, Saito-san. I see you’ve met my young friends; I hope they have not inconvenienced you on your business?”

          Saito laughed, “Quite the opposite, they’re lovely young men. I am told you may purchase this property?”

          Isshi chuckled, “Well, according to Karyu here, they have decided for me. We have yet to discuss the particulars, but it seems that they have overruled my opinion.”

          “It would be delightful to have neighbors again; this property has been vacant for a few years now.”

          The couple chatted with Isshi for a few more minutes, then excused themselves and drove away, leaving a very excited Ruimaru and Karyu. “Sir, they said they have two mama cats that will be having babies soon! Maybe we could choose one for a friend for Emi?” Ruimaru was leaning hard into Isshi. “We’ll need to discuss things a bit more before I’m ready to make my decision.” Isshi reminded the young man. “Yes, Sir.”

          Isshi had noticed that Byou barely said a word the entire day. “Byou-kun, what do you think of the house? Is this somewhere you’d feel comfortable living for a time?”  The young man shrugged, “Whatever what you decide, Sir.”

          With a sharp tug of his sleeve, Ruimaru looked up at Isshi, mouthing the words ‘I’m worried’, then nodding at Byou. “Yes, Angel. I understand.”

          Byou leaned his head against Karyu’s shoulder and closed his eyes, hoping that sleep would take him during the short drive back to Sakurai’s home where they were staying. Ruimaru was sitting in front with Isshi, when he pulled the visor down and looked in the mirror to the back seat, “Is he asleep yet?” he whispered to Karyu, who nodded.

          “Isshi, I’m scared that Byou-kun is … well that he might hurt himself.” Ruimaru whined to his Dominant. “He needs to see a therapist, soon Sir.” Isshi had thought the same thing even before they had gone in search of a new home, asking Davina and Madame F to inquire in the community for a suitable doctor to treat Byou.

          “Angel, I’m sure Mistress has found someone by now. It will take a few days to complete the purchase of our new home, so you will have to be patient and keep watch over Byou-kun.” Isshi patted Ruimaru’s leg, “We’ll get him the help he needs.”

         

         

          Uruha watched Alfie pounce on the unsuspecting Hal, as the man stood in the kitchen making dinner, the kitten climbing up the man’s pant leg. “Alfie! Stop you little monster! Kou, come and get your fur child off my leg please.” Uruha giggled, “Sorry, you’re on your own mister.”

          He listened as his boyfriend talked to the kitten, trying to bargain with Alfie, “I’ll give you chicken if you stop using me as a scratching post!” Taking pity on Hal, Uruha went to the kitchen to save the man from Alfie’s needle-sharp baby claws.

          “You’re just starving aren’t you Alfina? Dad won’t give you even a tiny bit of chicken, he’s so mean.”

          “Alfina?” Hal laughed, “is that her full name now?”

          “Well, when parents get mad at their kids, don’t they always use their full name? Alfina is her full name, not that she’d ever cause any problems,” Uruha nuzzled the kitten who promptly smacked him in the face with an extra-large paw, “hey! I’m the one that loves you!” Uruha put the kitten on the floor.

          Hal slid his arms around Uruha, “Did she scratch you?” he nuzzled his boyfriend’s neck, “No,” Uruha laughed, as he tried to wiggle away from Hal’s tickling mustache. “What’s for dinner?”

          “Baked chicken, rice pilaf and fresh veggies,” Hal turned back to his cooking, “Hey, I heard that there’s another studio event coming up at the end of the month at the HBG, are we going?”

          Uruha sat at the small dining table, “Sure, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t, unless you have other plans that night?”

          “Nope, nothing. The band will be in the studio after that, but we’re good until the end of September.”

          Uruha set the table, “I haven’t really seen anyone lately, we’re just in studio practicing, I think we should go…if it’s not already mandatory.”

           “What would you think about inviting Reita and Ayato over for dinner?” Uruha asked, surprising Hal.

          “Sure, I really don’t know Reita that well, and I’ve only seen Ayato once I think,” Hal paused, “Is there any specific reason why you want to invite them to dinner? I mean, when Tomo and Ruki came, you almost had a heart attack.” He pointed out.

          Uruha blushed, “Don’t remind me, I guess I just want to be more social, at least with the band. We should invite your friends at some point, maybe this summer we could have a barbeque with all of our guys.”

          Hal paused the game and put down his controller, turning to face Uruha, “That would be amazing. Thank you.” Cupping Uruha’s face, Hal kissed him softly.

          “Um, what was that for?” Hal loved that he could still make Uruha blush.

          “For being a beautiful and gracious person,” he kissed Uruha again, “Besides, do I have to have a reason to kiss you?”  With no warning, Uruha was suddenly on his back, Hal looming over him, “Let me show you my reasons for kissing you.” Uruha knew that there would be more than just kissing going on.

 

         

          “Are we going or not? I don’t have to work so there’s no reason for us not to go.” Uta was on his way to a temper tantrum.

          Sakurai narrowed his eyes, “I never said we couldn’t go, but if you keep acting like a spoilt child…” he left the rest of his statement hanging.

          “How am I being a spoilt child? We haven’t gone out in weeks…all either one of us has been doing is working. Isshi’s still gone, Davina and Madame F are busy with whatever, and you’re always in the studio. Is it too much to ask for a simple night out?”

          “Do you know for certain that you’re not working the event? Has Taka held his meeting and assigned duties yet?”  Uta looked away, he in fact didn’t know if he was working or not.

          “No.”

          “No what?”

          “No, I don’t know if I’m working.”

          Turning away from Uta, Sakurai hid a crafty smile, “I suggest that before you go any further with this childish tantrum, you call Taka and ask if you’re working. If you’re not, then I will consider attending the event.”

          “I hate you.”

          “I hate you too.”

          Uta walked over and hugged Sakurai from behind, “Have you or Davina heard from Isshi in the last few days?”

          “No, I haven’t, and as far as I know, neither has Davina. I suspect they have found a home, but I’m sure they’re in no hurry to come back to the city.” Pushing his chair back, Sakurai patted his lap, Uta happy to oblige.

          “The meeting that you had with Aoyama and Nakamura, what was that all about, or are you not allowed to talk about it?” Uta laid his head on Sakurai’s shoulder.

          The meeting with Detective Aoyama and Nakamura Taizo had been strained. Nakamura wanted to leave the country, and the community at large. Madame F, Davina and Sakurai were not ready to let the man go so easily.

          “It was nothing more than a formality really. Nakamura wanted to leave the community, both Madame F and myself rejected that request. He also was looking to leave the country, but Aoyama also rejected that; evidently there will be a trial at some point.” This was the most disturbing information that came out of the meeting.

          “A trial? You can’t be serious? They’re not strong enough to go through a trial!” Uta jumped to his feet, “You need to call Aoyama, there has to be another way to deal with this, Acchan, Byou’s not strong enough to testify!”

          “Baby, I don’t have a say in it…neither does Isshi. It’s the simple fact that in order to put those monsters away for life, Byou, Karyu and Ruimaru will have to testify before a jury. All we can do is be there for them.”

         

         

          Sitting on the floor of Sakurai’s barn, Byou had his head in Karyu’s lap, the boy gently stroking his hair, Ruimaru leaning against his shoulder. Isshi had sent them out, so he could speak with the realtor and make an offer on the house that they had chosen, he knew that the barn was a sort of a sanctuary for the young men.

          “I think we made the right choice, ne? Isshi seems to like the house and if we can get a new kitten, everything will be perfect.” Karyu had continued to be the strength for his co-lovers, always offering comfort whenever it was needed. Neither Ruimaru or Byou answered their friend.

          Ruimaru sat up, “Do you think this is far enough from the city, that they won’t find us?”

          Karyu sighed, “Ru, they’re all in jail, they’re not going to come looking for us, you know that Detective Aoyama wouldn’t let that happen.”

          Ruimaru leaned his head back down, “I suppose.”

          “Byou?” Karyu carefully swept the man’s hair out of his eyes, not surprised to see that he had been crying. “When we go back to the city, Sir said he would find a therapist for us. I promise, it’s going to be okay.”

          Byou slowly nodded, “Mmm.” Ruimaru leaned down and laid his head next to Byou’s, reaching out to hold his hand. “I don’t want to go back to the city, ever. I just want to live out here in the country, just us…nobody else. I don’t want to go to the clubs, I don’t care about seeing Mistress or Madame F. We should always live here,” he turned his head and looked up at Karyu, “do you think Sir will allow that?”

          “You don’t care about seeing Uta or Sakurai-san, ever? What about Kato-senpai and Ormond-senpai? What about Zeus? You really don’t ever want to go home?” Karyu couldn’t understand what he was hearing.

          “No, I don’t. I don’t think Byou wants to go back either. It’s dangerous in the city, there could be someone else that wants to take us away from Isshi, or that wants to kill Sir, how could you be okay with that Karyu?”

          “Because what you’re saying is childish and stupid,” Karyu snapped. Moving his legs so that Byou and Ruimaru would sit up, Karyu pushed himself up from the straw covered barn floor, “I know you both were abused terribly, I was too. But you know what? I’m not letting those assholes win! There’s no way I’m going to hide for the rest of my life. If you want to stay here forever, fine! I’ll go live with someone else, but I’m not going to let what happened to us change my life.” Karyu stomped out of the barn.  

          He ran to the house, throwing open the door, “Excuse me.” He bowed to Isshi and the realtor before going to his room and slamming the door. With a humble pardon, the realtor left the house, “We can take care of the final paperwork once you return to the city.” She assured Isshi there would be no issues going forward with the purchase of the house.

          “Karyu, may I come in?” a muffled yes, and Isshi opened the door, to find Karyu on his stomach on the bed, his face buried in a pillow. Sitting on the side of the bed, Isshi started to rub Karyu’s back, “Can you explain to me why you barged in and ran to your room?”  The boy shook his head.

           “Stop acting so foolishly and tell me what the problem is.” Karyu could hear the sharpness in Isshi’s tone, knowing that he must obey.

          Rolling over and sitting up, he wiped the tears from his eyes, he looked tired and dejected, “It’s Ru and Byou, Sir. They don’t seem to want to … I don’t know, move forward with their lives, they just want to stay here and hide. They don’t care about going home, they don’t care about ever seeing Mistress or the senpais, they don’t even care about seeing Uta, they just want to hide.” Karyu huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.

          The Dominant’s face softened, “Is that so? And what did you say to that?”

          “I told them they were childish and stupid and I said that if they wanted to stay here forever, then I’d find somewhere else to go. That I wasn’t going to allow what happened to stop me from living, and I will. I’ll ask for you to void my contract, and perhaps Mistress could find me another Dominant.”  

          As Karyu was saying this, his eyes were filling with tears, his lip trembled and he started to shake. “You don’t truly mean that, do you? You would leave my side?” Isshi was surprised at the confidence (albeit shaky) that Karyu was showing him.

          “I don’t want to leave you, no Sir. But if you intend on living in the new house permanently, then I have no other choice. I don’t want to be separated from our community, and I refuse to let what happened to us bind me to anyone. I want to live, Isshi.”

          Even with the shaking voice, Isshi could see that the young man was determined to rise above the abuse that was dealt to him. “I think we need to have a family meeting; would you please go and retrieve Ruimaru and Byou.” Isshi stood up and left the room.

          It took Karyu a little convincing to get the other two men to come into the house, “Isshi says we’re to have a family meeting, you don’t have a choice so get up and get moving,” he snapped, then walked away.

          Sitting on the couch next to Isshi, Ruimaru and Byou came into the house and sat down on the floor. “What is this about, Sir?” Ruimaru asked dully.

          “Yours and Byou’s attitudes, is what this is about. Karyu tells me you want to hide from the world, never to return to the city, to our community and back to our normal lives, is this true?”

          Ruimaru glared at Karyu, “You’re a snitch, you had to go run back to Sir, didn’t you?  You can’t just leave us alone.” The young man started to get up, “SIT DOWN!” Isshi snarled, “You will not move until I tell you to do so, is that clear?” Karyu was so shocked at Isshi’s voice, that he leaned away from the man.

          Covering his eyes with his hand and pinching the bridge of his nose, Isshi took a deep breath before he spoke again. “Now, you will listen to me carefully, and you will do as I say. If you choose not to follow my instructions, then we will revisit the contracts that we have signed. I will give you ten seconds to decide.” He leaned back on the couch, crossing his arms over his chest.

          Nudging Ruimaru, Byou whispered in his ear, “What are we going to do?”

          “Five seconds gentlemen.”

          Ruimaru glared at Karyu, “Fine, we will stay and listen.” He wasn’t happy.

          “Now, Karyu told me that neither one of you wants to go back to the city, as in you want to make this our permanent home, is that right?”

          The two exchanged looks, “Yes, Sir. I don’t feel that living in the city is safe any more. We don’t know what’s going to happen to us, what if someone else tries to kill you and take us? No, Isshi…we don’t want to go back.” Ruimaru said with certainty.

          “What do you propose I do? Keep two homes, dividing my time between them, you and Byou living alone while I’m in the city with Karyu?”

          Neither of them looked up at Isshi. “Would you rather I void our contracts? I see no other option; I will not be held hostage by my submissives.”

          The looks on the young men’s faces was that of panic, “Wait! You don’t mean that, you can’t be serious, Isshi. You would void our contracts over this?” Karyu had grabbed Isshi’s arm.

          “I am deadly serious. I will not be swayed in this. You three must come to an understanding, that everyone is agreed upon, or I will seriously consider voiding all contracts, and handing you over to Mistress Davina and Madame F, to find you suitable Dominants.” Isshi stood up, “You have until morning to come to a decision.” Without another word or look, Isshi turned and walked to his bedroom, slamming the door.

          Byou’s mouth was hanging open, “Did he just…?”

          Karyu whipped around, “This is YOUR fault! I swear if he voids our contracts because you two are selfish, I will never speak to either of you again!”  As Isshi did, Karyu got up and ran to his bedroom, also slamming the door.

          Looking at Ruimaru, Byou was stunned, “What do we do now, Ru?”

Chapter Text

                  

          Sitting on the couch and looking at Yuki, Aoi was stunned, “What?”

          “What, what? Do I need to say it again? Will. You. Move. In. With. Me?” Yuki said slowly.

           Aoi said nothing for several seconds, he closed his eyes and shook his head, “No.”

          “No? Why the fuck not? You said you loved me…” Now it was Yuki’s turn to be stunned.

          “I don’t think we’re there yet.” 

          Yuki’s jaw dropped, “Bullshit. I went to Mei with you and met your family, you even told me that they loved me. Isn’t living together the next logical step in a relationship? What’s the real reason, Yuu? I deserve the truth.”

          “You said the P word.”

          “The what word?” He wasn’t hearing this.

          “P, as in proposal.” Aoi was trying to keep himself composed.

          “SO?” Yuki snapped angrily, “What’s wrong with proposing? Don’t you want to marry me?”

          Aoi doesn’t have the words, so he says nothing. Falling back on the couch, Yuki stares at him. “What the hell am I doing wrong, Yuu?” he asks in a quiet even voice.

          Snapping his head up, he gapes at Yuki, “For the last two years, it’s only ever been you! Even when you were with Ken, I was happy for you, I was satisfied that you were being taken care of, that would have been enough for me.”

          “What are you scared of, Yuu?” Yuki reached out for Aoi’s hand.

          “That I’ll fail.”  

          “Fail? At what? That doesn’t make any sense.”

          “Making you happy, I don’t think I can do that, at least not happy enough to be married.” Aoi gets up.

          “DON’T YOU DARE WALK AWAY!” Yuki screamed, “You said you were done being a coward and now you’re running away again? What the fuck, Yuu?”

          Aoi reaches for the door, shakes his head, “I’m sorry, Yuki, honestly.”

          Yuki stands, “What the fuck? You think this is okay? That I’m just going to accept this from you? Fuck no!” He takes a step, holding on to the side of the couch, angry tears are streaming down his cheeks.

          “You’re going to leave me alone?” Yuki reaches for the back of his wheelchair to steady himself as he takes another step. “I’ve already lost Ken,” step, “now you’re leaving me? What the fuck is so wrong with me?” He stumbles and braces himself on the wall.

          “You’re a chicken shit fuck, Yuu! I fucking hate you!” step, “Get out of my house asshole! You said you loved me, you lied! I’ll never believe anything you say again!” step

          “Yuki!Aoi gasps. “You’re a coward,” Yuki’s sobs. Step

          “YUKI!”

          “WHAT?” He can’t catch his breath; his sobs are choking him; he’s standing three feet from Aoi, swaying dangerously.

          “You’re walking!” Aoi reaches out for Yuki. “What? No…” he stops mid-sob, and looks around him. Suddenly it was if someone had kicked his legs out from under him, he leaned forward to grab Aoi’s arm, and fell to his knees.

          “Baby, you were walking! You walked all the way from the couch! How did you do that?” Aoi caught him and cradled him in his arms.

          “You lied to me, Yuu. You said you’d be there for me if I needed you…but you lied.” Yuki leaned hard into Aoi’s chest, grabbing the front of the man’s shirt tightly. “Why don’t you love me?”

          Aoi started gently rocking his distraught boyfriend, “Baby, I love you more than life itself, that sounds all corny and shit, but it’s the truth. I’m just scared I won’t live up to … well, to what you deserve.”

          Yuki rubbed his face on Aoi’s shirt, “That’s a fucking lame ass excuse, Yuu,” He looked up at Aoi, “what the hell do I have to do for you to accept this?” He shrugged.

          “Can we just start tonight over please, I’m exhausted.” Yuki tried to get up, “Oh wait a minute…you just walked like fifty steps, that’s enough for today.” With Yuki still in his arms, Aoi stood up, “You’re going to bed, and I’m going to go home.”

          “But…”

          Walking into the bedroom, Aoi put Yuki on the bed, “Listen to me carefully, I’m only going to say this once.” He sat down, “Tomorrow night is the DCR event. If you can stomach sitting with me for the entire evening, not getting huffy or pissy or wanting to leave, not grabbing Ayato and making him referee, then yes…I’ll move in with you.”

          Yuki just stared at him, “Is this suppose to be some sort of test? Like if I make it through the event, and I don’t want to kill you, I pass?” Aoi started gathering his things and stuffing them into a back pack. “Yah, sort of. If we can survive long enough to make it through one of these lame ass parties, I guess we can stand each other every day.”

          Grabbing his bag, he bent down and grabbed a quick kiss, “Do not try walking again tonight, I don’t want you falling and hurting yourself. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon, and we’ll talk more about this moving in thing, ne?” Another quick kiss and Aoi left Yuki sitting on his bed wondering what had just happened.

           

          The DCR end of summer tour season event was nothing out of the ordinary for the staff of the HBG, having gone through a dozen parties over the last eight years. Taka had his pre-party meeting to assigning everyone who would be working, Mao excited over the fact that Taka was not giving him the role of ‘break bitch’, “Kyo’s going to be thrilled!” Mao crowed, “so who’s break bitch this time?”

          “I am.” Taka held up his hand. Uta was the first to hide a smirk behind his hand, Koichi turning in his chair so Taka wouldn’t see him laughing, but as soon as Tora nudged Aki, the laughter could not be restrained.

          “Manager-san is break bitch?” Tomo giggled. “Yes, mainly because I don’t remember the last time, I did this, maybe never?” Taka admitted. “It was time for me to do my part, and nobody really likes the position, so yes…I am break bitch for this event.” The teasing subsided for the moment, as Taka continued with the meeting. “Koichi and Tomo will be at the counters first, Aki and Tora will rotate out, and I’ll be covering your breaks.”

          “I don’t expect any problems what so ever this time around. There’s no drama being played out, no tension, no cause for a Ruki rampage or a Sakurai situation, just a nice party with the bands. Does anyone have any questions, comments or concerns? Great, then I expect you back here at six tonight, and we open the windows at eight.”

 

 

          Business was steady as per the norm, Tomo and Koichi in desperate need of breaks after the first hour of the party, Aki and Tora stepping in, leaving Taka on patio duty. “Anything I need to know about?” He asked as Tora came in, “Um, well it seems that Kaoru and Toshiya are a couple now, not sure when that started. Aoi and Yuki are here, they seem happy enough and Mao is on his way to getting drunk.”

          Taka groaned, “Mao’s drinking? Do I need to talk to Kyo?”

          “I think he has him under control, Mao’s in his lap and won’t let him get up,” Tora laughed, “I think he’s done for the night.

          Taka sighed in relief, “Good, I don’t think I want to see a drunken Mao and what trouble he could create. Go ahead and get to the counters.”

          Making his rounds on the patio, Taka was grabbed from behind and yanked into Sato’s lap, “Excuse me sir! I’m not allowed to fraternize with the customers!” Sato responded by dipping Taka backwards and laying a short but passionate kiss on his husband. “Too bad, this customer has a rewards card!” he growled as he kissed Taka again.

          Just as Taka sat up, a low unhappy murmur went through the patio, causing Taka to check the entrance. “What…?”

          Leaning forward, the only two people he saw walk in, was Ryo and a young man Taka had never seen before. “Why is Ryo here?” He stood up and walked over to the ex-drummer of Girugamesh, “Hey Ryo, how’s things?” He bowed lightly

          Ryo bowed, “Good Taka, this is Jui, a friend of mine,” the introductions were quick. “Um, are you working for DCR again?” Taka couldn’t put together why the man was at a studio event.

          “Yah, I’m doing some sound mixing for a few of the newer bands, you know that whole Ryo Trackmaker gig.”

          Jui was shifting from foot to foot, an uncomfortable look on his face, “Um, can we get a drink please, Ryo?”

          “Sorry, Ryo… go ahead and enjoy the party, it was nice seeing you again.” Taka bowed and walked back into the HBG.  Ryo took Jui by the hand and led him towards the counter.

          “Was that Ryo I saw?” Koichi stopped Taka as he came inside, “Yah, with some guy named Jui. I was surprised to see him actually.”

          “This isn’t good Taka!” Koichi hissed.

          “Uh, why?”

          “That’s Kaoru and Toshiya’s ex-boyfriends! Shinya told me about them. They dated for like a year, then suddenly broke up.” Koichi looked at the counters where Aki and Tomo were making drinks for the two men.

          Taka shrugged, “I can’t tell them to leave, Kou. I’m sure it will be fine, let’s not make a big deal out of it.”

          But there was a big deal being made of it, just after Ryo and Jui turned the corner of the building, they saw Toshiya and Kaoru sitting at the Diru table, sharing an obvious intimate conversation.

          Without a word, Ryo grabbed Jui by the hand and dragged him over to where the boys from Umbrella were sitting, joining them at the table, introducing Jui and sitting down, not paying much attention to Toshiya and Kaoru.

          “Why is Ryo here?” Shinya whispered to Miya, “Guessing because he’s working with some of the newer bands, he’s good at mixing sound…he has every right to be here, Shin.”

          “I’ll be right back,” Shinya got up quickly and walked away, before Miya could stop him. “Shit, where’s Die and Kyo?” he asked Sato. “Uh, looks like they’re getting a drink, why?” Miya groaned, “Shit’s going to hit the fan, that’s why.”

          “How’s it going with Uruha? You guys look pretty damned happy.” Ryu leaned back in his chair, looking over at the other members of Gazette. Hal grinned, “I’ve totally never been happier. He’s the sweetest, kindest guy I’ve ever met,” Hal blushed, “it’s nice to have someone that understands you, and loves to geek out as much as you do.”

          Ryo looks over at the Diru table, just at that moment he sees Kaoru and Toshiya kissing, “What the fuck? Toshiya and Kaoru?” he hissed. Jui looks over Ryo’s shoulder, seeing the end of the kiss, a single sob choking in his throat.

          “Hmm?” Hal looks to the Diru table, “yah, I guess they’re dating now or something. Hey, I loved what you did with Lynch’s Devil, that turned out…” Ryo got up and started walking towards the Diru table, “Ryo, no…” Jui whined as he followed him, grabbing his arm and trying to pull him away, “Let’s just go Ryo, it’s not worth it.” 

          Ryo wrenched his arm roughly out of Jui’s grip, giving a death gaze to the couple, others on the patio moaned. Reita had watched from where he was standing next to Sato, then ran over and grabbed Ayato, “Go get Taka, hurry!” Aoi was now standing protectively in front of Yuki’s wheelchair.

          “I knew you were lying to me, and to Jui,” He snarled at the couple, “you were too busy fucking him, that’s why you didn’t want Jui to move in, isn’t it Totchi?” the words dripped venom as Ryo spat them out.

          “What I was doing or not doing, is none of your business Ryo, I suggest you keep your mouth shut, take your new boyfriend and leave.” Toshiya chuckled; the short man did not intimidate him in the least.

          “Fuck off, Toshiya...” Ryo turned and looked at Kaoru, “you were fucking him the entire time we were together, weren’t you?”

          Kaoru smiled, “If you want to believe that, you have every right to, but I’ll be honest…no I wasn’t fucking him the entire time we were together, if you remember correctly, I was the one that wanted you to move in with me, not the opposite.” Kaoru leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest, a smart-ass smirk on his face.

          “Ryo, let’s leave…I don’t want to be here,” Jui whined again, pulling at Ryo’s arms.

          “Fuck off, Jui. If you want to leave then go…I’m not stopping you.” Jui gasped, “What?”

          Standing up, Toshiya walked towards Ryo, “You’re pathetic, why don’t you just leave, Ryo. You’re an outsider even in the industry, you should have fought to keep your band together, this bullshit trackmaker thing? It’s just that, utter bullshit.” Toshiya advanced on Ryo, using his height to his advantage. “Totchi, don’t… he’s not worth it.” Kaoru muttered.

          Ryo took the first swing, Toshiya leaning back and laughing, then he shoved the smaller man in the chest, “Don’t think so, kid…you’re too damned small,” he laughed. The situation went downhill quickly; heated words, pushing and shoving, Kaoru trying to pull Toshiya away, Jui doing the same for Ryo.

          Then the unexpected happened (or was it?), Ruki stomped over and grabbed Ryo hard, swinging the man around by the arm, “What the FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”      

          “FUCK YOU RUKI, STAY OUT OF THIS!” Ryo was on his way to losing it completely.

          “You’re an asshole Ryo! I take back every nice thing I ever said to you! You’re pissed because Totchi and Kao are dating? HOW FUCKING OLD ARE YOU?”

          Ryo stopped.

          “Just because it didn’t work out for you, why do you have to be such a fucking asshole? Leave them alone and let them be happy for fucks sake, damn! I shouldn’t have to intervein like some school yard monitor, grow the hell up, Ryo.”  Ruki turned on his heel and went back to the Gazette table and sat down.      

           Once again, Jui reached out to Ryo, taking him gently by the hand, “Let’s go home Ryo, this was a bad idea,” he said as he led his friend away from the patio.

          “Get off me, Kyo.” Toshiya jerked his arm away. “As long as you’re going to set your skinny ass down and behave, Totchi.” Kyo snapped.

          Taka had made his way to the side of the building, watching the developing altercation, but stopped short of becoming involved, “Looks like they handled it on their own.”

         

          “So, did I pass the test?” Yuki started teasing Aoi the moment they got in the car, the party had wound down a bit earlier than normal, due to the tension between the two ex-boyfriends.

          Aoi kept his eyes on the road, “Yes, you passed,” he said with a smirk.

Chapter Text

           Isshi could hear Karyu screaming at Byou and Ruimaru, he heard the footsteps coming down the hall and the slamming of the door to his bedroom. Isshi was certain that the young man would stay with him, if he refused Byou and Ruimaru’s requests to live full time in the country, though he did not want to think of life without all three of his boys.  

          Checking the time, he reached for his phone, his only option was to call Davina, she would have an answer for him…hopefully.

          “Isshi? Is everything alright?” Davina was surprised and worried to see Isshi’s number flash on her screen.

          “No, Mistress, everything has gone to shit as they say.”

          “Oh? Are the boys…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. Isshi explained the two incidents in detail, the way the boys were acting towards each other and the enviable out come that he was predicting.

          “I’m going to lose my boys, Davina. Masamoto has destroyed them completely,” Isshi sobbed, “I don’t know how to move forward with this, do I just tear up our contracts?”

          Davina tried to calm Isshi’s nerves with careful words. “Isshi, love…don’t give up so easily.”

          “I gave them until morning to come to a unified decision, but after that…do I carry out what I have threatened?”

          Davina sighed, “No, do not give in that easily. I’m going to call Sakurai and Madame F, give me a few hours and I will either call or text you what we have decided. Please Isshi love, don’t give up on your boys.” With a thank you and a good night, Isshi hung up the phone.  

          Something told Isshi to get up and check on the boys, just an irrational thought that perhaps Byou and Ruimaru had already left the house. “Stop it, you fool,” he muttered to himself.

          He checked Karyu’s room first, but the door was locked, “You know he’s in there.” Walking down the hallway to Ruimaru’s room, he quietly opened the door and looked in, he found both young men in bed, holding each other close. With a heavy heart, he closed the door and made his way back to his bedroom.

 

          “We need to speak tonight; no, it can’t wait. Thank you.”

 

           Madame F sat in Davina’s parlor listening as the woman recounted the phone conversation, she had with Isshi, “He just sounded so broken. I just can’t imagine what he’s going through, it’s critical that a solution needs to be found. I do not want to have those boys in my home with me looking for new Dominants.”

          Madame F shook her head sadly, “It seems that Masamoto Umeji is still wreaking havoc from the confines of prison. Do you have any ideas my dear?”

          “I have, but it’s a bit unorthodox and I’m not sure that either party would agree to it.”

          The elder Dominant raised an eyebrow, “Go on…”

          “Nakamura Taizo.”

          “Davina, really? How does he figure into all of this? The man is reprehensible at best.” Madame F scoffed.

          “True, but he did save the boys from Masamoto, and he does have some partial sway over them. I’d like to suggest that he go out to Sakurai’s estate and speak to the boys, and perhaps he can talk some sense into them.”

          “I’m not entirely agreeable to your methods, though I can not think of anything myself, that would help Isshi.” Madame F sighed, “Alright. I will contact Nakamura and see if he is agreeable to this. Will you contact Isshi and at the very least, warn him about what we are prepared to do?”

          “I will text him as soon as I hear from you, Madame.”

 

          Nakamura Taizo wasn’t sure he was hearing what Madame F was asking him. “You must be joking, Madame. I’m the last person in the world that Isshi-san wants to see, let alone speak to his submissives. Are you sure you’re not ill?”

          Madame F went on to explain the problems Isshi was having with his submissives, the fact that they no longer wanted to live in the city, fearful of a possible kidnapping.

          “My dear Taizo, you are our last hope, we don’t know what to tell Isshi to help him. Davina and I really do not want to have to find new Dominants for those precious boys, they belong with Isshi.”

          “I still don’t know what you expect me to do, Madame. I am not some all sworn hero just because I was able to grab those boys from Masamoto, so what do you want of me?”

 

          “Isshi darling, listen carefully to me. Tomorrow you will have a visitor that is coming to talk with your boys, I’m not going to tell you who it is so you can not deny me. All I can say is the visitor will speak to your boys and hopefully bring them to their senses.”

 

          They were all late risers the next morning, none out of their beds until mid-morning, with Isshi staying in his room until almost noon. Karyu kept his distance from Byou and Ruimaru, who were sitting close to each other. Karyu glared at Ruimaru when the young man came into the kitchen, “You have no right to look at me that way, I’m only looking out for my own safety.”

          “No. You’re being a selfish brat and not thinking of Sir’s feelings at all. How could you do this to him, Ru?” Karyu snapped back.

          “Me? What about you? You said you’d leave him and find another Dominant if we wouldn’t come back with you, so who’s being selfish now?”

          Karyu walked over to Ruimaru and got in his face, “I’m willing to stay with Sir, unlike you!” he shoved Ruimaru against the wall, “You want to stay here and hide from the world, like a fucking mouse. You lied when you said you’d stay with Sir forever, just like you lied to me and to Leda, and now to Byou, when you said you loved us.”

          The shorter boy shoved Karyu back, “I did NOT LIE! I LOVED LEDA TOO!” he screamed in other’s face. The pushing and shoving started, Karyu finally getting fed up and reaching out to slap Ruimaru.

          “WOAH THAT’S ENOUGH!” A pair of hands grabbed Karyu and pulled him away from Ruimaru. “What the hell are you doing?” Ruimaru gasped, Karyu turning to see who grabbed him, “Nakamura-san?”

          “What are you doing in this house, Nakamura!” Isshi had heard the commotion from the bedroom, expecting to see his young men arguing, but seeing Nakamura Taizo was the furthest thing from his mind.

          Nakamura turned and bowed low to Isshi, “I was summoned here by Madame F and Mistress Davina, in hopes of mediating the problem between your young men, Isshi-san.” Isshi muttered something under his breath that sounded a lot like ‘fuck you Davina’.

          Walking over to where Nakamura had Karyu by the arm, Isshi slapped him and Ruimaru both, shocking all three of the men.

          “I can not believe that you have stooped to this level, any of you. Regardless of our situation, you will not behave like hooligans in my house or in Sakurai Atsushi’s home, shame on you.” Isshi turned on his heel, “Taizo, come and speak with me for a moment, please.” Nakamura nodded his head, but turned to the two boys, “Do not touch each other.”

          Walking out to the small patio in the back, Nakamura found Isshi sitting in a chair, his head in his hands. “Isshi, I’m sorry to have sprung this on you, but Mistress and Madame both told me not to alert you that I was coming. Perhaps this was wrong of us, but they are genuinely concerned with what’s going on. I’d like to help if I can.” He sat in a chair next to Isshi.

          “Taizo, I’m losing my boys. That monster Masamoto has them in his clutches, just as sure as we are sitting here. Byou and Ruimaru refuse to return to the city with me, they want to live out here and hide. Karyu is having none of it, and said that if I decide to stay here, he will ask Mistress to find him a new Dominant.” Isshi looked up at Nakamura, tears streaming down his cheeks. “I don’t know what to do, Taizo.”

