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I'm Going Slightly Mad

Chapter Text

Ruki was delicately unfolding the mauve dresses they had just received at the store. Their fabric was of exceptional quality, and they had been sewed by some of the greatest Italian masters. Their price was mostly thrice his salary, and only one tiny snag on them could make him lose his job. After having them hanged on a clothes rail, his manicured fingers tried to smooth the folds, and he used the steamer next to him to take care of the worst of them.

When the cardboard boxes were empty, he stored them with the others in the backroom he was in, and checked the ten dresses one last time. They looked perfect. He was just about to go back to the store to ask his manager if she wanted to display them immediately, but she beat him to it by suddenly showing up, as if she had appeared out of thin air.

“Takanori, come, there’s a lot of people in there, I need your help!”

He complied immediately. He followed her quickly and noticed that, indeed, the store was already packed with customers, even if it was quite early in the morning. He put on his most gorgeous smile and went over the first persons who seemed in need of a helping hand. He advised like this for a good hour, bending over backwards for rich young women who wanted to treat themselves, using and abusing of his charms and good looks the best he could.

I hate that job…

After checking out the last customer with a big smile on his lips, he sighed loudly. His boss noticed it and slapped him gently on the head.

“Aouch! What was that for?”

“You can sigh all you want in the backroom, but in the store, be perfect, please!”

“But nobody’s around, Yuya…”

At the very same time, the bell on top of the front door rang, and a young woman entered, flanked by a man who seemed to be her boyfriend. Yuya raised an eyebrow while looking at him with a smirk on her lips, clearly stating that he was going to be the one to help those young people. Ruki nearly rolled his eyes and walked towards the couple. The young lady was particularly attractive, certainly a professional model or an actress, and was very well (and expensively) dressed. The man, on the other hand, hadn’t taken off his scarf, nor his knit cap and his sunglasses, and didn’t even flinch when the seller accosted them.

“Hello, my name is Takanori, and I am at your disposal. How may I help you?”

Both of them ignored him beautifully, which only resulted of taking his anger up a notch.

Some people have literally no education…

He managed to keep his fake smile on and followed them, ready to propose his help when it would be needed the most.

“D’you have that in blue?” the young lady asked, apparently without remembering what polite manners were like.

“I am really sorry but no, everything is expo-”

“And this?”

“Neither, miss. Sorry.”

She sighed excessively and put back the top she was looking at.

“Find me something blue. A dress. And it better be a pretty one.”

Ruki’s eyes widened slightly, surprised to hear someone speak to him that way, but obeyed nonetheless. When you worked in the luxury industry, you learnt to shut your mouth pretty quickly. He rummaged through the sections and found a dress that he thought would be perfect… but she wasn’t happy with it. At all.

“Are you kidding me? What’s this?” she shouted, taking it from Ruki’s hands. “You call that ‘pretty’? It’s horrible! Find me something else!”

After those inspiring words, she threw it on the floor, right in front of the young man, before storming off to look at some shoes. Ruki picked the dress up, which price was approximately of 300 000¥, and checked if it was undamaged. He then went to put it back on its rail, barely restraining himself from clutching it too hard. He was furious. That crazy chick was unbelievable… and her boyfriend who behaved as if everything was totally normal!

Ruki breathed deeply and slowly, and then tried to find another dress that could suit the young woman so she could clear the fuck off. He finally came by a very lovely garment and hoped she would be satisfied by it.

He presented it to her with a big smile and she looked at it during what seemed to be an eternity before nodding and taking it, still without any form of politeness, from his hands.

“What do you think?” she asked the man who accompanied her.

He was examining absent-mindedly a blouse exposed on one of the rails but stopped to look at her. He observed the dress for a while and then shrugged, before returning to whatever he was doing.

“Tch… Useless as ever. Okay that will do. But I need shoes to go with it.”

“Very well… What do you think of these?” he proposed, handing a nice pair of golden high heeled sandals.

“… I’m not going to a beach party, but to a charity gala, thank you very much.”

… What’s a scum like you going to do at a charity gala…?

“All right, then maybe this pair would suit you better?”

He picked up black stilettos, with glittering heels.

“Sober, but with some charm nonetheless.”

“You don’t understand it, do you? Do you think I want to be discreet? No, I want everybody to notice me, got it? Now you better show some inventiveness, sir.”

Ruki clenched his fist without letting his smile flicker. He put back the shoes he was still holding and the next half-hour was only made of try outs and very rude comments from the young woman. She ended up letting everything on the counter before leaving the store, thanking him for making her loose her time, her boyfriend right behind her.

