Inoo stood in front of the big house with his bags. He heard his escort, named Takaki Yuya, come out of the car before going to turn towards him. “How are you feeling?” Yuya asked with a little smile.
“Nervous but mostly blessed. I still can’t believe He chose me to live here.” Inoo turned his attention back to the house. The area was surrounded by large trees that reminded Inoo how secluded they were out in the woods.
“Yamada is a gracious leader, isn’t he? Don’t worry, Inoo, you have nothing to worry about. Now, let’s go get you settled in your room.” Yuya led the way and walked up the steps to the front doorway. Inoo followed taking notice of the weathered wood rocking chairs on the front porch. The house was mildly big with two stories and looked like it could use a good paint job. To Inoo, it looked so nice compared to his previous conditions. Followers had been living in little pockets around the country for decades, and the trailer Inoo had been living in had been packed with other men all dedicated to the same practice.
Their founder had preached in the 60s that gay men were the chosen ones. Their scriptures described how their sexuality was directly linked to them being above the normality and lasciviousness of their heterosexual counterparts- largely citing women as the source of men’s downfall. When Inoo had been kicked out of his mother’s home as a teenager because of his sexuality, he found comfort amongst these men that seemed to understand what nobody else did.
When their founder passed, his direct servant Yamada had taken over as their leader. He was revealed as a god through whom only their higher presence, Him, could speak to them through. Yamada had visited Inoo’s sector of believers a couple of months ago, and it had been soon afterwards that Inoo learned he had been chosen directly to move into Yamada’s house.
Feeling affirmation in his belief, Inoo knew that this is where he belonged. Serving his leader that saved him was surely what his life had set up for him, and he was sure that he wanted to dedicate the rest of his life to this cause.
The only thing that shook the love for Inoo’s leader was one of Yamada’s two direct servants, Arioka Daiki. Whenever they received newsletters and pictures from the inner circle, Inoo always found himself searching for new pictures and information about Daiki. Inoo cut out parts that Daiki had written in the newsletters on their faith and hung them on the wall next to his bunk. It had turned into a crush, and Inoo thought Him had listened to his secret, selfish desires to meet him by moving Inoo into this house.
As the door creaked open, Inoo saw the main foyer had a large staircase on which was another follower. “Ah, Yaotome, perfect timing!” Yuya called out. “This is your new roommate, Inoo.”
“Oh, is this who He has chosen for me?” Hikaru walked down the steps. “I’m pleased to meet you. Yaotome Hikaru,” and Hikaru stuck his hand out.
“Inoo Kei,” Inoo went to shake his hand. “Bless Him.”
“Look, Takaki, I know you’re usually busy, so I’ll go ahead and show him where we live.” Hikaru started to walk off.
“But you don’t know his schedule!” Yuya called out with a huff as he watched Hikaru. “Fine, but he’s supposed to meet with Yamada at 2!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Hikaru stopped in the middle of the stairs and looked back down to Inoo. “Well, are you coming?” When Inoo walked up to meet Hikaru at the middle of the stairs, Hikaru started walking again. “You know, even if we have to share a bedroom, it’s still the largest in the house besides Yamada’s. The location of it is shitty, though, since we’re in between two other rooms.”
“Wait, it’s only us two in the room?” They got to the top of the staircase on the landing of a long, carpeted hallway.
“Well, yeah.” Hikaru turned back to look at Inoo. “How many people did you think there was going to be?”
“Where I used to live I shared a room with five other guys.” Inoo gave a nervous laugh as Hikaru stared at him in surprise.
“How did you guys sleep?”
“Bunk beds.” Inoo quickly replied. “Yeah, it wasn’t ideal. We had a cockroach problem, too.”
“Well then, thank Him for the upgrade.” Hikaru tapped on a doorway. “This is Yuya and Yuto’s room,” they walked further along. “Here we are! Ah, home sweet home.”
“Wow, it is big,” was the first thing Inoo said as he stepped into the room. He went to put his things on the side of the room that looked unused, and Hikaru went to sit on his own bed. “Um, Yaotome?” Inoo questioned nervously.
“Please, we’re roommates, call me Hikaru.”
“Yes, Hikaru, um, is Arioka by any chance on this floor, too?”
“Yeah, why?” Hikaru eyed him suspiciously. Inoo knew he was blushing, and he cursed that he even asked the question when Hikaru exclaimed, “oh, you have a thing for him, huh?” Hikaru laughed.