          Reaching over and patting Isshi on the shoulder, Nakamura sighed, “If I may, let me talk to them. I’m not sure anything I can say will help, but I can at least try. Will you allow me to do this?” Isshi nodded, “If you would please, thank you.” Nakamura rose from his seat, “I’ll do my best.”

          Leaving Isshi to remain on the patio, Nakamura walked into the house. “You,” he pointed at Karyu, “go sit over in that chair and do not move.” Karyu’s face paled, “Yes, Sir.” Glaring at Byou and Ruimaru, who were sitting together on the couch, Ruimaru’s face still red from the stinging slap that Isshi dealt out, and Byou looking scared.

          Nakamura paced back and forth, tapping his finger on his chin, thinking carefully about what he was going to say. “I want you three to listen to me carefully. I’m not going to repeat myself.” He grabbed a barstool from the counter, and placed it between the boys, sitting on the edge.

          He first looked at Karyu. “Why do you think I stopped my scene with you, when I found out who you were?”

          Karyu’s jaw dropped, “Because I’m one of Isshi’s submissives, Sir. Of course, you would stop.”

          “Really? What if I told you I had thought about keeping you for myself, that I wanted to fuck you senseless and take you home with me? That I wanted revenge against Isshi for taking Byou away from me. How would you deal with that?” Karyu shrank back into his chair, he had no words for Nakamura.

          “You,” he pointed at Ruimaru, “I wanted to fuck you so bad that night, your tight little asshole was fucking calling to me, begging to be rammed full, you were so beautiful strapped down. Why do you think I stopped? Do you really think I’m some sort of savior?” he paused, waiting for the full effect of his words to hit Ruimaru, “Please, I just wanted to ram my cock up your ass, keep you on that horse and fuck your mouth. Why do you think I stopped?”

          Nakamura got up and walked over to Byou and flopped down on the couch next to him. “And then there’s Byou, lovely Byou. You’re the one I really wanted to take. The things I had planned for you, I’m getting hard just thinking about it.” he rubbed his crotch, chuckling as Byou shrank back.

          Putting his arm along the back of the couch, he licked his lips as he leaned closer to Byou, speaking softly, “You are everything I’ve ever wanted in a boy, you’re beautiful and I would love nothing more than to tie your little ass up, put my mark on you and have my way with  you for hours, doesn’t that sound delicious?” As if on cue, Isshi came through the back door, and stood quietly and watched.

          Byou’s panic stricken face went first to Ruimaru, then to Karyu before he saw Isshi standing in the doorway, “Sir!” Shoving Nakamura away, Byou scrambled off the couch and threw himself in Isshi’s arms, “Please…Isshi,” he sobbed, “I’m so sorry…please, I don’t want to go with him,”

          Before he could even react, Isshi had an armful of sobbing young men, begging him to forgive them, “Please, Sir, I’m so sorry I was … I don’t want to …” Ruimaru stuttered through his tears. Karyu looked at Isshi first, then standing slowly he got up and went to where Nakamura was still sitting, “Thank you,” is all he said and bowed low, then walked over to Isshi, joining in the group hug. Without another word to anyone, Nakamura Taizo got up, bowed lightly to Isshi and walked out of Sakurai’s house.

          As Nakamura drove back to the city, he hoped that Isshi wouldn’t think too badly of him, and that it wouldn’t be solidified with the community, until he showed that he had truly changed his ways.

 

 

          Aoi waved as he left Yuki’s flat with Reita and Die, who had borrowed a truck from DCR to move Aoi’s belongings. “I can’t believe this is happening, considering a year ago you couldn’t stand the sight of Yuu, now he’s moving in with you,” Ayato said as he closed the door. “Yah, but it’s time.” Yuki wheeled himself to the second bedroom, where Pon was moving boxes to make room for Aoi’s gear.

          “Just put everything stackable in the corner please.” Yuki wheeled over to the small chest that held his extra clothes, pulling everything out and tossing them into a keep or donate pile.

          “So, have you guys fucked yet?” Ayato asked as if he was inquiring about the weather. “What? Aya!” Pon smacks the man in the back of the head, “Mind your own business, damn dude really?”

          “What? It’s a legit question. If Yuu’s moving in, they have had to have had sex already, right Yuki?” They both turned to look at their friend, who’s ears were burning and his face red.

          “No, we haven’t, everything but…” he muttered

          “What hell are you waiting for? Seriously? Damn, I fucked Akira…”

          “We know the story, Aya.” Pon giggled.

          Yuki put the shirt down he was folding, “When I can walk, Yuu said he wants me to be able to enjoy it fully.”

          Ayato wasn’t satisfied with that answer, “You’re at least getting blow jobs, aren’t you?”

          “AYATO!” Pon slaps his hand over the man’s mouth, “Really? Just drop it already.” Yuki said nothing, but had a tiny smile playing on his lips.

 

 

          As they finished loading all Aoi’s things, Reita grabbed the roll down door, and secured the latch. “Guess that’s it then, I mean it’s a big step for you two, right?” he asked Aoi.

          “Yah, but we’re ready for it. We talk a lot now, there’s no more issues…I don’t run away like a coward, and he doesn’t shut me out anymore.” Aoi dropped the keys to his old flat in the mail slot of the manager’s office.

          Die chuckled, “Yah, right. I’m sure you do sooo much talking, I know what you’re really doing.”

          “Um, no not really.” Aoi said flatly.

          “What? You’re not serious, are you? You guys haven’t um, had sex yet?” Die couldn’t grasp the concept.

          “We fool around, but no. We haven’t had sex yet… we’re waiting until he can walk. Not like he’d enjoy it right now anyways; he’s got no feeling, remember?”  That hadn’t even dawned on Die, “Yah, I guess you’re right. But you guys um, do other things, right?”

          “Die, leave him alone. If Yuu’s not getting any, that’s his problem not ours.” Reita smacked Die in the shoulder.

          “Look, we’re happy the way we are, things are working out just fine. You don’t have to worry about anything, especially not about me getting laid. Just drop it and don’t you dare say anything to Ayato or Pon.” Aoi said harshly. “We’ll be just fine, thanks.”

Chapter Text

 

          Taka woke up tired. He had slept a full eight hours, but this morning…he was bone tired. Lingering in bed, swiping through Twitter and Instagram, he finally made the effort and got up, even though the pressure on his shoulders was overwhelming.

          “Morning babe,” Sato was standing at the stove, making breakfast. “Coffee or tea?”

          “I don’t care, either one is fine.” Taka slumped into a chair at the small kitchen table, Sato looked over his shoulder. “What’s wrong? Do you not feel good this morning?” Turning off the stove, he poured Taka a cup of coffee.

          “I’m tired, that’s all.” Taka mumbled as he took the coffee, “maybe I’m getting sick or something.” Sato reached over and laid his hand on Taka’s forehead, “Well, you’re not running a fever, do you have to work today?”

          “Yah, I’m the closer with Koichi and Aki, it shouldn’t be that busy.” The last thing he felt like doing, was working. “This will be the last week of summer hours.”

          “Maybe you should go back to bed for a bit, I don’t want you getting sick,” Sato stood up and leaned over to kiss Taka on the forehead, “I’ll get you up before I leave for the studio.” Taka hummed an okay, then got up and crawled back into bed, falling asleep almost immediately.

 

          “Taka, you need to get up, you’ll be late for work if you sleep any longer.” Sato nudged the man’s shoulder, “Hmm? Yah, okay.” Wiping the sleep from his eyes, Taka then stared at the ceiling. He felt a little better, the weight on his shoulders wasn’t there, but the depression was still festering in the back of his mind, though he was unsure of the cause.  Getting through a shower and a quick lunch with Sato, Taka left the house and made his way to the HBG.  

          Apathetic. That was the only term Taka could find to describe how he felt on his way to work. How easy would it be just to disappear? Get on a shinkansen and take it to the end of the line, find a hotel or hostel and hole-up for months. But he knew better; he was responsible and there were people that expected him to show up for work and play manager-san.  Arriving at the back door of the HBG, Taka heaved a sigh and steeled himself to a ten-hour shift, when all he wanted to do is sleep.

          “Hey Taka, glad you’re here,” Mao said brightly, “We’ve been pretty busy for a Saturday morning.” Taka acknowledged Mao with a wave, then went into the office and closed the door. “What the hell?” Mao muttered, then turned back to his work.

          He just sat there, staring at the desk, his mind numb and dark. Why was he even there? They didn’t need him; the small drink bar ran itself with little need of any type of manager. He could be sleeping, or … or what? Ceasing to exist? That actually sounded damned good at that moment. Not that he wanted to die, or kill himself, but just ceasing to have to interact with anyone. “Fuck it.” Taka got up and grabbed his bag, and without a word to Mao, left the HBG and headed back to the train station.

          Walking to the schedule board, he searched for a train, any train that would take him as far as he could go, away from Tokyo. Finding the right trainline, Taka pushed his way through the gates and down the stairs to the various platforms, searching for the right one. His phone started to buzz in his pocket, taking it out, he didn’t even look at the screen, instead turning it off and putting it in his bag. “Nope, not today.”

          Settling in his seat, Taka felt nothing but relief. Staring out the window, he couldn’t wait to escape the city, the crowds and responsibilities of his stupid life. “You’ll do fine without me,” he muttered under his breath. As the train left the station, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, hoping that sleep would claim him.

         

          “What the fuck? Where the hell did he go?” Mao watched as the door closed slowly, “TAKA!” Mao shouted, running to the door only to see his manager running up the stairs to the train station. Taking out is phone, he called Taka, “The number you have reached…”

          “Shit, really? Damn him…”

          “Damn who, Mao? Kyo punish you again?” Aki walked through the back door just as Mao reached the office.

          “Taka, he just took off.”

          “Took off? What do you mean?” Aki put his bag in the back room.

“Just that, he came in, sat down in the office and closed the door. He might have been in there five minutes? Then he just left without a word, ran out the back door and over to the train station.”  

“Have you tried calling him?”

          Mao held up his phone, “His phone’s turned off. Should I call Sato?”

          “Let’s wait until Koichi gets here, maybe he knows what’s going on.”  

 

          He could sense that the train was slowing, the gentle rocking had ceased and his eyes slowly opened. Taka sat up and roughly rubbed his face. “That was a decent nap,” he said to no one, “where are we now?” Looking up at the digital sign, it read ‘Kyoto’. Knowing that he had to change trains, Taka grabbed his bag and made his way out and on to the next platform, “Should be there by dinner.”

         

          Koichi was on the phone with Sato, “No, he didn’t say anything to Mao, just walked out the door,”

          “He was in a weird mood this morning; he had a cup of coffee then went back to bed for three hours.”

          Koichi frowned, “We tried calling but he’s shut his phone off. Where the hell did he go?”

 

          Stepping off the train, Taka made his way through the station and out to the street, taking a deep breath of the sea air. “Finally.” It was dark and there were but a few taxi’s in front of the station, Taka figuring that one of them could recommend a decent hotel.

          “You’re visiting family here in Fukutsu, young man?” The taxi driver asked. “No, I’m here just to settle down, I’m done with the big city life of Tokyo.”

          “Well you’ve chosen a beautiful city in which to start over.” The taxi driver pulled into the driveway of a small family run hotel. “I believe you will enjoy your stay here; this is a family run business and they treat their guests very well. Enjoy your stay, young man.” Taka paid the driver and stepped out of the taxi, “This looks perfect.” Entering the lobby, he was greeted, “Irasshaimase.”

Chapter Text

           It wouldn’t stop. One after another, the annoying sound in Toshiya’s ear was constant. What the fuck is that noise?

          “Kao, answer the door,” he muttered into his lover’s ear, nudging him with his shoulder, but Kaoru was dead to the world; too many beers and a late night with his lover, had him knocked out. Toshiya reached over and picked up his phone to check the time, then noticing that it wasn’t someone at the door, he had several text messages…from Jui.

          This was not truly unexpected, considering the tirade that Ryo had put them through at the HBG, Toshiya certain that Jui was going to tear into him via text messages. He nudged Kaoru again, “Hey, wake up…I have something to show you.” He had waited long enough for Kaoru to get up, have at least one cup of coffee, before reading the texts.

          “He’s apologizing for last night.”

          “Why would he apologize, he wasn’t the asshole.” Kao was puzzled. Toshiya was going to read the next text, when his phone rang. “It’s Jui.”

          “Hey, um…what’s up?”

          “I thought it may mean more, if I spoke to you personally, and not through a text, is that alright?” Jui’s voice was quivering.

          Looking at Kaoru, Toshiya mouthed ‘it’s okay’, “Sure, just wondering why you’re apologizing to me and Kao, when you didn’t do anything really.”

          “Well, I didn’t do much to stop Ryo, did I? I probably shouldn’t have agreed to go with him, I’m sorry for that.”

          “Are you and Ryo, um…” why did he care?

          “It’s a fluid situation, sometimes I think he likes me, then he just gets all aggro about Kaoru, which I don’t understand since he was the one that broke it off.”

          “Well, all I can say is be careful, you obviously saw how he can act, it’s unfortunate that it’s ended like that.”

          “Yah, he really needs anger management therapy,” Jui laughed, “Anyways, I’m happy for you Totchi, honestly. Say hi to Kaoru for me, and I’ll um, see you around.”

          “Sure, take care of yourself, Jui.” Toshiya closed his phone. “So?” Kaoru raised an eyebrow. “Can we say awkward?”

          Toshiya shrugged, “Probably more like guilt for just being there. I guess Ryo’s giving him mixed signals about their relationship. Sounds like Ryo’s the one with all the problems, not us.”

          “It was nice of Jui to apologize though, he really didn’t have to.” Kaoru said.

          “Yah, I mean it’s not like I hate him or anything, he just wasn’t the right guy,”

          Kaoru slid his arm around Toshiya’s waist, “And who’s the right guy?”

          “Like you have to ask…”      

 

 

          “That was very sneaky and underhanded of you, Mistress. As Madame F is so fond of saying, I’m completely vexed with you.” Isshi was scolding Davina over the incident with Nakamura Taizo.

          “Was it effective, Isshi dear? Are your boys back in your arms?” Davina said lightly.

          “That is besides the point, but yes…the boys are in my arms, in my bed and all is well.” As to accent the statement, Davina could hear soft giggling in the background.

          “When will you be returning? Are you still going to purchase the property?”

          Isshi hissed at his boys, quieting them with a look, “We will be returning tomorrow, and as for the property, that has yet to be decided.”

 

          The aftermath of Nakamura Taizo’s intervention was swift and heartbreaking, for Ruimaru, Byou and Karyu. They clung to Isshi so long, that the man had to pry himself away, and ordering the boys to sit together on the couch so they could discuss the incident.

          Byou and Ruimaru were still sniffing, rubbing their tears with their sleeves, Karyu less upset, and with a smug look on his face. He knew that Davina was behind Nakamura’s showing up at the exact moment he was needed.

          “Well, that was a bit dramatic, ne? But do you now see how foolish your concerns are? If I were to tear up our contracts, you could very likely end up with Nakamura Taizo or someone like him, as your new Dominant. Byou, I would venture to guess that Mistress and Madame F would revisit your place with Nakamura. Ruimaru, you could end up with someone like Madame F, a very strict female Dominant and Karyu, love…you could end up homeless.”

          Isshi let what he said, sink in for the boys before he continued. “Yes, Davina used a very unorthodox way to shake you all up, but if that’s what it took, I can hardly be upset with her. Now I would like to hear from each of you, your honest reactions and your change of heart regarding our situation.” Karyu looked at Byou and Ruimaru, hoping that one of them would start the conversation, but both boys were staring at their hands.

          “It figures,” he said softly, then he looked at Isshi. “Sir, my biggest fear in all of this wasn’t having a new Dominant, but that no one would want me. I’m not young and cute like Byou and Ru, I don’t have the experience that they do as submissives, I’m just not that good,” now he looked at his hands, “besides, I’d be homeless, I have no where to go. I might have to agree to a shitty Dominant just to stay alive.”  

          Ruimaru reached out and snatched Karyu’s hand in his, “You’re just as good of a submissive as anyone! Don’t ever say that again.” The young man’s smile lit up the room.

          “I’m the one that doesn’t deserve you Sir.” He looked up at Isshi, “I can’t believe you didn’t beat me, because I totally deserve it.” Byou silently reached out for Ruimaru’s hand, squeezing it gently.

          “I would have gone with Nakamura-san, if that would have made you happy, Sir,” the boy’s voice was barely above a whisper, “all I’ve ever wanted was to make you happy, Isshi. I don’t deserve to be treated as well as you treat me, I don’t really deserve any of this.”

           The words tore at Isshi’s heart, “Byou-kun, you’re wrong, you’re worthy of love and so much more. Do you truly believe I would be happy without you in my life? I lost you once, due to immaturity and stupidity on both our parts, I almost lost you again to that monster,” Isshi got up and cross the room, sitting on the couch next to Byou, “I refuse to let you live anywhere else in this world, except at my side with Karyu and Ruimaru.”

           It was at that point that the four men broke down into a sobbing huddle of love, Isshi gathering them in his arms and taking them to bed, for a long night of reconnecting, comforting and reaffirmation of his love for his three young submissives.

 

 

          The flashbacks haunted Sato’s dreams that first night. Remembrances of coming home from being on tour, only to find that Taka had moved out, without a word to anyone. The devastating effects of the young man’s choices, the mental illness and the alcohol, flooded Sato’s mind. Koichi had called Tatsu at the studio when Mao and Aki told him that Taka had just left the HBG without a word, leaving him stunned.

          “I don’t know what’s going on, he just left work after like fifteen minutes, and now his phone is turned off. I have to stay here but you need to tell Sato that Taka’s missing.”

          Sending Mao home, Aki and Koichi worked the closing shift, Koichi on his phone every minute between customers, calling everyone they knew. Mao had gone straight home to Kyo, explaining the situation. “Are you sure Sakurai’s not involved in this?” Kyo growled, and was rewarded with a slap across the chest.

          “That’s not even fucking funny, stop it!” Mao snapped at him.

         “Sorry, just a first reaction. So, what do you think’s going on with him? It’s not like he’s been drinking again, right?”

          Mao shook his head, “Not to my knowledge, but you know, he has clinical depression as well, maybe something’s going on at home that we don’t know about.”

          For the members of Mucc, panic had started to settle in when it grew dark outside, Sato frantically calling Taka’s phone, “I don’t understand, why did he just leave and where the hell, is he?” He snapped his phone closed sharply, “he was a bit off this morning, I just thought maybe he was coming down with the flu, but this?”

          “Let’s not panic yet. Is there some place that he liked to go when he was…I don’t know, depressed?” Yukke sat on the couch, trying to calm a worried Sato.

           Sato closed his eyes, pounded on his forehead with his fist, “I can’t think of anywhere. The onsen that we took him and Koichi to, when Morrie was still on the loose, but I already called them. I don’t know where else he would have gone.”

          “Have you checked his bank card yet?” Miya had Eddy in his lap, slowly stroking the cat who could feel that something was wrong. “SHIT!” Sato jumped up and left the room.

          With his laptop in hand, Sato logged in to the bank site and started paging through the charges. “Hmm, okay… one at the station near the HBG, then in Kyoto? What the hell is he doing in Kyoto?” Miya sat down next to him.

          “He bought a ticket on the shinkansen…going south?” Sato paged through, “Fukutsu? Wait… look,” Miya pointed at a name on the screen. “Hotel Fukuda?”

          “It’s in Fukutsu, a small family hotel that’s been in the area for decades.” Yukke had quickly pulled the name up on his phone. “Do you want to call them?”

 

 

          He reached over to feel for Sato, but the cool sheets reminded him that he wasn’t at home. “Mmm, the whole bed to myself,” he hummed. Rolling over onto his back, Taka stretched, “slept better than I have in a long time.” Reaching for his phone on the night table, he opened it and turned it on, and wasn’t surprised that the phone chimed for about five minutes, with the missed calls and texts.

          “Really? Can’t a guy just have some peace and quiet?” he put the phone back on the table. “Mmm, shower then breakfast.” As he got ready, he could hear his phone continue to chime. “Fine, I’ll call you after I eat,” he sighed. His subconscious was screaming at him that he was being completely unfair and just hateful, in his treatment of Sato. But the depression was telling him to blow it off, that everyone would be just fine without him.

          “I’m entitled to a little vacation, you don’t appreciate me anyways, so why are you hounding me?” He muttered as he walked towards the small dining room.

          Ordering a light breakfast, Taka went through the messages and voicemails, the texts that screamed at him to at least text them back, Sato begging him to call and tell him that he was safe. Finishing his tea, he paid his bill, deciding to walk down to the beach, “More peaceful if he’s going to yell at me.”

          Choosing a place in the sand, just far enough away from the beach walk, Taka sat down, and took a deep breath.

          “Hi.”

          “TAKA! OH MY GOD!” Sato screamed, then started to sob, “Baby, why? Why did you run away? What did I do to make you leave me?”

          Miya pulled Yukke and Tatsu away, “Let’s leave him alone, we can talk to him later.”

          “I didn’t leave you, I just… I just needed to get away, you wouldn’t understand.” Taka muttered sullenly.

          “How can I understand if you don’t talk to me about these things? Baby, I just want you to be safe, if you’re not happy you have to tell me these things so we can work it out.” Sato was still crying, but his sobbing was more controlled.  

          Taka hid his head in his arms, “Can you just leave me alone for awhile, please? I just need to deal with this myself, it’s not like I’m needed that badly, everyone can get by for a few days, right?”

          “I can’t get by without you, no. But I can’t convince you of that over the phone. I know where you’re staying, and all I ask is that you agree to let me come down so we can talk about this, just you and me, away from home.”

          He didn’t answer right away. How would he feel if he saw Sato at that moment? Happy? Angry? He was just so ambivalent and apathetic, what good would it do?

          “Taka, please?” Sato was close to begging, to promising his husband anything, just so he could speak to him face to face.

          “Fine, if you know where I am, I’ll stay until you get here, but after that, I’m not making any promises.”

          “I’ll be there in about five hours, I’ll meet you where ever you want.” Sato was already moving towards the bedroom, grabbing a back pack and shoving clothes in it.

          “Meet me on the beach, I’ll be waiting for you.”

Chapter Text

          “I think it’s a smart choice, Isshi dear. Yes, Masamoto and his gang are in jail, but who’s to say that there aren’t others out there, that are going to blame you for that?” Mistress Davina and Madame F were sitting in Isshi’s office, going over ideas for a new security system; a fence around his property was high on the list.

          Isshi wasn’t completely convinced, “It’s such a drastic change, Mistress. Is it truly warranted? Do you honestly believe that my family is in such great danger?”

          “Do you believe your lovely boys would feel safer if such a precaution was put in place? Is this not about Ruimaru, Byou and Karyu, and their right to feel safe in their own home?” Davina was becoming frustrated with her friend.

          Rising from his chair, Isshi left the room and walked into the kitchen where his boys were preparing lunch, “Boys, I need you to come with me.” They put down what they were working on, and followed their Dominant back to his office. Bowing low to Davina and Madame F, they took their normal place against the wall, behind Isshi’s desk.

          “I want your opinion, your truthful opinion.” Isshi stood in front of his desk. “Mistress has proposed that I have a fence built around my property, like the one she has at the manor, and I’d like to know how you feel about it. Would this satisfy your need for security?”

          Ruimaru looked at his co-lovers, then back at Isshi, “Sir? Could we please have a moment to talk about this between us?”

          “Yes, you may, though I’d like an answer in the next half hour.” Isshi dismissed the three young men. Madame F chuckled, “That was very clever of you, Isshi, leaving the decision up to your young men, very clever indeed.”

          Ruimaru grabbed Byou’s hand and led them to his room. “Why is Sir letting us decide?” Byou asked, he wasn’t sure that he had a right to decide on what Isshi did.

          “Because we’re the one’s that are scared, silly. I’m sure if we didn’t care, Sir wouldn’t do any improvements.” Karyu explained.

          Ruimaru nodded, “I agree, he’s doing this for us, not for himself. Letting us decide what we want is his way of showing us that he truly does care and is acknowledging our fears as being real.”

          “It sounds expensive,” Byou said, “is it really worth it? Maybe we just need to go to therapy or something.” He wasn’t happy about Isshi having to spend a great deal of money on their insecurities.

          “Sir is going to say that we’re worth it, you know he will.” Karyu claimed, “He’s going to tell us that our peace of mind is invaluable.”

          Ruimaru shifted uneasily, “What do you want to do? Should we go to therapy?”

          Once again, Karyu took charge, “I say we go to some sort of therapy for a month, maybe two, then if we’re not feeling better, we should talk to Sir about some other kind of security.”

 

 

          “Junky what?” Koichi had no idea what Tatsu was talking about.

          “Hyde’s Halloween party, he always does a video for it and he asked me to participate, well me and a bunch of other musicians.”

          “So, this means no Mucc Halloween live this year?” Koichi didn’t want to sound disappointed, but he loved being able to dress up for the event, hiding his costume from Tatsu every year.

          “You can still dress up Kou, it’s not like you have to stay home, you’ll just be backstage with the artists party, unless you want to stand out in the crowd, but it’s at Makuhari.” Koichi shook his head, “There’s no way I’m going out in that crowd, I’ll get stomped on!”

          As Tatsu made dinner, he and Koichi talked about the upcoming event, the planning it would take and of course, the costumes. “We have an unfair advantage, because we get to use professional make up and costume people. But I’m sure if you come with me, someone will have a costume for you.”

          “I can’t wait to tell Ta…” he cut the thought short, but not before Tatsu noticed.

          “I’m sure Taka will be excited, I might even be able to get him a pass, don’t worry so much baby, Sato will get things straightened out.” Tatsu reached out, giving Kou a quick kiss on the forehead.

          “I wonder if Sato’s there yet?

 

          He searched the streets in front of the small hotel, looking for Taka. Checking in, he asked for directions to the beach, and left his bag at the desk, not wanting to waste time going to his room first.  

          Sato had to keep himself in check, he didn’t want Taka to see him running across the sand towards him, he wanted a calm sensible approach. As he crossed the boardwalk, he scanned the shore for a lone figure sitting in the sand, his heart pounding in his ears. It takes him a minute or so to find Taka, and just as he promised, he was sitting in the sand waiting for Sato. “Don’t fuck this up.”

          In his mind, Taka was waiting for the big breakup, the divorce he knew was coming. There was no way that Sato would stand by him, why would he? His husband was crazy, stupid and worthless. He wouldn’t be surprised if Sato didn’t bother to show up at all.

          “Taka, babe, can I sit down?” Sato’s voice was soft, though it still startled Taka.

          “Sure. Surprised you even came.” Sato could hear the pain in his husband’s voice.

          They sat there for awhile, watching the waves in silence, neither one knowing how to start the conversation. Without another word, Taka just leaned over and put his head in Sato’s lap, closing his eyes and quietly crying, Sato gently started to card through Taka’s long hair.

          The wind coming off the water started to become chilly, Taka starting to shiver as he laid in the sand. “Babe, it’s getting cold, let’s go back to the hotel, ne, we don’t have to share a room, I’ve booked my own.”

          Taka nodded, slowly sitting up and stretching, laying in the sand was nice and all, but it also left sand in some awkward places. Sato stood and held his hand out to Taka, who hesitated before accepting. “Are you hungry?” Sato kept Taka’s hand in his as they crossed the beach.

          “Sort of, I ate breakfast.” Sato grinned, “Well I’m starving, can I treat you to dinner? Then we can talk…if you want to.” Taka just shrugged, “Sure.”

         

 

          Koichi closed the front door and locked it, “Eddy is still such a pig,” he muttered. He had agreed to watch Eddy and the twins for Sato, while he was trying to reconcile with Taka, going over twice a day to feed the starving horde. He was tempted to text Sato for an update, but Tatsu had warned him not to. “Just leave them be, Kou. They’ll work it out for themselves.”

          For Tatsu’s part, he was hoping to distract Koichi with the preparations for Hyde’s upcoming Halloween Party, recounting costumes and antics from previous years. “Whatever you’d like to have as a costume, I’m sure that the staff can help. Any ideas yet?”

          Koichi shook his head, “No, not yet, do you know what would be available to choose from?”

“I’m sure I can ask Hyde or Kaz, or do you want to surprise me?”

          “I’ve always surprised you in the past. Do you know what bands will be there?”

          Tatsu went down a list of names, some of which Koichi didn’t know, others he was amazed with, “Yoshiki? Seriously…he’s going to be in the Junky band thing?”

          “Junky band… it’s The Junky Orchestra Kou, and no, Yoshiki isn’t in the band, but he’s always at the parties. But Kyo of D’erlanger will be there, and um, Yasu of Janne d’Arc. There will be other bands, but I’m not sure who has confirmed yet.”

          “Kyo? Oh god, can we handle another Kyo?” Koichi didn’t know of the band D’erlanger, “He’s nothing like our Kyo, he’s older, and his band has been around since the early 80s.” They talked more about who would be there, what costumes people had worn in previous years.

          In the middle of teasing Tatsu about a costume that would show his not so attractive legs, Koichi’s phone chimed, “It’s Sato!”

          “Hey Kou, Taka and I will be down here for a few days, do you mind watching the cats for awhile longer?”

           Koichi quickly showed the text to Tatsu, “Well, I guess it’s a good sign, isn’t it?”

          He quickly texted Sato back, “Sure! Take your time, I’ll watch the kids.”

          “Thanks Kou, we love you!”

         

 

          Yuki watched as Aoi laid out his clothes onto the bed, making separate piles for donation, keep and ‘Rock Star’. “I thought you said Aoi of Gazette was going to stay in the closet?” He teased Aoi.

          Aoi flashed a cheeky grin, “He will be in the closet, just not the one in our bedroom, he’ll be shoved into the other room, where he belongs.”

          Yuki reached over and picked up a long black shirt-thing, “How do you even wear this?” he held it up to his chest. “Like this,” Aoi took the shirt and put it on, adjusting the straps and buckles, “see? Bondage Aoi.”

          “Bondage Aoi? Oh please…what do you know about bondage anything?” Yuki laughed.

          Aoi pursed his lips, “I’m not talking Sakurai and Uta bondage, this is fashion bondage, you know, haute couture, or street style. It’s not like I’m going to make you wear a damned collar and claim you as my submissive.”

          “Submissive? Me? Oh my god…” Yuki threw his head back and laughed, “if you think that I’d make a good submissive, you’ve totally misjudged me. I am so NOT Uta,”

          Aoi squatted down in front of Yuki, “I know you’re not a submissive, and you’re definitely not anything like Uta. I actually wouldn’t change a thing about you, except for one thing,” he put his hands on Yuki’s knees, leaning in, “all I want to change, is that you walk into the Restaurant for the DCR Christmas party, holding my hand.”

          Leaning forward, Yuki brushed his lips gently across Aoi’s, “Mmm, that’s what I want too, but do I still have to dance with Die and Reita?” He nuzzled Aoi’s nose with his, “Yes, but only after you dance at least ten times with me,” Aoi kissed Yuki quickly.

          Standing back up, Aoi returned to sorting his clothes, “what do you say about Ojisan’s after this? Feel up to it?”

          “Sure, I don’t feel like cooking anyways, but if we’re going, I’m taking a shower first…care to join me?” Aoi hesitated for about half a second, then ran around and started to push Yuki’s chair towards the bathroom, “Don’t have to ask me twice!”

          “HEY! Anyone home?” Aoi and Yuki groaned at the same time, “We’re going to have to do something about that.” Aoi whined.

          “Yah, we’re down in the bedroom,” Yuki didn’t want to shut Die out, but Aoi was right, “maybe we should change the locks?”

          “Hi, how’s the move in going? Getting everything put away?” Die was wearing his typical goofy grin.

          “Yah, we were discussing bondage for a bit, but then we decided against it.” Yuki deadpanned.

          “Um, bondage? Like Davina bondage?” Die wiggled his eyebrows.

          “Davina? How do you know about what she’s into? Hmm, should I ask Pon what you guys do in the privacy of your own flat?” Aoi smirked.

          Die rolled his eyes, “You know I’ve known Davina at least as long as I’ve known you, I’m not completely oblivious to her lifestyle or the scene, and no, you don’t need to ask Pon anything.”

          “What are you not asking me, Die?” Pon peeked his head into the front door. Aoi leaned down, “we need to change the locks,” he whispered in Yuki’s ear.

          “Nothing babe, just small talk. Hey, I came over for a reason, you guys up for Ojisan’s tonight? Akira and Ayato are going, so I thought we’d barge in on you guys, you know, make it more of a party.”

          Pon smacked Die in the arm, “Sorry, Die’s good at barging in, if you haven’t already noticed, you guys might want to get a deadbolt for the front door.”

          Aoi sighed and looked at Yuki, “I guess our romantic ramen dinner, will now be a party of six, unless you can think of anyone else, you’d like to invite?” 

          “Maybe I should call Uta? I’m sure Sakurai would love to talk about bondage clothing,” 

          The shocked look on Pon and Die’s faces, was priceless, and Aoi decided to run with it, “Well, he could suggest which restraints work the best I’m sure, something that you couldn’t get out of…not that it’s a real problem considering you can’t walk.”

          Yuki tapped his finger to his chin, “Hmm, so maybe a waist restraint instead? Or furry ankle straps?”

           “Um, Yu… what are you talking about?” Pon asked carefully.
          “Well, I saw one of Aoi’s bondage shirts from…?” he looked at Aoi.

          “When we filmed the Inside Beast video, it wasn’t included in the final cut, but I do have that scourge that Kai used, and I think I still have the wrist restraints, wait here! I’ll go see if I can find them…” Aoi turned and started to walk down the hall, only stopping once he heard Yuki laughing.

          “Oh my god, the look…hahaha! You should see your faces,”

          “That’s not funny Yuki, you scared me to death, I thought you guys were being serious! Totally not funny.” Pon huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.

          “I thought it was funnier than hell, actually…right Yuu?”