Ruki couldn’t take it anymore. He went to the backroom to yell and kick some empty boxes until he could calm down[1]. Yuya’s head appeared a bit later through the door and she offered him an apologetic smile.

“If I had known it would be such a catastrophe, I promise I would have taken care of it myself…”

“Don’t apologize… How such human beings can exist is beyond my understanding…” he sighed before sitting on one of the full boxes that were, them, spared. “Her, for starters, and him, saying nothing, as if her behavior was impeccable!”

“Yeah, I’ll never understand… Alright, let’s go, we have a lot of work to do. And take the mauve dresses with you, we’re going to put them with the new collection and present one in the window display.”

Ruki took his head between his hands for a few moments before complying. The day was going to be long… and he was desperately in need of a cigarette.

♦ — ♦ — ♦

When came the time to close the store, he hurried to tidy everything so he could leave as quickly as possible. The sooner he would be in the streets walking towards his apartment, the better. Feeling his irritation, Yuya quickly took care of counting the money in the cash register and the tidying of the backroom. Soon enough, they turned on the alarm, closed the door and lowered the metal gate. They left then in the same direction, chatting a bit.

“I’m sorry about your crappy day… I hope it’s going to be better tomorrow.”

“Me too… but I only work on the morning, and we have a rehearsal scheduled on the afternoon. If it goes awry, I will borrow Yutaka’s drumsticks and have a go on his drums. Mh… Gonna bring back some memories…”

“Hahaha! Oh, by the way, when is your next concert?”

“In two weeks, in Shibuya. I’ll send you a text with the name of the club and the time, if you want.”

“Totally! Last time was great. And who knows, maybe you’re soon going to be able to quit this job you hate to live your dream!”

“Oh my God, I would love to, but we both know it’s not gonna happen anytime soon…”

She smiled nonetheless and left him at the corner of a street to go and take the subway that would bring her back home. Ruki stopped moving for a moment and raised his eyes to the sky. It was already dark, but he still could make out some big, darker clouds, hinting that it was going to rain, or snow. He buried his nose deeper in his scarf and started walking again. He was glad he lived to a reasonable distance from his work on foot. Actually, it was the other way around. He applied there because of the proximity, and the fact that he liked the brand.

He arrived fast, and was pleased to feel the warmth of the building entrance tickling his cheeks when he opened the door. He took the stairs, opened the door of his apartment and announced “I’m home!”. He closed it and took off his boots, his coat and his scarf. A blond head appeared through the ajar living room door.

“Ah! We were waiting for you to start eating! … You look like shit, are you okay?”

“Yes, Akira… Well, actually, no, I had an awful day, but I already feel better now that I’m here!”

“Glad to here that.”

His roommate smiled at him and disappeared behind the door. Ruki sniffed and noticed a nice smell of food in the air. He entered the living room, where the dining table was, and spotted both of his roommates already seated.

“Come, quick, I’m starving!” his second roommate cried out, a young man with long brown hair.

“Calm down, Kouyou, it’s not even eight o’clock…”

“Exactly, it’s late. Come on!”

“Buzzkill…”

They kept teasing each other while eating, and Ruki told them about his disastrous day, ranting once again about rich people who believed they could do whatever the fuck they wanted.

“That’s insane… I mean, we have our share of weird people at the cafe, but nothing that… extreme…” Reita explained, ruffling through his bleached blond hair while leaning against the back of his chair. “Or it’s just like once a year or something. I have the impression that you, on the other hand, deal with that kind of people all the damn time…”

“Yeah. But I assure you, they reached new heights, those two…”, Ruki grumbled again as he stuffed a piece of pork in his mouth. “That crazy bitch as well as her asshole of a boyfriend who doesn’t flinch.”

“Calm down, you’re gonna end up choking yourself with your meat,” Uruha sighed, amused nonetheless.

He added that it would be a shame since he worked hard to make that meal, and Ruki teased him by replying that, indeed, it was way better than usual. He dodged the tap his friend wanted to give him, making Reita laugh, who couldn’t help but think that he was incredibly lucky to have such wonderful friends.

♦ — ♦ — ♦

The following day, when Ruki arrived at the store, smoking peacefully and clandestinely[2] his cigarette, he was surprised to see someone already leaning on the wall next to the gate. When he got close enough, he recognized the man from the day before, still wrapped in his scarf and his knit cap, his sunglasses on his nose. He felt his anger that had disappeared come back in full force and decided to take advantage of the fact that he wasn’t technically at work yet to have a little… chat with him

“Didn’t stood out enough yesterday, did you? Wanna piss me off today too?”

The man jumped, he obviously hadn’t felt Ruki’s presence earlier. He looked at him for a few seconds before responding:

“I’d like to buy what she tried on.”

Ruki saw red.