“No, it’s not like that!” Inoo blushed even harder. “I just...enjoy his teachings. I’ve seen his sermons a few times..”
“Oh?” Hikaru leaned back on his hands. “To answer your question, yes he does live on this floor as well. Inoo, you know why you’ve been sent here, right?”
“Not really.” Inoo started taking out his clothes to put them away. He eyed his clippings of Arioka’s teachings in his bag, but he decided to get them out later.
“I think Yamada has certain...plans for you. He’s technically married to Chinen, but he has followers that serve him in a...specific way.”
“Oh.” Inoo blinked slowly in thought. “Well, I’m here to serve Yamada in any way he needs. If He wills me to help Yamada in that way, then so be it.”
“Even though you’re such a fanboy of Arioka?” Inoo turned around to protest, but Hikaru spoke before him. “Look, you mentioned him ten minutes into meeting me, and you blush every time I mention his name. I’ve heard that Arioka’s had followers serve him in that way too before, and I think if you just mentioned it-“
“No!” Inoo shook his head. “I’m here to do what I’m told. Him, and Yamada, and the founder-“
“May he Rest In Peace.”
“They’ve given me so much. All I want to do is be a loyal servant even if it means just admiring Arioka as a follower.” Inoo decided that Hikaru wasn’t going to judge him too much, and he did unpack his cutouts before placing them on the bed.
“What are those?” Hikaru stood up in curiosity before walking over to Inoo’s bed. He leafed through the papers before snickering a little. “You could try being a little less obvious.”
“Well, now you know my secret, so what’s yours?” Inoo nudged Hikaru with his elbow.
“I definitely don’t have a crush around the house. In fact, He has willed me to get married to Kota. I love Kota so much, and I’m really excited about it.” Hikaru put down the papers. “You know, He really believes in true love. Yamada has said so himself. So, I say if you really like Arioka, pray to Him, and what you want might just happen. He has put these feelings in you for a reason I’m sure of it.”
“Thank you, Hikaru.” Inoo smiled a little bit. “So does that mean we’re not going to be roommates for long?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll still be around! Plus, Okamoto is really nice. You’ll like him as your future roommate.” Hikaru started to walk away. “Now, come on, Yamada will be wanting to see you soon. We can unpack later.”
Hikaru led Inoo downstairs and down a hallway until they reached the end. The hallway had been dim, and Inoo wondered what could possibly be behind the various doors. Hikaru knocked before a voice chimed, “come in!” Inoo followed him into what could be best described as a library. Books covered the walls, there were armchairs and leather couches, and on the other side of the room was a grand wooden desk. Yamada was sitting in a desk chair smiling at both of them.
Inoo gasped loudly as he recognized the other two people in the room. In one arm chair next to the desk sat Yamada’s husband, Chinen, and Daiki sat on a loveseat nearby. Hikaru bowed, and Inoo was snapped back into reality as he bowed too. “Ease up, both of you,” Yamada said before standing. “Inoo, I have asked you to be here to formally welcome you to my personal household. When I saw you, I immediately heard Him speak to me that I needed to bring you here. You’re special to Him. I would be proud of myself for being such a devoted follower if I were you.” Yamada cupped Inoo’s face in his hand and rubbed a thumb over his cheek.
“I’m only like this because I am under your great leadership. Without Him and you, I would be nothing.” Inoo tried to keep his cool and not glance at Daiki too much, but he heard some snickering behind him.
“Yes, Yaotome?” Yamada rolled his eyes and broke away from Inoo.
“I think that our new companion is failing to mention what a big fan of Arioka’s teachings he is. Seriously, he has cut-outs of Arioka’s parts in the newsletter.” Hikaru smiled at Inoo’s glare.
“Don’t be mad at Yaotome, pet.” Yamada stroked Inoo’s hair and gave him a caring look. “I’m glad to know that you’ve been so inspired and devoted through Daiki.”
“More like he wants to sleep with him if you ask me.” Chinen finally spoke up and went to stand up as he did so. “Ryosuke,” Chinen purred as he wrapped his arms around Yamada’s neck. “I know you were planning on Inoo joining us in bed, but maybe he’s been sent here to please Daiki as well?” The glint in Chinen’s eyes worried Inoo a little bit, but he tried to keep his face calm. He broke his gaze from the pair and looked over at Daiki and quickly looked away when he made eye contact with Daiki’s intense stare.