          Aoi nodded, “To be honest, you guys deserved it, I think from now on, you’re going to have to knock before coming in, you could have caught us you know…fucking on the floor or something.”

          Die’s jaw dropped, “Wait, you said you weren’t…” Pon punched him in the shoulder, “Shut up Daisuke, just go get the car ready.”

          “Sheesh Pon-chan, you don’t have to be so rough, or maybe you like it …,” Pon grabbed Die’s ear and twisted it, “OW! Okay! Okay, I’m going!” he muttered something about being misunderstood, as he walked towards the parking lot.

          “He’s such a freaking dork,” Pon turned to Yuki and Aoi, “I promise, we’ll make this as painless as possible, but you’re going to have to deal with the teasing, just as both Ayato and I did from you guys. So, suck it up and let’s go eat.”

Chapter Text

          “Babe, I need to run to the studio for a bit, do you need anything while I’m out?” Hal was lying, sort of. He did need to go out, and he was going to the studio, but not for anything related to his band.

          “No, I’m good…oh wait, can you stop and get Alfie some canned food please? She’s such a pig these days.” Uruha came out of the bedroom, “Sure, I shouldn’t be that long.” Hal kissed his boyfriend and left the house. As soon as he pulled out of the neighborhood, Hal took out his phone, “I’m on my way, should be there in about fifteen minutes.”

         Rushing into the studio and down to Gazette’s practice room, Hal see’s Kai, “Thanks for meeting me, let me explain why I need your help.”

         “Sure, what’s up?” Kai really had no clue what Hal was about to ask him for.

         “I want to propose to Kouyou, but I don’t know when or where.”

         “YOU WHAT?” Kai’s jaw dropped, then he grabbed Hal and hugged him tightly, “Oh my god, really? You’re going to propose! This is fucking epic.”

           Hal’s face turned red, but he had a bright smile, “Yah, it’s time. I just don’t know how. What do you think, you’ve known him forever, what would he like…or not like?”

         Kai’s brow creased, “Hmm, do you want to do the whole bended knee thing, like a traditional proposal?”

          “Yah, I do. He deserves it all, romantic proposal, fancy wedding, everything. I just want him to say yes, and to make him happy.” It was the genuine concern by Hal for his boyfriend, that Kai always appreciated.

         “Well, I don’t think you should do it in public, you know he’s too shy for that. So, I wouldn’t do it like at the DCR Christmas party.”

          Hal laughed, “True, he’d either pass out or break up with me. But I do want our friends around us, just not the entire roster of bands. Just my guys, and your guys…and maybe a few others.”

          Kai clapped Hal on the shoulder, “Okay, let me think about it for a bit and I’ll get back to you, I’m sure I can come up with at least a basic idea.”

 

 

           Ruki had a lap full of feisty kitten, who had very sharp claws, “Damn Kou, you should cut these needles, Alfie’s tearing me to shreds!” Carefully picking the kitten up, Ruki deposited her on the chair next to him.

          “I have to take her to the vet to have her nails cut, she does not appreciate me trying.” Ruki had called Uruha just after Hal had left, asking to see him. “I just have a minor problem that I want to run by you.”

          Putting Alfie on the floor, Uruha sat next to Ruki, “Sure, what’s up?”

          Ruki smiled softly, looking at his hands, “I want to propose to Tomo, but I’m just not sure when or where to do it.”

          Uruha was beaming, “Really? You’re that serious about him? I mean, I never doubted that you love Tomo, he’s a pretty amazing guy. I guess I just never pegged you for someone who would want to get married.”  

          “I’m not that Ruki rampage guy anymore, he’s long gone, unless of course someone hurts someone I love, then all bets are off.” The look on his friend’s face, told Uruha everything.

          “Do you have any ideas at all?”

          Ruki sank back into his chair, “No, other than I want it to be private, Tomo’s way too shy for me to propose in a public place.”

          They exchanged ideas, some of which were valid, others were just ridiculous, “The top of Tokyo Tower? Kou, Tomo’s terrified of heights, and I’m not too keen on them either.”

          With a short list of ideas, Ruki got ready to leave, picking up Alfie who was lurking by the door, “You need to behave yourself, missy,” Ruki tried to nuzzle the kitten’s nose, but was rebuked with a large paw instead. “Oi, you little shit!” He patted Alfie on the butt and put her down, “Call or text me if you come up with something.” With that, Ruki went home.

 

          “Hi, can you meet me at Ojisan’s in like an hour? Cool, thanks.”

 

          Kai was stunned; two in one day? He peered over at Ojisan, who winked at him. Kai’s heart froze. “Kai, listen to me please.” Uruha smacked his friend on the leg.

          “Hmm? Oh, sorry, what were you saying?”

          “Ruki wants to propose to Tomo, but he’s not sure where. Tomo is too shy to have it done in a really public space, but I can’t think of anywhere else but maybe at home.” Uruha explained.

          “Why don’t you just have a small party at your house? Maybe a Halloween party, or a barbeque, just our band and Hal’s? We don’t have to invite everyone, well except for Yukke.” Kai could not believe his luck! This was all falling together and being placed in his lap.

          Uruha chewed on his lip, “Hmm, I did want to have a barbeque before it got too cold, and I don’t really want to deal with a Halloween party, all the decorations and what not.” Kai was screaming inside his head; this couldn’t be more perfect.  

          “You could just do like a fall barbeque, get some heavier food, maybe some sake with the excuse it should be consumed warm,” Kai paused, “but the weather could still be warm, I guess you’d have to leave the food choice until a few days before.”

          They talked a little more about who they would invite, “Aoi and Yuki, Reita and Ayato, and any of Hal’s guys who have partners, I don’t really know the guys that well.” Uruha confessed, “We were going to have a band barbeque anyways, but I guess this is a better excuse.”

          Finishing up their ramen, and Uruha ordering some to go for Hal, Uruha thanked Kai for his help, “I’ll let you know what Ruki says, just don’t say anything to Aoi or Reita, I’m not sure when Ru will want them to know. I need to talk to Hal as well.”

 

          Kai waited until Uruha was in his car and pulling out of the parking lot, before grabbing his phone. “Hey, I might have solved your problem…well Ruki might have solved it for us. Whatever you do, just agree to what Uruha is going to ask you about. Just have faith in me on this one.”

 

          Sitting at the small dining table, Hal scarfing up Ojisan’s ramen and listening to Uruha explain what had happened while he was gone, Hal couldn’t believe his luck, it was just as Kai had said.

          “…a barbeque because we were going to plan that anyways. Kai had suggested a Halloween party, but that’s just too involved and I’m not sure I’m ready to have anything that detailed yet.”

          “Mmffsoundsgood,” Hal mumbled through a mouthful of ramen. “It’s pretty damned cute that Ruki’s going to surprise Tomo, they’ve been together forever, or at least it seems that way,” he was going to take a chance, “I wonder if he’s going to do the whole bended knee thing?”

          “Hmm, he didn’t really say. I don’t’ see Ruki doing quite that, you yes… Ru, no he’s going to do something else.”

          Dig a little deeper, “Well, I’m not sure how I would do it, I mean it might be spur of the moment, or I might plan it out, I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet. You’re still wearing my ring, and you have my heart, that’s what’s most important to me.”

          “Well, let me just warn you right now, mister. Don’t you dare propose to me at the HBG during a studio event, or at the restaurant! If you want to live long enough to marry me, always remember that.” Uruha got up and walked around the table and put his arms around Hal’s neck, “I don’t care if you ever propose, I’m happy just the way we are.”

          Hal leaned back, “You make me so incredibly happy all the time, so don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.”

Chapter Text

          Between the constant teasing of Die and his supposed knowledge of exactly what Mistress Davina’s sex life consisted of, and the genuine happiness from Ojisan, seeing his young friends happy, the dinner at Ojisan’s had become boisterous.

          “You shouldn’t have said anything Die,” Ayato laughed, “now Pon’s going to want to know what type of bondage experience you may have.” For his part, Die was taking the ribbing calmly, assuring everyone that he had his own secrets to keep.

          “Don’t worry about what I know, how about you tell us about your dancing? I’m sure Reita appreciates your experience, ne?” Die teased back. A general sound of uh oh, flooded the small ramen shop.

          “Die, please, I was a professional, of course Akira knows what experience I have,” Ayato sniffed, “would you like me to give Pon some lessons, or would you rather have a private demonstration?”

          “WOAH! There’s no private anything between you two.” Reita stood up and placed himself between Die and Ayato, “His dancing stays in our home, nobody else needs to see it.”

          “Maybe Ayato should show Yuki a few moves,” Aoi suggested, “he owes a lot of us a dance at the Christmas party.”

          “Yuu,” Yuki whined, his face flushed in embarrassment, as he leaned his head into Aoi’s arm.

          Pon chuckled, “Yuu, he has to be able to walk before Aya can give him lessons.”

          “How’s the therapy going? I haven’t really seen you much lately, work’s been a bitch, especially since Taka’s gone.” Ayato asked.

          “Taka’s gone? What do you mean?” This caught everyone’s attention.

          Ayato wore a worried grimace, “A few days ago, he came to work and basically locked himself in the office, then without a word to anyone, left and got on a train. He’d been missing over night, freaking Sato out of course, but I guess he’s down in Fukutsu, nobody knows what’s going on.”

          “Taka’s mind is darker than normal; his inner demons have surfaced and he had it in his mind to run as far as he could to escape them.” Ojisan was standing behind his counter, his arms crossed. “He fears that he is no longer needed at work or at home. Sato is with him and they are at least talking things out.”

          “So, this is just a temporary thing?” Die asked, he still had some guilt from his past behaviors concerning Taka.

          “Daisuke, you have no reason to hold such guilt, Taka and Sato have forgiven you,” Ojisan smiled at Die, “Yes, this is temporary, Taka-kun and Sato-san should be home within a few days, there’s no need to worry yourself so.”

          Pon listened intently, hearing the reference to Die and Taka with some interest, something he knew he’d ask about once they got home.

          The discussion about Taka had taken the frivolity out of the small gathering, with everyone deciding to head home, except for Aoi and Yuki, Ojisan asking them to stay behind for a moment, this of course made Aoi nervous.

          Ojisan leaned over the counter and held Yuki’s hands, “I want you to listen to me carefully, Yuki, and you as well Yuu-san.” Yuki and Aoi shared looks, “Of course, Ojisan.”

          “Do not walk alone, always have Yuu at your side. It is certain disaster if you try to do everything by yourself. Do you understand this?” Both men knew to listen to the ramen maker, the man was rarely wrong.

          Aoi put his arm around Yuki’s shoulders, “Ojisan, I’ve moved in and  live with Yuki now, he’s never going to be alone again, I promise.”

 

          “What do you think he meant?”

          “Who? Ojisan? He probably knows you’re walking again…well you’re almost walking.” After Aoi had put Yuki in the car, he stopped for a moment, Ojisan’s words ringing in his ears. “You know how he is, sorta weird and like second sight or something.”

          “What about the whole Die feeling guilty?” Yuki had a feeling that whatever Ojisan was talking about, it was in the past.”

          “That I’m not really sure of, other than I know Taka had some issues with alcohol and what not when he and Sato first started dating, but that’s been years ago.”

          Pulling into the parking lot, Aoi decided he’d just carry Yuki into the flat, “I’m tired and don’t feel like wrestling your chair tonight.” Yuki knew this excuse all too well and what it would eventually lead to.

          “Hmm, yah of course, because my chair is so heavy, it weighs more than I do!” He laid his head on Aoi’s shoulder, as they went into the flat. “Don’t forget, we need to ask Uta if we can change the locks,” Aoi waited until Yuki reached down and opened the door.

          “Couch or bedroom?”

          “Couch for now, I’m sure the cats think they’re starving.” Aoi nudged the door open with his foot, Rin and Sora screaming as soon as they saw the man. “God you guys! Really? You ate like two hours ago!”

          Leaving Yuki on the couch, Aoi went through the very verbal routine of feeding the two grown cats, scolding them gently. “What would you do if we weren’t there to feed you? You guys would die in two days, shrivel up to nothing but bones and fur.”

          His emotions got the best of him at that moment, listening to Aoi talking to the cats, Yuki started to tear up. Closing his eyes, he laid his head back on the couch and thought back to where he had been just a year ago, and how his life was now. He thought of Ken, but he no longer felt the pain as he had before, the pain had been replaced by pleasant memories.

          “Hey, why are you crying?” Aoi walked over and sat next to Yuki, pulling him into his arms, “what’s up?”

          Yuki giggled, sniffed and wiped his eyes, “I’m just being overly dramatic, nothing’s wrong.”

          “So, you just randomly cry for no reason?”

          He snuggled in Aoi’s arms, “Mmm, I’m just stupidly happy, that’s all.”

          “Oh, so you’re so happy you’re crying? Hmm, what can I do to make you just sob uncontrollably?” he nuzzled Yuki’s neck.

          Yuki’s breath hitched, “You’re getting closer, but now I just want to cry, so still not to the sobbing stage yet.”

          “Mm, let’s see what we can do about that, shall we?” Aoi stood up, bending down he quickly picked Yuki up and started down the hall, “Wait, is the front door locked?” Yuki giggled.

          Aoi put him on the bed, “I’ll be right back,” he sprinted down the hall way, double checking the front door, and running back into the bedroom. “Yes! They’ll have to kick the door in.”

          Jumping on the bed on his knees, Aoi rested on his hands, “Where were we?” he leaned down and nuzzled Yuki’s nose, then licked his lips and captured his mouth. Sliding his hand under Yuki’s shirt, he rubbed a tiny nub, Yuki’s known weak spot that always drove him crazy.
          He moans in Aoi’s mouth, “I want you,” he whispered.

          Aoi stopped and looked at Yuki, cocking his head, “I thought we decided…”

          “What you decided, I never said anything,”

          A smile started to spread across Aoi’s face, “Are you saying…?”

          “I’m saying yes,” Yuki giggled, “do you want me to repeat myself?”

          “Are you one hundred percent sure? I don’t want to start something, and have you getting scared or whatever.” Aoi wanted this with all his heart, but not at the expense of Yuki’s well being.

          Yuki sighed, “Yuu, I’m sure. I’m tired of waiting…tired of everything being ‘when I can walk again.’ I want to be a normal couple that does normal couple things, that includes sex, so please, just make love to me.”

           He rolled onto his side, and took Yuki in his arms, “Yes baby, I’ll make love to you tonight… what happens after that, just be prepared, because we have a lot of catching up to do.”

           

         

          “I have no appetite, there’s no joy in anything I do anymore, and I feel like I’m wasting people’s time if they have to interact with me. It was just easier to leave, that way I didn’t hurt anyone, or myself.”

          “When I’m upset, I shut down. I give myself all the negative feelings I can possibly think of. I give myself the pain I think I deserve and I tell myself that nobody cares, even though I know that some do. I’m not sure why I do this, but it’s just how my brain works.”           

          Sato sat quietly and listened as Taka tried to explain his feelings and why he had left the city without telling anyone. These were difficult words to hear from the man he had loved almost since the moment he saw him, but he needed to pay attention to those feelings.

          “Thank you for telling me this, it helps me understand what’s been going on with you lately. I need to ask though, what do you think triggers this? Do we need to go back to the doctors and change your medication?”

          Taka shrugged, “Not sure what triggers it, it just kinda happens. I go to bed fine, wake up and I hate myself and everyone else. Maybe I do need to go back to the doctor, or therapy or something.”

          They had shared a quiet dinner at a local restaurant, that was uncrowded that night. Instead of returning to the hotel, they decided to walk along the beach and talk things out. Hand in hand, stopping at times to take a break and hug, Sato trying to comfort his husband, unsure how he could fix things.

          “If you could do anything at all, right this second, with money not being a problem, what would it be?”

          Taka stopped walking and leaned up against a short rock wall, “Anything?” Sato moved to stand in front of him, hands on Taka’s waist, “Anything at all,”

          “Can I think about it for awhile?” he laughed nervously, “are you trying to plan something, Sato? You sneaky man.” That tiny laughed made Sato’s heart soar, he knew that his ‘boy’ was still underneath all that depression.

          “I’ll give you 24 hours, and it’s none of your business what I have planned.”

 

         

 

          Die was in trouble. Not life threatening, or relationship ending, but he was in trouble. Pon wouldn’t drop the issue of what Die knew of Davina’s lifestyle, even though his lover had explained in the past.

          “Most of what I know is from what Kyo has told me, and babe…that was years ago. Why don’t you believe me that I’ve never been a Dominant or a submissive?” Die whined, as he threw his head back on the couch.

          Pon was sitting on the other end, “I believe you when you say you’ve never been either of those, but what exactly is your relationship with Davina?” Pon asked testily.

          “Cordial and respectful, and that extends to Madame F as well. They’ve been on the outskirts of the industry for quite sometime, ever since Uta’s relationship started with Sakurai. Other than that, I don’t have a relationship with Davina or Madame F.”

          Pon was only slightly convinced, “Would you object if I spoke to Davina myself?” he waited for Die’s objections, but was surprised. “If you’d like to, I can arrange it, but do you honestly not believe me? I’ve never lied to you Pon, and you know that.”

          Die’s answer took the wind out of Pon’s argument, leaving him feeling a bit guilty for pushing the idea further than he should have. “I know,” he admitted, “guess it’s just insecurity.”

          Leaning over, Die put his head in Pon’s lap, “Insecurity, why?” Pon reached down and started carding through Die’s long hair, “This sounds so lame, but you’re older than me, by like a lot, and sometimes…I don’t know, worry that you’re going to leave because I can’t relate to your life, or some shit like that…I don’t know.”

          Turning over and looking up at Pon, Die couldn’t believe what he had just heard. He stared at Pon for a few seconds then got up off the couch, “Come with me.” He held his hand out, “Why? Where are we going?” Die put his finger to his lips, ‘Shssh, don’t ask questions.”

          Taking out his phone, Die proceeded to text someone, “What are you doing?” Nodding, he snapped his phone closed, “No questions, just follow me.” Grabbing his keys and wallet, Die lead Pon to the parking lot, “Get in.” holding the door for him. “Where are we going?” It only took Pon about five minutes before he knew their destination, “Why are we going to Kyo’s?” Die just grinned and kept driving.

          “What the hell is this about, Daisuke?” Kyo was in track pants and no shirt, having been doing an at home workout.

          “Davina.”

          “What about Davina? Have you said something stupid to her?”

          “No, I haven’t. I want you to explain to Pon, about our relationship with Mistress.” Die nodded his head towards his boyfriend.

          Kyo looked at Pon who was obviously uncomfortable. “Pon-chan, what do you need to know?” Kyo’s voice softened.

          The young man shrugged, then looked at Die. “Why did you have to bring him into it?”

          “Pon thinks that I might leave him because I’m too old and that he can’t relate to my life, which includes Davina.”  Kyo motioned for Pon and Die to sit with him on the couch.

          Kyo settled himself and looked at Pon, “First off, you have nothing to worry about, with this knuckle head and Mistress.” Die looked offended, Kyo just chuckled.

          “I’ve known Davina for what…fifteen years, maybe longer. We met at one of the local clubs, back when the band was just starting to get popular and I felt the need to release some of my um…sexual energy.”

          Kyo explained to Pon his role in that community, where he was in the hierarchy, “These days, I’m not even considered part of the active community.” Explaining what he knew about Davina and Madame F, and of course, Teiji. “I truly thought she would die with out her Teddy, and we were all terrified for Uta.”

          “Die knows about the community and the scene because of me, not because he ever participated in any activities with Mistress or Madame F. There has always been a small amount of inuendo and teasing between Die and Mistress Davina, and I can promise you, it’s nothing to worry about.”

          Kyo looked at Die, “You however, need to stop flirting with Davina in front of Pon, stupid.” Kyo lashed out and smacked Die across the chest, “No wonder he thought you were a pervert, you’re always making lewd gestures at Mistress, knock it off Daisuke, or I’ll have Madame F give you some corrective training.”

           

          Snuggled together in bed, Die holding Pon close, they talked about what Die had done with Taka, and the fall out, but also the forgiveness from the man and his husband, and they talked more about Pon’s fears of abandonment due to their age difference. “I hope you don’t think I’m that shallow, babe. Our age difference doesn’t mean shit to me, it never has. I always thought you’d be the one to leave, find yourself a man closer to your own age.”

          “Pfft, guys my age are idiots, just look at Ayato and Yuki.”

          “Hmm, yah you have a point there,” Die leaned to kiss Pon, “are we okay now? I’m not leaving because you’re too young, and you’re not leaving because I’m too old, can we just pretend that today never happened?”

          Pon nodded, but decided to show Die that he wasn’t going anywhere, and that today did not in fact matter the least to him. “I love you Daisuke.”  

Chapter Text

 

          The aisles of Ninoma, offered Toshiya a place to escape who he was, at least who people thought he was. He had wandered the aisles, chasing down an elusive figurine in a series that he had been collecting, rumors on the internet had indicated that the figurine had been seen at this store, unfortunately the rumors were proving to be just that, rumors.

          As he turned the corner, he bumped into the back of another customer, “Oh, I’m so sorry… I didn’t…Jui?” His ex-boyfriend turned around, a look of pleased surprise crossing his face, “Hello Totchi, we really need to stop meeting like this.”

          Toshiya grinned, “A bit of déjà vu, isn’t it?”

          “Just a little. How’s things with you and Kao?” His heart was breaking, he was such an idiot.

          Toshiya ran his hand through his hair, “Um, we’re busy in the studio right now, we have a tour scheduled for early next year. How are you and Ryo…are you…?” he didn’t want to come right out and say it, but he did notice that the man looked drawn and pale, and were those bruises on his wrist and arms?

          “We’re not serious,” he lied to Toshiya, “we see other people.” Jui pulled his sleeves down. This was becoming awkward for them both.

          “Hey, well take care of yourself,” Toshiya opened his arms to hug Jui, “just remember, if you’re ever in trouble, you can always call me, okay?”

          “Sure Totchi, say hello to Kaoru for me, please? I’ll see you around.” Jui walked away, lifting his hand and waving.

           Toshiya watched his ex-boyfriend as he walked out of the store, “Well that sucked.”

          He all but ran from the store, pulling his hood up to hide the tears that burned in his eyes. “Why…why did you have to be here today?” Jui couldn’t believe that he lied about his relationship with Ryo, the abusive relationship. Walking quickly to the train station, his head bowed, all he wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed and hide from the world.

          Settling into a seat in a corner, Jui’s phone buzzed in his pocket. He hesitated looking at it, he knew who it was.

         “Are you done yet? I have shit to do today.”

         Of course, Ryo had stuff to do, he only thought of himself and never what Jui wanted or thought. “I don’t feel good, I’m going home and going to bed.”

        “Fine, whatever.”

        That’s how most of their conversations went, there was never any equal give and take, their relationship ran on Ryo’s moods. Why he was still seeing Ryo, no that wasn’t right, he wasn’t seeing Ryo, he was getting fucked by him. Jui knew he was a convenient piece of ass for the older musician, and he had settled for that.

 

         “Tadaima,” Toshiya toed off his shoes in the genkan, “Okaeri, in the bedroom.” Kao was performing his domestic duties for the day, folding laundry as he waited for Toshiya to return.

         “Any luck?” He looked over his shoulder at his lover, “What’s wrong?” Toshiya walked over and wrapped his arms around Kaoru, nuzzling his neck, “I love you.”

         This was strange, “I love you too, but what’s wrong? Did something happen at the store?” Kaoru patted Toshiya’s hands, then turned around to face him.

        “I bumped, literally, into Jui at the store.”

        “Okay, and that was a bad thing?” Kaoru sat on the bed, reaching out for his lover.

        Toshiya shook his head,

        “Well, it wasn’t bad that I saw him, but Kao…I think Ryo’s abusing him. He had bruises on his wrists and arms, and he looked pale and sort of puny.” He lay his head on Kaoru’s shoulder, “I did tell him though, that if he was ever in trouble, he could call me, are you okay with that?”

       “Completely okay with it, I’d be disappointed in you if you would have refused him. Just because he’s your ex, doesn’t mean you just ignore him, especially if you think Ryo’s abusing him.”

       “Why would he stay though, I don’t understand that at all.” Kissing Toshiya on the forehead, Kaoru didn’t have a clear answer, “It may be that he feels alone, and that any relationship is better than none. The biggest problem though, is you can’t force someone in that situation to leave the abusive person. It’s a cycle that’s almost impossible to break.”

 

       “Sir, will we really have to tell her everything, even the um…you know, the bad parts?” Ruimaru had Isshi by the hand as they left the large office building where the psychologist Dr. Miwa was located, having just finished their first group therapy sessions, Byou and Karyu trailing behind them.

      “Angel, if you want to be healed, you’re going to have to be truthful with Dr. Miwa, and if she asks you for specifics, you’re going to have to comply.” Isshi wasn’t worried about Ruimaru complying with the therapist’s requests, he was worried about Byou and his lack of interaction with anyone.

      “Let’s go and get some lunch, I’m craving some of Ojisan’s pork cutlet ramen.” Looking at Byou for a reaction, Isshi saw nothing. Just a young man walking with his head down and not paying attention to his surroundings.

       Karyu linked his arm with Byou’s, leaning hard into his friend, “I’m so hungry, I think I’ll have ramen and chashu pork, what are you going to get?” Byou shrugged, “Mmm, maybe just miso ramen, I’m really not that hungry.”

       Ruimaru snuck a glance behind him, then pulled on Isshi’s arm, “Sir, what are we going to do about Byou?” Isshi looked over his shoulder, then leaned down to Ruimaru, “I’m not sure Angel.”

 

       “Irasshai gentlemen, welcome to my humble shop, what can I make for you today?” Ojisan greeted Isshi and his young men with a broad smile. Taking the other’s orders, Ojisan turned to look at Byou, “Byou-kun, for you I have something special today.” He winked then turned to his kitchen.

          “Sir, what do we tell Dr. Miwa about Nakamura-san?” Karyu had been thinking about the upcoming sessions with the therapist.

          “What do you mean, my love?”

          Karyu looked at his hands, “I know all of our sessions will be confidential, but are we allowed to name him, I mean…he saved us. I’m just not sure how that will work.”

          This was a legitimate concern, one that Isshi didn’t readily have the answer for, “If the question of identifying Nakamura specifically, comes up, I’m sure Dr. Miwa will either not use his name, or perhaps ask you to create a name for him.” Before the conversation could go on, Ojisan placed their meals in front of them.

          Byou was the last to get his food, “Byou-kun, this is my mother’s secret recipe. She made her udon for me whenever life seemed difficult, what the secret ingredient is, I can’t say. I only make this for the most deserving of my customers and I believe that you are in need,” he winked. “Thank you, Ojisan.” Byou lifted a goodly amount onto his chopsticks.        

          After a few seconds, Byou’s eyes widened, “Ojisan, this is delicious! I’ve never had udon that tasted this good.” Byou said little as he ate, but he had to admit to himself, that he started to feel lighter, in his heart and in his mind. His vision had more clarity and was not clouded with depression or doubt.

          For Isshi, he could see the heaviness in his young lover’s shoulders start to lift, he sighed deeply, then looked at Ojisan with gratitude. Just as he was going to say something to Byou, the door chimed. “Irasshai…”

          “Hello Ojisan,” Sakurai walked in, with Uta just behind him, “Isshi, this is a pleasant surprise.”

          “Uta!” Without asking permission, Ruimaru left his seat and threw himself into Uta’s arms, “I’m so happy to see you!” he hugged the man tightly, tears begging to be released.

          “Ru, are you okay?” Uta gave Isshi a concerned look, “I’m sorry Uta,” Ruimaru released his friend and returned to his seat, bowing his head and not meeting Isshi’s eyes. Ojisan took Uta and Sakurai’s orders and returned to his kitchen.

          “I’ve heard that you’ve decided not to buy an estate, Isshi, staying in the city I assume?” Sakurai knew much more than that, but did not want to alert the other Dominant to how he came to this information.

          “Yes, we’ve agreed to some additional security measures and as of today, we as a family are seeking professional help through a therapist.” Isshi looked at Byou who was now speaking with Uta, Karyu and Ruimaru talking softly to each other, “Acchan, could I speak to you for a moment outside?”

          Isshi slid the door closed quietly, “I need your… well I need Uta-kun’s help, Acchan.”

          Sakurai raised an eyebrow, “Is there a problem with Ruimaru?”

          “No, it’s Byou. He has shut down completely Acchan,” Isshi sighed, “he is so depressed I can barely get him to speak at all. Today is the first time he’s really shown any interest in life in general. Ojisan’s special udon may be the reason, but he needs help beyond what that man can give him.”

          Sakurai reached out and put his hand on Isshi’s shoulder, “Why don’t you and the boys come to my house and we’ll have dinner. We can let Uta take Byou aside and speak to him, perhaps he can get him to open up.”

          “Thank you, Acchan. They share so much of the same type of abuse and pain. Perhaps Uta will be able to show Byou that life is worth living even after what he’s experienced.”

          Going back into Ojisan’s, the first thing Isshi hears is laughter, something that made his heart soar. “Sir? You need to settle an argument please.” Ruimaru laughed.

          “Oh? And what or whom are we arguing about?” Isshi snuck a glance at Ojisan.

          “Ru! Don’t say anything!” Karyu hissed, Ruimaru looked over at Uta, who just smiled and nodded, “Do it. I dare you!”

          Isshi sat down next to his angel, wearing an expectant grin, “Yes?”

          Giggling almost to the point of not being able to speak, Ruimaru finally controlled himself long enough to ask, “Whether you or Sakurai-san would look…” Karyu groaned and hid his face in his hands, “um, look better in stockings and heels.”

          During this little exchange, Uta had leaned over and whispered in Sakurai’s ear.

          “Isshi, don’t say a word. Here is what I propose,” he paused, “I’d like you to come to dinner tonight, with your boys of course, and I suggest we let them decide who looks better in heels and stockings, what do you say?”

          He could see what Sakurai was doing, and he approved, “My dear Acchan, I think that is a lovely idea. Perhaps it will keep these delinquents from thinking of such naughty things when their Dominant’s are not in the room. Shall we say eight o’clock?”

 

          Having spent the night in separate rooms, Sato wanted to give Taka as much space as his husband needed. Just to know that he was safe and had not harmed himself, was satisfaction enough for Sato.

          “Good morning,” He saw Taka coming into the small hotel restaurant, “Did you sleep well?”

          “I did actually, though I spent a little time making a list.”

          Sato had forgotten the challenge he had issued to Taka the night before, “List?”

          “You asked me to make a list of things I’d like to do, with money not being an issue. I just did what you asked, and here’s my list.” Reaching into his back pocket, Taka put a piece of paper in front of Sato.

          Pouring Taka a cup of coffee first, Sato slowly opened the paper and started to read, different expressions playing out on his face.

          “Mario Kart, really?” he kept reading, “Hokkaido onsen and horseback riding, Leisure Land, Hollywood?” He looked up at Taka, “You really want to go to Hollywood?”

          “Sure, why not? I’d like to travel abroad at some point. Koichi’s already been there, the band’s gone, so I want to see what I’m missing. Maybe even go to Disneyland, it has to be different than ours, right?”

          “I suppose it might be. What about Mario Kart? You’re not serious, are you? That’s such a touristy thing to do.”

          “You said anything, and I’ve always wanted to do it, but never had anyone that would go with me.” Taka pouted; he had half expected Sato to disregard most of what he had listed, and now he knew it was true. He reached across the table and snatched the piece of paper out of Sato’s hand, wadding it up, “Never mind, we don’t have to…”

          “I never said no,” Sato reached out and grabbed Taka’s hand, “I’m just surprised at some of these things, that’s all.” He took the paper back, flattening out, “Which do you want to do first?”

          Taka shrugged, “It doesn’t matter, we can just go to Leisure Land I guess.” His spirits had dropped quickly, it felt forced and ingenuine.

          Sato grinned, “If we’re going to California, you need a passport, that takes about three to four weeks, so what do you want to do until then? Mario Kart would be best on a weekend I think, Leisure Land we can do anytime and I’ll need some time to book an onsen in Hokkaido.”

          “You’re serious? We can go to California? I mean, I didn’t expect you to…” Taka stuttered.

          “If you want to go overseas, then we’re going. The band’s not doing anything right now, Tatsu has that Hyde Halloween party thing, but after that, we’re free for at least two months.” Sato took out his phone and started paging through his calendar.

          “Hmm, I think if we left in December, we could see all the weirdness that they do for Christmas, how about spending Christmas and New Years in California?” Sato looked up, only to find Taka in tears.

          “Babe, what’s wrong?” he reached out for Taka’s hand, “isn’t this what you want? We don’t have to go at Christmas if you’d rather…”

          He shook his head, why was his husband treating him like this? He didn’t deserve such kindness, not after what he had done. “Why…why are you doing this?”

          “Because I love you,” Sato said simply, “you’re worth this and so much more. It drives me crazy when you doubt your own self worth. I understand it’s the depression, and it’s not your fault, truly I understand. But this is all partly my fault for falling into a comfortable norm, we go through our days without appreciating each other enough. If I would have seen the signs, which I should have, I would have known that something was bothering you. I’m not all that perceptive, and I promise to do better, for us both.”

          Taka nodded, sniffed and wiped his eyes on his sleeve, “I think I should go back to the doctor when we get home, something’s obviously not right, either with me or my medication.”

          “What do you say we check out and take the regular train home, not the shinkansen? I’ll call Koichi and tell him we’ll be home late, so he can feed the kids.”

         

         

          Isshi groaned and pushed his chair back slightly, “Acchan, that was beyond delicious, I couldn’t eat anything more.” The dinner Sakurai had prepared was meant to put them into a food coma, at least long enough so Uta could speak with Byou.

          “May I tempt you with another glass of wine, and I’d like you to take a look at some paperwork I have,” Sakurai wanted to get Isshi out of the room, leaving the young men to themselves, “I’m sure the cats will entertain them enough.”

