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My Melodrama

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I’m enjoying myself. I mean I really am, even if this is just a company self-congratulation party for our label - celebrating me me me! Er. I mean us, or at least how they’ve shaped us to win over thousands of adoring and thus available ladies (heh heh!) with outrageous outfits and even more suspect hair (just take a look at the killer mullet Ruka was sporting last year!); but I love this! I love it, even if I and Hitsugi-kun are the plainest guys in the band, looks-wise; I love it because here I am, me, shortass of the year, in a huge hotel park-garden with unlimited free hot dogs and people pretending to think I’m amazing! I can be as little and plain as ever and people still call me cute…

I feel myself grinning like a moron and pull myself together, glancing around till I spot Sakito lounging his tall frame against the barbecue, irritatingly perfect stomach on casual display. Slut. Saki is really the most perfect-looking guy I know - man I love him - even if he does act so disgustingly cheap around rich guys - hell, I love everyone! Maybe all the free sake was a tad bit of a bad idea. Better not say anything embarrassing. Maybe I should - “Waah!”

I screech like a girl (shameful but I can’t help it) and flinch as cold hands trickle their way down my back over the space between my t-shirt and waistband. I twist my head round and see Ruka behind me, surprise surprise, and Ni~ya behind him, smirking and carrying two ice-cold beers. Ruka sticks an arm companionably round my throat (can’t breathe here, guys!), and I crane my head back to look at his face. Jerk. I can’t help smiling at him though.

Ni~ya pushes forward and slings his arm exuberantly over my other shoulder, nearly knocking me out with a beer bottle, as Ruka’s hands start roaming around of their own free will over my midriff (as usual).

“Hey Chibi”, he beams, bending down to rub his nose against my cheek. It kind of pisses me off that I have to really stretch to look either of them in the eye, bunch of tall beanpole assholes my band are.

“Well fuck you”, I retort wittily, slapping ineffectually at Ruka’s hands as both of them crowd me, making me feel even shorter as they lean against my back. I know damn well they only do this stuff to freak me out - and, well, it’s not working. I’m not dumb enough to suppose there are two other guys in Nightmare as sleazy as Sakito. It does make me feel kind of good that they think I’m worth taking up so much of their time to tease…I love these guys - Goddammit shut up Yomi, you dork! Ok, gotta stop drinking for a couple of minutes.

“Go blast the bar again guys, or harass waitresses or whatever it was you’ve been doing over there. I have to go do…er…something…”

“Need any help with your… something?” purrs Ni~ya in a pseudo-seductive voice, his breath tickling the back of my neck. I crank my head back up to see level with his lordly height and smile angelically (ok, I’m aware that this looks less than ravenously delicious on me). I shoot my elbow back and am rewarded by a gasp behind me as I connect. Then I sashay off (yeah yeah, right, I trot sheepishly off, reeling slightly drunkenly), and am still trying to think of a snazzy comeback to Ni~ya’s cheesy fake come-ons five minutes later.

I grimace in exasperation and hear Ni~ya-chan’s echoing sigh behind me. I roll my eyes at him and he grins. Drunk bastard. Heh heh, speak for myself there. Man, I feel horny right now; that’s not a good thing, huh?
But it’s pretty warm here in the sun and I’ve had a fair amount of beer by now and - and - and dammit I wanna fuck him! Why can that pintsize moron not see this? Isn’t it obvious, like, doubly obvious especially as Ni~ya-chan’s pulling out exactly the same stunts as me at every possible opportunity?

The trouble with Yomi is that he’s a dork. In general. And I just can’t work out whether he knows exactly what we’re after and is tactfully trying to give us the brush-off (hmm…tact…Yomi…maybe not), or whether he’s just totally clueless. Which is kind of sexy, if frustrating.

Hmmm. Love it when he lets me do stuff to him though, like sitting in my lap for the cameras…I like how he tilts his head right back to see me when I’m behind him, and I like his little hands when he’s trying to peel me off him (I’m becoming known for my limpet-like tenacity), and I like it when he chatters non-stop so I can’t get a word in, and I especially like it when he just gives in and leans his head back against me and grins and calls me an asshole.

“Wake up, asshole”. I grasp my beer bottle as it smacks me in the ribs.

I swear Ni~ya-chan knows exactly when I’m getting maudlin. Is he thinking these same things?
I like it. It feels like a very select club for just the two of us - I’m fairly sure Hitsugi finds us all ridiculous, and as for Saki - well like I’m gonna take seriously a guy whom I happen to know regularly gets fucked by some older gent in return for expensive clothes, jewellery, cars and holidays, and yet gets pissed off when I call him a whore.

Heh heh. Saki’s amazing really; he gets treated like a goddam princess year-round and he can wrap these old dudes round his little finger with those perfect looks…anyhoo. Back to the present issue. Time to harass the midget some more.

I see Ni~ya-chan already looking around the garden. Man, this place is huge! We rock.

Aha! I spot him on the edge of the terrace, glass in hand (Yomi is a lightweight…believe me that I use this to my full advantage…), harrumphing and grumbling like an old git to Hitsugi’s bemused-looking guitar tech, who’s staring down at him scratching his head perplexedly. Ni~ya-chan has a shark-like grin plastered over his pale face…I just know he’s checking out our cute little singer’s cute little ass. I also grab an appreciative eyeful. Well what does he expect if he will wear those low-riding dungarees hanging off his hips…mmm…pay attention, dammit!

I down the rest of my beer, almost drowning myself (but I look cool, huh), and set off sneakily towards him, using convenient tables, shrubs and guests to keep myself out of his line of vision. I love making him jump. I’m so suave. Hey, I could be James Bond! I hear Ni~ya-chan snigger behind me as I take a dive over someone’s foot and nearly fall flat on my face. Glad Yomi can’t see me - some way to promote my seductive and desirable self that would be.

Hitsugi rolls his eyes in my direction, pausing deep in conversation with Saki. I put my finger to my mouth and he purses his lips in exasperation. He may be the youngest but I guess he might be the most mature - he’d scare me with those oddball stage outfits of his if I didn’t know what a pussycat he really is.

I finally come within earshot of the object of my affection - as expected he’s still bitching and moaning at Ryota, who’s wearing the glazed look so familiar on anyone in range of one of Yomi’s non-stop rambling drunken monologues. Yomi’s shooting suspicious glances at everyone who passes by and waving his little hands about in indignant gesticulations.

“Yomi-san”, breaks in Ryota despairingly, “what do you want?”

Disbelieving look.

“As I’ve been telling you, I’m trying to get away from Ruka and Ni~ya’s wandering hands and I just wanna eat hot dogs in peace!”

“Too bad about that”, Ni~ya-chan murmurs in my ear. Yomi opens his mouth to start whining again (cue desperate expression from Ryota) and I step up behind him and snake my arms round his waist.

He squeals in a schoolgirl-type manner as I pull him back against me and stamps on my foot, which doesn’t exactly cause me pain given his weight, and tries to pry me off himself with one hand while Ni~ya-chan has grabbed the other and is nibbling his fingers.

“Ow! Get off me you jerks!” he growls, and then wriggles against me in protest as I dip my fingertips below the waistband of his dungarees. Wow. That feels pretty good. Ryota has dismissed this as perfectly normal behaviour and taken the opportunity to sidle off, leaving Yomi at our mercy. Rahaha!

I press myself harder against his back and he twists to stare at me, giving me his best bored expression.

“Don’t you retards have anything better to do with your time?” he asks severely.

“Aww, come on Chibi,” smirks Ni~ya-chan, running his hands familiarly through Yomi’s hair. “We just wanna play”.

“Yeah, my ass.”

“That’s the plan”, I pipe up hopefully.

“Eeeuww!” he squeals, kicking me smartly in the shin and pulling himself free. “Like you guys would ever have a chance!”

He darts away down the terrace like a weird-looking elementary school kid, giggling.

“Don’t flatter yourself!” I yell and tear after him, causing people to turn round with raised eyebrows, then promptly ignore us. The three of us wind in between tables and party-goers until we come off the edge of the terrace onto the lawn, me going flying in the process. I pick myself up and resume the chase. Damn, the midget is actually pretty fast! Pick up the pace there Ruka! Maybe I should work out more…

Hitsugi was pouring out more vodka for Sakito, deeply engaged in a confidential guitaring conversation, as Yomi zipped past him, closely pursued by drummer and bassist, and proceeded to tip alcohol all over Sakito’s somewhat skimpy clothing in shock.

“Shit!” yelled the tall, slender guitarist. “What the hell is going on?!”

“That,” observed Hitsugi dryly, dripping Smirnoff, “was the mentally defective component of our collective upon which three-fifths of our success supposedly depends”.

Fuming, Sakito glared after them in time to see Ni~ya pull ahead of a breathless Yomi, stick his foot out and send the petite singer crashing face-first to the ground, whereupon the two taller men leapt on him in a heap of bitch-slapping and high-pitched giggling.
Sakito snarled at Hitsugi.

“I wish they’d just have sex already! Fuck, I’ve never seen such a group of irritatingly horny bastards!”


I buzz past my guitarists, faintly hearing Saki cursing behind me - so uptight - and run down the lawn. I can feel myself flagging, I’ve got a terrible stitch and my balance is totally off from the drink; I try a cunning switch to the right and encounter Ni~ya’s foot in my path. Cue an embarrassing and ungainly tumble to the ground head-first, which really goddam hurts, actually. However, I could probably live with it if the two elephants on my heels didn’t take this as their signal to throw themselves full-weight upon my prone body, crushing me into the grass and almost breaking my spine.

“Get the fuck off me you fat bastards!”, I scream menacingly with the remaining air in my poor little lungs. Ni~ya is giggling uncontrollably but they finally manage to grab me, roll me over and start doing terrible things to me, namely ripping off my…….shoes (jeez, I know what you were thinking, perverts!) and tickling my feet. I CAN’T BEAR TICKLING AND I’M SERIOUS!! Did no-one tell these jerks that it’s a recognised form of torture?!

“No! Nonononono nooooo!” is all I can manage as I’m squirming about helplessly, losing all control of my limbs in the hideously painful sensations of trying to laugh and cry and strangle somebody all at the same time.

Please!!” I beg, right on the edge of tears and bawling with laughter. They finally stop when I accidentally smack Ruka in the jaw with a flailing foot, and lean back looking smug; Ruka is half-sitting on my legs, pinning me to the ground, while Ni~ya has his hands interlocked with mine and sits cross-legged behind my head. I wriggle experimentally. No help there.

“Sorry”, sniggers Ruka, his smug bastard of a face belying the sentiment. “Can we make it better…?”

I squirm. “The only thing that could possibly make it better is if you’d kindly throw yourself in the fish-pond and don’t bother coming up for air. ‘Kay, thanks.”

“Now that’s just rude, kid” pouts Ni~ya. “We only wanna make it up to you…”

Is there no end to this guy’s cheesiness? Where’s he getting these lines, out of some ‘70s porno script? Man. I glare icily up at him as he looms over my face, then roll my eyes and grimace when he lifts my left hand, fingers still tangled with his, and begins sucking gently on my skin where the vein runs along the underside of my wrist.

“You are such a…”

“Yes?” he whispers against my hand, looking self-satisfied.
“…a retard!”, I grin.

Then I gasp as I feel a soft pressure on my stomach; I look down to see Ruka with his head practically in my lap (and immediately turn scarlet), lips pressed softly against the skin above my waistband. Cheeky motherfucker! What’s this gonna look like to the untrained eye, huh? Although thinking of it, that’s probably what he was going for in the first place…

I’m slyly manoeuvring one leg, partly to relieve my terrible cramp but mostly to kick him in the nuts, when he puts a hand against my thigh, pushing it back down (I’m a wimp), and kisses me harder.
I shiver involuntarily; I untangle my fingers from Ni~ya’s and reach down to Ruka’s currently-blond head, running my hand gently through his hair for approximately two seconds before grabbing a chunk of it and yanking as hard as I can, the resulting screech probably being heard throughout the hotel.

Hah. Hah.

I chuckle with delight (and relief that I can stop running) as Ni~ya-chan performs an excellent tackling move on Yomi, and join him in leaping on top of my huffing and puffing little vocalist, knocking the breath out of him. I am really enjoying myself here. So I sit on him to stop him escaping again, tickling him, while Ni~ya-chan grabs his dinky hands, laughing at his lame insults. Playing rough with Yomi makes me feel soooo sexy, and he rises to the bait every time, not being disinterested enough to just ignore us (I hope).

I smile and lower my head, resting my cheek on his belly and pressing my lips against the soft pale skin below his navel; I feel him twitch, and he shudders a little when I increase the pressure. He tries to move his leg and I push him back down easily.
Hmm. I wonder how far we can take this before he realises it’s not just some fan-pleasing game…his hand slides downwards and tangles in my hair delicately. I sigh with contentment - it’s so nice and warm here on the grass, and he makes a very comfy pillow…


An ear-splitting yell pierces the relative calm of the afternoon.

Oh. It was me. Was distracted by the shattering pain of having my hair ripped out by that evil, evil…oh I will get him for this! He’s sitting up now and glaring down at me like a little devil. He suddenly seems less attractive (wait…no…that bit was just wishful thinking).

“That’s damn well enough for one day, asshole”, he spits at me, then spins on his heel and stomps off, forgetting his shoes.

“What the feck was that about?!” I exclaim, still rubbing my poor injured scalp.

Ni~ya-chan smirks knowingly.
“I think we got him worried. His pulse was going like a rabbit’s when you kissed him”.


“I think he really liked it…” He nudges me in the ribs. “One point to us. Let’s make a date to follow up this advantage as soon as possible!”

I nod, wincing; then grab his hand familiarly and drag him back to the bar and Hitsugi’s amusingly superior glares.

Hair loss notwithstanding, it’s been a good day.

A week later I’m sprawled on the sofa in the living-room of my small apartment at 1am, mildly engrossed in a classic example of Hammer Horror. Yomi is lolling contentedly in my arms, rendered incapable of movement by too much KFC and warm milk (I still can’t figure out his liking for this - what is he, six years old?), his head leaning back against my shoulder. Occasionally he makes some inane comment and I grin. He’s obviously over the minor tickling episode of last week, and I’m glad about it; I don’t like him to be really angry at me. It feels bad for some reason.

I shift, stretching out my legs and winding my arms more tightly around his middle; he rests his hands on mine but doesn’t try to push me away. He yawns widely and squirms lazily, settling into a more comfortable position.