“Because you think I’m going to let you in the store after the total lack of respect you demonstrated yesterday? I don’t think so. Now, fuck off.”

Ruki stuck his cigarette between his lips and started to unlock the gate, wanting to ignore the man, before jumping too when a fist punched the metal next to his face.

“I’m not asking for your opinion. You sell me those items, right now, and I’m off. Unless you want to get me angry…?”

The man’s tone was threatening in his ear and a fearful shudder ran down his spine. He prevented himself from responding “So what?”, in order not to take the risk of shortening his own life, and finished unlocking the store. That voice seemed atrociously familiar, but he couldn’t remember where he heard it. The day before, the man had been particularly quiet (and that was the entire problem), so it couldn’t come from that. What a weird feeling…

“Wait here,” Ruki said, without any honorific before heading to the backroom.

He put his belongings in the little room for the employees, stubbing out his cigarette in one of the ashtrays. He came back, still furious, and caught the items. He turned on the cash register and scanned them.

“I hope you have your credit card. I don’t want to rush into counting my change fund for your sorry ass.”

The man entered the store by the doors Ruki had left opened even if it was freezing cold outside and gave him his credit card without answering, apparently wanting to get this over with just as much. He didn’t even react when he saw the very high amount and just paid before taking the dress and the shoes and storming out without another word.

“What a dick…”, Ruki sighed, leaning against the wall.

And it wasn’t even opening time yet… He tried to compose himself and after closing the doors until it would be time to open them for good, he went to fetch the cash to prepare the change fund.

The first hour went smoothly, and Yuya eventually showed up, her nose reddened by the freezing temperature.

“Oh my god, it’s going to snow soon, I’m sure of it…”

“Hello to you too.”

“Ow… Something happened again, is that it?”

“Yesterday’s dickhead came back. But without his bitch of a girlfriend this time.”

“Oh. To appologise?”

Ruki snorted.

“Are you kidding me? He came back to buy what she nearly threw in my face.”

“Seriously…?”

The young man told her what had happen and she shook her head, flabbergasted.

“Well… At least, there’s a very big chance we’re not going to see them anymore.”

“I hope so…”

With this, the young woman dashed to the backroom to get ready to start her day. The following hours were uneventful as well, and finally, Ruki’s second colleague showed up around one pm, setting him free for the day.

“Hi and bye, Sako! Have a good day girls, and good luck!” he shouted after having fetched his stuff, while leaving quickly.

He wanted only one thing: to get back to his friends and his passion, music. They had a gig they needed to prepare for, which gave him a very strong motivation, even if it was a small show. When he reached the small place they managed to rent with their five mediocre salaries, his four friends were already there.

“Really Taka, you just don’t know what being on time even means!”

“It’s a bit rich coming from the man who’s, like, always late…”

“Hey! No! I was on time today!”

“No, Kouyou, you were just less late than Taka, nothing to brag about…”, Aoi teased him with a wicked grin playing on his lips.

Kouyou pretended to pout while Takanori settled in. Then, the fifth member rose from his chair and clapped his hands.

“Right! Let’s get to work! We need to be perfect!”

“Wait! Can I have a round on your drums first before we start?”

“And why’s that? We don’t have time for this…”

“Pleaaaase, Yutakaaa…”

Kai frowned, hands on his hips, and then gave in.

“All right, go ahead…”

Ruki didn’t need to be told twice and bounced to the drums, picking up the sticks. He always loved this instrument, even if he liked singing even more. Well, this was a case of emergency, so… He started and played nearly all of Kai’s part in one of their songs. At the end, his friend was watching him, impressed.

“Well damn… If I break my arm one day, at least I know that you can replace me without any problem…”

Ruki beamed, out of breath, but happy. He then stood up and they started practicing once his vocal cords were warmed up. The musicians were focalized on their respective instruments, external or internal, completely immersed in their art, and gave, as always, their best, despite the lack of an audience. But it was that devotion that made them improve themselves, they were certain of it.

♦ — ♦ — ♦

The days parting them from their next performance seemed as if they were extremely long and incredibly short at the same time. The hours they spent doing a mediocre job were drawing out, but rehearsal times seemed too few, and cut short. And now that they were in the tiny dressing room at the back of the club, they were all overwhelmed with stress. Reita was pacing, Ruki smoke cigarette after cigarette, and Uruha was drinking his third beer. Aoi was only chewing on his nails, not caring about his nail polish, but you could see he lacked self-assurance as well. Kai decided to take the matter in his own hands and try motivating them a bit.

“Aki, stop pacing, you’re making me nauseous. Taka, put down that fifth cigarette, what are we gonna do if you can’t carry a tune on stage, huh? And Kouyou, I hope you’ll still be able to see your guitar strings when you’ll be completely drunk.”