          They helped Uta clear the table, then were shushed out of the kitchen, except for Byou, Uta taking him by the hand “I want you to come with me,” Byou nodded, “the dishes can wait.” Uta led Byou out to the garden, taking a seat in some chairs under the large sakura tree.

          “I want you to listen to what I’m going to say carefully. I was in the same place you are now. You know that I had an abusive dominant, right? Well, what he did to me, was far worse than what you experienced at the hands of Masamoto.”

          Byou was going to object, but Uta raised his hand, “Hear me out first. I’m not trying to negate what you’ve been through, it was horrible, but I want you to understand that you can recover from it.” Uta went on to detail his life after Morrie’s attack, his life with Natsu and the abuse he experienced.

          “It didn’t end really when Acchan and the others rescued me. We went through a serious rough patch where he was acting all…how do I say? A complete asshole.” Byou giggled over Uta’s description of his lover.

          “Then I met Teiji, he was the love I had always looked for. We’d still be together if…” tears formed in Uta’s eyes. He went through his life with Davina, living in the Netherlands and his subsequent illness, and finally his reunion with Sakurai.

          “I’m not trying to say that I had it worse than you. I am trying to tell you that you can recover. Isshi loves you, you understand that and so do Ru and Karyu. Let them help you, Byou. Let Isshi love you so much that you will forget what happened. You need to live and be whole again, and you can’t do that by suffering in silence.”

          Uta was about to say something else when they heard shrieks of laughter and cheers coming from inside the house, “What the?”

          Uta and Byou opened the door, and went to the living room. What they found stunned them into silence, for about five seconds, then both started laughing. They saw Isshi and Sakurai, standing in the living room near the fireplace, both men in shorts, but with stockings and heels.

          “Well, who wears it better?” Sakurai turned and showed off his legs, Isshi strutted in front of the couch, Ruimaru and Karyu were lying on their sides on the couch, laughing hysterically.

          “Um, Acchan? Isn’t that a Day in Question outfit? I’ve seen it before.” Uta crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s really not fair, you wear these clothes professionally.”

          “Very true, this really isn’t a fair contest, but we were challenged, and you know that I never back down from that. So, who wins? Byou I believe you should pick the winner.” Sakurai was trying to draw the young man in.

          Surprisingly, Byou played along, walking around and looking at the men closely, front and back. “Hm, I vote it’s a tie. Sakurai-san wears this when he performs, he’s more comfortable, but Sir…um, could you maybe wear something like this at home?”

          Ruimaru and Karyu stopped laughing, “Byou, what did you just say?” Ruimaru asked softly. “Um, if Sir would wear this at home, for um…you know.” Now Byou was blushing. The evening wrapped up rather quickly after that, Isshi borrowing the stockings and heels, and ushering his young men into the car quickly.

          “How did your talk with Byou go?” Sakurai was still wearing the stockings and heels as he secured the house for the night, “Good, I think he understands that he has to be active in his own recovery. He was shocked over what I told him about you.”

          “What about me?”

          “Just that for awhile you were a raging asshole stalker that wanted to kidnap me and hold me hostage.” Uta said with a straight face.

          “Hmmph, I don’t think I was that bad,” Sakurai walked down the hall, swishing his hips for Uta’s benefit, “if I was that bad, then why are you living with me, begging me to love you?”

          “Begging? Are you fucking delusional? Since when have I ever begged you to do anything?” Uta said incredulously.

          “What time is it?”

          “What?

          “Hm, if my calculations are correct, you were begging me about fourteen and a half hours ago, begging me for...” Uta was playing right into his hands.

          Uta shoved Sakurai into their bedroom, reached around and slammed the door, then stomped off to the guest bedroom, “I was not begging you!” he shouted as he slammed the door.

          Sakurai slowly took off the stockings, put the heels back in his closet, and went through his nightly routine, knowing that Uta would be in his bed within the next ten minutes.

          “Asshole, I wasn’t begging for shit, stupid egotistical musician.” Shit, now he’d have to sleep in his clothes, or sleep in his underwear, “Whatever, I’m not going in there, not giving him the satisfaction.” He crawled into the bed, pulling the covers over his head.

          Sakurai also got into bed, leaving the light on until Uta came back to the bedroom. He heard Luna at the door, scratching to get in. “Where’s Uta?” He asked the cat, who pointedly ignored him, running over and jumping on the bed to claim her spot. He walked down the hall and knocked on the door, “Uta?”

          Peeking in, he see’s a lump in the bed, “Baby, are you coming to bed?” Nothing. Sighing, he knew that he’d pushed it a little too far once again, “I am an asshole,” he whispered. Closing the door quietly, he went back down the hall to the bedroom, grabbed his pillow and two blankets. He went back to the spare bedroom and spread the blankets on the floor next to the bed, “I love you baby,” he whispered as he laid down on the floor and covered himself.

          Waking in the middle of the night, slightly confused, it took Uta a few moments to figure out where he was. Sitting up he see’s Sakurai sleeping on the floor next to the bed, “really?” He crawled to the end of the bed, dragging the comforter and blanket, with his pillow. Laying everything out on the floor next to his lover, Uta covered them both and closed his eyes. Two could play at being assholes, together.

Chapter Text

          There was an uncomfortable weight around his stomach, that was pushing on his bladder just a little too hard. It wasn’t until Uta opened his eyes, that he understood that the pressure was Sakurai’s arm, holding him tightly. “Acchan, I have to pee,” he muttered as he tried to escape from his lover’s clutches. “Acchan…” he tried to wiggle himself free.

          “Hm?” Sakurai released Uta, “what time is it?” Uta struggled to get up from the floor, “I don’t know,” he rushed into the bathroom. Sakurai sat up and looked at the small clock on the night table, 5:13.  

          Uta sighed as he came out of the bathroom, “I thought I might pee myself, what time is it?” Uta kneeled down, “Too early to be up,” Sakurai stood up and held out his hand, “let’s go back to bed, but in our actual bed, ne? We can talk later about this asinine episode we just had.”  Uta smiled, “Okay.” Gathering up the blankets and pillows, the couple made their way back to their own room.

          Luna lifted her head and stared at the couple, “Yes Luna, we know.” Sakurai told the cat as he and Uta got under the blankets, “We’ll talk about it later, just go back to sleep.” The cat didn’t answer, laying her head back down and closing her eyes.

          “That was a stupid fight, wasn’t it?” Uta shimmied over and laid his head on his lover’s shoulder, throwing his arm over Sakurai’s chest, “Insanely stupid, I apologize for teasing you, I should know better by now.” It had occurred to Sakurai that Uta might have reacted to the word begging, as it was probably used to justify Natsu’s abuse.

          Nuzzling Sakurai’s neck, Uta sighed contently, “I shouldn’t be such a weenie anymore, it’s giving Natsu power that he doesn’t deserve.” Sakurai’s arm drew Uta closer,

“Are we okay? I don’t want to go back to bed angry.” The only response he got was a softly snoring lover. “I love you, baby.”

 

 

           Reluctantly, Taka had gotten up before sunrise, to shower and pack his small bag. Sato had arranged for a taxi to pick them up at five, to take them to the train station. His husband was already down stairs at the desk, checking them out of the hotel, “Morning babe, we’ll be ready to leave in a few minutes.” Taka used that time to grab a quick cup of coffee, knowing that he’d need the caffeine in order to stay awake on the train.

          “Tired babe?” They had found their seats and had stowed their bags and now were settling in for the four-hour trip to Kyoto where they would change trains.

          “A little I guess,” he mumbled, “maybe I should just take a nap, do you mind?” Taka slouched in his seat, trying to get comfortable. “No, not at all. You can rest your head on my shoulder, I’ll wake you up when we’re closer.” Pulling the hood of his jacket up, Taka leaned on Sato’s shoulder and closed his eyes, the gentle swaying of the train soon lulled him into a light sleep.

 

        “Taka babe, we’re in Kyoto.” Sato gently shook the man awake, “Already? That was fast.” He sat up and stretched the kinks out of his back. “How long do we have between trains? I’m starving.”

        “You can go into the general station, probably some decent vending machines, if you can, find me something as well.” They made their way out to the platform, Taka jogging down the stairs to the central station, he didn’t find a vending machine, but there was a small konbini. Rushing through the aisles, he grabbed two sandwiches and some chips. He quickly paid for the items then jogged back up the stairs to the platform.

        “Turkey and cheese sandwich, hope that’s okay?” He handed Sato a sandwich, “Yah, that’ll hold us until we get home, though we might have to stop at the store for something for dinner.”

         Taka groaned, “Can we go to Ojisan’s? I really don’t feel like having to shop then go home and cook.” This was a surprise suggestion from Taka, Sato believing that his husband wouldn’t want to be out and about so soon after this latest incident.

        “Sure, Ojisan’s sounds great! Oh, shit…here’s our train, come on!” Sato stood up and grabbed Taka by the hand, hurrying onto the train to find some decent seats. “Finally, why is it that I’m tired but all I’m doing is sitting on the train?” Sato moaned.

        “I always fell asleep when my parents would take car trips, like right away I’d be out.” Taka laughed.

        “Speaking of trips, I did some searching last night, for trips to California. Depending on when you want to go, we can get some good deals for the off season, all we have to do is nail down a date.”

        “When’s the off season?” Taka’s stomach was shaking lightly. “Mm, between Halloween and the end of November. We would be home in time for Christmas…oh! Think of the gifts you could get everyone!” Sato wiggled in his seat like an excited child.

        “Hey, isn’t this suppose to be my trip…why are you getting all excited?”

        Sato stuck out his lower lip in a fake pout, “I’ve never been to Disneyland either. I’ve been to California, but only in a hotel or a venue for the band, so I’m excited to see some sights,” he leaned over and kissed Taka sweetly, “and to be able to do all this fun stuff with the person I love most in the world.”

       “You’re a dork, you know that?” Taka murmured on Sato’s lips, “I love you Satochi, I might not always tell you, or hell…even believe it myself, but I do, please don’t ever forget that no matter what I do or say.”

      “Yes, dear.” Sato smirked. “Can we pray that there’s no more of that happening? I think we’ve had our fill, don’t you?”

       During the two-hour journey back to Tokyo, Taka texted his staff at the HBG and apologized, “You guys didn’t deserve that, and I’m sorry.” Then he shot off a text to Koichi, asking if he and Tatsu would like to meet them for dinner at Ojisan’s, “Dinner’s on me, I owe you guys.”

       Laying his head back, Taka wondered why it was, that his brain would just suddenly cause him to think such things, his thoughts leading him to believe how little he meant to others. He knew his husband loved him, Koichi was still his best friend (and the secret love of his life), he was valued as a manager at the HBG, and he had people who cared for him.

       It had to be the depression, there was no other answer. He knew he didn’t have a brain tumor, (pretty sure he didn’t), knew he wasn’t technically insane, (at least not mental hospital insane), so why did his brain sometimes malfunction? He tilted his head to look at Sato, the man that loved him above anything else.

       He reached over and picked up Sato’s hand, “Hey, I’m sorry, for everything. I wish I understood all of this, but I don’t. I just never want to hurt you, but I keep doing it. I’m sorry.”

       Sato’s eyes started to fill with tears, “Baby, I know you don’t mean the things that you say, I understand it’s the depression. It scares me to death when you just leave without telling anyone. I want you to remember that you can tell me anything, at any time. Just tell me when you’re starting to have those thoughts, and we’ll work through it together, okay? I love you so much.” Sato raised his hand and kissed the back of Taka’s.

        “Let’s get home, meet up with Kou and Tatsu and eat, then I want to go home and get in bed, I’m sure the kids are freaking out. Let’s just have a nice quiet day tomorrow, ne?”  Taka nodded, then leaned his head on Sato’s shoulder.

 

 

      Uruha had the list in his hand, while Hal pushed the shopping cart. “Okay, so we have two kinds of meat, some salad stuff…what else?”  Stressing out over the upcoming barbeque with both bands invited, Uruha was taking the preparations seriously, while Hal was much calmer and was indulging his lover in his OCD.

    “Hm, do we do chips and that sort of stuff, or do we focus more on side dishes?” Uruha stopped abruptly, “Side dishes? Shit! What the hell can I make that is edible?” he had a panicked look on his face.

     “Breathe babe, I can take care of that if you’d like.” Hal reached out and rubbed the man’s arm. “Let me deal with the side dishes and the rest of the food, and you can take care of everything else, okay?” The relief that showed on Uruha’s face was almost comical.

      “Thank you! I’m…I’m sorry I’m freaking out over this, but it’s my first time having everyone over…I never did anything like this when I lived alone.”

        Hal looked around quickly, then slid his arms around Uruha’s waist, and rubbing noses, “You’re not doing anything alone, I’ll always be right next to you.” With a quick kiss, the couple finished their shopping and were soon on their way home.

 

 

       Ojisan eyed Taka carefully, making sure that what he had felt, was in fact the truth. The man always had a soft spot for Taka, having seen the destruction of too many from mental illness, even in his own family. The young man sitting at his counter however, looked to be on the right path, surrounding himself with his closest friends.

       “But why Fukutsu? That’s like nowhere, is that what you were aiming for?” Koichi was sitting next to his best friend, prodding carefully about the most recent incident.

        He was blushing in embarrassment as he tried to explain his actions, “It was as far south as I could go, without leaving the country. I thought about Hokkaido, but that meant taking the ferry or flying.”

       Koichi nodded, “It’s the fight or flight reaction, sort of glad you didn’t want to fight anyone.” He giggled, sending shivers through Taka’s body, “So, what’s next, other than the obvious of going back to the doctor.”

      “We’re going to Disneyland!” Sato said gleefully, “and yes, I’m going to act like a little kid because I’ve never been, even to Tokyo Disney.”

      Koichi and Tatsu’s jaws dropped, “Disneyland? As in California? When is this?” Koichi was instantly jealous.

      “I have to get a passport first, but sometime after Halloween. It’s not that big of a deal Kou,”

        “It’s a huge deal, Taka! Disneyland…in California? God I’ve wanted to do that forever!” he leaned over to Tatsu, “I want to go to Disneyland! Why haven’t you taken me yet?”

        “Thanks buddy, now I have to take Koichi.” Tatsu grumped, “I don’t know when, babe. You never told me you wanted to go. Can’t we just go to ours? Does it have to be California?”

        “You don’t love me enough to take me to California?” Koichi whined, “Yes it has to be California, it’s the original park! Now Taka gets to go, and I don’t.”

        The whining and teasing lasted until the meal was over and they were walking to their cars. “Kou, what if I promise not to have a good time? That every ride sucks, and the food, and the parades…it all is going to suck. Would that make you happy?”

        “You don’t have to lie to me about it, Taka, I want you to have a good time, I’m just hugely jealous. Maybe next time we can all go.” Koichi side-eyed Tatsu.

         As they went their separate ways, Sato wondered if he should talk to Taka about perhaps inviting Tatsu and Koichi to vacation with them. “Boy, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Kou whine so much, who knew he was such a huge Disney fan.”

        Taka half shrugged, “Me either. I don’t remember him ever saying anything remotely close, about Disneyland.” It had crossed his mind to ask Koichi to go with them, any chance he could get to be with his best friend, was better than nothing, even if they were both married.

         The cats still were acting like they had been left alone to starve for months, the moment Taka and Sato walked in the front door, all three started screaming and pawing at both men. Sato scolding the cats while trying to make his way to the kitchen without stepping on, or kicking the whiney animals.

         “I’m going to take a bath,” Taka called out to Sato. He needed to decompress from the last twenty-four hours of his life. The reconciliation with Sato, the train trip home and the strange dinner with their friends.

        Filling the bathtub with water almost too hot to bear, Taka slowly lowered himself in, the stinging bite of heat on his legs and back. It took several moments for him to completely submerge his body, with only his head above water, and his hair floating like a fan around him. Breathing deeply, the hot water started to loosen his tense muscles, hopefully enough that he could sleep without using any sort of medication. He just wanted to close his eyes and forget the last few days.

         “Babe, you okay?” a knock at the bathroom door, “Mm, I’m fine. I’ll be out in a bit.” Running a list through his head, of things that he had to do the next day, Taka resigned himself that he wouldn’t become any less stressed, in the bath. “Well that was a fail,” he moaned as he got out of the tub.

          Drying his long hair, he walked into the bedroom to see Sato on the bed with his laptop, Eddy and the twins already snuggled into their favorite spots. “What are you looking at?” he walked over and sat on the edge of the bed.

         “Well, hotels for one. If we want to stay on property for Disneyland, we need to look at the calendar right away. If we decide to stay at a different hotel, we don’t have to rush things.”

         Crawling over Sato, Taka leaned back on the pillows and looked at the computer, “Wow, that’s an insane price for one night! How much is $600 in yen?” Sato closed his eyes, “About 65000Y, pretty pricey for a bed to sleep in, right?”

          “That’s because it’s right there in the park. I’d rather have the money to spend doing stuff, than staying in a fancy ass hotel. Can you find something more reasonable?”

          Spending the next two hours planning their trip to California, the comfortable closeness returning, as it helped heal both their hearts, with the trauma of Taka’s disappearance shoved behind them to deal with the next day.

 

 

          It was an official pajama day for both Uta and Sakurai, the latter calling Imai and telling him that he would not be at the studio, “Uta and I need a day,” was all that he had said. After a late breakfast, Uta grabbed a large soft blanket and a few pillows, and sat down on the couch, waiting for Sakurai to finish his phone call.

          Snuggled in each other’s arms, the long discussion began. First and foremost, they had agreed never to go to bed angry, and to discuss things civilly if something was bothering either one. Uta gently reminding Sakurai that there were still some trigger words, that he would have a visceral reaction to, no matter what.

          “Remember Madame F scolding me at Vinyl Fetish that one night?” Uta said in a small voice, “I think that there will always be words or actions that um, set me off, I guess. Natsu used to order me to beg for him to fuck me, or to beat me. Then he’d turn around and accuse me of being a slut and begging for others to fuck me.”

          Kissing Uta first, Sakurai apologized again, “Baby, I’m so happy these days, I sometimes forget the absolute shit you went through with that animal. You’re so perfect in my eyes, that it’s hard to believe that you were ever treated that way. I promise to think before I speak, tease or touch.”

          Uta laughed, nudging Sakurai in the ribs, “Don’t think too much before you touch, I don’t want to have to be pushy with you.” The sudden tickle attack lightened the mood considerably, Uta squealing loudly trying to get away from his much stronger lover. The noise however brought a concerned Luna and Saki, running down the hall way and flying on to the couch, Saki standing on Sakurai’s chest, tapping the man in the face.

          “It’s okay Saki, he’s not hurt, we’re just playing.” Sakurai stroked the soft fur of the lean cat while Uta calmed Luna, “Why is it that my babies come and yours don’t?”

          Sakurai chuckled, “Perhaps they don’t think I need protecting or rescuing? They don’t love me as much as Saki and Luna love you, you should know that by now.” It was true, Saki and Luna loved Uta beyond anyone else, having gone through so much with him over the last several years. With the little family nestled together on the couch, amid the blankets and pillows, Uta finally reached for the remote and they settled in for a long relaxing day.

Chapter Text

 

          “Nobody is going to care, Yu…seriously.” Ayato was growing more frustrated with every whiney remark from Yuki, “This isn’t a DCR event, it’s a back-yard barbeque with the bands, you don’t have to dress up.”

          “What are you wearing?” he was pulling clothes out of drawers and laying them on the bed.

          “Black skinnies and a t-shirt, probably one of Akira’s flannels to throw over it, nothing fancy.”  Ayato started looking at shirts, “This one would be good, sorta dressy, but casual, and just wear jeans.”

          When Aoi came home the night before, with the invitation to Uruha and Hal’s party, Yuki went into an instant panic, worried what Aoi’s bandmates and the others might say about him being in a wheelchair. “Babe, they know why you’re in a wheelchair. They all know what happened with the accident. Nobody is going to say anything other than maybe why you’re with me.”

          “Why would anyone say that?”

          Aoi laughed, “Because they know my history and they all know ‘Aoi of Gazette’. They know what an asshole I used to be. Why are you so worried about this?”

          “I don’t really know Uruha, Ruki or Kai very well, and I don’t know anyone from Umbrella. It’s not like I can just walk around and talk to people. I’m worried I’m just going to be left in a corner, with a drink and some snacks.”

          The punch that Aoi felt in his heart, physically hurt him. “Yu, nobody is going to do that, okay? If anything, everyone’s going to be falling all over themselves making sure you’re having a good time.” The reality of his lover’s insecurities hit him hard.

          “We don’t have to go, it’s not like it’s mandatory that we show up, we can stay home or maybe just go out to dinner.”

          Yuki shook his head, “No, I want to go, I just don’t want to be dumped in a corner. I need to meet your friends, if we’re going to get married some day, I’m going to need to know who to invite.”

          There it was, in plain sight for Aoi to see. “We’re back at that P word, aren’t we?” he said sheepishly. Yuki glared at him, “Yes, we are, and I don’t want to hear another word about you not being worthy or some shit, we’re done with doing that crap. Now help me in the shower, we don’t want to be late.”

 

          “Thank god you’re here early!” Uruha grabbed Tomo by the arm and dragged him away from Ruki as soon as they walked through the door. “Has he thrown up yet?” Ruki snickered at Hal.

          “No, he’s doing okay, I think he’ll be better now that Tomo’s here.” Taking Ruki by the arm, Hal led him back towards the bedroom, “Hey, I’m not that kinda guy anymore Hal!” Ruki laughed.

          Hal smiled, “Kouyou told me you’re going to propose to Tomo today?”

          “Yah, I am…why?”

          “Well, I don’t want to take away the specialness of your proposal, but I was going to propose to Kou tonight,” Hal’s face turned a soft shade of pink.

          “Are you serious? Holy shit…,” Ruki’s eyes started to shine, “we need to do this together! Tomo will love the distraction of everyone in the room not gushing over just him.”

          “Are you sure? You don’t think he’ll mind?”

          Ruki laughed, “Believe me, he’s not going to care. Where do you want to do it? Living room or the garden?”

          Hal had a general idea what he’d like to do, “I don’t really care where it is, just as long as they’re sitting together. I do think we should get them both a little liquored up. Kou’s a little more relaxed when he’s had a few drinks.”

         

          Yuki had been carried out to the small garden by Aoi, sitting under the tree with Ayato, waiting for Aoi and Reita to bring them both a plate of food. “Their house is so nice! I’d love to have something like this one day,” Yuki mused, “not that I don’t like living next door to you.” He nudged Ayato with his shoulder.

          “No, I get it. Having a house somehow means you’re fully adulting 100% of the time.” They watched Hal sneak up behind Uruha and nuzzled him with a kiss to the back of the neck, Uruha so surprised he dropped his drink in the grass.

          “They’re cute together,” Yuki said, “I’m glad he found someone.” He knew about the failed attempt between the man and Aoi, to have a relationship. Aoi had come clean about his mistakes, including what he had done to Uruha. “I was a rat bastard, and he didn’t deserve any of it. Thankfully he accepted my apology.”

          “Do you think they’ll get married?” Ayato wondered. “Mm, probably at some point, they really haven’t been going out that long.”

          “What about Yuu, has he ever said anything?” Ayato didn’t know about the proposal incident with Aoi, and Yuki wasn’t going to spoil it.

          “Pfft, maybe if he ever grows up, but I doubt it. I don’t think he’s really the type to get married.” This statement stunned Ayato, his jaw dropping. “Really? So, you’re just going to be boyfriends forever?”

          “Yah, just like you and Akira. He’s certainly not going to propose, is he?”

          Ayato blushed, “I don’t know, we’ve never talked about it. But I would assume he’ would at some point…hopefully.” That put the bug in Ayato’s ear; would Reita ever propose?

          For Uruha, the party was going better than he had anticipated. With help from Tomo, the food was ready and the drinks were being poured. “Another beer, Kou?” Hal noticed that his boyfriend was on beer number three, “Yes, another beer. I’m going to enjoy myself for once, and try not to be so OCD.”

          Uruha had finally met the rest of Hal’s band; Yui and Sho, had brought their girlfriends, while Shu was flying solo that afternoon. Meeting the band was a little awkward until Kai came over and charmed everyone, Yukke smacking him in mock anger for flirting with the ladies.

          Alfie had even made a quick appearance, but was only out long enough for a few quick pets, then smacking Hal on the nose with her oversized paw, the kitten was banished back into the spare bedroom.

          Hal had pulled Ruki aside once more, sneaking down to the master bedroom for a quick conference. “What do you think? Everyone’s eaten, Kou’s had three beers, what about Tomo?”

          “He’s had at least four, more than he usually drinks that’s for sure. They’re both in the kitchen right now, but we need to get Yuki inside first. See if you can keep them busy, and I’ll go grab the guys.” Ruki snickered.

          Walking out to the garden, Ruki waved Aoi over, “Hey, I need you to get Yuki inside, and bring Reita and Ayato with you.”

          “Why? What’s going on?” Aoi was instantly suspicious.

          Ruki tilted his head back and huffed, “Please Aoi, just get Yuki inside, make sure Reita and Ayato come with you.”

 

          “What’s going on?” Yuki asked as Aoi lifted him from the lawn chair and carried him back into the house, “I don’t know, Ruki just told me to bring you inside. Rei, bring Ayato with you, Ruki wants us all in the house.”

          As they were walking in, they noticed that most everyone at the party were standing in the living room, Uruha and Tomo sitting together on the couch, holding hands and looking terrified. Ruki and Hal were sitting on the coffee table in front of them. “Oh my god,” Yuki whispered as Aoi put him in his chair.

          Ruki turned and looked at the guests, “Everyone, Hal and I have something to say to Tomo and Uruha.”

          “You first Hal,” Ruki nudged his friend in the shoulder. The room filled with soft murmurs of excitement.

          “All I was there to do that day, is to have Ken listen to some music, and you were there. It felt effortless to slide into a relationship with you, something that’s never happened to me before. I finally found someone to geek out over video games with, that loves to stay home and isn’t a party animal.”

          Uruha reached over and grabbed Tomo’s hand, his mouth opened slightly, he was mumbling to himself, “this can’t be real,”

          “Oh, it’s real baby. Remember what I told you on your birthday? That I promised I was going to propose to you one day? Then you had to go out and buy a house…not just for you, but for us. This is very real…” Hal nudged Ruki.

          Tomo’s eyes widened, “You’re joking?” he whispered, “Nope, I’m not joking,” Ruki reached out and took Tomo’s hand in his. “You have made me realize what true love is; devotion, hard work and respect, something that I had never seen before or experienced with anyone else. Since day one, it’s always only been you, no more Ruki Rampages,” someone said ‘yah right Ru’, and everyone laughed.

          “Okay, no more Ruki Rampages chasing guys, but you all know if you fuck with someone I love, there are no guarantees.” There was some sniffling and soft crying coming from their guests.

          “I love you, Tomo.” Ruki looked over at Hal, “Now?” Hal nodded.

          “Takashima Kouyou,”

          “Miyata Tomo”

          “Will you marry me?” Ruki and Hal said in unison, presenting the two men with rings.

          Uruha and Tomo looked at each other, “YES!” they said together loudly. The room erupted in cheers and hearty congratulations from everyone, while Ruki and Hal were buried in their lover’s arms.

          The pats on the back and the handshakes, Uruha and Tomo showing off their rings, went on for some time, only ending when Kai poured champagne and gave everyone a glass and offered a toast.

          “To Ruki and Tomo, Uruha and Hal, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. I’m sure the party that follows will be one for the record books, and let’s all make sure to keep Ruki in check so he doesn’t try to dine and dash at his own reception!”

          The party continued for another hour or so, with people slowly leaving, congratulating the two couples again.  Reita had been the designated driver, and was ready to leave, pushing Ayato out the door, “Thanks Kou, it was fun…I’ll see you at practice!” Aoi was pushing Yuki in his chair, stopping to hug Uruha, “I’m so happy for you, Hal’s lucky to have you.” He hugged his friend tightly.

 

          “That was something, wasn’t it? Totally out of the blue.” Reita was gushing over the surprised proposals, “who knew that Hal was that serious?”

          “I was pretty sure Hal was the one for Kouyou. The guy is perfect for him, they can geek out over video games and movies. When Kou bought the house, I figured that Hal would propose soon after that.” 

          Reita chuckled, “What about Ruki and Tomo? I mean it already seemed like they were married. Probably just means it was meant to be.”

          Aoi hummed in agreement, “It’s so weird to think there’s never going to be another ‘drunk ass floozy’ comment about him. I sort of miss those days.” Ayato and Yuki were oddly quiet, not adding to the conversation at all.

           Once they were alone in the flat, Aoi noticed that Yuki was still quiet, “Babe, are you okay?” Yuki was wheeling himself down the hall towards the bedroom, “Yep, just a little tired, that’s all. I had a few beers and probably not enough food.”

          Aoi knew this was an outright lie, Yuki had had one beer and more than enough food, “So what’s bothering you? You’re too quiet for having more than one beer.” Yuki threw his shirt on the floor, reaching for a t-shirt to sleep in. “There’s nothing wrong Yuu, alright? I’m tired, it’s been a long assed day, I just want to go to bed.” Moving from his chair to the bed and taking off his pants, Yuki stopped. Aoi had his back to him, when he heard a choked sob.

          “Babe, what’s wrong.” Yuki had his head in his hands, sobs shaking his slender frame, “I can’t…not right now. Please, can we just go to sleep?” kneeling in front of Yuki, his hands on his knees, Aoi put his hand on Yuki’s cheek, wiping the tears away, “Please, tell me what’s wrong. Remember we promised each other we wouldn’t hide things anymore.”

          Yuki leaned hard into Aoi’s hand, slowly nodding, “I don’t want to tell you, you’ll get mad at me,” his voice hiccupped. Helping him to finish putting his sleep pants on, Aoi tried to reassure Yuki, “I’m not going to be mad if you tell me the truth, so what’s up?”

          Pulling the covers back and scooching under the blankets, Yuki waited for Aoi to get in bed, snuggled against him, he laid his head on Aoi’s shoulder.

          “It’s stupid, but… when I saw what was going on with the proposals, I instantly thought of Ken, and not you. I’m sorry.” He was utterly horrified and ashamed that Aoi was not first in his mind, when the proposals were happening.

          “Is that all?”

          Yuki leaned away from Aoi, “What do you mean, is that all? I just told you I thought of my dead lover when someone was doing a proposal, instead of the man I love now.”

          Pulling Yuki close, Aoi laughed softly, “It’s a natural reaction, Yu. I’m not mad or upset, you can’t help what triggers your brain sometimes. Don’t worry so much about it. I’m not going anywhere, and besides, it’s natural for you to think of someone you loved that much, and get triggered by things. It’s fine, Yu.”

          He wasn’t convinced. “Why though, would I think of Ken and not you? Ken and I never talked about marriage, but here I am wanting to propose to you. I don’t get it.”

Aoi saw that this was going nowhere fast. “Do you love me?”

          “That’s a stupid question, of course I love you, why would you ask that?”

          “Do you want to marry me?”

          “Is this a proposal?”

          “Maybe.”

          “How is it a maybe proposal? Either you want me to say yes, or …”

          “Will you marry me?” Aoi asked with a sly grin.

          “Wait a minute, are you… are you serious?” Yuki sat up. This couldn’t be happening. Aoi got out of bed, and kneeled in front of Yuki. “I don’t have a ring, and I know you said you wanted to propose to me, but tonight got me thinking a lot of what has happened between us for the last few years.”

          “Wait…I was supposed to be doing this, not you!” Yuki protested half heartedly, “you’re stealing my thunder, this isn’t fair!”

          “What if you propose to me later? Then I can act all surprised and cry.”

          Yuki giggled, “You’re really going to do this? What if I say no?”

          “Pfft, not even worried about that, you love me more than life.” Aoi teased, then he took Yuki’s hands in his, “Seriously, Yuki, will you marry me?”

           Scooting to the end of the bed, Yuki leaned over and cupped Aoi’s face, “Yes Shiroyama Yuu, I’ll marry you, but you’re going to have to let me propose to you later, ne?”

Chapter Text

          “Why does Madame F want to see you? I don’t understand.” Taka had watched Sato’s face as he spoke on the phone with Madame F, just as surprised as his husband, that the Dominant woman had called.

          “It seems that there is no way to avoid a trial with Masamoto, the District Attorney wants to prosecute them. The lead prosecuting attorney wants to speak to the other Dominants and myself, but none of the submissives will be there. It’s not like I’m going to say no to her, Taka.”

          “I wouldn’t expect you to say no to her, not if you valued your life,” Taka teased, “I’m guessing then that this attorney will want to speak to the others after this?”

          “Probably. All I know is I’m to be at her house in about an hour. Sakurai and Isshi will be there, as well as Davina. I’m not sure who else will be included.”

          Taka sighed, “If this means the trial will be starting soon, I guess we’re going to have to postpone our trip.”

          “We might have to. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t do things here. We can still do Mario Kart, and depending on the schedule, we still might be able to go to Hokkaido for a long weekend. Please don’t get too discouraged.”

          “I’m not, but what if…” Taka shivered, “will I have to testify? Will he be in the room?” Sato saw Taka shake, his face going a bit pale, this was his greatest fear; that Taka would have a break down during the trial.

          Sitting with Taka, Sato tried to comfort him, knowing it would be futile, but he had to try. “Babe, if you have to testify, you will have everyone in the room supporting you. Remember, Byou, Karyu and Ruimaru will be there as well. You’re going to need to help support them, their experience is still very fresh in their minds. I’m not saying your memories have faded, but imagine what Byou is going to have to go through, when he see’s Masamoto sitting at the other table. You’re older, and you’re going to have to be the strong one.”

          In his heart, Taka knew Sato was right; he was going to have to be strong for the younger victims, even though is head was screaming at him to run…again. This was the moment he knew he had to say something.

          “Okay, I get all that. But right now, my brain is telling me to leave, to go hide and not let anyone find me again.” His voice was shaking.