“Quit fidgeting”, I tell him. God. Please don’t wiggle like that when you’re sitting in my lap, I want to say; I bite my lip instead and concentrate on hiding my…excitement.
He obliges and sits still; he’s short enough that his head tucks snugly under my chin, his fine hair tickling my jaw (where, by the way, I have quite a bruise from his kicking me last week). He smells like mint and hay fever medicine; this moron has no idea what he does to me…

I sigh audibly and he turns his head sideways.

Lifting one hand I push his hair back and softly nuzzle his ear. I’ve done this hundreds of times before because I know he doesn’t think anything of it, but…
His grip on my other hand tightens.

“…Ruka…”, he breathes.

My heartbeat quickens and -

And the doorbell rings. Guess who. I snap back into awareness.
I push Yomi off me.

“Go answer the door”, I instruct him. He trots off obligingly, rubbing his ear, and I hear Ni~ya-chan’s raised voice as he comes down the hallway.

“Well what do we have here?” he purrs, eyebrow raised at me. I shrug, attention back on the TV.
He fishes a CD out of his bag and waves it around.

“I came round to bring over the new mix”.

Yomi looks surprised. “At one in the morning?”

Ni~ya-chan grins. “Well I thought you’d want to hear it, Chibi. So I go to your place and what do I find? Empty. Therefore, I correctly surmised you’d be round here butt-lazying without me”.

“Well I did call you, but you were -”

“Working. It’s called working, remember?” He sinks down next to me on the sofa and pulls off his jacket, his pale arms shimmering in the low light from the screen. “Hey. Yomi. Go get me a beer, will ya?”

Yomi snorts. “What am I jackass, your wife? Get it yourself!”

Ni~ya-chan pouts, and I smile behind my hand.

“Please? I’ve had a really rough day, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want Saki to kick your ass when I tell him what an obnoxious brat you are when we’ve been working so hard…”

Yomi looks pissed, then contrite. “Ok, ok, just wait a sec, then”. He shuffles back off into the kitchen and proceeds to crash around in my fridge.

Ni~ya-chan stretches luxuriously.

“So, hard day then?” I ask sceptically.
He beams and flicks his dark hair out of his eyes. “Not at all. I just had a feeling I might be missing some fun here…well?”

I huff. We both watch the movie. I can tell Ni~ya-chan is thinking bad thoughts…I can almost feel his excitement.

Yomi returns at length with the desired beverage, and Ni~ya-chan scoots along fractionally, patting the sofa between us. Yomi warily sits down, closer to Ni~ya-chan, who looks pleased and slides an arm across his shoulders.
He gradually relaxes and we resume viewing, Yomi trying to explain the convoluted plot to Ni~ya-chan, who clearly has no idea what’s going on despite this, by miming it out in the dark. He gives this up as a bad job and begins whispering in his ear instead, Ni~ya-chan occasionally whispering back, maybe closer than he needs to be...

I try not to be so constantly aware of the little vocalist next to me, and eventually succeed through the sheer comedy of British ‘70s horror. I love cheese.
Eventually, however, I notice that Yomi’s whispers have tailed off; I can feel his leg against mine, completely tense and shaking slightly. I look round in surprise, and my mouth drops open.

Ni~ya-chan is sitting half-behind Yomi, long-fingered hands gripping both his shoulders gently, and is silently and ardently kissing the nape of his neck, lips moving down to the top of his spine where his tank-top begins. Talk about sneaky!

Yomi is sitting with his eyes screwed shut, his expression perfectly blank but his breathing rapid and shaky. His hands clutch together convulsively in his lap as I watch. I think he’s afraid - and I’ve never seen anything so sexy in my life as another guy kissing my baby singer.

I peel my jaw off the floor and reach out to touch his clenched fingers. He jumps visibly but doesn’t open his eyes, and I pry his hands apart and lift one, kissing the palm, then scooting closer and placing it against my cheek. I want him so badly now…I’m so turned on…so I lean forward and down to rub my lips over the indentation in his throat between his collarbones. He whimpers, once. I kiss my way up his throat and over his chin, his skin salty and damp, and rest my lips for a moment at the corner of his mouth before I push him back to lean against Ni~ya-chan, who traces his hands down towards his skinny hips and holds him fast. My pulse is racing when I run my mouth down his chest and nibble at his left nipple through the thin fabric, feeling his heartbeat skittering beneath me. His hand moves to twine itself in my hair, this time not pulling - an almost inaudible moan escapes him.

Am I gonna get everything I ever wanted? Now?

I rest in Ruka’s lap, stuffed full of food and about to doze off. After consideration I have decided to forgive the bastard for almost killing me and then molesting me in front of about a hundred people last Saturday - well, he is very generous when it comes to free meals, and he does have the biggest TV I’ve ever seen…not that I’m shallow at all…and I don’t object to his making a fuss of me, so long as he doesn’t get carried away in public as often happens…

I shift my weight against him and he growls at me to stop fidgeting. I’m about to start whingeing that my ass is going numb (well Ruka’s quite a skinny guy and his legs are kind of bony) when I think I hear him murmur something under his breath. I turn my head to hear him better and inhale sharply when he unexpectedly (well, almost) rests his lips against my ear, caressing it softly with a flicker of his tongue; my heartbeat flutters for a moment and my hand instinctively tightens on his…I’m confused now…I whisper his name questioningly, his face very close to mine - then jump when I hear the chime of the doorbell. When he nudges me I hurry off to answer it - what the hell was that? What’s the big idea of acting like this without any cameras around to see him?

I’m almost relieved to answer the door to Ni~ya, which shows I must be feeling a little strange. He ruffles my hair roughly and pushes past me into the living-room. Come to think of it, what’s he doing here at this time of night? My pulse is still going a little fast for comfort, and I mentally slap myself. What’s wrong with me?

After being ordered to do some menial task for Ni~ya, who is feeling bossy and self-righteous tonight it seems, I have to squeeze myself into the small space he has deigned shall be my seat. Well why should I sit on the floor? I was here first! I sit closer to him, a little way away from Ruka…just in case…

I’m trying to explain to Ni~ya, by using a subtle blend of hand gestures and piercing whispers, the plot of this zany film, involving vampires, lots of cleavage and people using anagrams of their ancestors’ names which means they’re undead for some reason…yeah, I’m not too clear on the whole thing myself…

Ni~ya has sneakily slid his arm around me as I lean in to speak in his ear.
“And so he knows she’s a vampire, so he says to her -”

And then I freeze as his hands slide upwards to grasp my shoulders. He turns me away from him to face the TV and rests his head against my shoulder blade. What’s he doing? What is going on with these two tonight? I’m getting kind of worried…

He nudges my hair out of the way with his nose and before I can say anything his lips are on my neck and his grip is tightening - my heart’s speeding up again and my breathing grows shaky with nervousness as I feel his warm breath on my nape, and I hate myself for acting so stupid - this is still the same game - right??

But he doesn’t stop. My eyes clench shut, my thoughts are in a muddle and he trails his mouth across to the other side of my neck, his kisses growing harder, more disturbingly confusing; I gasp as his teeth nip my skin.

Then at the same instant I feel another pair of hands on mine, pulling them apart - I realise I’m clutching them together so hard it hurts - Ruka kisses my palm and then lifts my hand to touch his face, but I don’t want to open my eyes; this can’t be real, it can’t be happening and if I just keep my eyes closed it will all be ok! Right??

This time I don’t think so…there are two sets of lips on my throat now, my skin feels like it’s burning and the feeling is devastating. Ruka’s mouth moves towards my face; he kisses me on the edge of my lips so tenderly that I can’t help but moan, trying to keep the sound in unsuccessfully; he pushes me back to lean against Ni~ya’s body and I feel absolutely without control. I’m really scared now. Why aren’t they stopping? Why aren’t I stopping them? I never imagined for one minute that this was more than some stupid joke they play on me. But now -

Ruka is sliding down my body, his lips on my torso, and I can’t keep track of all the places they’re touching me; I’m dizzy and sweating, and my hands are shaking badly as I reach down and tangle them in his hair once again, not knowing why I’m doing it or what it will cause, my actions ruled by some part of my brain I didn’t even know existed.

Ni~ya abruptly turns my head towards him, and my eyes flutter open to see his own dark eyes, cloudy with…something - as he leans in towards me I whimper and it sounds pathetic, I know he’s going to kiss me and I start to lean into it, and his mouth is about to connect with mine and for one second I want him so much that -


I wrench my head back and tear myself away from them, springing unsteadily to my feet. I’m nearly sobbing and I fight to hold it in. I don’t know what to say, I just have to get away!

“I - I have to go!”

I turn and practically sprint from the room, tripping over the step to the kitchen, picking myself up and I’m out the door as quickly as humanly possible, forgetting another pair of shoes.

“Yomi - wait!” Ni~ya calls after me but I barely hear him.

I stand in the descending lift, hyperventilating, still trying not to cry, and then I’m running down the street like an idiot, I must look crazy. It’s raining and it’s turned bitterly cold, the wind whipping my heated skin painfully, and here I am without any shoes on and no umbrella wearing a tank top and shorts…stupid, stupid me.

I reach the nearest bus stop, before realising that it’s way too late for the buses to run and that I’ll have to walk home.

I sink down by the side of the road and burst into tears like the pathetic loser I am right now. I’m soaking. I’m so cold. This was not what I wanted!
Never what I wanted…God, what did I almost do back there? Why did I feel like I wanted to…

Why have they done this to me?!

The door slams shut.

I push myself back into the corner of the sofa and look over at Ni~ya-chan, who is as pale as ever and only his accelerated breathing shows he’s been doing something he shouldn’t.

“Well how do you feel that went?” I ask sarcastically. He runs his hands through his hair.

“Don’t be a bitch, Ruka”. He heaves himself up and wanders out onto the balcony, lighting a cigarette and leaning out over the rail.

“It’s raining”.

I rub my hands over my face and shake my head.

“This is pretty fucked-up right here. This is going to be so awkward”.

He shrugs.
“Why don’t you just wait and see? You never can tell.”

“Well I damn well hope you’re right! You know we’re doing a PV next week and you know what that means, that means constant contact, no space for any of us!”

“You want space? I’d never guess”.

“You’re so….ugh!!” I throw my hands up, lost for words. “You don’t ever think beyond this minute, do you? Aren’t you thinking about how hideously embarrassing this could be?!”

This is the only thing about Ni~ya-chan I can’t understand. He’s just so frustratingly in the moment sometimes that I don’t know if he ever even considers that something he does now could affect something that happens tomorrow…

I groan.

“Man. Why him? It makes no sense! He’s not the best-looking guy I’ve ever laid eyes on, he’s not even interested! Why couldn’t we fall for someone like Sakito? He’s beautiful - and we might at least have a chance.”

He laughs in his familiar manner.

“Come on. You could never afford Saki even if you’d been saving up in your little piggy bank since you were six!”

I snort and smile unwillingly.

“That’s not very nice. Poor Saki”.

“Yeah, poor expensive Saki”. He turns around and straightens up, flipping his cigarette over the balcony, his body silhouetted against the dark by the faint street lights behind him.

“Look, I know you think I’m an idiot -”

“Not an idiot”, I interrupt, “just totally thoughtless”.

“Shut up, Ruka, and listen”. He comes back in and plops back down on the sofa next to me. “I am not thoughtless. I’m actually pretty farsighted and you know it; I’m thinking all the time about what could happen. But hell, if I worried about that all the time I’d never leave my house in the morning, I’d never have joined this band, I wouldn’t even know you”.

“Heartbreaking”, I say dryly.

His hair and skin are damp from the rain. He rests his elbow against the back of the sofa, leaning his head on his hand and looking at me quizzically.

“Anyway, I figure if you just do pretty much what you please, things generally work themselves out”.

I shake my head, grinning wryly.

“You are unbelievable”.

He smiles back.

“Right. So let’s just watch a movie, eat some ramen and not worry about anything till we see his cute little self again, huh?”

“I suppose”, I say grudgingly.

“Atta boy”.

He shuffles over closer to me and reaches across me for the remote, elbowing me in the ribs on the way past, and rests his head companionably on my shoulder; his wet black hair is soaking my sweater, but I guess I don’t mind. I take his free hand and twine our fingers together, sighing contentedly.

I think some hassle-free movie time now will do me good. Whenever I think about Yomi I get a nervous pain in my stomach; so I try not to think of him at all.

Chapter Text

Well today is the first day of shooting on the Tokyo Shounen PV. As far as shoots go, the first day is always hideously boring and mainly involves getting in peoples’ way while the crew and director and everybody who actually knows what they’re doing are arguing.

So I’m sitting bleary-eyed (I’m not a morning person) at a table, eating rice out of a plastic cup and waiting to go into make-up. Hitsugi has already been in there an hour, as he wears twice as much as the rest of us and hence takes twice as long for some expert girl to create the scary little monster that he always looks like.

I’m feeling pretty nervous as I haven’t seen Yomi since last week and am not looking forward to our first encounter, especially at this early hour when all my psychic defences are down…I vaguely hope that Ni~ya-chan will turn up in time to symbolically hold my hand and let me hide behind him.

Man, I’m such a wimp these days! I wonder perplexedly why just thinking about our vocalist makes me shiver; it never used to be like this! Me and Ni~ya-chan used to sit around drinking tea and casually discussing what we’d do to him if we got our hands on him (and I frequently did actually get my hands on him, although not in that way) but I’d always regarded it as a kind of…hobby…a sexy hobby, but not something to get worked up over.

But these last few months I’m thinking about it all the time, I’m trying my best to make him happy, because it hurts me when he gets hurt…Even Ni~ya-chan, most laid-back of individuals, is acting more intense when Yomi is actually around him, no matter how casual he seems at other times.

I don’t like it. I wasn’t looking to fall in love, if that’s what this is. I hope it’s not, because it could turn out very badly for me.

I moodily stab my chopsticks into my breakfast. Fuck it.

I look up as the door to the costume room opens and Sakito sweeps out, looking obscenely chirpy and radiating blinding sex appeal in all directions, ready to strike down anyone well-off enough to be worthy of his attention. Wow. What a costume. What a face. What a body…
I drool quietly to myself, simultaneously hoping they won’t try to squeeze me into something like that…

He waits patiently for a minute, letting me stare moronically at his perfect stomach, which is level with my face, and then snaps his fingers in front of my eyes.

“Morning, sluggard”, he greets me cheerfully. “Finished gawping?”

I blink and try to wake up. He sits his incredible self gracefully in the chair opposite me, and I grunt and resume gobbling rice like a lout.