They all stopped moving, watching Kai with widened eyes. The drummer sighed.

“I’m stressing out too, of course. But we’re about to do what we love in front of a public, and in a club that is, even if it doesn’t seem like it, quite known in Shibuya. We have a chance a lot of bands can’t even begin to dream about… The least we could do is do our best and believe in us, don’t you think?”

They all appeared to be a bit ashamed for a little while. Then, Ruki put his unlighted cigarette back in its pack, Uruha went to empty his glass in the sink, and Reita sat back with them. Aoi stopped biting his nails and examined his nail polish which was, fortunately, still impeccable. Kai was thrilled his little speech had the desired effect. It was absolutely vital for them to keep a cool head. Stress was their worst enemy… If they didn’t give their best when they had the chance to perform in front of an audience, they’ll never catch the right people’s attention.

Minutes passed by, and then it was time. They left the room and headed for the stage.

♦ — ♦ — ♦

[1] Certified by, probably, every seller in the whole world… (or, at the very least, by some of my colleagues…!)

[2] Quick reminder: it’s forbidden to smoke in most of Tokyo’s streets, outside of clearly delimited areas where you can find ashtrays.

Chapter Text

Being seated down at a table with Kaoru for a whole hour while listening to him trying to cheer him up was definitely a challenge, and Kyo felt his patience wearing thin. He didn’t need his friend to spout that his current relationship didn’t do him any good, that he needed to put an end to it, and that he was sure he was going to find someone else way better soon enough. Instead of answering, he just kept on watching the dance floor, his chin resting on his hand, showing a perfectly bored face. He had hardly even touched his beer, and Kaoru knew really well that he was only half-listening. It pained him to see his friend and bandmate that way, but at the same time, if he didn’t want to make any effort, he was not going to continue yelling at the top of his lungs to make him see reason… Maybe he should have chosen a bar instead of a club; it would have been more practical to have that talk. Except that a club was perfect when you were a bit famous. The darkness of the room was convenient to stay… unnoticed.

Suddenly, the music was turned off and the lights brightened the stage, on which were exposed several instruments. Curious, Kaoru straightened up to get a better view while people started to gather around. He didn’t even notice the instruments; too busy trying to put a smile on his vocalist’s face after an umpteenth dispute with his girlfriend. It was true that this club was well known to help mostly unknown bands to perform, which often resulted on quite nice gigs.

“Ah, seems there’s going to be a show. Wanna watch?”

Kyo shrugged and stood up, following his friend. At least for now he stopped lecturing him on his love life (and on his life, period). They stood not far away from the stage, making it easier to see what happened on it.

The band of honor came in and there was a round of applause. The vocalist bowed low and then started talking while the others settled.

“Good evening Shibuya, I hope you’re enjoying your night…”

The crowd answered with a cheerful ‘Yeah!!’.

“Thank you for coming tonight, and if you’re not here on purpose… Please, give us a chance!”

Without further ado, the drummer gave the signal with three drumsticks blows and they started playing their first song. Kaoru observed that the two guitarists were both very good, even if the one who was on his right seemed to be just a tiny bit better. The bassist was far from bad too, as far as he could judge. Kaoru knew how to play the bass, but certainly not as well as the guitar of course, so he couldn’t really have an opinion on the matter. The drummer also seemed good, but it could only be an impression at that rate. He looked at Kyo to see his reaction and maybe read on his face what he was thinking of the band, now that their first song was nearly over. He spotted his eyes widening a bit, and turned back his head to the stage to see what caused that expression. He laughed when he saw the vocalist lick sensually his middle finger before flipping the audience off.

The public looked like it was enjoying the show since people massed more and more together in front of the stage, dancing, moving, and cheering. Kaoru must admit that they knew how to liven things up, and on top of that, their music was really cool. They stayed until the end of the live, which was only made of three songs, and watched them leave the stage after a last ‘thank you!’ to the crowed that clearly didn’t want them gone.

“Well… The vocalist seems to be a complete different person when he starts singing. Reminds me of someone…”, Kaoru teased. “What do you think?”

When Kyo didn’t answer, Kaoru turned his head to look at him and saw that he was lost in his own thoughts.

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing, I just feel like I know the guy…”

“Who? The vocalist?”

“Yeah…”

“Well, do you wanna go and congratulate them, so you can check? Honestly, I’m down for it, they were great, that makes me want to give them a little help! What about you?”

Kyo shrugged – again – but agreed to follow his leader to the band’s dressing room; GazettE, if they believed what was written on the many posters glued to the walls for the occasion. They didn’t run into anybody, and knocked on the door.