 “Do you want to go see the doctor? I’m sure we could get in right away. Whatever you want to do, except run from me.” Without thinking, Sato lurched over and pushed Taka back on the couch, trapping him. “You’re going to have to move me, before I’ll let you run.” He reached down and tickled his husband.

          “NO FAIR!!” Taka laughed as he squirmed to get out from under Sato. The screaming and tickling went on for sometime, until Taka called time out. “Let me up, I have to pee!” With a quick kiss, Sato sat up, “Do you want me to help?” Taka just rolled his eyes,

          “You’re such a dork.” He laughed as he left the room. Sato exhaled and laid back on the couch, relieved that he had successfully lightened the mood, but now the problem at hand was his meeting with Madame F.

 

          “You’re going to have to stay here. You are to complete the chores I’ve listed, and the preparation work for dinner tonight. I shouldn’t be gone more than two hours. Make sure to lock the door behind me. Is this understood?”

          Isshi had been summoned to Madame F’s home, for the meeting with the attorney, and told not to bring his boys with him. The prosecuting attorney would be informing them about the trial and Madame F did not want to put the boys into any more distress.

          “Yes Sir. Everything will be ready when you come home. Please say hello to the other Dominants for us.” Karyu bowed. The young man had taken over the unofficial role of leader for the submissives, much to everyone’s surprise.

          Kissing each of the boys, Isshi left the house and made his way through the streets of Tokyo, to the large estate of Madame F.

 

          The high-ranking members of the local BDSM community (and Sato), were sitting around Madame F’s formal dining table, with the woman herself at the head. Standing just behind her, was an unknown man, with a large folder in his hands.

          “Thank you all for coming today, I’d like to introduce you to Ikeda Jiro, he will be the lead prosecuting attorney for the trial of Masamoto Umeji. I’ve brought you together so we can be informed on the procedures during the trial.” Madame F nodded to the attorney.

          “Thank you, Madame F.” he looked around the table for a moment, “I asked to speak to you collectively, as it will be much easier and possibly safer for you, to inform your submissives about what to expect during the trial. I’d like to go over what each person should expect, and who we will be calling to testify. Due to the nature of the crime, and the celebrity of Sakurai Atsushi, and Takayasu Satoshi, the courts have agreed to have this as a bench trial. There will be no seated jury, and the judge with preside over the entire trial and will deliver his verdict at the end." 

          The attorney handed out a packet of information to each of them, that detailed the procedures, dates and times and where the trial would be held. Sato was not surprised to see that Taka would be called to testify against Masamoto, giving him time to prepare his husband.

          “Excuse me, if I may,” Sato looked up, “Will Masamoto and the others be present in the courtroom during testimony?”

          “Yes, they will.” Ikeda answered, “they will be handcuffed and restrained, there is no possibility that they could get near the victims.” Ikeda went through the list of victims that would be testifying, that included Byou, Karyu and Ruimaru, and several other of the submissives that attended the event. “We will have the couple that found Shinohara-san after he had been shot, present and they will be testifying as well.

          “Ikeda-san, if possible, could I have my boy’s therapist present, at the very least in the courtroom, not necessarily at the desk? I’m concerned with the aftermath of their testimony, and I’d like to have her present to be able to speak to them after they’re finished.”

          “I will speak with the judge, but I don’t see that as being a problem. The date for the trial to begin is two weeks from today. The time and courtroom location are included in your papers. Are there any more questions?”

          Davina spoke up, “What chances do we have that they will all be convicted? There certainly are enough eyewitnesses, it shouldn’t be a concern.”

          Ikeda looked at every one of them, “The problem we will face is the fact that these young men and women, enter into this lifestyle voluntarily and of their own free will. The defense will argue that the boy’s agreed to be a part of the event, therefore there’s no validity in the charges. How they will explain Shinohara-san being shot, and the connection to the defendants, and the kidnapping of the three young men, is yet to be seen. I have to say though, there is overwhelming evidence that these young men were kidnapped and forced to be unwilling participants in the event. There may be some harsh cross examination by the defense of you and your associates, I urge you to prepare yourself for some very graphic language to be used.” After a few more questions, Ikeda Jiro excused himself and departed.  

          “That was intense,” Sato sighed. Sakurai reached out and patted him on the shoulder. “Taka will be fine, he’s stronger than he believes.”

          “I’m not so sure, he’s been going through a rough patch lately, and this trial isn’t going to help him recover.”

          Isshi was drawn away from the others by Nakamura Taizo, “Isshi-san, how fairs your boys? Are they recovering?”

          “They are, but this will set them back, I’m sure of it,” Isshi looked defeated, “my only hope is that having Dr. Miwa there, will some how comfort the boys as they testify.”

          Sato approached the two men, “Excuse me Isshi-san, may I have a word with you?” Nakamura nodded to Sato and Isshi then left the two men to speak.

          “Sato-san, what can I do for you?”

          Sato genuinely liked the soft-spoken Dominant, he often wondered how Taka’s life would have been different if he would have had someone like Isshi, instead of Masamoto.

          “You mentioned that you’d like to have your therapist present during the trial? May I ask who that is?”

          “Her name is Dr. Miwa Eiko, and yes, I will have her present. Why do you ask?”

          Sato looked at the floor, “Taka’s having some problems with his mental health. I’m not sure he’s getting the correct treatment with just medication. I was thinking of finding him a therapist to speak to, and I know that Dr. Maeda is no longer on the preferred short list.”

          Isshi provided Sato with Dr. Miwa’s contact information, then Sato excused himself and left the manor. “Taka-kun, I pray that you will recover fully as well.” Isshi whispered.

Chapter Text

 

          “There is still two weeks before the trial starts, so we can still do something local. California’s not going anywhere babe, we’ll still go, but it might have to wait until after the new year.” Sato was holding Taka in his arms, the man was shivering uncontrollably with fear, knowing he would have to face Masamoto Umeji once again.

          “Why don’t we invite Koichi for Mario Kart? Tatsu’s been busy with the prep for Hyde’s party, I’m sure Kou would love to get out and do something.” Taka was leaning hard into his husband, “Mm, I’ll call him,” he said in a tiny voice. Sato knew he had to bring up Taka seeing a new therapist.

          “When I was at the meeting, Isshi asked if the therapist the boys are using, could be present in court during their testimony. I asked him about her, and he gave a glowing recommendation. I have her contact information and I think we should set up an appointment, ne? It might help if you saw the same doctor as Ruimaru, Byou and Karyu, you’ve had the same type of experience as they have.”

          “What’s her name?”

          “Dr. Miwa Eiko, I can call her today if you’d like. Set up an appointment for after Halloween? It might be nice to have a professional there at the trial for support.” Sato was gently pushing.

          “Mm, okay. Can we go to Ojisan’s tonight please?”

 

         

          As he backed away quickly, his head hit the wall, putting his hands up in front of him, Jui tried to ward off Ryo’s advance, “Leave me alone, Ryo! Don’t fucking touch me!”

          “You went there to meet him, didn’t you?” Ryo snarled.

          “No! He just happened to be there and I said hello, it’s not like I fucked him right there in the store.”

          Jui had made the mistake of revealing that he had seen Toshiya at the collectibles store, instantly regretting it as soon as Ryo’s face turned dark. “I didn’t do anything, I just said hello. Why do you care? I’ve only ever been a piece of ass, a quick fuck when you wanted one.” He’d had enough, there was no way he was going to let Ryo put his hands on him again.

          Ryo started to reach out to grab Jui by the wrist, but Jui slapped it away, “You’re not touching me again.” Ryo slapped Jui in the face, for the first time.

          Reaching up to his cheek, Jui was speechless. Burning tears started to fall and Jui looked at his boyfriend with such contempt, that Ryo was stunned. “I…I um didn’t mean…”

          “Fuck you, Ryo.” Jui had had enough, “I’m leaving. Don’t ever fucking call me again or I swear, I’ll report you for domestic violence.”

          “Jui, wait! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to slap you, you just pissed me off.”

          “Oh, so this is my fault?” Jui went into Ryo’s bedroom and grabbed his bag, stuffing what few belongings he had left at the man’s flat.

          Ryo followed Jui, “You were with Toshiya, what do you expect me to think?”

          He moved through the room, and then into the bathroom, “I would expect that you would believe me when I tell you the truth. Obviously, I was fucking dead wrong.” Shoving his way past Ryo, Jui started for the front door. As he reached for the doorknob, Ryo grabbed him by the wrist, twisting it hard, “You’re not going anywhere!”

          Jui swung around quickly and slamming his backpack into Ryo’s head, causing the man to drop his arm and fall to the floor, “You will never put your hands on me again. If I hear one word that you’re abusing anyone else, I’m going to the police.” Yanking open the door, Jui left Ryo’s flat, running down the stairs to the street.

Scrambling to his feet, Ryo ran out the door, and stood at the top of the stairs, “Pussy ass bitch! You’ll be back, you know you will!” he screamed at Jui, “this is your fault…fucking asshole.” He went back into the flat and slammed the door, and reached for his phone.

 

          Toshiya groaned in frustration, “I want to go home, my fingers aren’t working today,” he whined, “can we just call it quits for the day?”

          “If you bitch one more time Totchi, so help me I’m going to come over there and wring your fucking neck,” Kyo growled. Everyone was tired, it had been a long practice session, but with the holiday live schedule out, it was what they had to deal with for the next month.

          During the short break, Toshiya heard his phone ring, but chose to ignore it. Everyone he needed to speak to was already in the room with him, anyone else would just have to wait. It couldn’t possibly be anything important.

          Wrapping up the practice session, Kaoru was standing with Die as he waited for Toshiya to put away his equipment, “Do you want to go with us to Ojisan’s? We haven’t eaten together in forever.”

          “Sure, let me text Po…” the door to the practice room was slammed open, “You fucking bastard.” Turning to the voice, they saw an obviously angry Ryo, standing in the door way. “Ryo, you’re not welcomed here, I suggest you leave.” Kyo was the first to move towards the man. “Fuck off Kyo, this is none of your concern.” A gasp was heard from Shinya.

          “What did you just say?” Kyo cocked his head and blocked Ryo’s path.

          “Fuck off Kyo, are you deaf in both ears now?” Ryo was still staring angrily at Toshiya. “This is between me and that asshole,” he pointed at the bass player.

          Toshiya chuckled; he wasn’t threatened by the man in the least. “No, Ryo. I have nothing to say to you, just go home to your boyfriend.”

          “That little bitch ran out on me today. What did you say to him, Totchi?” The way Ryo said Toshiya’s nickname, was pure malice.

          “You call your boyfriend a little bitch? Good for him for leaving you,” Toshiya walked towards Ryo, “how often were you beating on him, Ryo? Yah, I saw him at the store, and he looked like absolute shit. Bruises on his wrists and arms, does that make you feel good, Ryo? Beating on someone? How about you try that shit with me, huh? Come on Ryo, let’s see how far you can get with your abuse.”

           Catching Kyo off guard, Ryo pushed past him and rushed at Toshiya, grabbing the man around the waist and knocking him to the ground. Straddling the taller man, Ryo started to throw punches. Grabbing him by the front of the shirt, Toshiya threw him off before any of the punches could land, with Kyo and Die grabbing Ryo and shoving him against the wall, pinning him.

          “You little fuck wad! What the hell did you do to Jui? I swear, if I found out you’ve hurt him, I’ll kill you, you little shit! Yah, he told me what you’ve been doing, and I told him to get away from you as fast as he could. Obviously, he wasn’t fast enough! Did you smack him around? Beat him for not sucking your dick good enough? Did it make you feel tough or more like a man?”

          Toshiya stood up and walked towards where Die and Kyo had the man pinned to the wall, “Let him go…just let him try to smack me around. Come on, Ryo, you’re a fucking tough guy, let’s fucking go RIGHT NOW!” Kaoru grabbed Toshiya around the waist, “Nope, not going to do it Totchi.” Shinya had slipped out of the room and ran to the office to get security and a manager, all of them rushing in just as Toshiya had reached back to throw a punch.

          “WOAH! What the hell is going on?” The security guard wrestled Toshiya away from Kaoru, while Die and Kyo still held Ryo, who was almost foaming at the mouth, spewing unintelligible words at Toshiya.

          Kaoru calmly explained the situation to the manager of the studio, who then had the security guard grab Ryo and escort him off the property, leaving him to take a report on the incident.

          Once everyone had calmed down, Toshiya picked up his phone to see who had called, listening to the ranting voicemail that Ryo had left before coming to the studio. “I swear if he’s hurt Jui in any way, his ass is mine.”  

         

          Lying on his bed and crying into his pillow, Jui wondered what he had done to deserve such shit treatment from Ryo, finally realizing that he had been nothing more than someone to fuck and control. They had initially bonded over the mutual breakups with their boyfriends, commiserating over coffee first, a tentative lunch date and then a formal dinner date. Now he wondered had they truly had anything in common to begin with.

          “No, I’m just a bimbo that thought sex meant love.” He had believed that Toshiya had loved him, though now he questioned that as well. With a final sigh, Jui got up and went to wash his face, hoping that there had been no bruising from Ryo’s slap.

          Picking through the things in his backpack, Jui’s phone chimed. He reached for it, hesitating for a moment wondering if it was Ryo. Letting out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding; he was relieved that it was a text from Toshiya.

          “Hey, call me when you get a chance.”  He quickly dialed Toshiya’s number.

          “Um, hi…what’s up?”

          “Did he hit you? Did he beat you up?”

          “What? Um…no,”

          “Don’t lie to me Jui, tell me the truth. Did Ryo hit you?”

          Jui’s tears started before he could answer, “Yah, earlier today he slapped me.”

          “That fucking son of a bitch,”

          “How did you know?”

          Toshiya’s voice was filled with anger, “He showed up at the studio a while ago and basically jumped me, claiming it was my fault that you two broke up. What was his reason for hitting you?”

          This was bad, “He said that I purposely met you at the store the other day, he accused me of sleeping with you behind his back. I tried to tell him that wasn’t true, then he slapped me. I shoved him out of the way and packed my shit and left. He didn’t hurt anyone did he?”

          “No, he just pissed all of us off. I’m surprised Kyo didn’t kill him,” Toshiya paused, “did he hurt you badly? Do you need to see a doctor?”

          Jui’s heart broke again, he had fucked up majorly in demanding things from Toshiya, “No, my cheek is just a bit red, but there’s no bruising or anything. I’m okay, thanks Totchi.”

          “Well, make sure to lock your door and don’t open it if he shows up, just call the police. I don’t know what happened to him after security took him away from the practice room, but he could be out there and be super angry, so just watch yourself. Remember, you can call me or Kao if you’re in trouble, okay?”

          “Mm, thanks Totchi, I will. Thank Kao for me too. I’ll be okay…um, thanks for calling.” Hanging up the phone, Jui’s tears returned in full force, Toshiya’s kindness reminding him what a dumbass he had been.

 

          “How is he?” Kaoru had Toshiya’s head in his lap, carding through his hair, as they laid on the couch discussing the days event.

          “He says he’s fine, Ryo slapped him in the face though. He thought that we hooked up for sex and that’s why Jui was breaking up with him.” Kaoru had a difficult time keeping Toshiya calm on their ride home from the studio, his lover wanting to go out and hunt Ryo down and kick his ass.

          “You’re not going to do that, so shut it. He’s still under sub-contract with DCR. Let management deal with it.” Kaoru drove straight home, not stopping at Ojisan’s as had been planned earlier.

          “I’m sure Ryo’s going to be having legal troubles if he doesn’t rein in his violence. Who thought that he’d be the type to abuse someone? I don’t get it.” Toshiya turned his head and nuzzled Kaoru’s stomach.

          Kaoru knew, “It might be that it’s something he saw when he was a child, that’s usually the problem with domestic abusers. They see it growing up and normalize it, and then turn around and repeat the behavior. It’s a cycle that some can’t get out of.”

          Toshiya was tired of talking about or thinking about Ryo, “Can we um, go take a nap before dinner?”

          “A nap…or a nap?”

          “Which ever type you want…but I’m hoping for a nap.” Kaoru didn’t have to be asked twice, standing up and holding his hand out for Toshiya, “Sure, let’s um, go take a nap.”

Chapter Text

          “Are you truly afraid of those men, Taka-kun? They can no longer harm you or your young friends. It is your duty to tell the court about your experience and to be the strong one for Isshi’s young men.” Ojisan wasn’t mincing words, and he was not going to coddle Taka, even if the younger man did not want to hear what the ramen maker had to say.

          “But why is it my job to be the support for Isshi’s boys? Who’s going to support me?” Taka knew he was whining and being unreasonable, but the idea of sitting in a courtroom, facing Masamoto again and having to tell strangers what he had gone through, was more than terrifying.

          Sato reach over and patted Taka’s thigh, “Babe, he’s just trying to help, don’t be so angry.” Taka shifted away from Sato, “I understand that, but nobody seems to be concerned about me. Yah, I’m older and it’s been awhile, but you know how that shit affected me, don’t you remember?”

          Ojisan leaned on the counter and looked Taka in the eyes, “Nobody has forgotten, young man, least of all your husband, but it seems you have.”

          Taka snorted, “Yah, like I’m ever going to forget what that asshole did to me? Nice try Ojisan.”

          “Then why are you refusing to help Byou, Karyu and Ruimaru? If you remember your trauma so vividly, how do you believe that those young men remember theirs? What happened to them is still raw, Byou is not yet completely healed from his injuries. Karyu has been carrying the weight of guilt on his own. You have how many years since you were tortured?”

          Taka half-ass shrugged, “Maybe fifteen,” he said sullenly.

          Ojisan stood up and crossed his arms over his chest, “Those boy’s have barely a month since this happened to them, and you’re now behaving as a child. Yes, what you went through was horrible and tragic, but that should not stop you for being concerned and assisting Isshi’s boys right now. If you fail to do so, I will genuinely think less of you, Takayoshi.”

          This was the first time Taka had heard Ojisan use his full name and the intent behind his words were shocking and humiliating. He looked at Sato, “Well? Do you agree with him?”

          With a heavy heart, Sato nodded, “Yes babe, I do. You may feel betrayed, but Ojisan is dead on with his opinion.” He turned and signaled Ojisan for another beer.

          “You need to decide for yourself if you want to help those boys, nobody can force you to, but I want you to think about what Ojisan said. I’m sure Byou, Karyu and Ruimaru are waking up screaming from the nightmares, Isshi is most likely beside himself with worry. You have had fifteen years to come to grips with what happened, they haven’t had much time at all.”

          Ojisan placed Sato’s beer on the counter, “Taka-kun, go visit Isshi and his boys, see what they would like for you to do, offer them your support, and they will support you in return. None of you are alone in this, you all have so many that love and care for you.”

 

 

          “Do you think they’ll have bachelor parties?”  Ayato had his head in Reita’s lap as they watched a movie. “Hm, not sure. Who would be considered the groom and who’s the bride?” Ayato made a rude noise, “That’s stupid Akira, Ruki and Hal are the grooms, they were the one’s that did the proposing.”

          “Okay, so Hal and Ruki will be the one’s having bachelor parties. Does that mean Tomo and Uruha get bachelorette parties?” Reita teased.

          “Pfftt, no, well maybe,” Ayato rolled over so he could look up at Reita, “if they do have parties, are you going to go?”

          Reita scrunched up his nose, “Not sure. I don’t really know what goes on during a bachelor party when the bride is a man, not like we’d go to a strip club.”

          Ayato laughed, “God, I’d give anything to see you guys at a normal strip club, that would be hilarious.”

          “Why? I can appreciate a nude woman as much as a nude man, I’m not that much of a prude, Aya.” Reita was hurt, sort of.

          “Why would a group of guys, who are not into women, go to a female strip club? Wouldn’t you rather go see male strippers? OH! I know, I could dance for them! I bet your friends would tip…” Reita clapped his hand over Ayato’s mouth.

          “Don’t even think that I would let you dance for anyone but me, understand? That’s never going to happen, ever again.”

          Ayato nodded, “I was just teasing,” he huffed through Reita’s hand. “I’d never dance for your friends,”

          Removing his hand, Reita cocked his head and sighed, “Sometimes I can’t understand why you’re here with me, and not still in California, especially considering what a dumb ass I was back then.”

          “Because you know what’s good for you, and it’s me.” Ayato said cockily, “I’m the best person…hell the only person, that can put up with your dumbass and still say I love you, every night and every day.”

          He knew Ayato was right. “True, I think the only person that was a bigger asshole than me, was Aoi, and it took Yuki to straighten his ass out. There’s something about you little puny boys that we men just love.”

          “Little puny…what? I’ll show you puny!” Ayato rolled off the couch, and in one swift movement, pulled Reita over and tried to lift him on his back, “Wait… um, I don’t think…” before either one could do anything, Ayato collapsed on the floor, sending Reita over on his back,  a definite ‘oof’ when Reita hit the floor, “Aki…are you okay?”

          Reita had his eyes closed, and was breathing hard, “No, I think I’m dead. Just cover me with a blanket and call the morgue.”

          “It’s your own fault for calling me little and puny, I can’t help it you’re like an elephant, damn how much do you weigh?” The older man rolled over, “Not even 55kg, so don’t be calling me fat. I can’t help it that you weigh like 40kg, you don’t eat enough for a bird to survive.”

          The teasing went on for some time, only ending when Ayato got up and teased Reita with a few dance moves. “I’m tired, let’s…” jumping up, Reita ran at Ayato and grabbed him, throwing the smaller man over his shoulder,                 “You don’t have to ask me twice!”

 

          It seemed that the marriage proposals were affecting more than just the two couples.

         

          “They did what?” Die was taken off guard with Pon’s announcement, “there’s no way! At the same time and Uruha didn’t puke or pass out?”

          “From what Yukke said, Ruki and Hal planned it together, well…sort of. I guess Ruki told Uruha that he wanted to propose to Tomo, then Hal told Kai he wanted to propose to Uruha, so they just decided to do it together at the barbeque.”

          Die didn’t say anything for a few moments, then a wide grin spread across his lips, and he chuckled, “How long until Yuki and Ayato are going to force Reita and Aoi to propose? I give it two weeks, max.”

          Pon rolled his eyes, “Do you really think Ayato and Yuki are so manipulative that they’re going to try to trap their boyfriends into marriage? Really Daisuke?” With a cocked eyebrow, Pon stared his boyfriend down, “Do you think I’m going to do that?”

          Die held up his hands, “I never said anything about manipulating anyone, let alone you.” He got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen where Pon was pouring tea, sliding his arms around the smaller man and nuzzling his neck, “No, I don’t think you’d do that, and honestly, I was teasing about Yuki and Ayato. I’m happy for all of them, they deserve the best.”

          “Just don’t be getting ideas, mister.” Pon pouted, “I’m not looking to snag a husband…I’m perfectly happy with what we have right now.” Die’s grip around Pon’s waist softened, and he pulled away and walked back over to the couch.

          “Do you think either of them will do a traditional ceremony? Damn, now we have to think of gifts… shit I hope Tomo and Uruha register somewhere.” Pon didn’t notice that Die had gotten quiet, the ideas of what the weddings would be like had taken over his thoughts.

          It wasn’t until the couple decided to go to bed, that Pon finally asked Die what the problem was, “You don’t want to marry me,” Die said sullenly, “are we supposed to be boyfriends for ever, with nothing more in the relationship?”

           “What gives you that idea? I didn’t say we would never get married, but just not any time soon,” Pon was floored by Die’s confession.

          Die rolled over, away from Pon, “Maybe we need to re-think our whole relationship,” he muttered, “good night.”

          “This is stupid, Die sit up and talk to me.” Pon huffed, “I never said I didn’t want to marry you, I just don’t think we should rush into things, we’ve only been dating for a few years,” Die said nothing. “fine, act like a child then. You’re twenty years older than me and acting like a fucking toddler.”

          Die quickly turned over, “A what? Are you serious? You shut me down before I even said a word about proposing, so how is that me being a child? Yah, I’m twenty years older, so let’s talk about who’s being a child!” Die regretting the words as soon as they crossed his lips, reaching out for Pon, “I, I didn’t mean…”

          Pon smacked Die’s hand away, “Oh, I think you did mean it.” He quickly got out of bed, “I’m sleeping on the couch, don’t bother talking to me anymore tonight.” Grabbing his pillow and tearing the blanket off the bed, Pon stomped out of the room. “What the fuck?”

Chapter Text

 

          Dr. Miwa watched Taka closely as he entered her office, noticing that the young man looked as if he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. “Please, have a seat.” She smiled and gestured at a comfortable overstuffed chair. Taka nodded and sat down, “Thank you.”

          Taka was more than a little scared of what may come out during the session, but he had caved to Sato’s insistence about speaking with the therapist. “Babe, I’m sure it will be fine. Isshi said the woman’s very soft spoken and not demanding or pushy like Maeta was. Just go to one session is all I’m asking.”

          After the dinner at Ojisan’s with Sato, and the ramen maker’s claim that Taka did in fact owe it to Ruimaru, Byou and Karyu, to support them during the trial, it gave him pause to think about why he felt that he didn’t owe Isshi’s boys anything. Sadly, he couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer, and finally saw that he was being selfish in his denial of support.

          “Taka, I understand that you were also a victim of the abuse at the hands of the same man that hurt Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou, how long ago was that?” Dr. Miwa spoke softly.

          “Fifteen years ago, I was still in college at the time. But it was the same type of party, where I was abused. He did the same thing to Byou as he did to me.”

          “Are you worried about facing the man at the trial?” Dr. Miwa wanted to be as direct as possible.

          Taka nodded, “I haven’t seen him since… well since he left me at that party. I’m not sure how I’m going to react.”

          “How did you overcome your previous experience with the abuse? Did you seek counseling?”

          “Koichi.” Taka said simply.

          “And who is Koichi?” Dr. Miwa continued to write in her notebook.

          “My best friend. We met at a college mixer…well I saved him from a creep afterwards.”

          “How did you save him?” The doctor noticed the change in Taka’s demeanor when he started to speak about Koichi.

          Taka went through the events of the night, the attempted rape by the other man and Taka taking care of Koichi that night. “I told him about where I worked, and that maybe he should apply.”

          “Where do you work?”

          “The High Ball Garden at Tokyo Tower, locally it’s known as the HBG. I got Koichi hired there as a seasonal worker, then he was hired on full time.” Taka smiled, and his cheeks flushed a soft pink.

          “It’s obvious that Koichi means a lot to you, doesn’t he?” Taka snorted, “Yah, you could say that.”

          “What does that mean?”

          “I totally fell in love with him that first night, but I didn’t know if he was gay, so I never said anything to him about it. It was better to keep him as my friend, than be rejected as a lover. It was a win-win situation.” That was a lie.

          Dr. Miwa chuckled, “This is a very cliché question, but how did that work out for you?”

          “It was all good until he met Tatsurou, then it basically went to shit.” Taka went on to explain the situation around meeting the members of Mucc.

          “Your dreams of a sexual relationship were dashed; how did you cope?”

          “Alcohol, something that I now know I have a huge problem with. It didn’t help that we did a little um…” Taka was embarrassed, “one night we got really drunk, and I kissed Kou, then um…we had oral sex.”

          “Were you hoping for a friend’s with benefits type of relationship?” Dr. Miwa asked.

          “To be honest, I don’t know. Once he met Tatsurou, I knew it was over for me. I started going out with Sato, and that evolved into something more serious.”

          “But you were still in love with Koichi.”

          “No, I never stopped. I’m still in love with Koichi, and I always will be. But it’s not something that I can act on. I love Sato, he’s my husband and my life, but if I’m truthful with myself, I have to say that I’m still in love with Koichi.”

         

          “What would Koichi say about you refusing to support Isshi’s young men? Would he agree with your decision?” Dr. Miwa smoothly moved back to the topic of the trial.

          Taka closed his eyes and leaned his head back and thought about the question for a moment before answering. “He’d call me out, but I think he’d stand by my choice. He wouldn’t like it though.”

          “How much weight does his opinion carry with you? As much as your husband’s opinion?”

          “His opinion?”

          “Yes. Is what Koichi thinks of you, important?”

          “Well, of course! He’s important to me, so what he thinks of me matters. What does this have to do with the trial?”

          Dr. Miwa put down her pen, “Are you holding back from helping those young men because you’re worried about what others may think of you if they know you had the same experiences?”

          “I don’t care what others think,” Taka said hotly, “I just wonder why they’re getting all the support and nobody seems to care how I feel. I went through the exact same thing as they have, yet everyone’s crying over them.”

          “How old are you, Taka?”

          “What?”

          “What is your current age?” Dr. Miwa needed a little shock value.

          “I’m almost thirty, why?” Taka didn’t have any idea where this was going.

          “How old are the other young men? Are they close to your age?”

          “I think Karyu is, but I’m not sure about Byou and Ruimaru is much younger. Why are you bringing this up?” Taka felt the slow burn of embarrassment start to creep up his face.

          “And it’s been fifteen years since your experience with Masamoto? Interesting.” Taka frowned, “And what do you mean by interesting? What’s so special about it?”

          Dr. Miwa took her glasses off, “You are almost thirty years old, yet your behavior is much like the other boys. Their experience is raw and fresh, you’ve had time to deal with your pain, albeit not in a healthy way. You don’t want to help these young men by just supporting them and their pain, why is that? Do you believe it would diminish your pain and suffering? Would you feel slighted or rejected, if you stood with your fellow submissives?”

          It was as if Dr. Miwa had reached over and slapped Taka in the face, the honesty of her words hit him hard.

         “No, that’s not it at all.” He claimed. “I just don’t understand why everyone believes my feelings and emotions should be less than theirs, just because it’s been years since it happened! I suffered just as much as they did, I almost lost my best friend and my husband. I almost died because I believed that I was unlovable and a worthless piece of shit.”

          Dr. Miwa leaned forward, “Of anyone else in the world, who would understand how you feel, better than Ruimaru, Byou and Karyu?”

          Taka sighed, “I can only think of one other person, and he was abused as well, but by a boyfriend, who was also his Dominant.”

          “His circumstances were different, and the abuse was probably not the same, correct?”

          “Some of his abuse was worse actually. He was just lucky he was saved by someone that loves him.” Taka had flashes of Uta’s past with Natsu flying through his mind, and all of this made him feel like such an asshole.

          “Are we done? I have something I need to do…today.”

 

          “Isshi-san, can I come by to speak to Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou please?”

 

          Taka sat on the floor in Ruimaru’s bedroom, looking up at the three submissives, who were sitting on the bed.

          “What exactly do you want from me? People keep telling me I need to support you and be strong for you, but I don’t even know what that means. You’re going to have tell me what you need, what you want me to do during the trial.”

          Nobody was as surprised as Isshi’s boys were, when Taka showed up at the door, asking to speak to them, “Isshi-san,” Taka bowed, “if you would please give us some time alone?”

         “Of course, Taka-kun. Take all the time you need.” Isshi smiled at the young man, pleased that he had come to speak to his boys. “I will be in my office if you need me.” Karyu led Taka down to Ruimaru’s bedroom, “Do you need anything, Taka-senpai?” This honorific startled Taka, “Karyu, I’m not your senpai, I’m just a friend that wants to help.”

          By default, Karyu was acting as the leader for the small group, “I don’t even know what we want, Taka. I guess just someone to be there for us, other than our Dominant and Mistress and Madame F. We don’t want to be the only submissives in the courtroom.”

          “Ru, Byou…what do you want?” Taka could see that both young men were still subdued in their actions, “It would be nice to have someone to sit with us, I don’t know how long we’re suppose to be in the room. We haven’t been told anything yet.”

          Taka was quiet for awhile, then stood up. “I think we need to talk to Isshi.”

 

          “Do you know what the procedures will be when the trial starts? How often do we need to be in the courtroom?” Taka had thought about what Dr. Miwa had said about his age and the time that had passed since his experience with Masamoto, and after seeing the three submissives, he felt ashamed that he had made such a fuss over his own feelings.

          “The attorneys have not yet given us any sort of information on that yet, though we do have a meeting this coming week. What did you have in mind, Taka-kun?”
          “I’m going to assume that Madame F, Mistress Davina and Sakurai will be testifying? Do you know if they will be bringing Ormond, Kato and Uta with them?”

          Isshi frowned, “I don’t think Acchan will bring Uta unless it is absolutely necessary. Neither Davina nor Madame F would go anywhere without Kato and Ormond, so they will be in the audience.” Isshi’s boys were standing against the wall behind his desk, all three holding hands.

          “This is what I believe we should do, as long as the court agrees.” Taka looked at the boys, “We will all sit together, with Ormond and Kato on the ends. We need to present a united front as it were. Every day we show up, whether we’re testifying or not. We sit together. We do not look at them, no matter what they say. If one of us is testifying, we keep eye contact with the others.”

          “That seems like a solid idea, Taka-kun. What about the days that those monsters testify? Will you still be in the courtroom?” Isshi liked the idea of the collective support, but worried about the defense’s attempts to discredit the young men.

          “Do you know who is on our witness list, other than the obvious?”

          Isshi took out the packet of information that Ikeda had left with him, “Hm, let’s see. Myself, Madame F, Mistress, Sakurai, and the couple that found me after I’d been shot,” a small whimper was heard from Ruimaru, “Niihara-san, Nakamura, yourself and the boys. It does indicate that perhaps Uta, Hide-san and Yutaka-san may be called. Niihara’s submissive Velvet and some other people from the community, as well as the doctor that treated both myself and the emergency room doctor who treated Byou that first night.”

          “Does it list the defense witnesses?” Taka asked.

          “Masamoto, Kimura, Inoue and…I didn’t’ see this before, Nakamura will be asked to testify for the defense as well. It lists people who I assume were guests at the event, and some of the other submissives.”

          Taka did some quick calculations in his head, “I think we need to be in the courtroom on the days that Masamoto, Inoue and Kimura testify. We need to stare those men down; we can’t let them play mind games with us.”

          He looked at Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou, “Are you guys going to be strong enough to sit through this? You know he’s going to say that we asked for it, that we agreed to all of it. Are you going to be able to hear that and stay strong?” Dr. Miwa’s voice was echoing in Taka’s mind at that moment.