“Been doing anything bad lately?” he enquires casually, accepting a paper cup of coffee from a random bedazzled and enraptured camera-man and turning such a blinding smile on him that I know he’ll be Saki’s slave for evermore.

“Don’t know what you mean”, I mumble.

“Who said I meant anything?”

I keep my head down and eat, wishing Ni~ya-chan would drag his lazy butt out of bed and get down here to help me out.

“Er…is Yomi here yet?” I ask tactfully, my palms sweating at the thought.

“Sure. He’s in make-up.” Saki leans forward confidentially. “Heard the latest news?”


Saki grins cheerfully at the prospect of spreading gossip.

“Our little friend has been seeing Yukiko all this week”.

“HE’S WHAT?!!” I explode, spitting rice all over the table, at which Saki wrinkles his nose. The lighting crew turn round to stare at me. “Wait - who the hell is Yukiko?!”

Saki sticks his shapely arms behind his head and crosses his legs.

“She’s the reception girl who works for the studio, remember?”

I shudder. I do indeed remember. ‘Ruka-san, don’t smoke in here, Ruka-san you’re late, get your butt in there and work, Ruka-san, you’re a lazy no-good loser and I hate your guts you freaking bastard’ (ok, maybe she didn’t actually say all those things, but I could tell she was thinking them!).


“Something wrong?” enquires Saki blithely, a far-from-innocent smirk doing nothing to spoil his pretty face.

“….!” I sputter incoherently to myself. Oh my god! I cannot believe this!

“Not jealous or anything?” he asks cheerfully.

“Shut the hell up, Sakito”. I want to wring his sexy neck.

“What’s up guys?” asks a happily familiar voice behind me.

I turn round and almost weep with relief to see Ni~ya-chan, looking scruffy but wide awake. He smiles at my apparently stricken expression.

“I…I…Yomi is going out with that freaking bitch!!”

Ni~ya-chan plops down in the chair next to me, grabbing my chopsticks and helping himself to the remains of my breakfast.

“ ‘That freaking bitch’. Well thanks Ruka, that really narrows it down from the long list of people you think are bitches”.

“Yukiko!” I growl.

“Oh!” Ni~ya-chan raises his eyebrows delicately. “Wow. She could eat him for breakfast, huh”.

“Uh-huh”, agrees Saki helpfully.

“That’s pretty interesting…”


I want to scream. “What are you two thinking of?! This is the worst news of the decade!!”

Saki flows back to his feet and Ni~ya-chan takes an appreciative perv at his outfit.

“Well, just thought you’d want to know”, he says and sashays off into the make-up room.

Ni~ya-chan watches him go, whistling.

“Wow. Those costume girls are doing good work! That’s what I like to see first thing…”

I thump my fist on the table, hurting myself and making Ni~ya-chan snigger.

“Hey! What the hell, Ni~ya-chan? Don’t you care about this at all?!”

“What, about you being a masochist and attacking your own hand? Don’t be such a baby”.

I look up at him threateningly, which has absolutely no effect.

“This is not funny. This is terrible! Why is he doing this? What is this?!”

He shrugs.

“Hey man, I just got here! Ok. Well, one, it may not even be true, you know how hilarious Saki thinks he is to play jokes on people; and two, if it is true, then it’s probably just a safety thing, something to convince himself he’s not remotely scared or bothered, y’know?”

I sigh despairingly and bury my face in my hands.

“He must be so upset…”

Ni~ya-chan raises my chin, and when he sees my expression his face softens sympathetically.

“It’ll be ok. Honestly. I’m sure he doesn’t really like her anyway”.

“It’s not him liking her I’m worried about, it’s him hating me!”

“Mm”. He looks into my eyes, his hand resting gently on my face. Now I feel guilty - I didn’t think about how Ni~ya-chan must be feeling. I bet he’s hurt too.

“Why is this all going wrong, Ni~ya-chan?”

“Sshh. It’ll all be ok. Now, how do you fancy buying me breakfast?”

Sakito stuck his head around the make-up room door and summoned the newly-terrifying Hitsugi with a look. They wandered up to the directing area, gaining access to the comfy sofas with a charming smile from Sakito.
Hitsugi sank down with a luxurious sigh, trying to avoid touching his own face for fear of smudging.
Sakito grinned widely.

“I just told Ruka that Yomi’s seeing the studio receptionist”.

“Is he?” Hitsugi asked interestedly, sitting determinedly on his hands.

“So he says. And believe me it was good to see the expression on Ruka’s face”.

“You are such a sadist, Sakito”.

“Yeah. But it’s so frustrating to watch! I wonder when they’ll finally get around to making a move on him?”

Hitsugi looked at him appraisingly.

“I don’t know what makes you so sure there’s anything going on. Anyway, maybe he really likes this girl”.

Sakito gazed back with a superior expression on his beautiful face.

“Well I do consider myself quite an expert in this field”.

Hitsugi blushed. “You’re so shameless”, he muttered.

“Hmm. Well. As for this girl, Ruka’s right. She is a bitch, to him at least. Maybe I’ll have a little word with Yomi…”

“You’re all as bad as each other!” moaned Hitsugi. “Just keep your nose out of other people’s business for once!”

“Well, I am shocked and offended!”

“You are not. You are a slut, Sakito.”

“You just say that because you can’t keep a girl for longer than a month -”

“I’m gonna kill you!”

Abandoning maturity, Hitsugi leapt at Sakito, a minor wrestling match ensuing, each being so careful of their costumes as to be ridiculous, and ending with Hitsugi kneeling over Sakito on the sofa, pinning him down by the arms and smiling triumphantly.

“Why Hitsugi, I didn’t know you cared…”, purred Sakito.

Hurriedly Hitsugi jumped off.

“Come on. Let’s see if we can actually do anything useful around here”.

Sakito smirked and followed him.

Ni~ya-chan and I finally get the call to costume. I crumple my coffee cup in nervousness, my hand shaking. I know Yomi’s around there somewhere. What are we going to say to each other? Can we just skirt around the whole issue? Can I pretend last week never happened? Do I want to?

Ni~ya-chan nudges me in the back.

“Come on, they won’t bite”, he says quietly.

I walk down the dim corridor towards the costume area, trying not to make any noise…I don’t know why, I’m sure he’ll be trying to avoid us just as much as I am him…

I pass by the make-up room with relief - until I hear the door swing open behind me.
Slowly I turn around.
Oh man.

He’s standing in the shadow of the door and I can only see his small silhouette, but I know it‘s him. He starts minutely. Then he steps forward and is bathed in bright electric light from the room he’s just come out of.

God. What have they done to him?! He looks like a demon: he’s wearing blazing yellow contacts and he’s glaring at me out of those eyes while the rest of his face is like a porcelain doll, pale and frozen. This is not my normal Yomi!
He’s really mad. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so angry. I’m so fucking scared!

He just stands there and stares at me in that ridiculous dungarees-and-cravat costume, and they’ve made him look so strange and beautiful I want to throw myself on my knees under the pressure of that burning stare and declare myself his absolute slave, or something stupid like that.

Instead I clear my throat nervously and come up with the incredibly intelligent

Ni~ya-chan is wisely saying nothing.

Yomi stands there a moment longer, frightening and alluring eyes still fixed on mine. Then he turns and levelly walks away.

He hasn’t said a word.

I listen at the door of the make-up room. I can’t hear anybody outside. I’ve been jumpy and nervous all morning, no matter how often I tell myself that this is ridiculous; I just want to hide myself behind Saki all day, but then he’d want to know why and…

…And I’m just too scared and embarrassed. But what if they try to do something else to me? I wish we didn’t have to do this PV now…

I look at myself in the mirror again. I have to admit, I do look good, and this is making me a little more confident. I can use these contacts like a mask; maybe I can venture out and get a cup of tea without seeing them. Maybe it’ll be ok…

At intervals this last week I’ve been telling myself that I’m just being stupid and that this whole thing didn’t mean anything…but then if it didn’t mean anything doesn’t that make it worse? Were they just being cruel, playing with me? Maybe they don’t like me at all?
But when I start to think like this the whole thing gets tangled up in my head and I think I’m going to go crazy. I mean come on! What happened to my cool confident self? I should be able to handle this like a mature adult! They’ve been pulling this stuff out for ages and it never bothered me before. But the way they both looked at me the other night…was not normal. Their eyes were so strange…

My train of thought is thankfully interrupted.

“Yomi-san?” ventures one of the talented make-up girls, “are you ok?”

I cough.
“I’m fine. Fine. Uh, I’m just going to get a drink”.

“Well make sure you use a straw or you’ll smudge your make-up”, she tells me, smiling.

I try to smile back, and then turn the handle of the door and step out.

Bad move. Oh yes.
I flinch backwards as I see Ruka and Ni~ya, both turning as they hear the door open. Ruka is pink in the face and Ni~ya is very white as he stands sheltered behind the taller man.

What the hell should I say? I’ve been thinking about this meeting all week, and I’d just assumed that Hitsugi-kun or Saki would be with me. I feel like a rabbit in the headlights, caught in Ruka’s stare. I clench my fists, trying to stop the trembling that threatens to overwhelm me.
And now when it comes to it I can’t say anything. What is there to say? So I stand there under their dark gazes, trying to act like ice, looking back into Ruka’s eyes not because I want to but because I’m pinned there, remembering the things he did to me and how I felt…how confused I am feeling now…

Their stares are frightening me. Maybe they hate me for running, maybe they hate me for- I don’t know. I just don’t know anything. I want to speak suddenly, to plead with them not to hate me, not to hurt me-

God I am so pathetic.

Hesitatingly, quietly, Ruka says Hi to me. It sounds pretty unnatural.
I have to get out of here!
I tear myself away from their rapt gazes finally, and walk off in the other direction with extreme control, for fear of just losing it and running down the hall like a total fool.

I find my way to the makeshift cafeteria and grab some coffee, which is probably a bad idea considering how jittery I’m feeling, but I don’t care. I sit down and lay my face against the tabletop, closing my eyes. And now I can stop holding onto myself.
I start to shiver.


At 9am Sakito called them up to the meeting room to explain the day’s schedule. He was feeling concerned with the strange behaviour of his singer and drummer; as they came into the room, separately, they sat as far apart as was humanly possible, which was unusual in itself. Ruka seemed to be using Ni~ya as a screen behind whom he could keep out of Yomi’s line of vision, about which the bass player was looking none too pleased. Yomi himself was obsessively fiddling with a loose thread from his dungarees and refusing to meet anyone’s eyes.

Sakito sighed, frustrated, partly because he was sure only Hitsugi was listening to a word he was saying, and partly because he couldn’t bear being kept out of gossip - and he was sure there was some pretty interesting stuff going on which, as band leader, he naturally had a right to know about.

He carried on talking. Ni~ya was holding onto Ruka’s arm soothingly, both of them looking from the floor to the ceiling and back again. Yomi appeared to be in a trance, eyes glazed in thought.

Sakito suddenly snapped the pencil he was twirling in his fingers in nervous irritation.

“Hey! HEY!”

They all looked up, Yomi meeting Ni~ya’s eyes for a split second before glancing away hurriedly.

“Is anybody listening to me here? How are you gonna know what to do when, huh? Now I don’t know what’s wrong with everyone here this morning but I want you all awake and ready to perform well in half an hour, and if you are not there will be trouble! And I mean trouble!!”

Hitsugi snapped a salute.
“Yes, my leader!”

“Thank you. Now I want you all asleep early tonight, because if you turn up looking like zombies again tomorrow…”

“There will be trouble?” volunteered Hitsugi, grinning.

“Trouble”, agreed Sakito.

Yomi looked up.
“I have a date tonight”, he said defiantly.

Sakito heard the indrawn hiss of breath from Ruka’s direction and his mouth twitched upwards.
“Fine. Just don’t be up…late, if you know what I mean, heh”.

“Sakito, must you drag everything through the gutter before it comes out of your mouth?” commented Hitsugi good-naturedly, noting with some surprise the almost murderous look Ruka was directing at the little singer, and the way Ni~ya’s hand crept down to clasp the drummer’s.

Now what is going on? wondered Hitsugi. He had given up trying to figure out the tangled web of potential relationships in his band long ago.

“Ok”, continued Sakito, unconcerned. “Let’s get to work”.

I wake up, thankfully alone, feeling like shit. I did not have a good time last night. That woman is…ergh…

I drag myself out of bed and stagger over to the coffee pot before climbing into the shower and nearly falling asleep again, which causes me to almost dash my brains out on the glass door. I yawn hugely as I shampoo my hair free of all the gunk in it, ready for it to have new gunk put in when I get to work…

Hmm. Yesterday, after its disastrous start, was actually not that bad. The part of the PV that involves instruments doesn’t require any actual interaction with any of my band members, for which I am pathetically grateful, so all I had to do was flounce around lip-synching for the camera, which I am a pro at doing by now.

And Ni~ya is at least being civil to me, so I am civil back to him, which is kind of a relief, even if we’re almost acting like strangers. It’s better than Ruka’s coldness; now I’m missing our easy familiarity and affection; but it’s not like I can ask for it back without sounding like I’m asking for something else…

What were we going to do today?
Oh yes. Basketball shots. Wonderful. My most lame sport at high school. I’m just too short to play that game. I hope the director will choreograph it so the other guys don’t just pass right over my head, leaving me looking like an utter moron (ah, fond schoolday memories).

And, Sakito informs me, it will mainly be conducted in the pouring rain (read: under a hosepipe). So I am not only gonna be dripping wet in a light-coloured boiler-suit (had an unfortunate experience with low-grade white fabric and water, and the see-through qualities thereof, but I don’t like to talk about that), I am also going to catch a horrible cold (I’m the poster boy for early morning optimism!).

Shit! I’m gonna be late!
I run out to flag down a taxi, foregoing breakfast. I hope there’s some food there…for a little guy I guess I have to eat a lot! I amuse myself for the journey by assessing the merits of other midget frontmen-and-women; I bet Hyde from Laruku eats loads; I bet Hyde from Laruku makes a whole lot more money than me; I bet Hyde from Laruku doesn’t have to fight off perverted bandmates (maybe); I know Hyde from Laruku is better looking than me. I hate Hyde from Laruku.
Well that productive train of thought took up at least 5 minutes. The traffic here sends me insane and I’m not even driving.

I spend the early morning conversing yawningly with a very chipper and friendly Hitsugi-kun, who kindly offers me a share of his breakfast sandwiches and provides me with an excuse not to eat with the others, as I have developed a crippling shyness towards Ni~ya, and Ruka…is hurting me badly, actually, but I’m doing my best to ignore it.