“Yuri, I think that’s exactly why He had me bring Inoo here.” Yamada smirked. “Now come on Yaotome, let’s let Inoo prove his worth in private.”
As they went to leave, Hikaru gave Inoo a knowing look before heading towards the door. Inoo took a deep breath before turning towards Daiki, who hadn’t said a word the entire time. “I’m sorry. You don’t have to if you don’t want to-“
“Come here and kneel in front of me,” was all Daiki said. Inoo did as instructed and looked up at Daiki who was looking at him with that same intense expression. Daiki took Inoo’s chin in his hand as he said, “now, I want you to swallow every last drop. He hates waste.”
When Inoo found his way back to his room, he found Hikaru sitting on his bed talking to another man he didn’t know the name of. “Ah, Kota, this is my new roommate!” Hikaru happily chimed. “Inoo, meet my fiancée Yabu Kota.”
When Inoo didn’t say anything, Yabu nodded his head and said “it’s a pleasure to meet you, Inoo.”
“You too,” Inoo quietly said before going to sit on his bed.
“Well, how was it? Was he everything you ever dreamed of? You’re welcome, by the way. If I hadn’t spoken up, it wouldn’t have ever happened.”
“He’s just..” Inoo trailed off for a moment. “Different than I was expecting.”
“Like how?” Hikaru got up and sat on the foot of Inoo’s bed. “Come on, tell us all the gross details.”
Inoo eyed Yabu for a moment before starting, “well, I choked when he finished and some of his...stuff ended up on my face. Then he slapped me and told me I did a bad job. Arioka told me ‘I thought I told you He hates waste!’, and I was trying to explain to him how sorry I was before he told me to shut up. Oh, and Arioka gave me this.” Inoo pulled down the collar of his shirt to reveal a dark hickey. “I felt so bad. I failed Arioka, Yamada, and Him.” Inoo’s voice cracked a little.
“You really threw him to the wolves Hikaru,” Yabu chastised. He walked over and sat next to Inoo on his bed pulling him into his chest so Inoo could cry there.
“Well, how was I supposed to know Arioka would be that rough with him? I thought Inoo could soften him up a little bit. I mean, Arioka used to be a really cheerful guy before-“
“Hikaru, shush!” Yabu exclaimed. “You know we’re not supposed to talk about that.” Yabu petted Inoo’s hair and looked at him with a soft expression. “Now, do you think Yamada is going to summon Inoo tonight to his room? I don’t think he can go in this condition..”
“No, I think he’s already summoned Yuto tonight.”
“Okay, good. Hey, Inoo, we need to head to dinner soon. Nakajima and Takaki are on dinner duty, so it’s going to at least be decent.”
“You really just have to watch out for whenever Kota’s making any of the meals. He’s seriously so bad-“ Yabu reached out his foot to give Hikaru a quick kick in the leg. “Ow! Don’t be mad because it’s true.”
“I suck at cooking too,” Inoo lifted his head and let out a quick laugh with a sniffle. “It’s just not a gift He blessed me with.”
Inoo went downstairs with Hikaru and Yabu and turned the corner to find a large dining room with a long table in the middle. Yamada was already sitting at the head with Daiki and Chinen sitting next to him. “Yuya, please move.” Yamada ordered. “I want Inoo to start sitting next to Daiki from now on.” Inoo felt a hand on his shoulder before turning a little bit to see Yabu giving him a look he couldn’t quite make out.
They prayed before Yamada first served himself and everyone else followed suit. Inoo noticed that everyone was silent during the meal, so he tried to be as quiet as possible while he ate. That was, until Chinen broke the silence. “Oh, Ryosuke He knows how to choose them so well. Look, Inoo is so elegant even when he eats.”
“He’s a good pet indeed.” Yamada remarked. Inoo didn’t know if he should respond with anything and settled on continuing to be silent. His eyes looked over at Chinen, who wasn’t ashamed that he was staring at Inoo.
When Daiki finished his meal, he turned to Yamada and asked bluntly, “are you summoning Inoo to your room tonight?”
“No, I’m not planning on it.” Yamada smirked.
Daiki turned to Inoo, “come to my room at 8 and don’t be late.” Inoo just quickly nodded and felt his face start to get warm.