“Ah, that must be Yuya!” shouted a voice from the inside that was easily recognizable, since it was the singer’s.

The door opened and the young man’s smile disappeared immediately when he saw them. Then, his eyes widened comically from surprise and he took a step back.

“Taka? Who’s it?”

“Can we come in?” Kaoru asked with a polite smile.

Ruki didn’t answer, only walking further away from them. Both Dir en Grey members entered the room, creating general stupefaction.

“What the…!” the drummer shouted, his hand in front of his mouth in an attempt to hide his astonishment.

“Sorry to barge in like this unannounced, but we were in the club by chance and… we kind of liked your show, so we wanted to congratulate you.”

Ruki collapsed on the couch, stunned. Kai, on the other way, got up and went to bow in front of the two older men.

“Thank you so, so much! It’s means everything, coming from you!”

“Ah, come on”, Kaoru answered, blushing a little, which made Kyo smirk, “No formalities between us, please… We’re all musicians, okay?”

Kai straightened up and smiled, embarrassed.

“Forgive me, but it’s so… unexpected.”

Uruha, Aoi and Reita joined in to thank their improvised guests and asked them if they wanted to participate to their little celebration. They accepted and sat down with their fellow musicians, and soon enough, they each had a can of beer between their hands.

“Look, we know quite well what it means to start and struggle, so… I thought that maybe we could help you a bit. I don’t really know how for now but obviously, we have a lot of contacts in the musical industry. It can come in handy.”

He looked at Kyo who nodded after having quickly detached his eyes from… Taka? Kaoru directed his attention to the young singer while Kyo took over, talking for the first time since they entered the dressing room. He seemed to eat his friend up with his eyes, and it amused him greatly.

“Yeah, it’s… hm… It’s very important to know people in the industry. I’m sure we’ll manage to drop your name and a concert date in the ears of the right persons.”

The guitarist nearly turned his head again when he saw Ruki’s expression change completely. It went from admiration, want, even maybe desire, to anger and hate in less than a second. He got up immediately and asked to talk to Kyo in private. The blond man was surprised but followed him nonetheless outside of the room, in the hallway. Kaoru tried to fetch answers into the eyes of the other members of GazettE, but he only saw… knowing smirks.

“What’s happening?”

“Oh, you know, Ruki is a very big fan of Kyo, I’m sure he just couldn’t wait anym–”

“YOU’RE JUST A FUCKIN’ ASSHOLE!”

The door burst open noisily, bouncing on the wall, and Ruki nearly run to his handbag, taking his cigarettes and his lighter under his friends’ worried looks.

“Thank you, Kaoru, but we’ll manage on our own”, he said, catching everybody by surprise.

He gave Kyo a death glare when he left again, and the older man tried to hold him back but Ruki avoided him and left by the service entrance to, probably, get a smoke. Or several ones.

“Oook, Tooru, what the fuck? He clearly knows you too, and not in a good way! What did you do? Did you sleep with him and then left without saying anything? I told you to stop doing this, look at the mess now!”

“Oi, I didn’t sleep with him! If it was the case I would have stayed for a second round in the morning, come on…!” Kyo answered, but he seemed to realize what he said and turned his head towards Ruki’s friends. “Er… Sorry…”

“No worries, we know our Taka’s hot”, Uruha responded with a smirk. “On the other hand… It’s true his reaction is weird. I mean, he totally worships you, you know? You must be in his top 3 of the artists he respects and likes the most, man. Why did he got angry like that?”

Kyo scratched his head, clearly embarrassed, and tried to explain.

“Well… A couple of weeks ago, I went shopping with Keiko, my girlfriend, and…”

But he was cut off before he could say another word.

“The blue dress bitch and her dickhead of a boyfriend?!” Uruha and Reita yelled, in unison.

You’re the dickhead?” the bassist added.

“News travel fast…”

“Well it traumatized him a bit, and we can’t really blame him…”

“Yeah, your behavior really shocked him. And now, he just realized that it’s you, one of the guys he admires the most… That’s enough to lose it like he did, if you ask me”, Uruha explained.

The smaller man sighed.

“Okay… I’m going to go and talk to him. I mean, if he lets me, this time. I let you explain everything to Kaoru.”

He then left the room and headed for the service entrance too, before partially opening it. Ruki was leant back against the wall, a cigarette stuck between his forefinger and his middle finger, nose raised towards the stars he couldn’t see. If he recognized Kyo, he didn’t move to show it. He lowered his head and took a long drag. The older man stepped outside and closed the door behind him, ignoring the piercing cold.

“Can I at least try to explain myself to you?”