          Karyu looked at his co-lovers, “We will. We can’t let them win, there’s no way we can let them get away with what they did. If they get off, you know for sure they’ll just find new submissives and do it all over again. I’ll make sure we’re there and ready.” Karyu’s voice was laced with grim determination.

          Taka nodded his head, “We’ve got this, those assholes are going to pay for everything they’ve done to us, and to who knows how many others. We’re going to be their fucking worst nightmare.”

Chapter Text

          “No, you will not be in the courtroom. I’m sorry but I’m going to have to put my foot down. I will not let you be exposed to what those monsters may say.” Sakurai Atsushi was pulling his Dominant card against Uta. “I worry that whatever is said, may trigger memories from that asshole Natsu, and what if it also triggers a seizure? No Uta, you will not be there.”

          Uta knew better than to object or throw a tantrum, it would get him nowhere. Deep down he understood Sakurai’s reasons, and if he was honest with himself, he didn’t want to be in the same room with men that were at least as dangerous as Natsu had been.

          The couple were sitting on the couch, Uta leaning hard into Sakurai, “Are you going to be there every day? What about Davina and Madame F?”

          “I suppose it’s up to Ikeda-san, I don’t see why I would have to be there on days I’m not testifying.” Sakurai kissed Uta on the forehead. “I’m going to assume the only people that will be there every day will be Isshi and the boys, though I haven’t heard anything from Mistress or Madame F as of yet.”

          “I wonder if Taka will be there, he’s going to testify, isn’t he?”

          Sakurai nodded, “Yes, he will be called, his treatment by Masamoto in the past, shows a pattern of abuse. I will attend on the days the boys are on the stand, I think they need the moral support of all of us.”

          “But not me?” Uta said in a tiny voice.

          “Baby, it terrifies me to think what may happen if you are there. It’s true you haven’t had a seizure since forever, but do we really want to risk that?” Sakurai said.

          “What if I’m with Ormond and Kato? You know they would never allow Madame F or Mistress to go unattended. I’d feel safe with them, and it’s not like they’re all going to be on the witness stand at once,” Uta looked up at Sakurai, “please?”

          With a heavy heart and a heavier sigh, Sakurai agreed, “You will sit with me, Mistress and Madame F, Ormond and Kato will be there as well. The second you feel sick or scared, I’m taking you out of that courtroom and home, and don’t lie to me that you’re fine, understood?”

          “Mm, yes sir.” Uta said breathlessly, a voice that always drove Sakurai into insane lust. “Shall we talk about the punishment if you disobey me?”

 

 

          The tension between Die and Pon lasted well into the next day, Pon had not said goodbye before leaving for the studio, Die had stayed in the bedroom, his head covered with a pillow as Pon had showered and dressed. Once he heard the door shut, Die emerged from under the pillow, “Fine…if that’s how you want to play it,” he muttered as he got up and walked into the kitchen.

          How did they get to this point? Going from talking about how happy the two couples had been over the surprise proposals, to the argument and Pon sleeping on the couch. Did he really mean it? Had Pon shut him down by saying he wasn’t ready to get married? “Pfft, obviously not.”

          Slumping on the couch with a cup of coffee, Die reached for his phone.

          “Do you have time today to see me? Yah, that’s fine.”

 

          Throwing his bag on the chair next to the mixing board, Pon wasn’t in the mood for anyone’s shit. The worst part of the day would be watching Hal gushing over the surprise proposal, as Pon was scheduled to work on Umbrella’s new album. Hopefully the atmosphere remained professional, with little in the way of distractions.

          Waiting for the head engineer, Pon took out his phone and turned the sound off, “Probably text me all damned day,” he muttered.

          “Who’s texting you?” Hal pushed through the door, just catching Pon’s words.

          “It’s nothing, hope you guys are ready to work today.” Pon wasn’t quite snarling, but he wasn’t being very pleasant either.

          Hal put his bass on the stand and looked over his shoulder at Pon, “Everything okay?”

          Pon waved off Hal’s concern, “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it. I just want to work today please.”  

          “Sure, that’s fine.” Hal replied, before he could say anything further, the other members arrived, as did Eiji, the head engineer. “Let’s get to work, gentlemen.”

 

 

          Kyo listened patiently to Die as his friend described the previous night’s fight with Pon. “He just totally shut me down, like…I don’t know,” Die shook his head, his long hair hiding his face.

          “Did he say he never wanted to get married?” Kyo asked.

          “He said he was happy the way things are now, that he wasn’t looking for a husband,” Die looked up, “I’m guessing that yes, it means he never wants to get married, at least not to me.”

          Leaning back in the chair, Die fought the tears from falling, “I really thought he was the one, Kyo. Like live happily ever after and shit,” he sniffed and quickly wiped his eyes with a sleeve, “all I’ve ever wanted was a boy of my own, to love and marry and live until we’re old and decrepit.”

          Die’s words tore at Kyo, he was all too familiar with what Die was feeling, as he had felt the same way before meeting Mao. “What happened this morning?”

          “Nothing, he got up and left for the studio, didn’t say a word to me. I’m not even sure he’s going to come home tonight.”

          “How old are you, Daisuke?”

          “What? You know how old I am… stupid question, Kyo.”

          “How old are you, say it Die,” Kyo snapped.

          “I’m 38, why?”

          “How old is Hiroto?”

          “Why are you using his first name? He’s 25,” Die was thoroughly confused.

          Kyo smiled, “That’s 13 years age difference. What where you doing when you were 25?”

          Die looked at the vocalist, “Um, I was playing in the band…what the hell have you been smoking?”

          “Nothing, dumbass. Think about it. You’re 25, playing in a band and living the rock star life. Were you thinking about getting married at age 25?”

          “No,” Die said sullenly.

          Reaching over, Kyo patted Die’s knee, “Then why do you expect Pon to want to get married at his age? Just because he’s dating an older man?”

          This idea had never crossed his mind. The age gap between them had never been an issue, until that moment. Die could feel his face turning red, “Guess I’m being an idiot, right?”

          Kyo smiled softly, “No, you’re a man deeply in love, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You just need to remember, Pon’s younger than you, not only physically but mentally as well. When he thinks of marriage, he may be seeing Yukke and Kai, or Miya and Shinya, you know, old people.”

          “Pfft, I’m older than all of them. We’re not old people, Kyo. But I guess I understand, I wasn’t listening to him or thinking about his perspective on the issue.”

          Kyo laughed, “I think you owe your boyfriend an apology and maybe a nice dinner or something, and if I were you, I’d never bring up marriage again, until he says something.”

 

 

          Pon felt shitty on the way home from the studio that afternoon, the argument with Die weighing heavy on his mind, so much so that both the engineer and the band members noticed, but said nothing. Now Pon was trying to talk things out with himself, while he drove. “I’m an idiot, he didn’t deserve that. I need to apologize and drop the subject.”

          Pulling into the parking lot, he took a deep breath before getting out of the car. Pon went over what he was going to say to Die, how to apologize and hoping that the man was in a decent mood.

          Opening the door, a rush of savory smells hit him full in the face, “Hey babe, just in time, I hope you want curry tonight?”

          “Um, sure…curry is fine.” Pon wasn’t sure what was going on.

          “How did the recording go? Isn’t Eiji your engineer this time around?” Die was setting the table, Pon noticing that there was a small bouquet of flowers as a center piece.

          “Yah, uh, it went fine, we probably have two more weeks and then just the editing, which I don’t really need to be there for that.” Just as Pon put his bag down, Die walked over and put his arms around him.

          “Hey, I’m sorry for last night, I was being a troll and an idiot. I promise never to push that issue again. I wasn’t fair to you and I didn’t listen. I love you and want to be with you no matter if we’re married or not.”

          Pon leaned into Die’s arms, sliding his arms around Die’s waist, “I should be the one apologizing. I got all stupid over a simple question, my reaction was way over the top. I understand why you want to get married, I’m just not ready yet. Is that okay with you?”

          “Whenever if ever, that’s how I look at it, you’re stuck with me,” Die leaned down and kissed Pon, “Being stuck with you is all I’ve ever wanted, I love you Daisuke.”

 

~~

 

          The attorney’s office was quite crowded that afternoon, Isshi having called his fellow Dominants and request a meeting with Ikeda, to discuss what Taka had planned for the young men who would be asked to testify.

          Sato stood next to Taka, who was explaining his plan, “I feel confident that as long as we have a united show of force, they won’t be able to intimidate Ru, Byou and Karyu.”

          “I agree, it’s a good plan.” The attorney had listened carefully to what Taka had proposed. “There is one other problem that I see, and that concerns both you, Madame, and Mistress Davina.”

          “Oh, and what would that be?” Madame F could not foresee any issues. “You may have to state your name, Madame. I can ask the judge for an exception in this case if you are uncomfortable with revealing this information. You are collectively known in your communities by these names, I see no reason to reveal your given names considering we are not seating a jury.”

          Ormond put a hand on Madame F’s shoulder, “My lady will answer to no one on this matter.” A slight gasp was heard from the other submissives.

          “Stand down, Ormond.” Madame F commanded, “Ikeda-san, what is your opinion on the matter? I will defer to your judgement, as I assume Davina will as well.” Davina waved off the woman’s concern.

          Ikeda said nothing for a moment, looking to the people in the room, “I don’t believe you should be forced, Madame. If this is the name that people associate with you in your community, that should be enough. We can make a note on the trial records if need be. Are there any more questions or concerns?”

          Sato cleared his throat, “How many spectators will be allowed in the courtroom? Is there a way we can keep it only to the people directly involved with the trial? I’d hate for some random people watching and it gets out to the public.”

          Ikeda nodded, “If you will supply me with a list of names of those you will allow in the courtroom, I will make sure the bailiff checks identification each day. Are you anticipating a large group?”

          Sato shook his head, “No, not at all. I just don’t need it known that Taka is my husband, or that Uta and Sakurai are more than just friends. We do have another lifestyle to consider other than that of the community.”

          “Submit a list of names and I will have it taken care of.” Ikeda smiled. “Anything else?”

          Ruimaru bent down and whispered in Isshi’s ear, “Yes Angel, you may ask.”

          “Ikeda-sama? I’m worried about what their lawyer is going to ask us, and if he’s going to yell or just be nasty. Will he be allowed to do that?” Ruimaru looked at the floor.

          Ikeda got up from his desk and stood in front of Ruimaru, “Yes my boy, he will,” he said in a soft voice, “I’m sure they will say vile things, most likely that you chose to be at the party, that you wanted to be abused and you found it sexually exciting.”

          Ikeda turned and looked at the others in the room, “I’m warning you now, that the defense will be brutal in their examinations. They will bring up every piece of dirt you can imagine, so be prepared for harsh questions.”

He turned back to Ruimaru, “Young man, the best way to handle the questions is to remain calm, answer them in a steady voice and most of all, keep your eyes on your loved ones, do not sway from that. You will draw the strength you need, from them.”

 

 

          “Mistress, you’re very quiet, is there something I can do for you?” Kato was watching Davina in the rear-view mirror; the woman was just staring out the window.

          “Mistress?”

          “Hm? I’m sorry Kato love, what is it?” Davina was pulled back to reality.

          “Is there something I can do to help? Anything at all?” Kato’s brow was furrowed, he worried that his mistress was in some sort of distress.

          “Oh Kato, what can I do for those precious boys? I’m just not sure they can deal with this trial, at least not without falling completely apart.” She had started to become concerned as soon as Ruimaru had asked Ikeda about what to expect from Masamoto’s attorneys.

          Helping Davina out of the car, Kato had a few ideas swirling around in his head, “If I may be so bold, Mistress?” They both went to the kitchen, Kato starting the kettle for Davina’s tea, while the woman sat down at the small table. “Speak freely, Kato.”

          Kato chose his words carefully, “After the trial, I’m sure Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou will be stressed out and scared, depending on the outcome. Perhaps it’s time you share one of your houses with them, say Maastricht? It could do them well to leave for an extended holiday, something that I’m sure Isshi would love as well. We can bring Emi here to the manor.”

          Davina chuckled, “Anything to get Emi back into your bed, ne my love?” Kato blushed, “Well, I don’t mind having her here, I have always been fond of cats.” Placing Davina’s tea in front of her, Kato sat down. “Davina, you know that those boys are going to be completely wrecked after they face Masamoto’s attorneys. There will be vile things said to them and against them. I don’t believe that Sakurai-san’s estate will be enough to mend their hearts and minds, they need to go somewhere freeing and I believe Maastricht has some sort of special healing powers.”

          Leaning on her elbows, the Dominant looked thoughtfully at Kato, “How do you know this, Kato?”

          The young man blushed, “I’m not deaf, Mistress. I’ve heard you speak of St. Servatius with Sakurai-san and Madame F, in regards to Uta-kun. The old woman, Josez, Maurice and his sons, the bakery around the corner. It all holds some sort of tranquility and healing powers, does it not? I look fondly on my short time there; the Netherlands is truly a beautiful country.”

          Davina couldn’t deny Kato’s musings, the young man was spot on with his description of the Basilica, the pub and the people of Maastricht. She sat up straight, “I do believe you’re right. I will put the bug in Isshi’s ear soon, as I’m sure none of the boy’s have passports, though I can help expedite the process. I shall offer them the use of the jet as well. Thank you, love…I’m sure Isshi and the boy’s will greatly appreciate it. Now, I need you do draw me a bath and choose an appropriate outfit for me to visit Ojisan’s, I feel the need for some excellent ramen and whatever insight that man can provide.”         

Chapter Text

          “Should we say something?” Yuki asked anxiously, “I don’t want to lie, but I’m not sure he’s going to be happy about it.”

          Aoi shrugged, “I can’t tell you what to do babe, that’s entirely up to you. I doubt he’d be upset; you’re making progress and probably are ahead of schedule, but I’ll agree to whatever it is you want to say.”

         

          The couple were on their way to see Yuki’s doctor for his monthly follow up appointment. Yuki had battled with himself over how much to tell his physician about his progress on learning to walk again, which had increased daily. He was now up to walking with an almost normal stride from the bed to the bathroom, usually with Aoi hovering nervously behind him.

          The surprise for Ayato had almost been ruined one evening, when Yuki had walked from the couch to the kitchen, Ayato knocking on the door and walking in without waiting, stunned with what he saw, “YOU’RE WALKING???” he screamed, startling Yuki so badly he fell back hard on his ass.

          “Aya! Damn it you scared the shit out of me! No, I’m not walking, you dork, I’m just practicing standing.” Aoi had heard the scream from the bedroom, grabbing the wheelchair and pushing it into the living room, “I was just cleaning his chair, damn Ayato, you scream like a girl.” He quickly went to Yuki and made a great show of picking the man up and putting him in the chair.

          “Oh,” Ayato grunted, “well, I guess that’s okay then. When’s your next doctor’s appointment?” He flopped down on the couch, Sora running down the hallway chirping, launching himself into Ayato’s lap, “God, Sora, you chonk, watch where you’re stepping.”

          Yuki laughed, “It’s later today, why?”

          “Just wondering, are you going to show the doc that you can stand?”

          Yuki quickly glanced at Aoi, “I don’t know…probably. It’s not like he doesn’t want me to walk.”

          Aoi decided the subject needed to be changed, “Have you guys heard anything from Uruha or Ruki? I haven’t seen them much lately,” The Gazette were not in the studio, so the obvious questions about the weddings were not being asked.

          “Nope, not a word. Akira seems to think that Uruha’s probably throwing up constantly just from the stress of knowing that there will be an actual wedding.” Ayato snickered. It was true that in the past, Uruha wasn’t known for taking any surprises in stride, the man was always a nervous wreck.

          “He might be holed up with Tomo, going over wedding plans, I’m sure we’ll hear something soon enough.” Aoi guessed.

 

 

          Uruha was in fact holed up with Tomo at his flat, each of them with their laptops open, searching for the right place to exchange vows with their soon to be husbands.

          “Have you guys set a date yet?” Tomo asked, “we haven’t…I just can’t seem to find the perfect month, let alone a date.”

          Uruha reached over and patted Tomo on the leg, “We’re waiting until after the new year, it’s just too close to Christmas for me to try and plan anything, besides I kind of like being engaged.” He more than liked it, Uruha was practically giddy over being able to say he was ‘engaged to be married.’

          Tomo on the other hand, felt like this was the final chapter to his unexpected life with Ruki, “I sort of feel like we’ve been married this whole time,” he giggled, “considering we act like an old married couple. It will be nice though to have that stupid piece of paper from the registry.”

          “The only thing I’m worried about is people wanting to throw us bachelor parties, I just envision the tacky parties you see in movies, with strippers and everyone drunk off their asses.”    

          “Oh god, could you imagine Ruki at a bachelor party? He’d be the one on the stripper pole!” Tomo laughed, “Maybe we should ask Ayato, just to freak Reita out a little.”

          That comment evolved into an hour-long discussion about Ayato and his past profession. “That night he came to dinner with Reita, and was outed as a stripper, I thought it was over for those two. I wish he would have understood that we didn’t care what he did…but I guess it was just too new for him and Reita.”

          Uruha snorted“Why the hell he fell in love with Reita, I’ll never understand, but I am glad it happened.”

          “I wonder if they’ll ever get to this path? Do you see Reita being married?” Tomo didn’t know the man well enough to guess, nor did he know Ayato at all.

          Uruha shrugged, “If you and I can find guys that treat us right, then anything is possible, though I don’t see Ayato agreeing to it, at least not anytime soon.”

 

 

          “Oh god, I thought he was going to ruin everything!” Yuki slumped back into the couch, just after Ayato had left. “He surprised the shit out of me, good recover on why I wasn’t in my chair though.”

          Aoi smirked, “It was the only reason I could think of, not that it was very believable, but as long as he fell for it, we’re good.”

          “Now that he knows, I guess that pretty much dictates what I’m going to say to the doctor. If Aya asks what he said, I can’t really lie about that, can I?” Yuki was still unsure about what he would do.

          Turning to face Yuki, Aoi’s eyes narrowed, “I think you should tell the doctor and give him a demonstration. I want to know that what we’re doing is the safest and healthiest way for you to get back to normal. If we lie to the doctor…I just don’t think that’s right, or ethical for that matter.”

          Since the impromptu proposal, Aoi had been asserting himself a little more with Yuki, but that assertion was clearly spoken. There were no more mind games or misunderstandings, everything was always placed out in the open. He meant what he had said that night, Yuki meant everything to him and he was determined to have a successful marriage.

          Yuki reached over to cup the back of Aoi’s head, pulling the man into a very serious kiss, “I love you, and most of all I trust you. Shall we give the doctor a little performance today?” Aoi answered the question with a serious kiss of his own.

 

          The doctor looked over Yuki’s chart, humming and checking boxes, all the while Aoi and Yuki were waiting anxiously for his comments.

          “How has your therapy been going Yuki? Still doing the stretches and exercises?” The doctor looked at the couple, “Has he been a compliant patient?” It was obvious to the doctor that the situation had changed between the two men, they were now sitting together holding hands.

          “Most of the time, but he can still be a whiney brat if he’s tired.” Aoi joked, which earned him an elbow to the ribs. “But honestly, he’s doing better than I think we expected.” That was Yuki’s cue to show the doctor his newly found ability. Standing slowly, without any assistance from Aoi, Yuki carefully walked from his chair and around the doctor’s desk to stand next to him.

          To say that the doctor was pleased, was an understatement. He was shocked and amazed, “Yuki, well done! How long has this been going on? Can you please walk over to the table and let me examine you?”

          Yuki explained about the night that Rin had had a seizure, the instant reaction to the situation, “I just stood up quickly and walked, or tried to… about two steps before I fell.” The doctor nodded, “It’s not unheard of for situations like that to cause an instantaneous reaction, the mind over rules the body.”

          The examination was better than either Yuki or Aoi had hoped, Yuki showing almost complete sensitivity to touch from the waist down. “There are still a few dead spots, but those area’s have no bearing on your ability to walk.” The doctor helped Yuki sit up, “Young man, unless you have some sort of accident, I don’t believe I need to see you until next year. Continue with what you’ve been doing, and I predict within four or five weeks, you will need no assistance to walk at all.”

          Just outside the doctor’s office, Aoi scooped Yuki up from his chair, hugging him and twirling him around, “I told you! You’re going to walk into that Christmas party and shock the hell out of everyone! Let’s go celebrate, how about Ojisan’s for lunch?”

 

          Aoi went ahead of Yuki and peeked into the ramen hut, “Irasshai, Yuu-san…are you looking for someone?” Ojisan greeted Aoi. “No, Ojisan, I just wanted to make sure no one we know is here, I have a surprise for you.”

          “For me?”

          Aoi leaned back out, then slid the door open. Holding out his hand, he led Yuki into the ramen hut. “Hi Ojisan! Can I have ramen and pork cutlet?” Yuki said cheerily.

          “Yuki-kun! You’re walking,” Ojisan scurried from behind the counter, hugging the young man tightly. “This is a wonderful surprise my friends, thank you.” Looking at Yuki, the mystic ramen maker had tears in his eyes, “I felt that something important was going to happen today,”

          “Thanks, Ojisan, we’re pretty happy about it too.” Aoi grinned. Instead of going back behind the counter, the man sat on a stool, “Congratulations on your engagement.” He was beaming, “I also know that there are a few others that need to be congratulated, but they have yet to grace my counter. If you see them, please extend my good wishes to them.”

          Aoi and Yuki looked at each other then both started laughing, “Ojisan, we’d be more than happy to do that, and thank you. I know better than to ask you how you knew…you probably don’t know yourself.” Aoi bowed his head lightly.

          Laughter and not a small amount of teasing between the ramen maker and his guests came to a screeching halt when a group of customers came in. “Irasshai, gentlemen and congratulations on your engagements!”

          Tomo and Uruha stopped so suddenly, that Ruki and Hal bumped into them. Seeing Yuki and Aoi, Uruha pointed his finger, “Did you tell him?” Aoi sat back and held his hands up, “Nope, he said…” Yuki nudged him in the ribs. “He just asked us to tell you he was happy for you.”

          “Thank you, Ojisan, we’re all very happy.” Ruki bowed deeply. While the exchanges were going on, Ojisan peered over at Yuki, who shook his head ever so slightly, “Of course,” Ojisan said softly. “Gentlemen, what can I make for you today?”

          Now that they were all together, talk turned to the upcoming weddings, “We haven’t even picked out a date yet, Aoi.” Tomo began, “Neither has Kouyou and Hal, it’s only been a week.”  Tomo blushed.

          “We’ll let you all know what we’ve decided in due time, but don’t expect it to be before Christmas, both weddings will happen sometime next year.” Ruki said with authority.

          “Will you have a double wedding?” Yuki thought that the two couples might do that, since they proposed together. Hal and Ruki exchanged glances, “That hasn’t been discussed, so can we just move away from all this.” Ruki objected.

          “How’s your therapy going, Yuki? Still promising dances for Christmas?” Uruha asked.

          Yuki winked at Aoi, “He’s a slave driver, but it’s going well. Getting back some of the feeling, but I’m a long way from dancing. Hopefully something by that time though, maybe standing on my own. I’m being realistic on my progress.”

          “I’m sure you’ll be walking by the holidays, Yuki-kun.” Tomo added. The small party ended and as everyone made their way to their cars, Uruha and Tomo promised to let everyone know when the dates were set, “Just don’t think about anything before the holidays!” Uruha reminded them.

          Yuki noticed that Aoi was a little quiet on the drive home, “Regrets Yuu?” he knew that his lover was thinking of his past try at a relationship with his guitarist.

          “No, not really. I wasn’t the right guy for him, hell, I wasn’t the right guy for anyone at that time. I’m happy for him, truly 100% happy.” He glanced over at Yuki, “If I would have been in a successful relationship with him, I wouldn’t have you.”

          “True, but I made you work for it, didn’t I?”

          Aoi rolled his eyes, “Yah, you did…so did Ken. I thought I was going to go crazy between the two of you putting all sorts of shit in my head.” They could talk about Ken now without either one feeling guilty or awkward.

          Laughing, Yuki reminded Aoi, “Hey, you didn’t have a dead lover coming into your dreams telling you to let him go, and pushing me towards you. Ken could be so obnoxious.”

          “An obnoxious dead guy?” Aoi looked up, “Ken…can you hear this? Yuki’s calling you obnoxious! Make sure to visit him in his dreams tonight.”  Yuki reached over and smacked Aoi on the arm, “Don’t tell him that!” now it was Yuki’s turn to look up, “Ignore him Ken…I love you and no you weren’t obnoxious!”

           It felt good that they could laugh and joke about their past, even adding Ken into the mix. Aoi knew where he stood in relation to Yuki’s feelings for Ken, and he was okay with it. Yuki understood his own feelings for Ken, just wonderful happy memories of a loving man.

          “Oh, by the way, you almost blew it at Ojisan’s, so sorry about the poke in the ribs.”

          “Shit, yah…I’m glad you caught that, and that Ojisan saw us. That would have been super awkward.” Pulling into the parking lot, Aoi got Yuki’s chair out, and they went into the flat. “You want some tea?” he asked Yuki. “Yah, that would be nice.”

          Handing Yuki his tea, Aoi sat next to him, “Since they haven’t decided on a date, what are we going to do? I mean I proposed and all, but we really haven’t talked about anything else, like dates or whatever.” Aoi held up his hand, “Just to let you know, I’m in no big hurry…when ever we decide is good for me.”

          Laying his head on Aoi’s shoulder, Yuki sighed, “Well, I still get to propose, and that’ll be a surprise. But as for an actual wedding?” he sat up, “do you want to have like a big wedding, like what Koichi and Taka had?”

          “It has to be big enough for my parents and my sister and brother to attend, your parents and sister too. We can’t do that without them. Then there’s my band, Diru, MUCC, maybe Sakurai and Uta?”

          “Oh! Let’s invite Mistress Davina and her pet!” Yuki giggled, “Uh, I’m not sure how that would go over with my parents, or yours.” Aoi frowned, “But if you wanted to invite her, that would be fine with me.”

          “Uta and Sakurai have to come, I owe Uta for a lot, and it’s not like Sakurai’s going to let him come alone.”

          Talking about a wedding made the engagement feel more real for Yuki, now it wasn’t just something Aoi had asked in the heat of a romantic or sexual mood. The idea of spending the rest of his life (hopefully) with Aoi both scared and excited him. Could they remain happily ever after? Was this the light at the end, after everything he’d gone through in the last two years?

          “We could do a family only ceremony and then a big reception, if that would make you happy.” Aoi could see Yuki’s mind working, he wondered if the man was having second thoughts. He had tried everything within his power to make Yuki happy, and where he had come from two years ago, he was pretty sure he was succeeding.

          “HBG reception, depending on the time of the year? If we got married in winter, that would be a bit cold for an outdoor party, don’t you think?” They were now looking at each other carefully. “What are you thinking?” Yuki asked quietly.

          Aoi chuckled, “Probably the same thing you are. Where we are right now, as opposed to two years ago. What we’ve both gone through and done to each other. How close we were to losing it all over some petty bullshit, and some real difficult situations.”

          “Yep, I was thinking pretty much the same thing,” he sighed, “I think we should wait a while, let everyone else get married first. I don’t want it to seem that we were influenced by the others. Like you’re not marrying me just because Uruha and Ruki are married.”     

          “Bunch of old married farts,” Aoi snorted, “if the fans only knew, they’d flip shit. They think we’re all glamourous and can have anyone we want; little do they know how dorky we all are.”

          “I can testify to the fact that you’re all a bunch of dorks, dumbasses, egotistical, weird, OCD…” Aoi quickly stopped Yuki by kissing him, “Let’s not go over board, ne?” he tickled Yuki’s side, causing him to squeal and try to get away, “No fair! I can’t walk.”

          “Pfft, you can walk, you dork, you’ve been doing it for weeks, the doctor said you’re almost completely healed,” Aoi stood up and held out his hand, “Let’s go take a nap, shall we?” he wiggled his eyebrows.

          “A nap? You mean sex in the middle of the day, call it what it truly is, Yuu. You want to fuck me, not nap.” Reaching up he took Aoi’s hand.

          “I’m being a gentleman, and we gentleman prefer to use a gentler term than that obscene word you said.” Aoi stuck his nose up in the air and sniffed.

          “What the hell? Really Yuu? And you just got upset with me calling you a dork? I might have to rethink this whole marriage thing, you’re just too damned…HEY!” In one quick move, Aoi scooped Yuki up in his arms, nuzzling his neck forcefully, walking towards the bedroom, “You talk too much, shut up and let’s take a nap.”

 

 

          Defense attorney Yoneda Kotaro was writing furiously as Masamoto Umeji gave him a list of names, “Make sure to investigate all of these names, if you want dirt, I’m giving you a bucket full.” Masamoto snapped.

          “Tojo Fumiko? You’re joking…the Tojo?” Yoneda looked up at his client. “Yah, that Tojo, as in WWII and all that shit. Yazuki Miho, and yes…it’s that Yazuki. There aren’t many people in our community that have this information, and you can use it to my benefit, I don’t give a shit about Inoue or Kimura.”

          Yoneda nodded, “What else?”

          Masamoto laughed, “When you get to that bitch Yazuki, make sure to look for the name Sasaki Teiji, it was in all the papers. Stupid bitch got her pet murdered, at least that kid that pulled the trigger did it right in front of her and that stupid kid that Sakurai Atsushi fucks.”

          “Sakurai Atsushi? God, this is gold! Anything else?” Yoneda wanted as much ammunition as possible against the prosecution, the more the better.

          Masamoto snorted, “Yah, one last thing, check out Shinohara’s boy that offed himself in Aokigahara, I’m sure you can use it to twist whatever he’s claiming. It’s his fault the boy killed himself.”

          Yoneda put the notebook in his briefcase, “This information gives us more fuel. I’m going to need to speak to Inoue and Kimura, and we’re going to have to coordinate with them on what will be done once these people are on the witness stand.”

          “I don’t give a shit what you have to do, but you get my ass out of here as soon as possible. I want to bring all those assholes down. They don’t get to fuck with me and get away with it. If I had my way, Shinohara wouldn’t even make it to the trial, let alone sit up there and lie about how ethical he is, fucking faggot.”

          Yoneda banged his fist on the table, “Shut your mouth about what you would do to Shinohara, if it gets heard that you want him dead, you’ll never leave here, or you’ll leave in a damn body bag, so keep your mouth shut.”

          As he knocked on the door for a jailor to let him out, Yoneda wondered why he had agreed to take this case; the men involved made him sick with what they were being accused of. After this case was over, Yoneda Kotaro was going to take another hard look at what he was doing with his life.

          As Masamoto was being led back to his cell, the guard mumbled something softly, “Yah, it’s in place, just keep up your end of the deal, if you don’t, you know what happens.”

Chapter Text

          With one more text message and a thorough email, Nakamura Taizo leaned back in his chair, “So it begins.” He murmured. The trial of Masamoto Umeji was to start in the morning, with opening statements. He knew that it would be a matter of days until he was called to testify for the prosecution, and called as a hostile witness by the defense.

          Ikeda’s email warned him in advance, “I’ll be calling you last to testify, I want as much evidence presented as possible, before Yoneda can get his hands on you. If you do not wish to attend the proceedings, that’s acceptable, there is no witness sequestering.”

          “As much evidence as possible, how much more do they need?” he wondered. Nakamura had immersed himself in work, hoping to distract his thoughts. He anticipated some fall out if his name became public record, and as such he was making difficult legal decisions for his company.

        Though his staff voiced their concerns over the changes, Nakamura did not feel that he needed to respond to those concerns. “This is my company, I run it as I choose. If you disagree with the changes, feel free to resign.” After that exchange, Nakamura was not questioned again.

          “I’m leaving for lunch,” Nakamura informed his receptionist as he left his office, “I should be back in two hours.”

 

           “Uta! Stop driving like a fiend, you’re scaring me!” Sakurai Atsushi was gripping the door handle, with his eyes closed, “I’m not driving like a fiend, you’re just an old man.” Uta laughed. They were on their way to Ojisan’s for lunch, the weather was still warm and Uta had the top down on his small vintage sports car.

           “I am not old, I just don’t drive like this, please Uta, just slow down!” Sakurai had driven in the same manner in his younger days, but those days were long gone. “Please baby,” he whined one last time.

           “Fine!” Uta huffed, slowing the small car down to a legal limit, “I swear, you’re just getting to be such an old man. I read about you and your Porsche, and you’re complaining about this tiny car? Please, spare me.”

            Leaving the car in a parking garage, the two men teased each other on the short walk to Ojisan’s, “You’ll never find out what happened, I won’t tell you and neither will the band, so just drop it.”

            “Irasshai gentlemen, I’m so pleased to see you today!” Ojisan called out from his tiny kitchen, not bothering to look to see who had come in, “Your usual today Uta? Atsushi?” Uta shot Sakurai a quick look, “Um, sure Ojisan, that’s fine,” he leaned over and whispered in Sakurai’s ear, “How did he know it was us?”

           “Your food, gentlemen.” Ojisan placed the bowls in front of his customers. “How goes the trial? Has it started yet?” The man had had disturbing visions regarding the trial, and the parties involved, yet he wasn’t sure what would happen to whom, and when.

           “It starts tomorrow, Ojisan. The attorney’s will be giving their opening statements, and I will assume that the first witness will be called.” Sakurai shook his head, “I fear for the mental health of Isshi’s boys, Ojisan. What they’ve gone through, no person, contracted submissive or not, no one deserves that type of abuse.”

           Ojisan leaned against the counter, “I believe that they will recover, but it will take time and distance, it will not happen at home. They have the support of so many that love and care for them. I’m sure Taka-kun will be their rock, as  well as Mistress Davina and Madame F’s young men.”  

 

          Watching as the suspect was moving out of the parking garage and walking towards the crowded streets of the shopping district, the man noted the time. He had been watching the suspect for the last three hours, parked across the street from Nakamura Imports. Once Nakamura had left the office, he had been followed at a distance, a tracking device unknowingly placed under his car.