By the time we get to the empty multi-storey parking lot where we’ll be playing I’m pretty much awake and ok. So we arrange a couple of games of three-on-two which quickly devolve into four-on-one, just as I had suspected. It’s turned into an extended piggy-in-the-middle game and the whole thing is a complete farce - I think I’ve only touched the damn ball twice the whole time we’ve been playing, but the camera-men seem to find it pretty amusing and I’m enjoying myself anyway - so long as we don’t have to talk, I guess we can all get along pretty well.

Then comes the great hose plan, and I am indeed soaked within two seconds, and to make it even better some bastard decides to trip me up and send me flat on my back on the concrete, so I’m lying there winded and the camera-guys are going ‘hey, what a great pose’, and I end up lying on the freaking cold ground for about ten minutes. I can practically feel the sneezes coming on right now.

So then Ruka lights a cigarette and we all stand around with brooding expressions. I’m not sure if we were supposed to look sexy or not; either way I’m sure I just look out of breath and exhausted.

So we walk back to the regular set to get dry clothes on and grab some lunch. Ni~ya shortens his stride to walk alongside me, leaving Ruka striding ahead. We mooch along in awkward silence for a while.

“So”, I try lamely, “how’s it going?”

He smiles at me, his same familiar smile, and I’m so grateful for this sign of normality I could weep.

“Ah, pretty good. So…how was your date?”

I can practically see Ruka prick up his ears, his back stiffening in front of me. I suddenly feel some righteous anger, and about time too. What the fuck does he have to be pissed about? He’s been ignoring me for a week, dammit!

“Oh, it’s all going quite nicely”, I lie, feeling myself blush. I suck at lying. “It’s nice to have some fun with a pretty girl, y’know?”

At this Ruka turns round and shoots me such a hateful look that even Ni~ya looks shocked, and flashes him a warning glance with his dark eyes. Ruka obviously chooses to ignore this.

“You’re a fucking jerk, Yomi”, he spits out.

I gape, feeling like he’s hit me. His first words to me in practically a week. Well I feel just great, thanks a bunch my supposed best friend!

What?!” I shoot back as venomously as I can manage, still dripping wet.

He turns back around to look where he’s going.

“You know damn well what”, he hisses. “You must be blind if you can’t see by now how much I -”

He shuts up then. Ni~ya sends me an apologetic glance and trots on to catch up with him, laying one hand on his arm. Ruka shakes him off. They’re walking a lot faster than I can, but I can tell he’s remonstrating with Ruka, who eventually hangs his head like he’s about to cry (but surely not?) and lets Ni~ya hold him.

Dammit! Now I feel guilty again, as bad as I did yesterday morning. Just what the hell is he trying to tell me? I seriously need some help…

I walk as fast as I can away from that little bastard. Ni~ya-chan keeps pace with me easily. He puts one hand on my forearm and I bat him away roughly. My fists are clenched with tension. I really feel like just punching someone - not that I’d touch Ni~ya-chan, partly because I know he could kick my ass if he wanted to, but mostly because he’s always been so patient with me that I’d really be a jerk if I hurt him.

“Just leave me alone, ok?” I manage to grate out between clenched teeth.

“Why are you being like this, huh?” he asks concernedly. “You’re hurting him and you’re worrying me”.

“Me?! I’m not doing anything! It’s him who’s…who’s flaunting his pathetic little affair in front of me on purpose! Why is he acting like he hates my guts? I didn’t mean to scare him and now -”

Ni~ya-chan’s voice is quiet but like whiplash. I turn my head and see his dark eyes flashing with suppressed anger.

“Why are you so goddam concerned about yourself all the time? Don’t you think it’s upsetting me too? Just because I’m not acting like a big dumb asshole doesn’t mean I feel any better than you!”

I gape at him mutely, then bend my head as a wave of guilt sweeps over me. I’m so thoughtless to him and he hardly ever says a thing…

“I’m sorry”, I whisper, wanting to cry like a loser.

He hooks his arm around mine as we move into the shadow of our main building and pulls me away from the main doors, around a side wall, and dumps me unceremoniously at the foot of the service entrance steps.

He stands above me, arms folded.

“Now are you going to shape up and behave? Because if you don’t you will never get Yomi back.”

“I never had him in the first place”, I say glumly.

“Jeez…quit being so pathetic!” he hisses. Is Ni~ya-chan actually losing his patience with me? That’s not something I want to see.

I open my mouth to say something sarcastic and biting back to him, but before I can actually think what, I just…crumple, metaphorically and literally. I sink my head on my knees and slump on the bottom step. I’m gonna start bawling in a minute. How embarrassing.

Ni~ya-chan’s voice takes on a nervous tone, presumably on seeing my shoulders begin to shake.
“Oh god…you’re not gonna cry are you? Come on!”

“I just - I just think I love him!” I caterwaul miserably and stupidly like a little girl, trying surreptitiously to wipe away the tears that are starting in my eyes.
I feel more than see Ni~ya-chan crouch down in front of me. His arms go around me tightly, dreadful Mother Teresa complex he has sometimes, but now it feels so welcome and I bury my face in his damp boiler-suited chest. He pats my back, speaking softly into my hair.

“Talk about melodramatic”, he whispers and I can feel him smile against my head. I slide my arms around him, holding him closer to me like he was my mother or something.

“I can’t…I can’t believe he’s seeing that woman! Why would he do that? Why can’t he see how much I want him?!”

“Well, let’s be fair, we’ve never sat down like civilised adults and, let me see, told him. And that’s my fault just as much as it is yours”.

“This is so lame”, I sniffle sheepishly as he strokes my wet hair.

“You’re damn right about that”, he grins, but sweetly. “So. You think you and I can try and act like normal human beings without insult-throwing matches every time we see Yomi? Mm?”

I nod into his warm body.

“Ok. Well then, let’s go inside and change, huh? I think if anybody saw us now it’d look pretty strange”.

He stands up and the chill wind hits me as he lets go; it’s getting cloudy. I let him take my hand and walk me inside, his shoulder brushing mine comfortingly. I’m glad he’s here with me.

I quickly change into tracksuit bottoms and a warm jumper - not very hip, but I’m shivering with cold from the damp. I grab a towel and bury my head in it, trying to dry my hair as fast as possible before my cold really sets in. I sneeze twice, lightly. Damn.

So I’m sitting towelling my hair and trying not even to think of Ruka’s words to me just now. How is he expecting me to act? I mean honestly.
I set my mind to other things and remember I have to take Yukiko out again tonight; I groan to myself. What was I thinking of asking her out? Sure she’s pretty in a way, but she’s the most demanding unreasonable creature from hell I’ve ever met…! I’ve been doing exactly as she asks all week, taking her everywhere she wants to go, and she still spends the whole evening moaning at me! (and I haven’t got a speck of action either…)

I suspect…no, I know…that I’m only seeing her because I’m trying to prove something to somebody - not sure what, but -
Is it that I’m trying to tell those two I’m not interested without actually having to tell them? Or am I trying to convince myself I’m not interested - because every time I can’t stop myself thinking about that night, I remember the way I felt when their lips and hands were on me…it felt bad, but at the same time there was a part of me that didn’t want that feeling to stop.

Am I a bad person to be thinking this? Am I just using Yukiko, bitch though she may be?

I should quit it right now. I don’t like to go out with women who are taller than me, anyway.

Hitsugi-kun strolls by carrying a bowl of delicious smelling…something. I blink. Ooh. I’m hungry. I heave myself to my feet, towel wrapped round my shoulders, and am about to follow him and beg him to feed me when -

“Hey. Come with me!”

I swing my head round to see Sakito, and sigh in relief that it’s not Ruka. He grabs my arm and starts dragging me away in the opposite direction.

“But - but -” I protest, waving my free hand helplessly in the direction of the departing food, feeling my stomach grumble at me. “But Saki, I’m hungry!”

“Don’t be such a baby”.

He pulls me behind him up seemingly never-ending stairs.

“Where are we going?” I whinge, huffing and puffing laboriously like somebody’s grandmother.
We reach a fire door and he pushes down on the bar and flings it open.

“On the roof?” I ask incredulously. He strides out onto the flat concrete and I follow like a good little puppy. No-one can refuse Saki anything I guess.
He turns round to face me, shiny hair fluttering in the wind. He’s wearing an oversized fluffy purple sweater that looks deliciously soft and cosy.

“We need to talk”.

“Uh-huh. And we couldn’t have done that inside on a comfy sofa?” I gripe, sneezing again. The weather’s turned nasty since this morning: the wind is biting and a look at the sky suggests a downpour any minute. I hug my arms to my body moodily and make my way over to a stretch of railing by the door that seems marginally more sheltered than the rest of the roof. He stays put.

“I figured you might want some privacy”.

“Why?” I ask suspiciously.

He smiles his superior leader smile at me.
“You look very tired these days, Yomi.”

“And?” I snap.

“I want to find out what’s wrong, that’s all. Are things not going well with your girl?”
I glower at him. His skin is glowing from the wind whipping at it.
“You are so nosy”.

He shrugs unconcernedly.
“Y’know…I’m not sure she’s right for you. I mean don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but she’s a very, er, strong-willed woman and you’re -”

“A complete pushover? Thanks for the vote of confidence, Saki”. I’m getting pissed off now; Saki’s uncontrollable habit of collecting and spreading gossip is one of his few less perfect points.

“Oh come on, Yomi”, he says, giving up on politeness, “the girl is a total witch. You never showed the slightest interest in her before last week! She’s obviously keeping you up at nights and not in a good way; so what’s going on?”

“All right! All right!” I growl, feeling badgered beyond belief. “Yes, I hate her! She’s just made the past week even worse than it was already! She drives me nuts with her goddam moaning and bossing, ok?”

A wide grin spreads over his face.
“I knew it!”

“Just don’t tell Ruka or Ni~ya what I said! I’m warning you, Saki!”

He looks at me sharply.
“Ok. So now tell me what the real problem is. I’m not stupid, Yomi, you’ve been avoiding those two for the last two days and Ruka’s looking at you like he wants to kill you; it’s really causing me problems the way you’re all acting. What did you do, Yomi?”

I can’t believe this! I feel myself grow bright red and curse my disobedient body. How dare he suggest that any of this could be my fault?!

“Is that the only reason you’re interested in my welfare all of a sudden?! You’re a real good friend, Sakito”, I snarl.

“What did you do?”

“I didn’t do a fucking thing!!” I yell at him, and then slump back against the railing, suddenly feeling hopelessly tired. A tight pain is rising in my chest from frustration and anger, but I can’t act angry and cold anymore.

I sigh and rub a hand across my face.

“Fine. I’m only doing this ‘cos you’re pressuring me, Saki! And if I tell you, you have to swear you won’t say anything to anyone else!”

I can practically sense his morbid interest kick in and he looks at me hungrily.

“Promise me, Saki!”

“Sure. Sure”.

I guess that’s the best I’ll get out of him.

“Last week…”
I cringe, not even knowing how to say this. “Last week I went to watch movies with Ruka. I don’t know, he seemed in kind of a strange mood. Then Ni~ya turned up. And - and - they both started -”

“Yes?” Saki interrupts, almost panting with nosy excitement. I think this was a bad idea…well, too late now.

“Started - kissing me!” I lower my voice and he steps closer to hear me. “On my neck and - it wasn’t like they normally do, it felt really serious; and then they - and then I - I ran away -”

“What?!” he shrieks. “I can’t believe this!”

I nod in relieved agreement.
“I know! I can’t believe they - I mean how could they -”

I finally manage to look at him and my jaw drops. He’s grinning! What the fuck?!

“Finally!” he beams.

“Are you not hearing me, Sakito? They were all over me! Like, both at once! I’ve been trying not to wet myself in fright every time I see them!!”

“What’s the big deal?”

“The - the -” I sputter incredulously. “What?! The big deal is that two guys who I thought were my best friends have just tried their damn best to get me into bed, both at the same time! Excuse me if I find this a little disturbing!”

He looks down at me pityingly.
“Oh, Yomi. How naïve you are sometimes. Seriously. You must be blind if you can’t see how much they’ve blatantly been wanting you for months!”

I gape dumbly at him.
“Hey - that’s what Ruka started telling me just now! What a load of crap!”

He frowns.
“I don’t see what the problem is, y’know? I think they really love you. Why not, like, give it a go?”

“Sakito”, I say, trapped in a bubble of calmness that I know will only last for a minute before it pops, leaving me a raving lunatic, “I am strangely not in the habit of just kissing my friends for the ‘fun’ of it!”


“Aargh! Because! I am not a total whore like you!”
Ok, maybe that was a little harsh. But still…aargh!

He doesn’t seem terribly bothered, although there’s a look in his eyes that I don’t often see and that I don’t particularly like.

“Well that wasn’t very nice. But seeing as you think I am a…what you said…let me give you some free advice”.

He’s been walking towards me as he talks, one hand raised to start lecturing me. Then like a flash he’s in my personal space, and he leans forward and slides his mouth against mine, his hand coming up to hold the back of my neck. I let out a muffled squeak of shock and try to move backwards; but I can’t, I’m pressed up against the railing and he leans over me, his other arm slipping around my back. He takes a breath and I gasp for air, then before I can speak he kisses me again, gently but leaving no room for argument.

Suddenly the long-threatened rain pours down in a deluge, shockingly cold. Water batters against our skin as his mouth locks on mine but he doesn’t stop and his lips are still warm against me, sweet and unrelenting; he’s been eating candy and he tastes like sugar.

I sigh shakily into his mouth; I’m reeling in surprise but this really is the best kiss I can remember, even if it is my first with a guy. He nudges my mouth open with his tongue and kisses me harder, pushing me back against the railing; I moan softly and bring my suddenly weak hands up to grip his arms. His sweater feels soft and lovely, although I can tell how cold his skin is through the wool. I feel hazy pleasure sweep through my body as his tongue brushes mine and I kiss him back the best I can.

His mouth leaves mine and I sigh in frustration before he begins kissing my throat, and it’s all so sweet and gentle that I feel almost lulled, dazed but painless; oh, he’s good…he slowly and unobtrusively slides down my body, lifts the hem of my jumper and softly kisses my midriff, his fingers on the button of my jogging bottoms -

Then he stops. I look down at him kneeling in front of me, my face burning and my breath coming in gasps; his beautiful face is turned up to look at me, a friendly smile on his perfect mouth.