Ruki blew smoke through his nose and mouth and gazed at him, seemingly uninterested. He didn’t say anything though, waiting.

“Okay. The first thing I wanted to say is that I really didn’t know it would affect you that much. I mean, I thought that all sellers developed a kind of superpower to protect themselves against jerks like us.”

Ruki chuckled and Kyo took it as a good sign.

“Then, you have to know that Keiko is a very egocentric person, and that it’s absolutely not worth it to make her angry in public. To say it simply, if I had called her out on her attitude, she would have acted way worse, just to prove she can.”

The younger man shook his head slowly and took another drag from his cigarette.

“I know it’s a lame excuse. Actually, I don’t have any excuses. I should have found a way to make her leave you alone, and I’m deeply sorry for not trying. The following day, she just pissed me off over and over again, so I would agree to go and buy what she tried on, and I did it, but I was so furious that I lashed out a bit on you. I’m sorry… I’m not a violent person, I promise. I wouldn’t have hurt you.”

The brown man stubbed out his cigarette on the ashtray next to the door. He took out his pack from his pocket and put another one between his lips. He proposed one silently to Kyo who, although surprised, took it gladly. Ruki came closer to lighten it before doing the same with his. He puffed on it a bit before talking.

“It is both cute and annoying that people think sellers are not affected by the way we talk to them. It’s so wrong. We learn to disregard it, but it’s never pleasant. Quite the contrary. We’re all human beings, and nobody’s above anyone else, no matter status or wealth. It is a real frustration to see people like your… girlfriend… who think they are above everybody else only because they have money. I live it every day. Even if we build ourselves a sort of shield or something, we’re still vulnerable to shitty behaviors, just like anybody.”

Kyo nodded slowly.

“It’s so obvious, when you say it. But I was selfish. I told myself that you were going to get over it, therefore I didn’t see any reason for me to make her angry. Because at the end of the day, I’m the one who have to deal with her temper.”

“It’s none of my business, but… why are you with a girl like her…?”

“I don’t like being alone”, he answered, shrugging.

“That’s… That’s it? It’s a lot to endure for such… little compensation, don’t you think?”

Kyo smirked.

“Kaoru just spent the entire evening before your live going on and on about it with a similar speech, so please, drop it…”

Ruki raised his hands in surrender.

“I’m just saying that it’s too bad you stay with a girl like her whereas there are plenty of people around you who are a lot more interesting and a lot less crazy…”

He winked at him while taking a puff. The older vocalist raised an eyebrow and his smirk appeared again.

“Is that an offer, dear colleague?”

“Maybe, yes.”

“So, does that mean you have forgiven my indelicacy?”

“Not really. On the contrary. Forgiveness must be earned.”

A sparkle of desire appeared in Kyo’s eyes. He approached the other singer and stood just in front of him. He stroked gently his cheek and brushed his thumb against Ruki’s made up lips.

“It can be arranged. Can I?”

“Don’t forget that I’m a fan.”

“And?”

“I might faint.”

Kyo’s eyes widened and he burst out laughing. Ruki seemed quite proud with the effect of his lame joke and kept on smoking, a strange glow in his gaze. The older man managed to pull himself together and answered:

“I’m willing to take the risk.”

He pressed his left hand, which was holding his cigarette, to the right of the other man on the icy wall and placed the other on his waist, caressing it gently. He leant his face closer and brushed his lips on the corner of Ruki’s, hearing his breath becoming difficult. But the younger man decided to clearly show his eagerness by turning his head so their mouths would meet. Kyo smiled and decided to take control of the kiss so he could give Ruki what he wanted. He pushed him softly against the wall and intensified their closeness, making his new lover shiver. He nibbled his lips tenderly to ask access to his warm cavity, which Ruki granted him without any hesitation. His tongue slid against the other man’s, tasting the tobacco that still lingered in his mouth, and it surprisingly made him tremble from arousal, a shudder running down his spine, and lose a bit of the control he thought he had. The kiss became less gentle, more passionate, and Kyo realized he had pinned Ruki to the wall only when the brown singer moaned, bucking his hips, trying to get some friction against him. Deciding he had made him horny enough, Kyo broke the kiss and stepped back, but still stayed in Ruki’s personal space, not ready to get away from his warmth.

“So… Am I forgiven?”

Ruki’s eyes were dark with lust, his cheeks reddened and his breath uneven. Kyo felt his blood go south when he saw him like this. He had thought Ruki was quite hot on stage, but it was beyond compare to the vision he had now. Without saying anything, without breaking eye contact, the younger man stubbed out his cigarette on the ashtray.

“If we stop here, certainly not.”