         “He’s going to that ramen shop, yah…that’s the one. Sure, it’s no problem, I’m a bit hungry myself.” Waiting a good ten minutes, the man slowly made his way towards the small side street where the ramen hut was located.

         “It’s a pleasant surprise to see you, Nakamura-san, what can I make for you today?” Ojisan had felt that he would have an irregular customer come in that day, but he was surprised who that customer was.

         “Miso ramen, with an egg please.” Taking a seat across from Sakurai and Uta, Nakamura nodded in greetings, “I hope you’re both well?”

         “Passably, thanks. The trial starts tomorrow…do you know when you’ll be testifying?”

          Before Nakamura could answer, another customer entered the ramen hut, “Irasshai, take any seat you’d like, I will be with you in a moment,” Ojisan greeted the man. Nakamura eyed the man at first, making sure he wasn’t anyone that he knew, then turned back to Sakurai and Uta.

          “The last day is what Ikeda said, he wanted the full amount of information to be presented before speaking to me.”

           Sakurai nodded, “You’re being called for both sides, am I correct?”

          “Yes, something I’m not looking forward to. I’m ashamed of my involvement and am reticent to engage with his attorney.”

         Ojisan took the new customer’s order, someone that he had not remembered ever seeing in his shop before.

         “Will this affect your business at all? I know we’ve been guaranteed some protection, but there’s always the possibility for a slip of the tongue as it were.” Sakurai said.

          Nakamura chuckled, “Not any more worried than you. You have a lot to lose, as much as I do.” He nodded at Uta, “How are you Uta-kun? Still vexing Madame F?”

          Uta snorted, “No, I’ve been on my best behavior. It’s not like anyone’s really interested in going to the clubs. I’ve only seen her at Mistress’s home a few times in the last months.”

         “Hopefully after all this is over, we can go back to a normal routine, though to be honest, I don’t think that will be the case for Isshi and his boys, there will be no normal for quite some time.”

          The odd customer finished his meal and paid Ojisan, “Thank you, that was excellent.” Ojisan said nothing but bowed lightly.

          Sakurai cocked his head, “What will you do if there are repercussions with your business?”

          Nakamura’s smile was strained, “I have enough connections that I could move operations to the US, I have a business visa that allows me a longer period to stay in the country. I’ve been preparing for that possibility, though I’m sure there’s no need to worry.”

         Sakurai and Uta finished their lunch, and on their way out, Sakurai stopped to pat Nakamura on the shoulder, “With the evidence that we have, I doubt that there will be any problems, don’t be in such a rush to leave the country.”

         “Thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow in court.” Nakamura smiled. It was a contented feeling knowing that he had somewhat redeemed himself in the eyes of the senior members of the community, but he still battled with his own personal demons.

         “Nakamura-san, please take notice of your surroundings when you’re out,” Ojisan had waited until Uta and Sakurai had left to speak his mind to his remaining customer. While he had been in his tiny kitchen, he sensed a darkness around Nakamura Taizo, something that chilled him to the bone.

          For his part, Nakamura didn’t put much stock into what the ramen maker had said, “Ojisan, I’m always aware of my surroundings. There is no cause for worry. Thank you for another excellent meal, have a good day.”

          Ojisan watched the man leave the ramen hut, “Nakamura Taizo, please heed my warning, it does not come lightly.” There was nothing more Ojisan could do, he prayed his intuition was wrong.

 

        “He just walked out of the restaurant. Sakurai and his brat were there as well. No, they left before he did. The last day, so you still have time. Yes sir, I understand. Thank you, Sir. Preferably female, though one of those super tiny pretty boys would be suitable as well.

 

 

         Settling deeply in his large office chair, Nakamura Taizo opens the top drawer of his desk and takes out a large envelope, carefully spreading the papers on his desk. Going through each piece, he carefully reads every page, making notes in a small book. With the last bundle of documents in his hand, he leans back in his chair, reading the words over and over. This is the right thing to do, he said to himself.

        Picking up the phone, he calls his receptionist. “Ms. Soto, could you please call the notary and have him come to my office?”

        A few moments later, a knock at the office door, “Come in,”

        “You called for me, Nakamura-san?” 

       “Yes, one moment please, Jiwa,” picking up his phone again, “Ms. Soto, could you come in please?”

       “Nakamura-san?” The pretty receptionist stands in front of the desk.

       “Sit, please. I’m going to hold both of you to all confidentiality in what I’m going to ask you to do. This goes no further than this room. If I hear of any of what is happening, outside this office, there will be severe consequences, is that understood?”

       The man and woman nodded, “Yes, Sir.”

        “Jiwa, I want you to notarize these three pages, and all three copies. I will be taking the copies home with me; the original will be left in my safe here in the office.”

        He slid the papers to Jiwa, who picked them up and read the first paragraph, his face draining of color, “Sir? You can’t be serious…this is, highly irregular. Have you talked this over with your attorneys?”

        “My attorneys have no say in this, this is my personal wish and I want it carried out if needed. I am the single shareholder in this company, I do with it what I choose. Do either of you have objections to what I’m asking you?”

       “No, Nakamura-san. I believe I understand exactly.” Ms. Soto smiled at her boss; she was the only person within the company that knew of his activities with the other community.

       “Jiwa? Any objections?” Nakamura asked again.

        “No sir, none. Let’s do this and I will leave you to your business.” A few stamps of the notary, signatures by Nakamura, Ms. Soto and Jiwa, and the process was completed in a matter of fifteen minutes.

        “I will take these originals and put them in the safe, and I thank you both for your cooperation. Hopefully none of this will be necessary.” Both Jiwa and Ms. Soto bowed and left the office.

        Waiting until the door was closed, Nakamura went to the wall safe and twisted the dial. Opening the safe he put the documents inside, patted the envelope once and closed and locked the door. “Done.”

 

       “Why do you think they’re making Nakamura testify last? He’s the reason that Isshi’s boys were rescued, I would think they’d want him to go first.” Uta was laying on the couch, his head in Sakurai’s lap, sleepy from their lunch.

       “He’s being used as a hostile witness for the defense. Yes, he saved the boys, but he wasn’t there initially to do that. He was there to participate in the event. He had Karyu in his room, ready to do who knows what. The defense will use that to their benefit in undermining everything that Byou, Ruimaru and Karyu say…that they were there voluntarily and agreeing to what was done to them.”

       “He seemed sad, sort of beat down or something. Ojisan was watching him closely as well. Do you think he saw or sensed something?” Uta had seen the looks that Ojisan was giving Nakamura, he could tell that the ramen maker was uneasy.

       “This has been a strain on everyone, Nakamura included. I’m sure he’s questioning his ethics as a Dominant, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves the community completely. But let’s not worry about him, I’d rather think of you… can I convince you that we need to take a nap?” Sakurai wiggled his eyebrows at Uta.

      “Seriously? We just had sex this morning!” Uta said in mock surprise, “You’d better be careful. I remember I told someone that he might die fucking me,”

      “Did I not say it would be a beautiful death and I would gladly leave this world if I was defiling your lewd body? Are you saying you think I’m too old for more than once a day?” Sakurai slowly moved his hand down Uta’s chest and slipped his fingers in the top of Uta’s waistband, teasing the tiny tummy.

      “Acchan…don’t tease me!” Uta whimpered. “Okay, let’s go try and kill you…again!” Uta jumped up and ran down the hallway, throwing his shirt off and stopping to hop and hold on to the wall, while he dropped his pants.

      Sakurai watched Uta, grinning, “You’d better be naked by the time I get there, or I will be punishing you,”

      “Promises, promises!” Uta giggled as he dropped his underwear and mooned his lover. “Punish me then!” He picked up his underwear and balled them up, throwing them at an advancing Sakurai, “That’s it boy… you’re in trouble now.” Sakurai laughed as he slammed the door to their bedroom.

Chapter Text

          The opening statements by both the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, on the first day of the trial, had left the witnesses shaken. Yoneda’s opening statement listed the facts of the case as it had been brought to his office. He used the radiographs of Isshi’s chest, with the bullet still lodged near his heart, to emphasize the absurd lengths that Masamoto Umeji went through, to gain control of Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou. Photo’s of the accident scene, the pool of blood that Isshi had lain in, and the blood on the door from Byou, when his head hit the window.

          The photos from the emergency room, of Byou’s back, welted, torn and bleeding. It had been the first time Isshi had seen the pictures, and the sight of an enlarged, detailed photo, had caused the man to sob quietly, reaching over to hold Byou’s hand. The evidence was clear and disturbing.

          “We will clearly show, that Masamoto Umeji, Kimura Asao and Inoue Hiroaki conspired to murder Shinohara Isshi, simply to gain control of the three young men that lived with Shinohara-san, and have them as part of a deviant sexual event. Regardless of the lifestyle that Shinohara-san is involved with, there is undeniable evidence that these young men were taken and abused without their consent, and that Shinohara was shot, in an attempt to kill him.”

 

          Yoneda whispered something to Masamoto before standing, the man grinned and nodded his head. Coming from behind his desk, Yoneda walked over and stood in front of the desk of the prosecution, not looking at Ikeda, but at Isshi, Karyu, Ruimaru and Byou, a smirk on his lips. He stood there for a moment, making eye contact with each of them, before turning around and addressing the judge.

          “I have no prepared opening statement your Honor, I will let the evidence we have against the prosecution speak for itself.”  

          “Are you sure, Yoneda-san?” The judge was surprised.

          “Yes, Your Honor, quite sure.” The snarky look Yoneda shot Ikeda, while we returned to the desk, worried Ikeda. “What does he have up his sleeve?” Isshi leaned forward, tapping the attorney on the shoulder, “Is that allowed?”

          Ikeda nodded slowly, “It’s a tactic that some defense attorney’s use…it creates doubt in the prosecution, just by the bold act alone.”

          “Ikeda-san, call your first witness please.”

 

          Ruimaru and Byou carried in trays with tea, Karyu following with a large tray of various small sandwiches, into Isshi’s large living room, where everyone involved gathered after the first day of the trial, on Isshi’s suggestion.

          “Excuse my language, but Masamoto’s attorney had a huge set of balls, when questioning you, Madame. I also thought Ormond was going to jump the railing and throttle the man.” Sakurai said.

          “I think the judge handled it appropriately, though my name was revealed to more people today, than it ever has been in my professional life.” Madame F was still bristling over the defense attorney’s line of questioning that day.

          After Ikeda had questioned the Dominant woman, Yoneda got up and approached Madame F at the witness stand, “What is your relation to Tojo Hideki?” A gasp was heard.

          “OBJECTION! Relevance?” Ikeda stood up quickly.

          “Sustained, try again counselor,” the judge said testily.

          “My apologies,” he smirked.

          “Please tell the court what you do for a living?”

          Now it was Madame F’s turn to smirk, “I’m wealthy. I don’t do anything for a living.”

          “You have no income?”

          “Did I say that?” Madame F’s patience was wearing thin.

          “What is your source of income?” Yoneda pushed.

          Madame F could not be swayed, “My own hard-earned money, and a few investment ventures.”

          “How did you obtain your hard-earned money, Madame?”

          Ikeda stood again, “Objection, relevance?”

          “Sustained. What’s your point counselor?” The judge’s patience was also wearing thin.

          “I believe this woman is paid for her services, which is ill-gotten money.”

          “May I approach the bench, your Honor?” Ikeda walked towards the judge. “Explain to me, Yoneda-san, how it is ill-gotten money?”

          Yoneda turned back to Madame F, “Do you charge for your services as a Dominant, Madame?”

          “If the individual wants training, yes there are fees involved.” Madame F answered calmly.

          Now it was the judge’s turn. “Madame, are you holding these people hostage when they are in training? Do you force them into these situations?”

          Madame F scoffed, “No sir, I do not. I am sought out as I have a reputation for my superior methods of training new submissives.”

          The remainder of Madame F’s testimony went downhill from there.

 

          The information on Madame F’s connection to Tojo Hideki, had shocked most of them, the only two that had known the name had been Davina and Sakurai, Uta asking about it on the drive to Isshi’s, “Is Madame F really related to … well to that man?”

          Sakurai nodded, “Yes, distantly. There are few that know this information, and you must never tell anyone. This is a privacy issue for Madame F, understood?”

          “Of course, I don’t know anyone that would want that information anyways, and I’m not stupid enough to piss off Madame F.” Uta said.

         

          That was not the only unexpected revelation in court that day. Yoneda pushed his luck a second time when he cross examined Mistress Davina, the objection raised had warranted a private word between Yoneda and the judge.

          “Yazuki Miho, how long have you been an associate of Tojo Fumiko?”

          “OBJECTION! Your Honor this is outrageous!” Ikeda shouted.

          “Approach the bench please. Yoneda-san, you were given a witness list and neither of those names are on that list.”

          “But these women…” Yoneda sputtered, “they are hiding their true identities!”

           “If you pull this stunt one more time, Yoneda…I will declare a mistrial, and your clients will return to prison, is that clear?” Sustained. Continue counselor, or are we done with the circus tricks?”

 

          “Did you know Davina’s real name?” Uta was as surprised as anyone upon hearing Davina’s name.

          “Yes, but it’s been years since I’ve actually heard it spoken aloud. I’m sure Kato knows, as did Teiji, and I’m sure at some point she would have told you. It’s not a secret, it’s just private information that is irrelevant to the community.”

 

          Sato had watched Taka carefully throughout the day. Taka’s breath was taken away when he saw Masamoto for the first time in over fifteen years, as the man was led in by guards to sit at the defense table. “It’s okay, he can’t get to you.” Sato felt Taka shiver, “Breathe babe…just breathe.”

          Sato had thanked Isshi for the invitation to meet at with the others, “I think I need to take Taka home.”

          Sneaking glances at Taka while driving home, Sato was worried that his husband would shut down, and shut him out. “Hey, do you want to grab dinner? Or order pizza?”

          Taka had his head leaning against the window, “Um, whatever you want to do is good with me.” He sat up, “Ojisan’s? Mos Burger?”

          “Hmm, both good choices. Do you maybe want to call Koichi and Tatsu, see if they can join us?”

          “Oh! Good idea, meet us at Ojisan’s?” Taka quickly took out his phone, not seeing the relieved look on Sato’s face. Twenty minutes later, the four friends were sitting at Ojisan’s counter.

          “Their real names? You can’t be serious?” Koichi gaped at Taka, “can you tell us?”

          “Nope,” Taka shook his head, “I value my life too much to expose two Dominant women’s real names. Let’s just say that both of the names were super surprising.”

          “How’s he doing so far?” Tatsu leaned over and whispered to Sato.

          “There were a few moments when Masamoto was led in, he almost bolted, but I talked him down.”

          “It would benefit you, Taka-kun, if you forgot Mistress’s and Madame F’s true names, you do not want to cross that line.” Ojisan joked.

          “What names, Ojisan?” Taka laughed.

 

          Getting off the train, Jui wanted nothing more than to get home, change into track pants and have a beer with dinner. Going down the steps of the station to the street, he hunched up his shoulders and pulled the hood of his jacket down tight over his head. The cold weather was starting to become severe, and he knew he would have to forgo fashion for function, and start wearing his heavier coat, on his way to and from work.

          Stopping at the konbini to grab a few beers, two packs of onigiri and some chips, Jui stepped back onto the street and hurried down the last two blocks to his flat. With his apartment building in sight, he quickened his steps. Reaching for the railing, he had put his foot on the first step, when someone grabbed him by the wrist.

          “Please, Jui…just talk to me?” Ryo dropped Jui’s wrist quickly, his ex-boyfriend backing away.

          “Go away Ryo, I have nothing to say to you. If you don’t leave me alone. I’m going to report you to the police for stalking!”

          “Why would you do that? I thought you loved me? Can’t we just talk for a few minutes? It’s cold, let’s just go inside and talk, ne?”

          Jui laughed, “Like I would let you in my flat? And do what? Slap me around again? Go away and leave me alone Ryo, I don’t love you and I don’t want to see you ever again!”

          Ryo started to walk towards Jui, “You’re going to sit down and listen to what I have to say! It’s not fair that you get to decide that our relationship is over or not!”

          Jui started backing up quickly, “LEAVE ME ALONE~! DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH ME YOU ASSHOLE!” Jui screamed loudly, hoping that someone would hear.

          Suddenly there was someone behind Jui, stopping him from backing away.

          “Ryo? What’s going on? Who’s this?”

          “Kuina?” Not who Ryo had expected to see, “Fuck off, this has nothing to do with you, get the fuck out of here.” Ryo growled.

          “He’s trying to hit me! He’s hit me before, and now he’s trying to get in my flat.” Jui spun around and hid behind the man.

          “Dude, not cool. Why don’t you just go home or something? This guy doesn’t seem to want you around.”

          The man looked over his shoulder, “Do you want to talk to Ryo?” Jui shook his head, “No, I want him to leave me the fuck alone,”

          “There’s your answer Ryo, he doesn’t want to talk to you. Why don’t you just go home?” Ryo looked at the two men in frustration. “You’re going to eventually have to talk to me, Jui. Kuina, you need to stay the fuck out of this, it’s none of your business.

          “I think it is my business, if you’re trying to hurt this kid, Ryo,” he glanced over his shoulder, “go ahead and go inside,” Jui nodded, and stepped to the side.

          “Jui, don’t fucking move until I finish talking to you!” Ryo growled. Jui moved back behind the other man, they were now at a stand off.

          “I’m calling the cops,” Jui took out his phone. “NO! Don’t call the cops, they don’t need to be involved with this Jui. Look, I’m leaving, okay?” Ryo backed away, then turned around and walked off.

          Jui let out a breath, “Um, thanks. Would you walk me to my door? I don’t trust him at all.”

          Going up the stairs first, Jui got to his flat and unlocked the door, “Uh, thanks…Kuina, for everything,” he blushed, “how do you know Ryo?”

          “From the industry, I’m in a band and I’ve seen him around over the years. Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” Kuina smiled.

          “Yah, I’ll be fine. Thanks for everything, really.” Without a second thought, Jui quickly hugged Kuina, “Thanks again.”

          “No problem, maybe I’ll see you around?” Kuina asked hopefully.

          “Well, I work at a shop in Harajuku called Kiki’s, you can always stop by to say hi.” Why was he telling this stranger where he worked?

          “Okay, if I’m in the area, sure. Just make sure to lock your door, good night Jui.” Kuina waved and walked down the stairs.

          Locking the door and double checking the windows, Jui took a deep breath, “I need a beer.” Just as he sat down, his phone buzzed. “BLOCKED” flashed on the screen.

          “Why won’t you just give up? Leave me alone for fucks sake.” Jui whined. Flipping his phone open, he shot off a quick text.

          “Hey, if you have a minute, and Kao doesn’t mind, could you call me please?”  

 

          “I just wanted to let you know, I mean it’s not like you guys are still in a band or anything, but you’re still friends, right?”

          “I haven’t talked to him in a few months, are you sure about this Kuina? That sounds so out of character for him, and you said the other guy was who?”

          “Some younger guy, his name is Jui, does that ring a bell?”

          “Shit, that’s Toshiya of Diru’s, ex, how the hell did he get involved with Ryo?”

          “No idea, but Jui was terrified of him. Maybe you should call him, Shu…see what you can find out. I’d hate for the guy to get arrested or something.”

           

          “He’s the guitarist for Royz, how did he get involved?” Toshiya called as he and Kaoru were on the way to dinner when Jui texted.

          “He was just on the street. Ryo looked shocked, but I’m telling you Totchi, he totally saved me. I don’t even know what to do anymore about him.” There was dejection in Jui’s voice, something Toshiya could hear.

          “Take this as you want, but I think you should at least file a police report. That way they’ll have it on record if he tries anything again.” Kaoru raised an eyebrow and looked at him.

          “Really? Isn’t that kind of drastic? He didn’t hurt me, just scared me to death.” Jui wasn’t sure about having the police involved.

          “He didn’t hurt you, yet. He’s already hit you how many times? How many bruises have you had because of him?” Toshiya was angry, how could Jui just blow this off so easily.

          “What do you know about Kuina? Is he a nice guy?” Jui changed the subject.

          “I’ve never heard anything negative about him, he’s a good guitarist, that’s about it.”

          Jui smiled, “Cool, thanks Totchi. I’ll think about the police report though. Say hi to Kaoru for me.”

          Toshiya heaved a huge sigh, then put his head back on the seat, “Why am I playing peacemaker with my ex?”

          Reaching over, Kaoru patted his boyfriend’s leg, “Because you care about people, that’s why. So Kuina huh? That was a random event.”

          “I know, of all the people in the city, he shows up to save Jui,” Toshiya laughed.

          “Well, let’s hope he follows through with the police report, I think it’s in his best interest to do so.” His best interest. This was not the first time that Toshiya second had guessed his breakup with Jui.

Chapter Text

 

          “You can’t force me to stay home! If I can’t go with you, then I’ll go by myself.” The tantrum Uta was throwing that morning, was justified, Sakurai would be testifying that day and he did not want Uta in the courtroom. “How is this any different than when Davina or Madame F testified?”

          “It’s different because we have no idea what that monster’s attorney has dug up. You saw yourself what he’s capable of. No Uta, I don’t want you there today.” Sakurai was firm in his decision.

          “Too bad, Atsushi. I’m going and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.” Turning quickly on his heel, Uta ran to the front door, slamming it on his way out.

          “Damn him!” Sakurai groaned as he heard the squeal of tires from Uta’s small sports car, as the young man left the driveway. Taking out his phone, he quickly sent a group text,

          “Uta just left the house without me, please try to keep him out of the courtroom while I’m testifying.”

          Grabbing his coat, Sakurai left the house and made his way to the garage, “Such a brat, he’s not going to like what he hears today,” he muttered as he pulled his car out of the garage. They had spent the previous evening and that morning, discussing what could happen when Sakurai was on the witness stand.

          “There’s no dirt for him to dig up, is there? It’s not like you had some sort of secret dungeon or something, holding submissives captive.” Uta was being naïve.

          “Baby, I’ve been involved in the community for years, if I’ve had one misstep, that leech Yoneda will find something to bring up.” Sakurai had been reflecting on his life in the local community over the years, trying to remember if there were any instances that could be used against him.

           “Do you think he could find out about what happened with Natsu, or Taka?” Uta’s voice was quivering.

          “I’m sure that the incidents with Natsu will be brought up. His activity was common knowledge in the community, as were his abusive training methods,” he paused, “I’m not sure if he could find anything about my problems with Taka, not without speaking to members of the music community, and I doubt anyone would speak to him.”

          Pulling into the parking lot of the courthouse, Sakurai met Isshi and his young men on their way in, “Good morning, gentlemen,” He nodded his head, “are we ready for another round of this fiasco?”

          “The better question would be, are you ready Acchan?” Isshi smiled.

          “This shouldn’t be a problem…well not for me. I am worried about Uta,” Sakurai stopped and reached out for Karyu, “would you please do me a favor, Karyu? I would appreciate it if you sat with Uta next to you. We had a bit of an argument about him attending today, I was against it, he ran out and left ahead of me.”

          Karyu bowed, “Yes, Sir. I’d be happy to sit with Uta.”

          Glancing at Isshi first, Sakurai turned and kissed Karyu on the forehead, “Thank you.”

         

          Walking into the courtroom, Sakurai immediately saw Uta between Mistress Davina and Kato. He walked over, bending over Uta’s shoulder and he whispered in his ear, “You’ll be sitting with Karyu, so move that tiny perfect ass now.”

          Uta whipped around, “You…you’re letting me stay?”

          “Yes, because I don’t want to make a damn scene, now go sit with Karyu.” Uta leaned over and kissed Davina on the cheek, then got up and moved back a row, sitting between Karyu and Ruimaru.

          “Acchan, are you ready for today? You know that snake is going to try and anger you.” Madame F asked as Sakurai took his place in the front row.

          “I’ve tried to come up with anything that he may have dug up, and I can only think of Natsu and perhaps the incident with Taka. I will however, keep my temper in check. I will not give Yoneda the satisfaction of goading me into anger.”

          The defense attorney walked into the courtroom, just behind him was Masamoto Umeji, who was alone that day. He looked over to where Sakurai was sitting and grinned, then bowed his head. Turning just enough, Masamoto then looked straight at Uta, and winked, then leaned over to speak with his attorney.

          “Did you see that? Uta-kun, are you okay?” Karyu could feel Uta’s hand shaking, the boy’s face had gone pale, “I’m okay…I know he can’t get to me, but why would he do that?”

          Sakurai had also seen the exchange, and glared at Masamoto, then turned in his seat, “Baby, are you okay? This is exactly why I didn’t want you to come today!”

          Uta waved off his lover’s concern, “I’m fine, Acchan,” Uta picked up the hand that Karyu was holding, “I have my bodyguard with me.” Karyu’s face turned bright red, “Uta-kun…” he whined.

           

          Ikeda’s questioning of Sakurai Atsushi was straight forward and concise. He established credibility by asking similar questions that he had of Davina and Madame F. There were no trick questions, there were no doubts with Sakurai’s answers, and Ikeda felt satisfied that he had proven that Sakurai was a credible witness.

          “Your witness, Counselor.” Ikeda went back to the table.

          “Sakurai-san, you have been active in this community for how long?” Yoneda walked towards the witness stand.

          “Twenty-five years.”

          “In twenty-five years, you’ve never had a problem with another dominant or submissive?”

          “I never said that.” The burn had started in Sakurai’s gut.

          “Your current submissive,” Yoneda looked at his notes, “the young man Uta, how long have you had a contract with him?”

          “We don’t have a formal contract; he is my lover.” He had not anticipated questions about Uta.

          “Oh? I was informed by some very reliable sources, that you do have a contract with the young man, and that he wears your collar when you are out in the community, are you saying this is false?” Yoneda was smirking.

          Sakurai said nothing, his eyes burning in anger.

          “Answer the question please, Sakurai-san.”

          “What is between myself and Uta is none of anyone’s concern. He does wear a collar when we go out, mainly to remind others that he is my lover.” Sakurai said tersely.

          “Very well,” Yoneda looked at his notes again, “What is Uta’s relationship to the young men that live with Shinohara-san?”

          “They are friends, as they are roughly the same age and attend the same functions.” He stole a quick look at Uta, who had his face buried in Karyu’s neck.

          “Who is Natsu?”

          “Excuse me?” Sakurai stared at Yoneda.

          “Objection, relevance?” Ikeda stood.

          “I’m simply trying to establish a pattern within the community, in regards to what constitutes abuse.” Yoneda said dryly.

          “Over ruled, continue Counselor.”  

          “Sakurai-san, who is Natsu?”

          Sakurai shifted in his seat, “He was an abusive Dominant who was run out of town and out of the community.”

          “Wouldn’t the term ‘abusive Dominant’ be a contradiction of terms? Aren’t all Dominants abusive?”

          Before Yoneda finished the question, Sakurai shouted, “NO! They are not.”

          “Who did he abuse? Anyone you know?”

          “If you’re asking me who Natsu is, then you have all that information in front of you.” Sakurai’s patience was nearing it’s end.

          “Answer the question, Sakurai-san.” Yoneda pushed.

          Taking a deep breath before answering, Sakurai first looked to Uta, “He had been abusing Uta, before we became lovers.”

          Yoneda walked over to where Masamoto was sitting, both men grinning.

          “Explain the difference between yourself and Natsu. Do you treat your submissives the same way? Is what you’re doing considered abuse?”

          Shifting in his chair, Sakurai leaned forward, “I do not abuse my submissives, everything is by mutual consent. Natsu drugged Uta, raped him repeatedly, almost beat him to death, and kept him away from his friends and family. Nothing that Natsu did to Uta, would be allowed within the community. That man was a pariah, a maggot that crawled along in the gutter, he was a complete outcast in our community. When we took Uta from him, he was run out of town, and out of the world-wide community,” the evil grin Sakurai was wearing, was disturbing, “he was beaten for his actions, and before you have to ask, yes…I have the power to make sure that that maggot will never collar another submissive …ever.”

          Yoneda walked towards Sakurai, standing only a foot or two in front of him, “How do you know that Uta did not agree to the abuse? He was a collared submissive, was he not?”

          “OBJECTION! This is outrageous your Honor,” Ikeda moved from behind his desk, walking towards the judge.

          “Sustained, with a warning. You’re very close to having me declare a mistrial, Counselor. Do not attempt that line of questioning again, stick to the facts.”

          Yoneda bowed, he had gotten the response he wanted, “Nothing further, your Honor.”

          As the attorney walked back to the defense table, Ikeda spoke quickly, “Redirect, your Honor.”

          “Sakurai-san, have you ever subjected a collared submissive, to anything that would be considered abuse? Have you ever drugged or raped a submissive in your control? Have you ever done anything remotely close to what Natsu had done to Uta?”

          “No, I have not.”  

          “Thank you, Sakurai-san. Nothing further from this witness.”

          As Sakurai Atsushi stepped down from the witness stand, he glared at Masamoto, who was smiling broadly, then winked at Sakurai, before turning back to his attorney.

          Going over to where Uta was sitting, Sakurai grabbed him by the hand, “Give Davina your keys, we’re going home.”  

Chapter Text

 

          “You’re going to have to keep your temper in check, Shinohara-san, that is critical. I want you to keep your eyes on me, or the boys.” Ikeda was coaching Isshi on how to react when he had to testify the following day.

          “Do not make eye contact with Yoneda or any of the defendants. Better yet, close your eyes and envision the accident, your time in the hospital, and when the boys were returned to you.”

          “Is that allowed, Ikeda-san? Keeping my eyes closed?” Isshi wasn’t sure he could agree to that, “Is it not better for me to stare them down, let them know I will not be kowed?”

          Ikeda smiled, “If that’s what you choose to do, I can not stop you. All I ask is that you make sure to keep your temper, and do not be surprised over anything that they throw at you. I’m sure your relationship with Leda will be brought up, it was common knowledge in your community.”

          Leda. Isshi’s face darkened, “How is what happened to my boy, relevant?”

          “He is going to imply that Leda was driven out of your house because of some sort of abuse on your part. I should say, Yoneda will try. It won’t get far.” Ikeda assured the Dominant.

          Asking Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou to join them, Ikeda went over what they could expect while on the witness stand. “It’s going to be harsh, very harsh. Yoneda is going to say that you agreed to participate in the party, that you agreed to be drugged and abused. I will make sure to emphasize that you were drugged and kidnapped, you did not go voluntarily.”

          Looking to Isshi first, Ruimaru lifted his hand, “Ikeda-sama, will the other attorney be allowed to ask us to describe what was done?” Ruimaru’s voice was barely above a whisper, “like, how we were um…” he couldn’t finish.

          This was heartbreaking for the attorney, it was the most difficult part of his job, “Actually, I will be asking those questions as well, but I will put them in more gentle terms. The judge needs to hear what happened to you in your own words, Ruimaru.”

          He looked at the other young men, “You’re going to have to be strong, tell your story as clearly as possible and do not let Yoneda rattle you. Pick a point in the courtroom to look at, be it Isshi, or whomever. Let them be your strength, do you understand?”

          Turning back to Isshi, Ikeda concluded their meeting, “I’ll be calling you first, I want the judge to know the full extent of your testimony, before he hears from the boys.”

          “Thank you, Ikeda-san, we will be prepared.”

 

 

          Nakamura Taizo was anxiously awaiting his day to testify, dread pooling in his gut. He knew that Yoneda would drag him through the mud, as a hostile witness. His involvement in the sex party, his past submissives and actions within the community; all of this was something that Nakamura wanted to leave behind.

          He had worried that there would be some issues after his testimony, if … no, when Masamoto Umeji, and the others were convicted. He was sure that there would be some sort of retaliation, but in what form he couldn’t guess.

          Speaking with Ikeda, Nakamura was informed on what he could expect from the defense attorney, “He’s going to say you were an accomplice and that you fully intended to participate in the event, which is true.”

          “I will ask you about your time with Byou, your interaction with Karyu at the event, and you’re going to have to be completely truthful. Yoneda will use you to bolster his argument that the boy’s agreed to attend the party. Please make sure to explain how you went no further after you found Karyu, and learned about Isshi’s supposed death.”

          There would never be a moment, that Nakamura would be able to forget what he had planned to do with Karyu. Every time he thought about or looked at the young man, he realized how far he had fallen. “Not going to happen, you bastards are going to pay for what you’ve done.”

 

          He sat in front of the man, listening to Masamoto and taking mental notes. “This has to happen in the next two nights, he can’t be allowed to testify, is that clear?” He looked around for any other guards in the area of the visitor’s lounge.  

          “Completely. His regular routine has been noted, including the times he is alone and on the street. Do you care about the method used?”

          “You can beat him to death for all I care, just kill the bastard.”

 

         

          “Do you want to be there when Isshi testifies? I know you want to support the boys, but do you really need to be there?” Sato had been watching Taka closely through out the trial, waiting for some sign that his husband may break down.

          Taka shrugged, “Probably. I’m sure Yoneda’s going to get nasty, and Ru, Karyu and Byou are going to have to listen to it.”

          The couple was having a quiet dinner at the restaurant, discussing what would come up next at the trial. “I’m more worried about when the boy’s have to get up there, that asshole is going to trash everything they say.”

          Sato hummed an agreement, “Who else besides you can be there for them? Uta obviously.”

          “Mistress and Madame F, if Uta’s there that means Sakurai will be there as well.” Taka looked up from his food, “What happens when they get home? That’s what scares me. It’s almost too soon for them to be reliving the whole thing.” Sato reached over and covered Taka’s hand with his, “Dr. Miwa will be there as well.”

 

          The sessions Taka had had with Dr. Miwa were helpful, but also painful for him when the therapist started to probe deeper, trying to reach that point when everything changed for him. She asked him during one of their meetings, when he thought the downwards spiral started, and what had triggered it.