“Don’t -” I manage shakily, clinging for dear life to the railing. I think I’ll go crazy if he stops…

But he bounces back to his feet and pats me on the head like I’m five years old. He folds his arms and lounges casually next to me, smiling like we’ve been talking about the weather.

“Count yourself lucky, Yomi”, he remarks as I’m trying to breathe again. “That would normally cost you a month’s wages”.

Is he joking? I gawp silently at him. That was…so amazing. No wonder Saki can afford his luxury lifestyle!

“So”, he continues, back in lecture mode, “if a kiss from me feels that good, imagine what it would be like from someone who’s absolutely in love with you. Hmm?”

I nod mechanically. Right…right. But…if Saki doesn’t love me, then why did that feel so wonderful?

“Now you’ll promise to be nice and normal with Ruka and Ni~ya? Because they haven’t done anything wrong”.

I nod again, not really thinking about it. One side of me is still outraged at Saki’s utter lack of principle; this is the squeamish part of me that cringes at the thought of what they did to me, and the thought that they might do it again. The other side of me is still stupid with pleasure and is wondering where it can get some more…bad me!

“Good boy. And that means you stop seeing Yukiko, too. My job’s hard enough without having my drummer crying into his tea because he’s jealous of a busybody receptionist”.

Speak for yourself, I think. Saki in dictatorial leader mode is both amusing and annoying. He turns to go back inside, shaking the water out of his hair like a model in a shampoo commercial.

“Saki!” my treacherous mouth blurts out.


“Please - can you kiss me again?” I ask, blushing idiotically. What am I thinking?!

He raises a slender eyebrow.
“Why the hell not, friend? It’s all fun”, he says brightly, beckoning to me. I trot eagerly over to him and he leans down and kisses me deeply, his hands buried gently in my wet hair. I kiss him back enthusiastically on tiptoe (God I hate being short), pressing myself against his tall frame and feeling his slow heartbeat through his soaking clothes as his mouth moves against me.
Just when I think I won’t be able to control myself for much longer he stops and pulls away, making me moan with disappointment.

“Come on Yomi”, he tells me calmly. “It’s lunch time”.

I follow him back inside in a trance. This is shaping up to be the weirdest day of my life.


Chapter Text

I spend the rest of the week with my nose buried in Kleenex, sneezing and snuffling miserably and evidently looking so disgustingly ill that even Ruka doesn’t seem to be finding me the slightest bit attractive.

On the plus side, this has made extricating myself from Yukiko’s clutches a whole lot easier. She looked at me contemptibly as I hunched snottily and sniffily around to her house, although I did earn myself a ringing slap when I told her in a small terrified voice that maybe we should see other people and I was sure she could do better…
Of course she can do better! I’m not really rich enough yet to satisfy a woman like that and her spending urges…and I’m quite pleased about it!

I mope about the studio, annoyed that this untimely dose of flu is preventing me from getting any more kisses from Saki; he’s eyeing me like I’m rabid; Saki is mortally afraid of any illness that might make him look less desirable (this list of illnesses is very short in his case).

The upshot of this is that Ni~ya and I have begun to patch up our little…difference, after my impressionable lecture from Saki on the roof. I made the effort to talk to him on safe topics, and he’s as friendly as he ever has been. It’s nice to see that someone has some maturity, because Ruka sure doesn’t and I suspect I don’t either. So Ni~ya is busily getting in touch with his Inner Nurse, and I’m allowing myself to be bundled up in blankets and spoon-fed banana medicine like a little kid. Which I guess is kind of nice.

Actually it’s really nice. Over the last few days, now that our immediate vicinity no longer resembles a verbal war zone after five minutes with Ruka and I in the same room, just how much I miss him is beginning to kick in. Sure, I see him every day…but it’s still not the same as before. I miss his familiar affection, I miss him holding me.

Saki peevishly tells me that I can’t have my cake and eat it, and that I should choose for good and all whether I want to be ‘just friends’ or whether… but this last suggestion from him still makes me blush and stick my fingers in my ears. How can I even begin to talk out such an embarrassing subject with the two of them?

“I mean really, Yomi”, Saki scolds me as he drapes himself across his kitchen counter, as far away from my germs as possible, “you can’t just keep those poor guys waiting forever. They’re only human, y’know?”

“You really think I’m that sexy?” I ask hopefully, just as a coughing fit hits me.

He wrinkles his pretty nose.
“Hell no. Look at you! You should be quarantined!”

“You really know how to make a guy feel good about himself”, I groan between wheezes. “Ok, I’ll…I’ll talk to them. But I don’t know what I’m going to say, I’m sure. And not both together! And - and somewhere private where you can’t eavesdrop!”

He looks disappointed.

“And - when this damn cold has cleared up you owe me kisses bigtime!”

Saki rolls his eyes and turns back round to the stove, muttering something about having to start charging me. I sincerely hope he’s not serious.

Kissing Saki has become a sort of minor addiction. It just feels so safe and good; there is nothing threatening in Saki’s demeanour at all. Maybe it’s because he’s not actually interested in me - but when I think that, it makes me uncomfortable for some reason. So I think I’ll just carry on my pleasant delusion that he likes me, and go on demanding kisses from him whenever I do him a favour. And at least if something does happen with Ni~ya or Ruka - not that I’m saying it ever will! - well, at least I’ll be vaguely prepared for how it will feel. Maybe.
Hell, I’m just making excuses.

After his vocalist left, Sakito sank down lazily into an armchair, long limbs dangling over the edge. He smiled to himself and rubbed his bottom lip thoughtfully; he was enjoying the emotional drama of his friends enormously, and thought that with his expert advice and manipulation things would soon be sorted out to his own personal satisfaction.

Strangely enough, recently he was beginning to see his friends’ attraction to Yomi; when aiming for pleasure rather than business Sakito usually went for tall, confident, serious types; but, when he’d kissed him there was something about Yomi’s dorkish innocence that he found cute, even sexy. He thought he wouldn’t mind doing that some more, at least until the singer had worked through his geeky little issues with his would-be lovers; and Sakito didn’t think that would happen any time soon.

He looked at the expensive watch around his slim wrist, sighed, and got up to prepare himself for his date. He always made sure he had a damn good time, no matter how superior his various, er, gentleman friends liked to think they were. But tonight he might just lie back and think about his little singer.
He smiled.

I spend a whole week plucking up the courage to have some sort of meaningful conversation with Ni~ya and Ruka (and also battling my cold with every drug on the market). I meant what I said to Saki, though: no way I’m talking to them both at once.

I decide to try Ni~ya first, mainly because he’s actually acting like a normal human being towards me and not alternating between childish sulks and disturbingly lustful looks like some other I could mention (and at which Hitsugi-kun seems to be about to tear his hair out, at the general stupidity circulating in this group).

I think some kind of neutral territory would be a good idea (what is this, a war movie?), so one Friday I ask Ni~ya shyly if I can meet him somewhere the next day, just to eat sandwiches (what?! You moron, Yomi) and, er, talk?
To my relief he smiles nice and normally at me, brushing the dark hair out of his eyes.

“Sure”, he says calmly. “Why don’t we go picnicking at that little park down by the pond? I’ll bring the food”.

Ok, so far, so good. And a free meal!

“O-ok”, I say shyly. He pats my head. Why have people suddenly started doing this to me?

“Er, I’ll meet you there at about one, see you then, bye!” I mumble, walking away fast before he can see me blush. He’s watching me go, I can tell.
Note to self: don’t act like a retard tomorrow! I know it’s hard.

So it’s Saturday lunchtime and I’m walking through the grass to where I can see Ni~ya sitting at the edge of the pond. The weather has turned on its head again, and now it’s warm as spring and the sky is a pale, hazy blue. There’s quite a lot of people here today; I guess that’s a good thing?
He looks up at me and smiles, hand shading his eyes. I sit down nervously on the blanket he’s thoughtfully provided.

“Nice day, Chibi”, he remarks. I don’t know whether to be pleased or not at his return to using this annoying nickname.

I’m busily eyeing the cool-box next to him. It looks full. Yummy. He sees where I’m staring and grins.

“Help yourself”, he instructs me, so I pounce on it and stuff my face with food. Good stuff! He takes an onigiri out of the pile and munches on it in a more restrained manner, looking at me quizzically.
I swallow with difficulty and twist my hands together in my lap. Well, let’s dive right in. It’s not going to get any easier.

“Ni~ya…I think we should talk about some stuff…um…”

Maybe he’s gone a little paler than usual, but his expression is still calm and friendly, which is a good sign.

“Sure”, he says, clasping his knees with his hands and resting his chin on them.

“I…” How to begin? This is more difficult than I’d thought. “What happened the other week - I’m sorry I behaved like I did - I’m sorry if I ran away, ‘cos that was childish but-”

His eyes widen. Somehow I don’t think that was what he was expecting me to say.

“And - I was very scared these last few weeks, and I’m sorry for that too because it was stupid. But Ni~ya -” I manage to look him in the eye. He looks miserable and pitying at the same time. I plunge on. “I have to know what you feel, what you want from me! And I can’t unless you talk to me”.

My little speech finished I hurriedly bite into a sandwich and wait for his response. My heart’s beating overtime again.
He sits up straight and swallows.

“It’s - pretty brave of you to come talk to me like this, on your own”, he comments.

“Well I was hardly going to have this conversation in front of an audience!”

“But you shouldn’t start off by apologising; you haven’t done anything wrong. I’m the one who was wrong”.

“You mean - you don’t like me?” I ask quietly. Why does that feel so bad?

He waves his hands around.
“No! I mean yes - I mean - look, I mean I was wrong to just come on to you, without talking to you or asking your permission or anything!”

I blush again.

“But - that doesn’t change how I feel about you”, he tells me softly.

“Mmph?” I say, my mouth stuffed full of egg. He reaches over to touch my face, but so slowly and gently that I don’t feel threatened. He looks so sad. Is that my fault?

“Yomi, I care about you a lot”, he says earnestly, his hand on my cheek. He’s cold. “I really do want to be with you; but not if it’s going to hurt you or make you upset”.

I’m gazing raptly into his black eyes.

“I just want to see you happy”, he continues. “But…if it’s not going to worry you…can’t you tell me if you like me at all? Because I really -”

I lift my hand to touch his fingers. I can’t sit here and lie to him, can I?

“I…don’t know what I feel now”, I tell him nervously, and watch his expression grow resigned. “I mean; I’m very confused about this whole thing, but - something in me keeps telling me that I want to be more than just your friend. But I don’t know if I can listen to it - because if I do it’ll get stronger, and that scares me!”

What am I babbling about?

The next thing I know I’m sighing in relief because that intense expression has left his face and he’s smiling gently at me again. His hand caresses my face.

“It’s ok”, he says. “I can wait as long as it takes for you to decide. I’m sorry I made you feel this; so I’ll wait”.

He pats my head again and moves back to lounge against the blanket, picking through the salad to find the tomatoes. He smiles back up at me.

“Don’t worry”.

“What about Ruka?” I ask breathlessly. “Does he feel this same way?”

His face darkens for a minute, then he sighs.

“I don’t know, Chibi. I just don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about it in a week. You’ll have to ask him yourself”.

“That’s what I thought”, I say glumly. Is caring about me even going to come between the two closest friends I’ve ever seen? How can it be worth it? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Well that went quite smoothly, all things considered. Next…I shiver. I can’t deny I’m still scared.


I’m packing up my drumsticks and generally minding my own business when I sense someone behind me. They don’t say anything and I carry on, because I can guess who it is.

“Ruka?” he says hesitantly, eventually. I love hearing him say my name…

“What?” I say shortly, not looking round at him.

“I - I was wondering if we could, like, do something this evening?”

I spin around on my stool incredulously. He’s fiddling with the rings on his fingers nervously.


“I want to talk to you. Please?”


He looks miserable but determined. I could just fuck him right here…what a little bastard he is. I can’t stand it.


I shake my head.
“You don’t like me, you don’t trust me. Why would I want to spend time with you?”

“Just stay here and talk to me!”

“No. I’m going home. Now.” I stand up, taking advantage of our great difference in height to push past him, intimidating him. I’m really not in the mood to have some lame discussion with him; I’ve been polite to him all week, haven’t I?

I leave the studio, slamming the door like a petulant teenager and glaring at the spot in reception where Yukiko normally sits. It’s dark outside already, getting colder; I shove my hands in my pockets and begin walking home.
Soon I hear light footsteps behind me, running to catch up. I groan to myself. All I want to do is go home and mope in peace.
Suddenly the footsteps falter and I hear a ‘waah!’ of surprise. I don’t bother stopping. That little guy is so clumsy it’s a miracle he makes it to work in one piece every morning.
I hear him pick himself up and run after me again, and I finally turn when he hits me in the arm, panting.

“I won’t leave you alone till you talk to me, Ruka”, he tells me breathlessly and angrily. “Even though you are such a jerk!”

“Don’t touch me”, I say coldly, jerking my arm away and making him stumble.

“I don’t care what you say”, he proclaims, but his voice trembles. My chest is tightening and the sensation makes me angry. I speed up my walking and he trots along beside me, looking up into my face. I want to bat him away from me like some annoying insect, although part of me just wants to grab him and kiss him until he can’t breathe; whichever is most effective at shutting him up.

I march up to my apartment building and step into the elevator, pressing the ‘close’ button, but he sticks one miniature foot in the door and squeezes in after me.

“Stop following me!”

He shakes his head emphatically, still staring up at me with those scared and determined eyes. I would really like to hit him. I reach my door, stick my key in the lock and stare at the woodwork.

“I’m going in now. Goodbye”.

I open the door enough to let myself inside, and then slam it shut. Thank god. I turn on the heating and pull off my jacket, almost ripping the seams in violent irritation, then walk over to the kitchen cabinet and pull out the vodka. Not that I’m normally one for drinking alone, but…I’m so pissed off!

I hear a hammering on the door and groan.

“Hey!” his muffled voice yells, “I’ll just stay out here all night if I have to! I mean it Ruka, you can’t stay in there forever!”

“Please yourself”, I call. Yomi has a very short attention span. He’ll soon get bored (I hope). I hear him slide down the door and lean back against it. Fine. Whatever. We’ll see how long this lasts, it doesn’t bother me.

Five minutes later, and oh god yes it does bother me! He’s kicking my door methodically with the back of his heels and the slightly irregular sound of it is driving me nuts!

“Stop it Yomi!” I yell. “Or I’ll call Hitsugi to come and take you home like the kid you are!” Ooh, big threat there Ruka.