His voice was hoarse with desire and Kyo didn’t need any more persuasion to take his lover’s hand and lead him back into the building after having disposed of his cigarette too. They arrived in front of the employees’ bathroom and entered the room after a quick check to see if there was someone in there. Ruki felt his heart go wild when he noticed the devastating smirk on the older man’s lips when he intimated him to go into one of the cubicles. It always disgusted him to know that people lowered themselves to do something like that, but now, he understood. Lust was clouding his judgment pretty badly. When Kyo closed the door behind him, Ruki pinned him against it and slid his hand between his legs, brushing his obvious erection through the rough material of his jeans. Kyo gasped.

“Let me ravish you…”, Ruki whispered against his lips before kissing him with fever.

♦ — ♦ — ♦

A little while later, a young woman knocked on GazettE’s dressing room. Reita opened the door and smiled when he saw who it was.

“Ah, Yuya ! We were waiting for you! Took you long enough!”

“Yeah, sorry, I was with some friends, I couldn’t leave like this, so I agreed to share one last drink with them. They thought you were amazing, by the way!”

“Oh, that is something I like to hear!” Uruha exclaimed before approaching and hugging Ruki’s friend (and manager).

The young lady entered the room and waved at the other band members she knew a bit less. And then she noticed someone she didn’t know, and who was definitely not part of GazettE.

“Oh, good evening.”

“Hello”, Kaoru answered before standing up and bowing slightly. “I am Kaoru Niikura. I am a musician too.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr Niikura, my name is Yuya Tsuika. I work with Takanori. … Where is he, by the way?”

“Yeah, good question, is he still pissed off? No because his reaction’s beginning to get irritating, if you ask me…”, Uruha, who was the one who finished retelling all of the events to Kaoru, grumbled.

“No, no, I perfectly understand his outburst. Tooru was rude beyond measure. And I keep telling him to dumb this fury, but he doesn’t listen to me…”

Yuya watched the exchange between the musicians, and then asked:

“Are you talking about the couple of the other day, at the store? Do you know the man, Mr Niikura?

“Well, yeah… He’s… He’s the singer of my band.”

“Oh.”

“Have you ever heard of Dir en Grey, Yuya?” Aoi asked, trying to dissolve her lost expression.

“Yeah, from Taka, I think… Oh, wait, is that you? I mean…”

“Exactly. I am the leader and one of the two guitarists. The lout you met the other day is Tooru, aka Kyo, our vocalist.”

“Kyo?!! It was him?! But… How didn’t Taka recognize him? He just keeps rambling about him, his amazing voice, his perfect figure, and the things he wants to do to him in bed-”

She stopped, suddenly aware of what she was saying, and blushed furiously. Kaoru laughed out loud.

“Don’t be embarrassed! I believe I indeed understood that… Takanori, right? That Takanori found Kyo… to his taste. And let me tell you it’s very much mutual. Well, at least until Takanori yelled at him and stormed off.”

Kai sighed one last time and got up, announcing that he was going to look for Ruki, and that he was not letting him off the hook that easily. You don’t turn down an opportunity like that only because your ego was hurt, dammit!

“I’m coming with you, I have something to say to Tooru about this too…”

Without waiting any longer, they left the dressing room and headed for the service entrance.

♦ — ♦ — ♦

“Oh my God, you’re a natural…”, Kyo moaned, his hand roaming through Ruki’s brown hair, meanwhile the younger vocalist took a bit more of his cock into his mouth, feeling it bump at the back of his throat.

He bobbed his head slowly, sucking on the hard flesh with delight. How did the other man taste so good? His tongue played with the tip, caressing the silt, feeling just a little bit of precom coming out. Kyo’s moans and whines were so fucking hot Ruki felt like he was going to explode from arousal. Unable to restrain himself any longer, he led his own hand between his legs and caressed the evident bulge, purring around the blond singer’s shaft as it slid again nearly all the way into his mouth. He opened his pants, drew out his own cock, and began stroking it slowly. Kyo noticed it and whimpered at the sight, thrusting deeper as he felt the sweet velvet of Ruki’s tongue dancing against him.

“You like this, don’t you…? You get off on sucking cock… Ah…  Yes, Taka… Take more of me, I know you can do it…”

Ruki didn’t know if it was the dirty talking or the fact that he was now feeling nearly as much pleasure as Kyo that did it, but he withdrew his hand that encircled the base of his lover’s cock and managed to relax enough to take all of him down his throat, making him scream. He sucked him faster and harder, using all of his talent to make him see stars. He fastened his pace on his own cock too and looked up to the older man. A rush of pleasure and lust overwhelmed him at the sight of Kyo coming undone, panting, his cheeks red from bliss and his eyes closed while moans of pure ecstasy left his open mouth. Ruki thought that it was damn possible that he could come only from that, from watching him experience such pleasure.