“Oh, he’s blushing how cute!” Chinen let out in a high pitched voice. “He must really like you, Daiki.” Daiki got up to leave before Chinen continued. “Wow, twice in one day. You must thank Him, Inoo, for letting you please a man you admire so often. I know I do.”
“Bless Him,” was all Inoo responded. In a way, maybe Chinen was right. There was a part of Inoo that knew that Chinen was just teasing him, but there was another part that took Chinen’s words to heart. All Inoo had to do was look inwardly to his faith to know that this is what he had always wanted, and what He has granted him. This was a man that Inoo had always admired and even pined after and now he had the chance to satisfy his needs. Even if Daiki wasn’t what he had been expecting, Inoo needed to be grateful that he had been given this opportunity.
“Please, Yuri. That’s enough.” Inoo watched as the pair exchanged a look.
“I said that’s enough!” Yamada roared, and Inoo was taken aback by the outburst. “Yuri, come with me upstairs. If you’ll excuse us, everyone.” Yamada immediately stood up and Chinen followed.
“Inoo,” Yabu called out too cheerfully in a way Inoo was sure to change the mood in the room. “I don’t believe you’ve met our other companions. This is Nakajima, Okamoto, and Takaki-“
“We’ve met before,” Yuya interjected.
“Oh, sorry. Anyway, they also live here! Welcome to the main house.” Yabu put on a bright smile.
“It’s nice to meet everyone.” Inoo nodded towards the other side of the table. “I don’t want to waste this opportunity to serve Him in a place with His most devoted followers.” Inoo eyed the other men and deemed that they looked nice enough. He knew he had to be careful amongst them, though, as these people were men that had earned their places here by being the most loyal of Yamada and their founder’s teachings.
“Please, you’ll do fine. Even if you were just put here because of how pretty you are,” Takaki remarked. Hikaru promptly choked on his food, and Yuto broke out in laughter.
“Come on guys, don’t be mean.” Inoo finally heard Keito speak up. “He wanted Yamada to put Inoo here, right? So he has to be special in some way.”
“I know that was meant to be nice, but I think it was also insulting. Inoo is already special.” Hikaru put his hand on Inoo’s shoulder.
“No, no, I didn’t mean it like that!” Keito looked flustered. “I’m sorry, Inoo..”
“It’s fine.” Inoo waved him off. “It’s not like I was a leader in my sector or anything. Everyone was incredibly jealous when I was asked to move to this house.”
“I bet they were. You were probably pretty popular amongst your immediate leaders, too, right?” It was clear to Inoo what Yuto was insinuating, and he felt kind of offended at the accusation.
“Not really. They largely left me alone because..” Inoo blushed and turned his focus back onto his food.
“So they knew you were a fanboy of Arioka’s too?” Hikaru laughed. “This guy has the biggest crush on Arioka I’ve ever seen.”
“How did your leaders even know?” Yabu asked.
“Well, that’s an embarrassing story..” Inoo hoped everyone would drop the subject, but they all had eyes on him waiting. Inoo sighed, “I was really...popular at one point, and I liked it because the leaders obviously had better sleeping quarters than we did. I used to think about Arioka during it, but then one time I called out his name. That leader stopped, beat me, and then sent me back to my room…”
“You knew you deserved it though, right?” Takaki interjected, and Inoo nodded. “I couldn’t even imagine how furious I would’ve been if I was your leader.”
“Now, everyone just knows because Hikaru has a loud mouth!” Inoo turned to Hikaru, who just shrugged.
“Seriously, never tell Hikaru a secret.” Yabu said. “He’s the worst at keeping them.”
“But it makes sense now..” Keito started but then trailed off. Everyone looked, so he continued. “We know why Arioka is asking him to go up to his room.”
“Hikaru surely had something to do with that.” Yuto grinned. “Or am I wrong?” Hikaru didn’t respond, but he smiled knowingly.
“He hates secrets, anyway.” Takaki pointed out. “It’s better to have everything out in the open.”
“Speaking of which, what time is it?” Yabu turned around to look at the clock. “Oh shit, Inoo, it’s 7:50. You better get up there.”
“I don’t even know where his room is.” Inoo looked panicked.
“Don’t worry, I’ll show you.” Hikaru went to stand up. “Come on, you don’t want to be late.” They looked at each other for a moment, and Inoo saw sympathy in Hikaru’s eyes.