Surprisingly he does stop. I move silently closer to the door. Is he going to go away and leave me in peace?
Then I hear his voice through the thin wood. Oh shit, he’s crying. Well that’s just perfect. Is he doing it on purpose? He should know that the sound just about finishes me off.

“P - please Ruka”, he begs, his voice full of tears and sniffles. “It’s really cold out here and -”

“Go home then”, I try again.

“Please! I just - just want to talk to you, please let me come in!”

His voice breaks on the last sentence. I gulp. In a way he’s making me even angrier. Remember what happened last time you came round here at night? I think wryly. Then I turn the door handle and shove it open. He cries out as it slams into his back. Sucker. Quick as a flash he jumps up and is inside. He turns around to face me and he’s already stopped crying. That sneaky little bastard! Was he faking it?

“What the hell do you want, Yomi?” I snarl, moving back inside.

“I told you, I want us to talk”, he whispers.

“Fine. What the hell do you want us to talk about?” Not that I can’t guess. I think he’s ‘talked’ to Ni~ya-chan already. Clearly I’m just second-best.

“I - I-”

I slam down my glass on the counter and he jumps. I walk forward and he moves backwards to match.

“I did not just let you come in here so you could give me some pathetic little speech about how you want us to be friends and how happy you are with your new fucking girlfriend! If that’s what you were going to say you can just leave again!”

I keep walking and he backs up until he’s pressed against the door, looking up at me timidly.


“I don’t want to hear it!!” I bellow. Wow, hope my neighbours are getting a good show at least.

He cringes at my tone of voice, then suddenly straightens up, his eyes flashing. He’s standing as tall as he can, trying vainly to be on the same level as me.

“As I was about to say,” he yells in my face, “I’m not seeing Yukiko any more and I haven’t been for a week!! Ok?!”

I swing round, out of eye contact, and stomp into the living-room. He follows me, fury radiating off him.

“Why didn’t you tell me, huh?”

“Because”, he shouts, not lowering the volume of his voice at all, “every time I open my mouth to speak to you you stop listening you jerk!”


“How the fuck should I know why?!”

“I mean”, I growl, “why did you chuck her? Or was it the other way around, poor Yomi?” I croon in fake sympathy.

“Fuck you!” He’s scarlet in the face now and looks like some little kid who’s just been told hey, we’re not going to Disneyland after all, we’re going to visit all your aunts this year!

“You didn’t even kiss her either, did you?” I say, half-tauntingly, but I do really want to know for sure. Just the idea of beautiful Yomi and that woman…

“Huh?” He looks genuinely surprised. “Why would you think that?”

I smirk nastily.
“Saki told me”.

“And how the fuck would he know?!” Yomi spits, apparently pissed off again.

I shrug. “You know how he is with these things. Well. That’s a good thing.”

“Oh, really, is it? Shit, you think you own me or something Ruka? Well let me tell you something”, he says, coming closer to me.
“You don’t. And if you know so much, you’ll know that I kissed Saki the other day, and it was better than any other kiss I had in my life!” He’s whispering confidentially, on tiptoe, his mouth close to my ear.

I see red; I grab him by the arms, hard enough to really hurt him.
“You’re a fucking liar!”

His face is scrunched up in pain.
“No. I’m not”.

I push him backwards until he collides with the low sofa and sits down heavily on it. I crouch down in front of him, still holding his arms, and now we’re at the same eye level. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so coldly angry; I lean forward, invading his personal space.

“So you won’t touch me or have anything to do with me”, I hiss, “but you’ll happily get cosy with another guy. Now why the hell would that be?”

He also leans forward till we’re practically nose to nose.
“Because Saki likes me and he treats me like his friend! And what business of yours is it who I kiss?! You act like you hate me every day!”

“I don’t hate you!” I growl, although in hindsight not very convincingly.

“Well then what?” he challenges me, his breath coming faster in an adrenaline rush.

I tighten my grip and he winces. Should I say it? I’m so fucking furious I don’t even know if it’s true anymore.

“I - love - you”, I hiss, squeezing his arms on each word for emphasis, hard enough to bruise. “I want you so much it hurts every second!”

He shuts up then, his eyes wide and serious and looking so desirable that I can’t stand it! I pull him forward the tiny distance it takes for us to touch, and lock my mouth hard against his. Suddenly the hunger overwhelms me. I kneel up to lean over him, my hands moving to either side of his head, tangling in his hair. He muffles a whimper into my mouth as I kiss him as hard as I can without running out of breath, my tongue pressing his mouth open as he, amazingly, tries to kiss me back. I stop one tiny millisecond for air.

“I love you”, I gasp, and kiss him again, he’s so hot, burning up, and I try to taste as much of him as I possibly can all at once. I slide my hand down his torso and under his sweater, his thin chest moving rapidly beneath my fingers as I drag my nails down his skin. I draw back from him slightly so I can pull his sweater over his head and throw it haphazardly somewhere over my shoulder, my hands shaking with excitement. His skin is damp, his throat flushed deep pink, and I notice two darkening bruises on his arms in the shape of my hands where I grabbed him, and the marks from my fingernails on his torso. Fuck. That is so sexy…

I latch onto him again, my mouth on his throat, his skin is hot and salty; I turn my head slightly and nip him hard with my teeth just below his ear. He jerks backwards.

“You’re hurting me!”

I smile into his neck, the faint tang of blood in my mouth. I feel very strange. I kiss him again, not letting him speak as I grasp one of his wrists and direct his little hand over my body, down my stomach and onto my erection; just the touch of him through the fabric of my clothes is enough to make me moan into his mouth in pleasure. I break away from his lips and lay my cheek against his, holding his body close to me, pushing him down until he’s half-lying over the couch.

“Hey! W- wait!” he whispers against my skin. His nervous voice, so different from the relaxed fast-paced chatter that’s usual for him, is driving me nuts; I settle my weight more comfortably over his body, resting between his skinny legs, my breath tickling his ear, and slide my fingers down his belly to pull at the fastening on his jeans, which are a little too big for him and hanging around his hips. My breathing is growing heavier, I feel so powerful and excited!

He pushes against my chest with his free hand.

“Now just hang on a minute -”

I continue, tugging at his zipper as I kiss his shoulder. I press my groin against his thigh and he whines softly. I think he’s pretty hard himself.
He transfers his hand to my face and turns my head so he can look into my eyes. His own eyes are wide, scared and desiring at the same time.

“Ni~ya said…you would wait…until I was ready”, he says in a small voice.

Oh really. Yup, that’s what I’d expect from him with his new-found maturity.
I move his shivering hand from the front of my sweat-pants, then slide it underneath the hem of my t-shirt, his recoiling fingers brushing my skin, down into my underwear. When he finally touches me I think I’ll come that second; I close my eyes, letting out an involuntary gasp.

“I can’t wait”, I whisper heavily. He freezes beneath me. Then he wraps his free arm around my neck. I open my eyes. He looks very unhappy but his breathing is rapid and his eyes are glazing with feeling. He reaches up and kisses my jaw, then my throat. Fuck…

Promise me you won’t hurt me”, he says in a low, almost desperately controlled voice that sounds both breathy and robotic.
For answer I lift his hips and slide down his jeans and cotton boxers down to the top of his thighs. He lets his head fall back against the armrest and sighs, a sound that seems nearly despairing but I’m far too gone to care. I kiss my way across his chest, lapping at his skin like a cat; using the canine teeth on the left side of my mouth I bite at one of his small hard nipples, and as he cries out in pain and surprise I begin to stroke his hardon gently. He lays his little hands on my hand, gripping hard, but I don’t stop.

Ruka…” he whispers. I’ve been waiting so damn long to hear him say my name like that…

“Yomi”. His eyes are screwed shut. “Hey. Yomi”. He flutters them open and his stare is glazed, hungry, confused.

“I love you”, I tell him again without slowing my hand.

He shakes his head and bites his lip as I speed up my pace.
“If you loved me, you’d stop now”, he breathes, but his hands move slowly down to unbutton my sweat-pants and reach inside them to touch me tentatively. He blushes scarlet and looks so adorable I’m having a seriously hard time holding myself back.

“Please, Yomi”, I murmur against his mouth and as his fingers close around me and begin to move I growl deep in my throat for the sheer intensity of feeling that surges through me; I press my lips hard against his to stop the sound, my tongue caressing his for a second before I pull away and resume my rhythmic stroking. He tries to thrust up into my hand but I put my free hand on his stomach and push him back down. He moans in frustration; my hands look very large against his tiny body, and that’s turning me on too. I stop completely just to hear the little sounds he makes, trying to stop himself from begging me to continue.

Don’t stop touching me”, I warn him sharply, because if he does I think I’ll die. He nods weakly, curling his short legs around my hips and pressing himself against me, trying to find contact. He moves his hand faster, harder, his breath coming in delicious pants; he squeezes me and I bite my lip till a trickle of blood runs over it. I guess he’s not as technically proficient as some of my ex-girlfriends but his nervous inexperience is a hundred times more arousing. I feel like my whole self is concentrated between my legs right now and I’m gonna explode or something any second; I take one look at his lovely face and pull him up towards me, and sink my teeth deep into his shoulder to stop myself screaming aloud as I come against his belly.

Holy shit. Fucking…wow.

He opens his eyes and stares at his fingertips covered in white liquid; his expression is almost incredulous and looks so funny I can’t help laughing, elation still running through me. He turns his glance on me, eyebrows raised indignantly. Then I gently touch the tip of his erection and he practically jumps, his face becoming yearning and ashamed once again. He gulps.

“Ruka…please”, he begs and I feel turned on again.

“What?” I ask teasingly.

“Ruka, don’t be…such a bastard”.

I stroke his hair soothingly, then wriggle backwards until I’m half-lying on my stomach at the end of the sofa.

“What the hell’re you doing?!” He sounds perplexed and sweet. I look up at him consideringly. I’ve never done this before; I guess I’ll just make it up as I go along. I firmly push his legs apart and tug his jeans down further; he gasps as I tickle his inner thighs before replacing my fingers with my lips; his skin is surprisingly soft and velvety, like a kid. I kiss my way up his legs before I gently lick the tip of his penis, barely touching it; abruptly his hands come down and wind themselves in my hair, pulling enough to make me wince. From the state of him I’d say he’s pretty close, so I hold his legs to steady myself and him, take a deep breath and close my mouth around him; the sound he makes is incredible, enough to make me hard again instantly. I caress him with my tongue as best I can, trying to figure out what gets me going; it’s bound to be along the same lines, right? The sensation of having him in my mouth is deeply sexy; soon he yanks my hair hard enough to tear some of it out; he yells my name as he comes (and I despair of ever regaining the respect and good-will of my neighbours) and even that is sexy; I wrinkle my nose at the taste but swallow anyway. I push myself up on my elbows and take a look at him.

To my surprise two tears are trickling down his flushed cheeks. Was I that good? Or that bad? (watch my paranoia kick in). I sit up and lean over him.

“Hey. What’s wrong? Did I do it wrong?”

He reaches up, pulls me down and kisses me clumsily, teeth knocking against mine. Then before I can say anything he swings his legs off the sofa, stands up rather unsteadily and walks rapidly off into the bathroom, his jeans still unfastened. I hear the tap running.
I sit back and lean my elbow on the armrest. Fuck. I’ve still got a hard-on. He’s just too sexy.

After a few minutes he emerges. He sheepishly swipes at his discarded sweater, pulling it over his head. The bruises on his arms are purple, ringed with yellow. I feel a bit guilty. He takes a tentative look at me.

“Are you leaving?” I ask, confused. He nods shyly. I jump up as he moves towards the door.

“Um…Ok. I’ll see you tomorrow?” I ask, suddenly feeling awkward. He smiles at me nervously, and stands on tiptoe to kiss me hard, quickly. He still smells like sex. Or maybe it’s me. He gives me one long, complicated stare.

“Bye”. He opens the door and rather hurriedly goes through it, closing it softly behind him. I hear the ping of the elevator, and then he’s gone.

I go back to my sofa and turn on the TV. I flip through the channels restlessly and sigh irritably. I wish he hadn’t gone; I’m so confused and still horny. That was so great! But, I think worriedly, it was totally different from how I had imagined it all this time. It wasn’t sweet and gentle like I had assumed in my idle little fantasies; all the anger at him, that came from I don’t know where, that I’ve been feeling recently has changed the whole way I feel about him. I know I was rough; maybe I even hurt him, which I hadn’t planned on. But it felt good to treat him like that, for me to have all the control. Afterwards, now, though, I don’t feel relief, I don’t feel soothed. I feel like there’s electricity running through me; I’m not satisfied, I want more! He just made me more thirsty; and if he can’t stop that, what can?

I go to bed but can’t sleep, turning round and round in my sheets; I have to go get myself off again before I can relax, and even then I’m just thinking and thinking; is he regretting it? Will he want to do it again? Is he scared of me? And, biggest guilt-trip of all, what the hell is Ni~ya-chan going to say? I went behind his back here, after I promised I’d act like a sensible adult, and I’m afraid of what he’s gonna think. And that’s what I’m thinking of as I drift off into sleep.

Chapter Text

Er….Did that count as a meaningful conversation?

Oh my god. Ohmigod ohmigod, what the fuck have I just done?

After I get home (I can’t remember how, I was in a total daze) I go straight to bed, but I can’t sleep, despite how tired I am; I ache all over, not just from where he hurt me but everywhere, a pain that feels both satiated and restless. I feel too hot, then I feel too cold; is this some kind of flu relapse, I wonder? But who am I kidding? I can practically still feel Ruka’s hands on my skin, his mouth on mine, I can still taste myself on his lips when I kissed him goodbye. I hope at least he feels better, because now I’m ten times more confused than I was before tonight.

I think I’ve just gone and made things way more serious…

I try to put it out of my head for one second, but the bruises are still on my skin, I can still see his aggressive, almost violent eyes; every time I replay a second of what I’ve just done I can feel my cheeks burning, even though there’s no-one else in the room. What the hell should I do now?! Because I can’t pretend I didn’t get off on that, no matter how much I did or didn’t want it; all that seems kind of irrelevant now…

But if Saki was right, now I do know the difference between the kiss of someone who loves me and someone who doesn’t; but surely it’s all wrong?! Because kisses from Saki, whom I assume is mostly disinterested, are sweet and lovely and are nothing but pleasure for me; but Ruka has made me confused, hurt, angry with his kisses, and nothing about them relieved me or answered any of my questions; in fact I’m even more scared than before. How can I know what I want now?! Do I love him? Do I love Ni~ya? I wish I could just ignore all this! There must be a way to find out…

I come into the studio in the morning, tired and shaky from sleeplessness, and see my exact expression mirrored on Ruka’s face, but his eyes seem to bore into me and I blush scarlet.