          “Masamoto,” he snorted, “he threw me away like a piece of trash, abused me then threw me away. Then Koichi met Tatsu, so Kou got rid of me, Sato didn’t care because he left me alone when they went on tour. I felt like nobody gave a shit about me, so why should I care about myself? Sakurai just nailed the point home.”

          “How did Sakurai do that?”

          Taka chuckled ironically, “By throwing me away, by lying about his feelings and not even a week after he collared me, he started to back out. He was no better than any of the others.”

          Dr. Miwa made a note, “Did he truly throw you away as you claim? Or was that your perception of the problem?”

          If he was truthful with himself, “My perception, partly. He did say something about canceling our contract, and in my mind, he was throwing me away.”

          “What do you understand now, about the incident? Do you still believe that it was Sakurai’s fault?” Dr. Miwa kept pushing.

          “No, it’s Masamoto’s fault. He preyed on my youth, he treated me like he cared deeply for me, then in an instant, it was all gone.” Taka looked at Dr. Miwa, “He instilled the thoughts that I was a piece of shit and that’s why he threw me away. Anytime anyone has ever left me, it’s my fault, I am the cause of my own pain.”

          “Do you honestly still believe that Taka?”

          Leaning his head back on the couch, Taka sighed, “Sometimes, until someone slaps some sense into me. It’s hard to change a thought pattern or behavior that’s been a part of you for so long.”

          He looked at Dr. Miwa, “If I’m honest, I can admit that I still love Koichi, that will never change, but he doesn’t love me, and that’s something I have to accept. I have a problem with alcohol, I have a problem with believing that anyone wants me forever. I still can’t believe Sato loves me like he says he does…it’s just not possible. So, I’ve learned how to fake it, it’s how I’ve learned to survive.”

          “Is that what you’re doing? Surviving?”

          “Yes.” Taka replied without hesitation.

 

          The session with Miwa had drained Taka. He didn’t want to go home; Sato would just pester him on how he was feeling. He didn’t want to see Koichi, that would be just rubbing more salt into his wounded heart. No, he had to go someplace where he didn’t have to feel or think, and it wasn’t a surprise that Taka ended up at the HBG. “One drink can’t hurt.”

         “Taka? Why are you here?” Tora was stunned that his boss had come into work.

         Taka leaned on the front counter, “Just didn’t feel like going home, can I please have a highball?”

         Tora hesitated for a moment, “Sure.” He turned his back to mix the drink, purposely with less alcohol than he would for a normal customer.

         Sliding the drink to Taka, “Are you sure you’re okay? You look kind of puny.” Tora’s voice showed concern.

         Taka chuckled, “Yah, I’m fine. Just having one of those days.” He walked away from the counter and took a seat near the fountain on the patio.

        “Tora, this feels wrong,” Tomo had seen the interaction, “We need to tell Aki.”

         “Tell me what?” Aki rolled his chair out of the office. Tora walked over, “Taka’s here and ordered a highball, he’s out on the patio.” Aki hadn’t heard the interaction between the two men.

          “Did he say anything?”

           Tomo shrugged, “Just that he was having one of those days. Could this be related to the trial?”

          “Probably, I don’t see how it wouldn’t be,” Aki mused, “Tomo, go out on the patio, and talk to him, show him your ring.”

         “Sure, Aki.” Tomo grabbed the broom and a cleaning cloth and went out the back door. Wiping down tables as he made his way towards the fountain.

        “Hey Taka, how’s things?” Tomo was behind him, wiping another table.

         “Good, just having a shitty day really. I heard there was a dual surprise proposal, congratulations.”

         “Thanks, it was a complete surprise, for Uruha and I,” Tomo laughed, “want to see my ring?”

          Both Aki and Tora were leaning out of the back door, watching the interaction between their co-workers. “Looks okay, but still, Taka drinking is never a good thing,” Aki murmured. He remembered the past incidents with Taka and heavy alcohol consumption.

         They chatted about the weddings, “We have a date of May 8th, I think Hal and Uruha’s wedding is in March, but I’m not sure when.”

        “Will you have something here?” Taka was happy to talk about anything other than the trial.

         Tomo giggled, “I really don’t know, not sure I could keep Ruki from rampaging over something silly.”

        “I’m happy for you, well…all of you really. I’m sure what ever you have planned, it will be beautiful.” Taka was genuinely happy for Tomo and Ruki.

         Tomo sat down next to Taka, “The trial is rough, isn’t it? I can’t imagine what you’re going through, or Isshi-san and his boys. Having to sit in the same room as those monsters,” he said quietly. “If you ever need anyone to talk to, you know you can call me, Taka.”

         This took Taka by surprise. Tomo had always been soft spoken and private, and for him to offer a shoulder to lean on, hit Taka in the heart.

         “Thanks, Tomo. I really appreciate it, but I’ll be okay.” Tomo nodded, patted Taka on the shoulder. “We really can’t wait until you return, Aki’s a horrible manager, but don’t tell him I said that.” He bowed to Taka and made his way back to the office.

         “What did he say?” Aki asked.

        “Not much really, just that he was having a shitty day, this has to be about the trial.” Tomo emphasized.

         Aki sighed, “Let’s just leave him be, unless he wants another drink. If he comes up to order another, stall him and I’ll call Sato.”

         With a sense of relief, Taka merely came by the office and spoke to Aki about the daily dealings with the HBG, “I’m hoping to be back by the end of next week,” he looked around the office, “You’re doing a good job Aki, thank you.”

        “Thanks, Taka. We all want you to return, but we understand what you have to do to help Isshi-san, we’ll all be here when you get back.”

 

        “Tadaima.” Taka called out as he toed off his shoes in the genkan, “Okaeri, you’re late…did something happen during therapy?”

         He knew that Sato would bring up his session with Miwa, “No, I just stopped by the HBG and had a drink, and talked to the guys.”

        Anxiety flared in Sato at the thought of Taka drinking, “Oh? Anything new going on?”

       Walking into the kitchen, Taka grabbed a bottle of water, “No, other than Tomo showing me the engagement ring that Ruki gave him, oh and the wedding date.” Taka took out his phone, “Uh, Ruki and Tomo’s wedding is May 7th, Hal and Uruha’s is sometime in March.”

       “That’s it, no wedding plans?”

       Taka flopped down on the couch, Fozzie chirping and jumping into his lap. “Well, it’s only been not even two weeks since the proposals. I asked him if they were thinking of doing anything at the HBG, he was worried about a Ruki rampage.”

       “Well, that’s always a legitimate concern, though the brutal days of full-blown rampages have passed.” Sato leaned over the back of the couch and put his arms around Taka, “Do you want dinner?” Taka leaned his head back for a kiss, “Mm, yah that sounds good. Are you going to be able to go with me tomorrow?”

       There it was, the question that Sato had wanted to avoid, “I can’t. We have a meeting with management about the next album and a tour. Maybe Koichi could go?”

       Taka’s heart fell, “Um, sure…that’s okay. I know you can’t get out of that, I’ll ask Kou,” He was unsure if he would call Koichi, his feelings for his best friend, were becoming more complicated with each session with Dr. Miwa.

       Dinner was subdued, Sato trying to draw Taka out of his funk, “Is there anything special you want to do for Christmas? It’s not that far off.”

       He hadn’t though of Christmas yet, “Hm, will there be a DCR event at the restaurant? I haven’t heard about anything for the HBG yet.”

      “They always have a party, that’s a given. How about going to an onsen for Christmas?” Taka could sense what Sato was trying to do, and he felt bad for acting like a brat. “Nope, sorry. Not going to happen.”

       “Why? What’s wrong with going to an onsen?”

      “Because we’re having a party, that’s why,” The idea started churning in his head.

      Sato smiled, “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”

      Taka nodded, “Yep, Christmas Eve, invite everyone, including Madame F and Mistress, I want them here as well.”

       “Okay, then I guess we need to start planning this, we have um…six weeks until Christmas, is that enough time?” Taka got up from the table and grabbed Sato by the hand, leading his husband towards the bedroom, “We have plenty of time to plan, but right now, it’s just you and me.”

 

         Ikeda Jin was in his office at the law firm, going over documents and testimony in the case against Masamoto Umeji. The questions he would ask Isshi and the young men, how triggering those questions may be. He worried about Yoneda’s line of questioning, knowing full well that the man was a leech.

        The office phone buzzed, “Yes? That’s strange, but send him in please.”

        A soft knock at the door, and a man that Ikeda had never seen before, walked in and bowed.

       “My name is Tengen Hito, and I have come to you to speak about Masamoto Umeji and his cohorts.”

       “Please, have a seat. What information do you have?” Ikeda took out a small recorder and pressed the button. “Before you say anything, do you object to being recorded?”

       “No, Ikeda-san. If necessary, I will testify as well.” Tengen answered quickly.

       “Alright, Tengen-san, please go on.” Ikeda was worried.

         Tengen shifted in his seat, “I am a guard at the general prison where Masamoto Umeji and his cohorts are being held. I have guarded the prisoner myself.” An uneasy look came over the man’s face.

       “Go on.”

        “Ikeda-san, Masamoto Umeji is planning to have Nakamura Taizo murdered before the man can testify.”

Chapter Text

 

          Ikeda stared at the man sitting across from him, “Excuse me?” he wasn’t sure he had heard Tengen correctly. “Masamoto Umeji is planning on having Nakamura Taizo killed, before he can testify.”

          “Do you have proof of this accusation?” The lawyer was treading lightly, “This is a serious statement, Tengen-san.”

          Tengen nodded, “What would you like to know?” For the next hour, Ikeda questioned the prison guard on what Masamoto had said and ordered. “He’s afraid of Nakamura, he knows that if he takes the stand to testify, that there would be no chance of him being found not guilty, and every chance that he would be sentenced to a very long prison term.”

          Leaning back into his chair, Ikeda was stunned by the story. “What did he promise you? What type of payment did he offer?”

          The prison guard blushed in shame, “One hundred thousand dollars, and my choice of any submissives that he has under his control.”

          “Who was to do the killing?”

          “I was. I’ve been following Nakamura for some time now, noting his routine, though I never once, planned on carrying out the killing. I had to make Masamoto believe that I was going to murder Nakamura.”

          Ikeda reached over and turned off the voice recorder, “We need to go see Judge Ito.”

 

         

          “Isshi, be a dear and bring those lovely boys over for lunch, ne?”

 

          With Kato tending to Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou, in the kitchen, Isshi and Davina were sitting on the small rock wall of the koi pond. “How are the boy’s fairing these days?”

          “Chronic upset tummies, moodiness, crabby and wholly unaffectionate. They are depressed Mistress, even the sessions with Dr. Miwa do not seem to calm or comfort them.” Isshi answered truthfully, “I worry about their mental state after they testify, facing that monster may put them over the edge.”

          “I have an offer to make you, Isshi dear,” Davina reached over and covered Isshi’s hand with hers, “take your boys and go to my house in the Netherlands, for as long as you need.”

          “Davina!” Isshi gasped, “I can’t do that, I will not take advantage of you, no… there must be something else that I can do.”

          “Isshi, please. How is this taking advantage of me? The house is empty, it has been since we returned with Uta. Holland is the perfect place for you and the boys to recover. I can not take credit for the idea, that was entirely Kato. He believes that just being at Acchan’s estate won’t be enough. Please Isshi, at least consider it. You know I have the power to expedite the passports, and my jet is just a phone call away.”

          There was a similar conversation going on in the kitchen, with Kato putting the idea in the submissives mind. “Isshi-san will be distraught when he has to watch you testify, this will not be easy for any of you. I have suggested to Mistress, that she make her home in the Netherlands available for you to use, for as long as needed.”

          “But Kato-senpai, we don’t have passports, doesn’t it take months to get those?” Ruimaru protested.

          “Mistress has connections and could have your passports ready in two weeks. You can keep coming up with excuses Ruimaru, but there will always be answers. I know Mistress is speaking to Isshi-san about this, right now.”

          Ruimaru looked at his co-lovers, “What do you think? Should we go?”

          “If that’s what Sir wants,” Byou said noncommittally, “whatever you decide is fine with me, Ru.”

          “What about you? Do you want to go?” Ruimaru looked at Karyu.

          “I think it’s a good idea, if Sir wants to go, I have no objections.” The despair in Karyu’s voice hurt Kato’s heart. The once lively group of submissives had been replaced by three young men in a deep depressive state.

          Kato smiled, “Think about it, but I believe this is what you all will need after the trial is over.”  

 

 

          “Judge Ito’s chambers? Whatever for? No, of course I’ll be there.”

 

          The surprise call from Judge Ito’s secretary had Aoyama worried that there was a problem with the trial, why else would the judge demand to see him outside of the courtroom?  Arriving at the courthouse and going through security, he made his way upstairs to the judge’s chambers, unaware of what was waiting for him.

          The secretary greeted him, and let him into the office. “Detective Aoyama’s here, Sir.”

          “Aoyama, come in please, have a seat and we’ll get right to work.” Judge Ito didn’t look happy.

          “We are waiting for two others to join us, Aoyama. What will be revealed in this meeting will be recorded, you will be under oath and bound not to pass on any information you gain from this meeting.”

          “Is it that serious?” Aoyama couldn’t fathom what the hell was going on.

          Ito sighed, “Serious is an understatement.”

          The secretary knocked once, “Sir? Ikeda-san and Tengen-san are here to see you.”

          “Come in gentlemen, I want to get started with this right away.” Ito made the introduction of Tengen, “He is a guard at the prison where Masamoto and his cohorts are housed. Tengen-san, please tell Detective Aoyama what you’ve told Ikeda-san.”

          Tengen sat up a little straighter, “I was hired by Masamoto Umeji, to kill Nakamura Taizo, before he can testify.”

          Aoyama’s jaw dropped, then he looked at Ikeda and the judge, “Have you confirmed this?”

          Ikeda shook his head, “No, but he has agreed to testify if necessary,” Aoyama turned to Tengen, “Would you be willing to wear a wire, and go speak to Masamoto? I need as much evidence as possible before we do anything.”

          “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep that man and his cohorts in prison, yes sir.”

          “Why come forward now? Did you originally have intentions on carrying out the murder? What were you promised as payment?” Aoyama was still suspicious.

          “I never had any intentions on murdering anyone. Why Masamoto trusted me, I have no answer. Perhaps it was because I listened to him without judging him…at least not openly. I came forward now because I knew that Nakamura-san’s day in court was approaching. I was promised one hundred thousand dollars and a submissive of my choice, who belonged to Masamoto.” Tengen didn’t waver in his statement, Aoyama noticed that immediately. The detective went through the same questions as Ikeda had asked.

          “How do we proceed, Sir?” Ikeda looked at the judge. “I want to expose this man in court, but how do we do this without alerting him, or his attorney?”

          Judge Ito sighed, “How you do this is up to you, Detective Aoyama and Tengen-san. I can not counsel you on this. You’re obviously going to need evidence to the fact of the plot, to bring up during the trial. Once you have that, I will deal with Yoneda myself.”

          Leaving the courthouse, Aoyama stopped Ikeda, “I want you both to come to the station, we need a plan. We also need Nakamura in on this, his cooperation is critical.”

 

          The phone conversation between Aoyama and Nakamura Taizo was short and to the point, “You need to come to the station right now, I’ll explain everything when you get here.”

           

          “This is no joke, Nakamura-san. He fully believes that I’m going to kill you and he wants proof.” Tengen Hito tried to emphasize the truthful statement. “I came to Ikeda-san to warn him, I am deadly serious about this.”

          Nakamura had initially scoffed at the supposed threat on his life, until he saw the look in the other men’s faces. “Why…why would he want me dead? Does he fear me that much?”

          “He knows your testimony will seal his fate, and the fate of his cohorts, 100%. Why he thought Tengen would agree to it, that’s something I can’t answer.” Aoyama asserted.

          “What do we do now?” Nakamura’s color was returning to his face, “How do we prove that Masamoto ordered this?”

 

          Tengen put the cuffs on Masamoto, “I have news.” He whispered. With his hand around Masamoto’s arm, he led the prison towards the cafeteria for the main meal of the day. “It will be taken care of tonight.”

          Masamoto smirked, “Good. We’re due back in court in two days, without his testimony, I’ll get maybe a year.”

          “And payment?” Tengen waited for another guard to unlock the door to the cafeteria, “Once I can make my phone call to my accountant, it will be in your account in less than six hours, along with a portfolio in your safety deposit box. Choose who you will and contact the name included. I’m sure you’ll be able to find at least one boy or girl, some of them are better submissives than others, but it’s nothing some severe punishment won’t cure.”

          “Proof of expiration?”

          “Of course, graphic proof.”

 

          Four photos on a cell phone, of Nakamura Taizo, lying in a pool of blood, next to his car in a parking garage, a gunshot to the back of the head. “Splendid.”

 

          “I’d like to call Detective Aoyama to the stand please.” Ikeda waited for the detective to be sworn in.

          “Detective, would you please go through how you came to find out about the shooting of Shinohara Isshi.”

          Aoyama nodded, “We received a call about a shooting, and due to the circumstances of the crime scene, I was called in to investigate.

          “What do you mean, the circumstances of the crime scene?”

          “There had been a car versus lorry accident, but there was only one victim. Shinohara Isshi was lying in the street, behind his car with a gun shot would to the upper chest. A couple driving by had stopped to offer assistance at the scene.”

          “After we identified Shinohara, I went to his home to see if we could come up with any further information. I arrived at the house, where I met Mistress Davina, her submissive, and Sakurai Atsushi. Upon speaking to them, I discovered that there were three other victims, that were missing.”

          Ikeda walked over to the desk, “Could you point those victims out to the court please?”

          “They are sitting in the second row, Ruimaru, Karyu and Byou. They are the submissives that live with Shinohara-san. They had been in the car at the time of the accident, but were nowhere to be found by the time the witnesses had arrived on the scene.”

          “What did you do after you left Shinohara’s home?” Ikeda walked back towards the witness box.

          “We went to the police station, and I took statements. Madame F and her submissive had joined us. When I questioned them about motive or possible suspects, Madame F gave us the name of Masamoto Umeji, and his two associates Inoue Hiroaki and Kimura Asao.”

          “Was that all the information that they had?”

          Aoyama shook his head, “No, it was brought to my attention that Masamoto had formally been Byou’s Dominant, and another young man, Ohmura Takayoshi had also been in his control, though it was over fifteen years earlier.”

          “Detective, how did you find out where the boys were being held?” Ikeda looked straight at Masamoto.

          “We received a phone call from the police department in Mei, Nakamura had called 119 and given the location of the estate where Masamoto was holding the boys. It was a three-hour drive before we arrived. We knew that timing would be everything if we were to rescue the boys before the event started.”

          Ikeda questioned him about the raid, getting Byou, Ruimaru and Karyu to safety at the hospital, and finally back to Isshi.

          “Your witness,” Ikeda nodded towards Yoneda.

 

          The attorney walked towards the witness stand, turning slightly to look at Isshi and his boys, “Did you arrest Nakamura Taizo?”

          “No.”

          “Why not? He participated in the event, he was there for the same reasons as the other guests, so why not arrest him as you did my clients?” Yoneda was close to sneering.

          “He had not participated in any of the abuse of any submissives.” Aoyama knew how to play the game; this wasn’t the first time he’d been at trial.

          “Are you sure? You sound very confident, were you there watching?”

          “Nakamura had every opportunity to abuse Karyu while he had him in his room. Instead, he called the police, and managed to rescue both Ruimaru and Byou, and lock them in his room.”

          “Can you offer evidence that shows Nakamura did not participate, or are you going on his word and the words of sexually promiscuous boys?” Yoneda put an emphasis on the words ‘sexually promiscuous’.

          “OBJECTION!” Ikeda shouted.

          “Nothing further of this witness.” Yoneda waved it off and returned to the defense table.

          Judge Ito sighed, “We will break for lunch, Gentlemen, be back in one hour.” Tengen appeared behind the defense table to lead the defendants back to the holding cells. Glancing around, he quickly took out his phone and showed Masamoto the pictures. “God that’s beautiful!” the man whispered.

          Yoneda had been called into the judge’s chambers before he could leave the building. “What can I do for you?” he asked Ito, unsure of why he was in the office.

          “Sit down, Yoneda-san. I have something you need to listen to.” Placing a small voice recorder on the desk, Ito played back the conversation from the wire tap, and waited for the attorney’s reaction.

          Yoneda’s face paled, “I’d like to speak to the informant please, if that’s allowed?” Ito waved over at the guard standing by the door. “Are you certain of this, Judge?”

          When Tengen Hito walked through the door, Yoneda’s jaw dropped, “You?” he snapped.

          “Yes Sir. He approached me after the first day of the trial, when I was escorting him back to prison. He told me he would make it worth my time, to have Nakamura Taizo murdered, to keep him from testifying.”

          Yoneda said nothing for several minutes, before looking at the judge, “How do we proceed?”

          “You will obviously excuse yourself from the remainder of the trial. You will not be charged with anything as this was done without your knowledge. I will be charging all three of your clients with conspiracy to commit murder. There will be no further contact between you and your clients. I also suggest you look a little more closely at those you decide to defend, in the future.”

          Yoneda stood up and bowed deeply, “I will be reexamining my career, I feel I may need to switch sides at this point. Thank you.”

 

          Ikeda was briefing Nakamura on the line of questioning he was going to ask, “Just stay calm, answer in a steady voice and do not look at the defendants. I’m sure they’ll obviously react to your sudden resurrection.”

          Judge Ito entered the courtroom, and the bailiff called for attention. Masamoto, Inoue, and Kimura were led in and sat at the defense table, all three men looking around for their attorney.

          Ikeda stood and walked from the prosecutions desk, towards the judge, “I call Nakamura Taizo to the stand.” He heard a snicker coming from Masamoto and some murmured words.

          The reaction of seeing a very much alive Nakamura Taizo had quite the impact on Masamoto, who shouted out, “NO!”

          The judge banged his gavel, “Quiet, we will have no outbursts. Continue Ikeda-san.”

          “Nakamura Taizo…” Ikeda started, but was cut off mid-sentence by Masamoto’s screaming, “YOU SET ME UP YOU BASTARD! YOU’RE A TRAITOR TO YOUR COMMUNITY YOU’RE NO FUCKING ANGEL!”

          A prison guard reached out and put his hand solidly on Masamoto’s shoulder, keeping him in his seat.

          “As I was saying, Nakamura-san, were you involved in the abuse of any submissives while you were at the defendant’s estate?”

          “I did not participate in the final event, no. But I did put my hands on Karyu rather roughly, though once I found out who he was, I stopped immediately.”

          “LIAR! I HEARD YOU BEATING HIM!” Masamoto screamed again.

          Judge Ito stood up, “YOU WILL REMAIN QUIET IN MY COURTROOM!”    

          Ikeda continued, “How did you come to realize that the boy was one of Shinohara’s submissives?”

          Nakamura recounted the night at Vinyl Fetish, “The moment I said Isshi’s name, Karyu reacted. I demanded to know why he was there, he told me that Shinohara was dead, he also said he didn’t know where Byou and Ruimaru were.”

          “The news that Shinohara was dead, did that change your mind on what you were going to do with Karyu?” Ikeda was standing in front of the defense table, looking hard at Masamoto.

          “Yes, and it also made me question my ethics as a Dominant.” Nakamura went through the chain of events that led to his saving of the other two young men, and keeping them safe until the police came.

          “I was able to take them home, and return them to Isshi,” he looked over at Isshi and the boys, “I’m so sorry, Isshi, that I couldn’t keep Byou from being hurt.”

          “Nothing further of this witness. I’d like to call Tengen Hito to the stand please.” At the sound of Tengen’s name, Masamoto growled, “You’re just as guilty, you said you’d kill that bastard for money and your own fucking slave, you showed me pictures!”

          “Tengen-san, could you please tell the court the chain of events that have led us to this point?” Ikeda walked away and sat down at the prosecution desk. Everyone in the courtroom leaned forward a little to hear what the prison guard had to say. The story was involved but short. “One hundred thousand dollars and a submissive of my choice.”

          “Why did you come to me, Tengen-san?” Ikeda asked.

          “I never had any intention on committing murder for the sake of money or my own slave,” he spat the word ‘slave’. “Why he thought I would cooperate is unknown, but I am glad he trusted me.”

          Ikeda thanked Tengen and the man left the stand. As he walked towards the back of the room, Masamoto suddenly lunged away from the table, screaming incoherently. Two guards grabbed Masamoto and wrestled him back to the table, shoving him into his seat wit some force, and keeping their hands gripping his shoulders.

          “Inoue and Kimura were in on this as well! They knew what I had planned, this is not all on me! Tengen is just as guilty…he took a bribe!” Masamoto was almost foaming at the mouth.

          Judge Ito just stared at the men, “Take them back to prison, I want them in solitary confinement until sentencing.”  The room was suddenly filled with prison guards, one on each side of the three defendants.

          “I now conclude this trial to be complete, if you wish to attend the sentencing, and give a victims impact statement, the court will be in contact.” Judge Ito stood and left the room.

          Ikeda started to gather his papers, when there was a tap on his shoulder, “Ikeda-san, thank you.” Isshi had his arms around his boys, “Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. There is no imaginable way that I will ever be able to repay you.”

          “Isshi, the pleasure was mine, and you’ll be paying…once you see my bill!” he laughed.

         

          Ojisan’s was crowded and loud, with the ramen maker standing behind his counter, wearing a broad grin. “I will lift the beer limit tonight, as long as you all have designated drivers!” This was greeted with a rowdy cheer.

          After they had left the courtroom, Isshi invited everyone for dinner at Ojisan’s, his treat. “We need to get back to our normal lives, and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather start that with delicious ramen and the company of Ojisan.”

          Having met Sakurai at Ojisan’s, Uta was now in deep conversation with Ruimaru, Byou and Karyu, telling them about the Netherlands. “You should take Davina up on her offer, you’ll feel so much better while you’re there.”

          “But what is there to do in um…Mass…” Karyu struggled with the name of the city.

          “Maastricht? My favorite place was the Basilica of St. Servatius, and the Boekhandel Dominican.”

          “What’s that?” Ruimaru leaned forward, “A book store in an old church, it’s right across the plaza from the Basilica, it was built in the gothic era, it’s beautiful inside.”

          Byou perked up, “It was a church?”

          “Mm,” Uta nodded, “And where the altar is supposed to be, is a cute little coffee cart and seating. I wonder if that girl still works there?” This of course caused another round of questions about the ‘girl’.  

          Davina nudged Isshi, “I think I’ll start on those passport applications, ne Isshi?” He turned to look at his boys, “I would say yes to that, and look at Byou’s eyes. It’s the first time I’ve seen him smile in such a long time.”

          “You will travel, Isshi-san?” Ojisan replaced Isshi’s beer with a cola, “I think so, Ojisan. The boys need to recover from this last year. I’ve heard of the healing powers of the Netherlands from Davina, far too long to ignore it.”

          Reaching over the counter, Ojisan patted Isshi on the shoulder, “It will do you all good, to get out of the country for awhile, please enjoy yourselves.”

          With the break up of the impromptu party, Isshi promised Davina that he and the boys would be over later in the week, to start the process of obtaining passports, picking the dates that they would travel and thanking her and Kato, Madame F and Ormond and of course Sakurai and Uta, for all their support during the long painful process of the trial.
          “I’m not sure I would have made it through without your support, I love you all very much.” Isshi smiled through his tears, “Now, let’s go home boys, Emi’s probably starving!”

          “Oh Isshi! I forgot, you need to bring Emi to the manor while you’re gone, Kato is looking forward to having a little… well you know, in his bed.” Uta gasped when he figured out the innuendo. “DAVINA! That’s a shocking thing to say!”

          Kato looked at Davina first, then at Sakurai, before he ran over and scooped Uta up, throwing his ex-lover over his shoulder and smacking him on the butt.

          “You of all people, should know Mistress better than anyone, that’s hardly shocking coming from here,  naughty boy.” Uta screamed and flailed around, before Kato put him in Sakurai’s arms, “Take this boy home, Sakurai-san, and teach him some manners.”

Chapter Text

“45 years? Are you sure Davina?” Isshi was stunned.
“Ikeda told me that when the sentence was announced, Masamoto had a melt down,” Davina laughed, “He was thrown to the floor and hog tied, and it took four guards to carry him out.”
Now it was Isshi’s turn to laugh, “I suspect he didn’t appreciate the irony of the situation.”
“Have you met Josez yet?” Davina’s voice warmed as she spoke the woman’s name.
“Oma is mothering the boys as we speak, I now understand how much she means to you. I also understand why you call her the Ojisan of the Netherlands, she was waiting at Marcel’s when we arrived, and without a word, opened her arms for the boys.”
“Isshi dear, give the boys a hug and a kiss for me, and please enjoy yourselves. I will call you on Christmas.”

_________________________

“It’s okay babe, it’s just turbulence, we’re not going to die.” Sato reached over and held Taka’s hand, patting it reassuringly.
“I know that! I just hate when it gets rough. I should have taken sleeping pills.” Taka whined.
“Just try to relax, we still have five more hours until we get to Los Angeles.”
“Five? Why does California have to be so far away?”
Sato frowned, “How old are you? Quit whining and be happy that we’re on vacation.”
Taka slumped down in his seat, “Fine, I’m sorry, I just want to be there already, I want to forget everything that’s happened in the last year.”
Kissing the back of Taka’s hand, Sato tried to divert the man’s anxiety, “Where do you want to go first?”
“In and Out burger, before we even get to the hotel. Then Disneyland, the beach, um…Hollywood of course.”
“I hope you don’t mean all in the first day!” Sato laughed.
“Of course not, I know we have plenty of time to do everything. What about you? What do you want to do?”
“To watch you laugh and enjoy yourself, that’s all I want to do on this trip.”
Taka leaned over and whispered in Sato’s ear, “What? No sex?”

_________________________

 

“How many do you have?”
“Um, about two-hundred.”
“TWO HUNDRED?”
“Don’t worry, I don’t display all of them, I do have some in storage.” Toshiya whined.
“What about your clothes? I’m not sure I have enough space.” Kaoru stood in front of the closet.
Toshiya sighed, “Maybe we should uh…”
“Should what, Totchi?”
“Buy a house?”
Kaoru’s jaw dropped and there was stunned silence.
“Sorry, bad idea. I guess I can put some in…”
Kaoru reached out and put his hand on Toshiya’s arm, pulling him towards the bed,
“You want to buy a house?”
“No, I uh, it was just a thought, Kao, I don’t want to pressure you into anything.”
“I don’t feel pressured, I’m just surprised that you’d…”
“What?”
Kaoru looked at the floor, he didn’t want Toshiya to see him tearing up, “That you’re thinking that far into the future.”
“Why wouldn’t I be thinking about it? I love you Kao, and I’m not going anywhere, you’re stuck with me.”
“Let’s get ready for the party.”

_________________________

“Are you ready?”
“Yah, I think so. Just stay with me, don’t leave me alone please.”
“Not a chance.”

~~~~~

“Hey Totchi, Kao…how’s things?” Jui had seen Kaoru and Toshiya sitting together.
“Hi Jui, uh, hey Kuina. Things are good, just enjoying the party. What about you? Any more problems?”
Kaoru and Toshiya were more than a little surprised that Jui was at the party, and even more so that he was with Kuina.
“Totchi, I wanted to say thank you, and you too Kaoru. You didn’t have to be so nice to me … you know, with the shit between me and Ryo.”
Toshiya smiled softly, “Jui, I don’t hate you. I never saw it that way, you’ll always be my friend and I don’t let anyone hurt any of my friends. I’m just happy you got out of the relationship before you got seriously hurt.”
He looked at the other man, “Kuina, take good care of Jui, remember, I know where you work.”
The young man slipped his arm around Jui’s waist, “There’s no worries, Toshiya, I plan on taking care of him for a long time.”

~~~~~

“I love you.” Aoi quickly kissed Yuki then opened the door.
It took several seconds before the room went quiet, but when it did, you could have heard a pin drop.
The silence was only broken by a scream, “OH MY GOD!” Before anyone else could speak, Yuki had an armful of his best friend, Ayato almost knocking them both to the ground as he threw himself at Yuki. Once the shock wore off,
the room erupted into cheers and whistles.
“When…how did you…” Ayato whimpered in Yuki’s ear, “If you’ll get off me, I’ll tell you.”
Leading Yuki to a table, which was instantly surrounded by his friends, Yuki and Aoi explained the circumstances around his recovery. “How long?” Ayato was incredulous over the idea that Yuki had been walking longer than he had thought.
“By myself? A few weeks, but before that, Yuu was always right next to me. I also walked at my last doctor’s visit; I thought he was going to faint.”
Reita pushed his way past Ayato, walking up to Yuki and holding out his hand, “Um, I believe you owe me something.” He smirked.
For the next two hours, Yuki danced with virtually everyone in the room that he knew, and a few that had been close to Ken. Taking a break for food and a few beers, Yuki leaned hard into Aoi’s arms, “Thanks for rescuing me, Die kept coming back and asking for another dance.”
"He has his own cute boy to dance with.” Aoi nuzzled Yuki’s neck, as he whispered in his ear. “You know, I haven’t had my dance yet, are you up to one more?”
“Hmm, I don’t know, I’m pretty tired.” Yuki teased, “Okay, just for you.”
With their arms snuggly around each other, Aoi rubbed Yuki’s nose, “Happy?”
“Mmm, incredibly. You?”
“More than I ever thought I could be or deserved.” He pulled Yuki in tightly.
“I think you could be happier, as a matter of fact, I think you could be ecstatically happy. “
“Oh, how so?”
Yuki stopped dancing, pushing away from Aoi, he knelt on one knee and reached into his pocket and drew out a box. The room once again got quiet.
Aoi started shaking, this was … it couldn’t be!
“Shiroyama Yuu, will you marry me?”
Aoi started to cry, “Yes,” he said softly.
“WHAT?” someone shouted.
Aoi turned to the crowd, “I SAID YES!”
With an eruption of cheers and wolf whistles, Aoi held out his hand and helped Yuki up, then suddenly picked up his lover and swung him around in his arms.
“Yes…”