Determined to make him come hard, he closed his eyes again and concentrated all of his attention on the gorgeous cock in his mouth.

♦ — ♦ — ♦

Kai pushed his ear against the door and was surprised to hear… absolutely nothing. He was however convinced that those two would have been engaged in a pretty lively argument, to say the least. He straightened up and opened the door slowly, and then completely when he realized that there was nobody outside.

“Where are they…?”

Kaoru didn’t answer and approached the smoking ashtray. Several cigarette butts were subbed out, and all of them sported a purple mark, stain of the lipstick GazettE’s vocalist was wearing. Well, all of them, except one, which was still smoking, badly extinguished.

“They smoked here, together.”

Kai came closer, intrigued, and understood when the guitarist showed him the ashtray.

“And they left abruptly”, he added as he took the cigarette without stain to sub it out properly.

They looked at each other, frowning.

“Do you think they made up?”

“Possible. Or Tooru got angry and left without further ado. Wouldn’t be surprising either.”

“Okay, but then, where is Taka? He inevitably would have gone back to the dressing room. And… He was waiting for Yuya.”

Kaoru scratched his chin, thinking, and then headed back to the door.

“They must still be around… something tells me they’re in the building and that they preferably don’t wanna be found…”

The drummer rolled his eyes and followed his elder, whispering something along the lines of ‘horny brats’. However, he stopped Kaoru when the latter was about to open the door of a random room.

“Wait, I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to stumble on them going at it like animals…”

“Well, me neither, but I need all of you to be together in the same room so we can talk about your future, my dear Yutaka. Unless… You don’t want my help anymore…?”

“Yes, yes, of course we do!!”

“Then that’s settled”, he answered with a sweet smile before opening the door. It was only a cupboard, fortunately empty of human presence.

Kaoru closed the door and opened a few others, before spotting the one from the employees’ bathroom. The two men exchanged a glance and then Kai opened it, revealing Ruki in front one of the sinks, washing his hands quietly. Kyo was nowhere to be seen. The younger man raised his head and smiled at them.

“Oh, you were looking for me? Sorry I stormed out like that…”

“Where is Kyo?”

Ruki took care of the stains of make-up that had leaked around his mouth and his eyes, whipping them off, and then approached them, a mischievous smile forming on his full lips.

“He’s… recovering.”

He then left the room to go back to the dressing room, leaving Kaoru and Kai stunned. Then, Dir en Grey’s guitarist raised his voice again.

“… Tooru…?”

The door of one of the cubicles opened and a little blond man came out of it. He roamed his hand through his ruffled hair and flashed Kaoru a tired smile. The guitarist noticed the slight redness that subsisted on his cheeks.

“Do you often fuck in public bathrooms…?”

“Ooh, don’t judge me, okay… It was… Wouah…”

He approached the sinks too and splashed some water on his face.

“I’m not sure I want to know…”

Kyo looked at him and took a perverse pleasure in explaining nonetheless.

“Well, let’s say that I thought Keiko could do amazing things with her mouth, but I think I just found way better.”

Kaoru rolled his eyes, meanwhile Kai turned a deep shade of red.

“Does that mean you were with her only for her oral performances…? And here I thought you were a gentleman!” Kaoru teased.

It was Kyo’s turn to blush.

“So… Gonna dump her?” His friend asked again, hopeful.

“Aaah, will you leave me alone with this? I know for a fact she’s unfaithful, and I’m not either – even if she doesn’t know that. Takanori’s not the first, and he won’t be the last, you know…! I don’t see why I would change anything!”

“But, come on, Tooru…”

“You know, we still get on pretty well. It’s not crazy, but for now, I’ll do with it. So leave me the fuck alone with your morality speeches!”

The vocalist headed then in the same direction that Ruki took a few minutes ago. Kaoru smiled apologetically to Kai.

“He says that, but I know he’s just craving human presence. A presence one night stands can’t really give… Do you think Takanori would be interested to replace her?”

“… Yeah, maybe.”

♦ — ♦ — ♦

When everybody was gathered once again, the Dir en Grey leader talked to the younger musicians about their next gigs, where they were, about their schedules, about CDs they managed to come out independently, gathering as much information as he could so he would have the necessary arguments to convince a hypothetical producer to come and discover the band. He gave Kai his personal number too, so it would be easier to stay in contact. The senior musicians eventually stood up to leave, and Kaoru managed to see Kyo giving Ruki a piece of paper with, undoubtedly, his phone number written on it. Ruki seemed to accept it with great pleasure, if his big toothy smile could be enough of a proof.

I’m counting on you, young man…