“Er…good morning!” I try.

“Morning”, he says quietly and then tries a smile, that would be sweet and nervous if it weren’t so unabashedly carnal. I gulp.
Saki nods in approval at our supposed polite maturity, although I can tell he’s absolutely desperate to drag all the exciting details of my ‘talks’ out of me as soon as possible. I blush again as I think of it, and spend the morning avoiding being alone with him.

Around lunchtime Ruka catches me coming back from the bathroom and pulls me to him before I can squeak a protest, kissing me so hard it aches and holding me so tightly I’m left breathless and dizzy; I’m stupid and shivery for the rest of the afternoon. When we touch it sends us both into jitters of confusion and lust; at least, I assume that’s what he’s feeling; I know I am.

Shit shit shit. Is this what it would always be like if I agreed to be with Ruka properly? I can’t stop thinking about what that entails…

So when I find Ni~ya outside alone on the steps, pale and smoking calmly, I screw up my courage and try and do what I need to do. Ni~ya’s always been kind to me…
He smiles at me like usual.

“Ni~ya…do you…do you love me?” I blurt out, as quickly as possible.

“Huh?” He takes a deep drag on his cigarette then stubs it out by his feet, looking shocked. I lean in closer to him.

“If you do, will you please kiss me, Ni~ya?”
I close my eyes and tilt my face up towards his. Then I feel a light kiss on the forehead, just like someone might give their kid. I open my eyes. He looks patient, melancholy.

“No!” I say, a bit irritated, “I mean a real kiss!”

He sits up straighter and shakes his head, suddenly looking nervous.

“Um, no”.


He shakes his head again, more firmly this time.

“The both of us agreed that neither of us would kiss you or do anything to confuse you until you’d come to a decision on your own. Or it’s just not fair”. His hands are twisting together; he seems to be holding back.

I gape at him. Ho really. But - then that must mean he doesn’t know - oh dear me. But I have to find out, if it would always be the same as with Ruka, desperate, painful, cruel?

“Please, Ni~ya”, I beg, turning my puppy-dog eyes on him. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. “I have to know”.

He looks agonised.

“But I can’t go behind -” he begins, and I reach forward and take his hand, resting my lips against his. Slowly, reluctantly he kisses me; it’s gentle and steady, but I can tell that behind that it is, yes, just the same - I can feel his mouth trembling and all the hidden emotion behind his kiss that could turn feverish at any moment, before he forcefully pulls himself away from me.

“I’m so sorry”, he says quietly, “I shouldn’t have”.

“It’s ok”, I babble, feeling the full force of his desire behind that cool kiss; it scares me in its own way as much as Ruka’s violent caresses.
He looks at the ground guiltily. Now does he feel bad because he kissed me or because he went behind Ruka’s back, not that Ruka hasn’t just done the same to him but then he doesn’t know that…?

“Thanks, it was really…helpful”, I manage, then curse myself for sounding like such an imbecile. He looks like he’s about to burst into tears or just plain run away, so I escape while I can and find refuge in Hitsugi-kun and his dorkish hand-puppet obsession. At least someone round here is nice and stable…

Eventually Saki calls it a day, as he says he has a date (over which I feel wry and a tiny bit jealous). He tips me a cute and coquettish smile and leaves and is followed soon by Hitsugi-kun, who is going home to download porn from the internet or whatever it is he does with his spare evenings. I find myself left in the entrance hall alone with Ruka, who beckons to me commandingly; I approach him nervously, a hundred dirty things immediately running through my head, and he latches onto me lustfully, knee sliding between my legs. I lean in to meet his kiss, painful against my bruised lips; he tips my head back, hands on my face, to look down at me from his great height. He’s not smiling and neither am I, the both of us hot and shaky.

“Can I come and see you tonight?” he whispers urgently, hands sliding down to grip my arms; I wince where he’s touching my bruises.

I immediately go tense. How can I say this without making him angry?


Because if he comes to my house, if we’re alone together tonight, I know I’ll let him fuck me; hell, the thought’s been running through my head all day in more and more shameful detail, turning me on and terrifying me at the same time; and right now, I really don’t know if I can stand it, my feelings are too fucked up. Do I want Ruka to be my first? Do I even want a first? I hadn’t even considered it till a month ago! Why is Ruka going behind Ni~ya’s back over this? Just how much is it going to hurt? (I figure I need Saki’s advice on this point) And most of all, if he does fuck me (the way he’s acting it would be the furthest thing away from making love), will it explain anything? Will it make anything easier for me, or will it just drive me even more crazy, this goddam itch I’m feeling in his presence, will this relieve it? Or make it worse?
So until I have answers to at least some of these questions, I just can’t…can I?

“I…I…” I stammer as he holds me tightly, possessively around the waist. His mouth is on my neck and it’s impossible to concentrate. “I need to think…”

He pulls away slightly and I look up at him, feeling incredible desire and at the same time a strange emotion almost akin to hate: how can he pressure me like this? Sometimes I wonder if Ruka is really a good person at all.
Then he stops my procrastinating with a scorching kiss, leaving me practically staggering in his arms.

“Ok…for now”, he whispers reluctantly.

I get out of there as quickly as I can.

I watch Yomi scamper off, not looking back at me, tripping over the doorstep on his way out. I really wish I knew what was going on inside that little head of his; I think it was a bad move of mine to even begin doing what we did last night; I’ve confused him and I’ve just made myself more desperate to have him, to see if he’ll cure this constant irritation and ache inside me; what should I do now? My hands are still warm from the heat of his little body, my lips still tingle from kissing him, something I think I can never get enough of -

I turn resignedly to go tidy the litter around my drum kit -

And freeze solid. I swear my heartbeat stopped for a minute.
Ni~ya-chan is standing in the doorway. My back was to him and I was rather too preoccupied to notice him at all. He doesn’t move, he just stares at me; is he in shock? His skin is now paper-white, but his black eyes are flashing. No. he’s not shocked. He’s absolutely furious; his hands clench into fists; he doesn’t seem to notice, just keeps staring at me. He must have just seen everything I just did.


I start towards him. He doesn’t move or even acknowledge that I’ve moved. I hold my arm out placatingly, and open my mouth to come out with some explanation (what, I’ve no idea) and -

“BASTARD!!!” he yells at me, putting one hand on my chest and shoving me backwards away from him, then following me immediately as I stumble back. I’m absolutely staggered by the venom in his voice.

“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!!” he shouts accusingly, advancing on me. I’m seriously scared. I’ve never seen Ni~ya-chan like this before, and he’s too big for me to push around like I do Yomi. But he stops about two feet away from me, trembling, his face full of rage. I think he’d like to have a go at stabbing me if he could.

But then a change seems to come over him, by some force of will on his part; he unclenches his fists, and his pale face goes instantly blank, like he’s fighting himself inside. He looks back up at me and meets my eyes. And now I’m even more scared; his expression is a cold mask but his dark eyes bore into mine with such horrible betrayal and anger and even pity. When he speaks it’s low, controlled and completely disgusted.

“You are a terrible person”.

I gape at him. It doesn’t even sound like Ni~ya-chan. He shakes his head slowly.

“I don’t know why I ever expected you to act like anything else.”


“How could you be so thoughtless?” he continues in this low voice. “How could you do this to him?” He glances away. “How could you do this to me?”

“Hey!” I say, finally finding my indignation. “What the hell are you talking about? Do I have to answer to you for anything I do?” I know I sound stupid and cruel, because I know he’s totally right; I should never have laid a hand on Yomi when I knew he didn’t really want it, and I should never, never have just ignored Ni~ya-chan’s wishes after he’s been so kind to me. But I’m hardly going to say that - and now I see how annoyed I’ve been with his recent transformation into reasonable adult. In fact it makes me fucking mad!

I can sense the anger building up inside him again, from the set of his jaw and his snapping black eyes.

“Are you seriously trying to tell me you’ve never done something with him that you know is wrong, I mean for this whole month?” I ask incredulously. I mean come on!
He turns even paler for a second, but then his lip curls in disdain.

“And you were trying to accuse me of never looking beyond the moment!! Well Ruka, what kind of unthinking, selfish bastard does it take to lose two friends in the space of a day?!”

“I haven’t!”

“Oh no? Think Yomi would call you his friend anymore? And trust me, if you sleep with him tonight you’re gonna feel a hundred times worse and so will he!”
He spits the words like a curse.
“And - and as for the second - Ruka, how could you do this to me?”

I suddenly feel as furious as him; how can he blame his failure on me?!

“Don’t get pissed at me just because it’s me he chose! Just because you’re too fucking pussy to show him what you really feel!!”

Oh don’t flatter yourself!” he bellows in my face, disgustedly. “I’ve never met someone so - ugh!” He looks like he wants to smack me in the head. I see his hand twitching. I beckon to him sarcastically.

“Come on then Ni~ya-chan!” He glares at me, incensed. “You’re a fucking coward about everything”, I tell him, flipping a hand at him in dismissal.

He looks at me for maybe three seconds, then brings his fist back and hits me square in the face. Really hard. I stumble backwards until I collide with the wall and sink down it, hand pressed to my throbbing cheek. He stands over me, breathing hard, the slim line of his body black against the bright studio lights.

“Go to hell”, he pants, looking almost deathly pale now.

I stare at him, aghast.

“I HATE YOU!!!” he screams. He whirls around in a flutter of black hair and black cloth, and is gone before I can even open my mouth to speak.

I stare after him, shocked beyond all comprehension. Well did I know that Ni~ya-chan would be disappointed, pissed off with my behaviour Yomi-wise. But I never, never expected such a Mediterranean display of hurt and anger as he’s just thrown at me. I rub my cheek; there’s a bruise forming there already. Why? Why this blatant over-reaction? Am I really a bad person? His words are giving me more pain than his physical blow, and that’s goddam painful enough, let me tell you.

I shiver suddenly at the thought that this might be serious. I try to think that this is just some temporary temper, but I know better, I think; does he actually, really hate me? It really looks like it…his pretty pale face was so distraught and yet so cold…I probe this possibility, but stop quickly when I feel my heart tighten in my chest, and my lip grow unsteady.

Fuck. What am I gonna do now? (How many times have I asked myself that this month?)
I guess there’s only one thing I can do right now. I feel so bad - I might as well go spread it around a bit…

Chapter Text

I happily bumble about my apartment, looking forward to a nice evening in, alone - I’ve decided that today is the day to do all my washing, something I keep putting off because - well, I guess I’m just lazy. I’m wearing my ‘winter’ pyjamas for the first time this year (i.e. warm, snuggly and completely uncool, being covered with pictures of obscenely cute bunny rabbits - my mother thought it would be a hilarious present and that I’d never wear them - well sucks to her, I love them - in secret!), Sakito’s fuzzy jumper that I begged off him when I had flu and which is bagging round my knees, and my all-time favourite slippers.
Yeah, I’m looking good, despite the fact that I’ve somehow got fabric softener in my hair, and probably a milk moustache from my lovely hot chocolate-and-marsh mallow combo. It properly feels like winter now. I turn the heating up a bit, feeling relaxed for the first time in ages. I’ve got cookies and French fries, and hopefully the pizza I ordered will be here any minute. The world is good!

I hum to myself, standing on tiptoe to reach into the washing machine and grab my lingering collection of socks - never seem to have enough - shoving them in the wash basket and taking them out to hang on the balcony, where I stand shivering and chattering my teeth. I come back in hurriedly and I’m about to throw myself on the sofa and laze when the doorbell rings. I start for a second, then trot over to the door to collect my pizza. I’m so hungry!

I pull the door open, mouth open to form a greeting, and stop dead. Ruka is standing in front of me, hair messy and windblown. I can’t believe this! What happened to my thinking time? The audacity of this man is unbelievable! Then I look up into his face and all my thoughts stop; he’s flushed, not just from the cold, and he looks very strange, sad and distressed; I notice a spreading bruise on his left cheek, dark and sore-looking. He’s hugging his arms to himself and looks so pitiful I forget to feel angry with him for disturbing my lovely peaceful night in.

“What the hell happened to you?!” I cry. His hand goes up to his face.

“I -”
He shuts his mouth again and runs his eyes over me from head to toe, one eyebrow raised.

“Yomi. What in God’s name are you wearing?”

I look down at myself. Arrgh! I never, ever planned to let anyone see these pyjamas! How humiliating. I tug the neck of Saki’s jumper tighter around my throat.

“Never mind that! Shit, Ruka, come in!”

I pull the door open further and he slowly comes in, kicking off his shoes in the genkan and following me through the kitchen.

“Sorry to bother you and everything -” he starts, his voice sounding unusually tight and despondent.

I stand on tiptoe to rummage in the kitchen cupboard.
“Shut up. Go and sit down”. I hear him make his way into the living-room and sit heavily in my comfiest old chair, sighing. I finally find my scant first-aid box and bang it down on the counter. Then I quickly make him a cup of tea, and carry both into the other room. I pass him the mug before I burn my hands and perch myself on the squashy arm of the chair. He’s staring into his tea like he’s never seen it before.

“Hey”. I rip open an antiseptic wipe and tilt his face up towards me. My breath catches in my throat as his eyes meet mine, hurt hidden deep within them as I gaze at him. I blink and gently brush his brown hair away from his cheek. As well as the spreading bruise there’s a little ragged cut against the line of his cheekbone. It’s stopped bleeding already.

“Geez, Ruka! Have you been fighting or something?” I carefully wipe across his skin and he winces away from me.

“You might say that…” he says dolefully. I swing my legs across his to give myself a better angle to work from and continue cleaning him up. What an idiot! How did he manage this?

“What happened?!”

He turns round to face me better, leaning his elbows on my knees.

“I don’t want to talk about it”.

I purse my lips and stick a little plaster over the cut in his cheek, smoothing it with my thumb gently, then stroke my fingers through his hair. He’s acting so un-Ruka-like that I’m slightly disturbed. He clears his throat.

“Um, you don’t have to do this for me. I’m really sorry…I came here to bother you - I didn’t mean to, I just -”

“You’re not bothering me”, I say, even though he is. Surprisingly I’m feeling rather proprietary towards him, and I want to know what’s wrong (ok, maybe I’m just nosy).

“I mean after you said you needed to -”

“Drink the damn tea and tell me what happened”, I say rather quickly. I’m hoping not to get onto this topic right now. He takes a sip from his mug, then shakes his head. He rests his forehead against my knee for a moment.

“I’ve been…really stupid”.

“What do you mean?” I ask impatiently, various weird scenarios running through my head: yakuza, drug running, arms dealing…right, whatever.

“I’ve…had a bit of a fight with Ni~ya-chan”.

“Ni~ya did this?!” I cry disbelievingly. “Why the fuck -”
Wait. I…think I can guess why. Oh dear.

“I can’t believe he hit you!” I shake my head. “Wow. He must be pretty pissed off”. Go me. Ever the comfort-bringer.
For answer he pulls me closer to him and buries his face in my chest like a kid. I can sense how tense he is. Er…what should I do now?

“I think he hates me”, he says, voice muffled against the fabric of my jumper, but I can hear the tears threatening to break through. Oh no no no. Ruka doesn’t cry! Then I think back to how close those two have always been and maybe I understand a little why he’s so upset. If Ni~ya is angry enough to do this to him…I try to imagine them not talking, hating each other, and I can’t do it.

“Well…maybe it’ll be ok. He’ll probably have forgiven you by tomorrow…” I pat his back awkwardly. I suck at comforting people, especially when I know I’m probably the cause of discomfort in said person in the first place.

He wraps his arms round my waist, holding me tightly like I’m a teddy bear or something. I’m very tempted just to run away…I’m getting way out of my depth here. But then I feel like a bastard: this is Ruka, Ruka who used to be my best friend in the world, Ruka who I think now loves me more than anyone else does - I owe him a whole lot more than that, even if he is a thoughtless idiot these days.

I stroke my hands through his hair, resting my cheek on the top of his head. He sniffs and hugs me tighter so that I’m practically kneeling on him.

“You smell nice”, he murmurs. I smile, but my pulse quickens.

“That’ll be the fabric softener”. Warmth seeps through me from his body, and I try to think.

“Oh. Sorry, did I interrupt your washing day?”

“Shut up a minute, Ruka”. I hate seeing him like this. I don’t want anyone I care about to be unhappy…and I do care about him a whole lot, I realise even as I try to deny it. If I’m the only one who can make him better…and now as I think of it I start to feel the strange, niggling desire again that I felt last night. I wonder if Ruka feels like this all the time? I try to seriously think, for the first time, what it would be like to be really his, for longer than an evening or a day. Would it be so bad? Am I stupid for feeling so scared of him all this time? I close my eyes and allow a wave of pity and desire to wash over me. I take a deep breath.

“Ruka. Ok”, I whisper into his hair.

He pulls himself away a little so he can look up into my face. His eyes are a little red, but they are still dark and beautiful, like chocolate (ever thinking about food, Yomi).

“Ok what?” he asks, furrowing his brow and looking questioningly up at me.

I can barely speak as I lay my hand against his cheek.
“If - if you want me - you can have me”.

There is a long, long silence in which I feel myself go scarlet. I start to feel worried. The most momentous offering of my life, and what if, after all this, he doesn’t want it after all? I don’t think I could stand it.

Then, very slowly, he straightens up towards me and kisses me, and it’s so full of longing I can’t help but gasp.
I close my eyes, wrap my arms around his neck and resign myself to loving him for the rest of my life. I can feel my eyes welling with tears at the thought of what I’m doing.

He breaks our kiss slightly, his lips moving against mine as he speaks.


I ignore the clutch of fear around my heart and breathe,
“yes. Now”.

He stands up, still holding onto me and picking me up with him. I wrap my legs around his waist and he kisses me again, softly, but I can feel his impatience and nervousness. I let go of his neck with one hand and point a trembling finger in the direction of my bedroom door.


He takes a calculating look at my bed. Well I can’t help it if it’s small. I’m small!
He grins at me suddenly and the sheer dirtiness of it takes my breath away. Holy crap. He pries me away from him and drops me on the bed. I sit up and try to recover my dignity; he kneels above me, lifting my arms so he can pull Saki’s jumper over my head, and smirks at me.

“Love the outfit. You look sooo cute”.

“Shut up”.

He leans down over me and kisses me hungrily, his hands running hard over my body. The pain in my bruises and the place on my shoulder where he bit me last night flares into life, and it suddenly hits me that this is going to hurt like fucking hell. I let my mouth be nudged open and caress his tongue with mine. There’s no point asking him to be gentle, because I know he won’t be; I don’t even know if he can be, and my hands clench a little in apprehension. I start to feel a little dizzy and he transfers his mouth to my neck, his kisses hot and lustful.
I tentatively reach out and try to unfasten his shirt buttons with my shaking fingers; it’s as if each one is a complex piece of machinery and I growl in frustration. It’s not helping that he’s pushing me down onto my back, his weight resting comfortably over me (well, comfortable for him - it just makes me more nervous), and I can feel how hard he is through the fabric of my pyjamas. While I’m still struggling he bites me, hard, just below the ear where he did the same last night, not even a gentle nip but a sharp bite.

“Oww!” I moan, clapping my hand to my neck, but he’s already moved away. I feel a thin, warm line of blood beneath my fingers and the fucking serious nature of the situation hits me. There’s nothing I can do about it; I don’t know if he’d stop now even if I asked him to.
He sits up a bit to pull off the shirt that I’m still fighting with. I nervously run my hand down his slim chest, leaving a faint red trail of blood on his skin, and follow it with my mouth; his heart is going so fast it’s amazing he can breathe at all. He whispers my name in a wondering voice, then smiles wolfishly and pushes me back down, hard - I hit myself on the headboard with a sharp crack.

“Jesus! Watch it!”

“Ssshhh”. He quickly and easily unfastens my pyjama shirt, pulling it roughly away from my shoulders. I bite my lip as his hands come in contact with my skin and now I’m really turned on, I actually actively want him; I let my legs settle around his waist and push my hips up against his. He moans softly as I kiss his shoulder.

“Ruka…touch me, please”, I manage to gasp out, and I hate the way it sounds. I sound weak, desperate. He looks at me seriously for a second, then his eyes cloud over to match mine as he swiftly yanks off my pyjama bottoms, the cute little bunnies going flying somewhere on the other side of the room.
In the dim room he touches me, his hands travelling lovingly up my legs which are wrapped tightly around him, and I cling to him as he kisses me and begins caressing my hard-on teasingly.

“I love you”, he whispers, his breath tickling my ear and I can’t do anything but moan against his skin as his hand moves faster, making me weak with pleasure. I fumble blindly with the buttons fastening his jeans, the hot, dry itch in my mind almost unbearable now. He stops touching me, which I regret, and pulls himself away from me, kneeling up to assist me in removing his underwear. The cold air sweeps over my skin without the warmth of his body to protect me, and I blush again as he lets his eyes linger on me.
I kiss his chest to distract him, running my tongue slowly down his midriff to linger in the hollow of his navel. I feel so shameful doing this, but the feeling is quickly swallowed by desire; his skin is pale in the dim light from the street lamps outside, and salty under my tongue. My hands look so small against him, he’s much taller than me, and he lifts his fingers to entwine in my hair and caress my head. He sighs as I move my lips below his navel; I feel awkward and unsure now; is it ok for me to be doing this?
I pause and his hands grip my hair tightly. I tilt my head up to get a look at him.

“Is this -”

“Do it!!” he manages, his eyes very wide. “Please, Yomi!”

Oh. Ok. My breath coming swiftly, nervously, I lower my head again and gently kiss the tip of his erection. I hear his indrawn hiss of breath and he pulls my hair painfully; I run my tongue along the length of it, trying to get a feel for this, being a complete bumbling beginner ( I never ever thought I’d be doing this until about a week ago!). Am I doing this right? I feel so fucking scared. I rest my hands on his legs to support myself, I’m so weak right now, and tentatively take him into my mouth.

“Ohhh…” He gives a quiet moan. I must be doing something right. I suck on him gently, trying to use my tongue in a good way; his muscles are tensed under my hands. I can’t say I particularly love doing this as it’s really kind of uncomfortable and I’m getting short of breath. But the sounds he’s making are really turning me on, so I try harder, moving my mouth up and down his length, trying to stifle my gag reflex (don’t wanna be puking on him now, that would be sexy, wouldn’t it?).
Without warning he yanks on my hair, ripping me away from him.

“Wait, stop!!”

“Did I do something wrong?” I ask, trying to get my breath back and wiping my mouth on the back of my hand. He shakes his head emphatically, looking down at me with flushed cheeks.

“Nothing wrong. I…you almost tipped me right over there, Yomi”. I can see the indents in his lower lip where he’s bitten deep into it.

“Isn’t that the point?” I ask, and he turns serious, a gleam in his eye that I don’t like. Abruptly he pushes me down on my back and crawls up to lie over me, nudging my legs apart and running his hands down my body again. I whimper in anticipation, but he just gives my hard-on a fleeting touch before stroking gently beneath my testicles. I shiver. He kisses me hard and I’m about to wrap my arms around his back when I feel his finger slip inside me. I jump, suddenly fucking terrified as he slides it deeper. I wince at the sting and close my eyes, then tears spring to them as he adds a second finger. That fucking hurts!

“W- wait, please!” I stutter against his lips. No response. “Please, Ruka, it hurts!!”
He stops moving but doesn’t withdraw his fingers and doesn’t stop kissing me. I stick one arm out randomly and fumble about on my bedside table. I pull back my hand and open one eye to take a peek at what I’ve snagged. Oh. Moisturiser (my skin gets really dry from make-up). I guess that’ll work?
I manage to part our lips for a second.

“Use this, ok? Please? It really fucking hurts, Ruka”. He nods, barely, and takes the pot from my hand. His skin is burning up, he actually feels quite ill. He removes his fingers from me momentarily and I relax. He twists open the lid impatiently, spilling some of the cream on the sheets. Suppose I’d have to wash them anyway…
He replaces his fingers, more roughly than I’d have liked but at least it’s a little smoother. I clutch at his shoulders, my fingernails digging in as he kisses my stomach and then bites at my nipple. Then it’s three fingers inside me and I can’t do anything except twitch helplessly beneath him, whimpering from the pain. I don’t think this feels good…is it supposed to hurt this much? I wish I’d talked to Sakito first…but what did I expect?

He adds more lube to his fingers and pushes my legs open wider. I guess it’s a little late at this stage to feel undignified. I look into his eyes and see the same violent expression in them as last night, of barely disguised want and anger. This can’t be normal. But I can plainly see in his eyes that he loves me too.

“Are you ready?” he whispers sharply, and I want to shake my head, say no, I need more time, he has to wait. But of course I don’t. I can’t, not when this hopeless burning inside my head is so strong, so insistent.

So I bite my lip in fear, and nod the smallest of nods. His eyes spark, then they close as he bruises my lips once again with a brutal kiss and before I can even murmur a protest he lifts my hips easily and pushes himself inside me.
I can’t help myself, I scream and it’s muffled by his mouth but it’s so fucking painful I think I’m gonna pass out. He stops and lifts his head, looking worried for the first time since I started this stupid thing. I can’t say anything, just feebly switch my head from side to side on the pillow like a butterfly pinned to a card, my eyes streaming tears; I grab at his arms desperately in a mute plea to be careful with me.

He looks down at me, the love plain in his eyes but I hardly see it because he starts to move inside me and every single coherent thought goes out of my head with the pain. He’s too fucking big for me! I start to hyperventilate, thinking he’s gonna tear me up, even though he’s going very slowly. I feel dizzy and I really think I’m gonna die;
I come back to myself when I feel a light slap on my cheek.

“Don’t go away from me”, he whispers hotly as he thrusts inside me again and I cry out. “Stay with me every second”.

He pulls my legs higher around his waist and leans closer over me, moving steadily now. He won’t let me look away from him, even though I want to close my eyes and bawl helplessly, my hands clutching viciously at the damp sheet beneath me.

“Hold me”, he commands, and I slide my aching arms around his shoulders, my fingers slipping in the sheen of sweat on his back. He grits his teeth and pushes deeper into me, and I claw at his shoulder blades as I’m filled completely, the feeling so completely alien I can’t believe this is really happening to me. Then his hand is on my penis, working it back to life and I can’t help myself as he strokes me roughly and the incredible pain is sugared with tense pleasure. I tip my head back and moan, my breath too short for anything more fitting to how I feel. He tugs my head forward again to face him.

“Tell me you love me!” he pants, his hand still driving me insane even as it feels like he’s ripping me apart from the inside.

I try to breathe.
“I - I -”
But then I can’t finish as his hand squeezes me and I bite down on my own hand to stop myself screaming at the top of my hoarse lungs when I come over his stomach, all my muscles seizing up and then turning to jelly. I have to close my eyes, it’s overwhelming me because that was the best orgasm I’ve ever had and he’s still moving inside me, pulling me up to hold me tightly against him; and then he cries out some stupid nonsense word and bites down hard in my shoulder and I feel hot stinging liquid inside me, the sensation a mindfuck in itself. He collapses on my body, unable to hold himself over me, still buried in me.

“Please! I can’t - can’t -”
I manage to roll us over so we’re side by side. Breathing heavily he still holds me wrapped in his arms as he pulls himself out of me, and while that feels such a relief, I want to cry with the emptiness I feel. He kisses the top of my head wordlessly and sits up slowly, leaning back against the headboard, cradling me in his tight embrace. I glance down to see red on the sheets. Shit. He made me bleed. But I’m too exhausted to care. I lie in the circle of his arms and wait for the sleepiness that always hits me after sex (hey, I’m a guy, right?).

But as my heartbeat slows and my breathing returns to normal, I realise with trepidation that I’m wide awake as I’ve ever been; I can still feel that amazing orgasm tingling through me, but now there’s no relief, no satiation, no sweet happy drowsiness. Just the terrible and familiar restless, burning feeling that I haven’t been able to shake off all day. I shake my head mutely. How can this be?! If this feeling wasn’t lust for Ruka, then what the fuck is it?! Why won’t it stop?! It’s as painfully insistent and unbearable as before.

I look up at Ruka, and see with a sinking feeling my exact thoughts mirrored on his restless face. He stares at me, horrified, and I return it.
And then I realise that even if we were together 24 / 7, even if he fucked me all night long, this will never be gone. Because I’m not the one to satisfy him, even though I’m the one he loves so desperately.
Fuck! It’s not fair!! Why is this happening after I just got myself prepared to be his lover for ever? It’s not fair!!

I start to cry then, helpless frustrated sobbing that sounds so stupid and childish but there’s nothing I can do. I bury my face in his chest and he holds me tightly, his limbs shaking as much as mine.

“What the fuck are we gonna do, Yomi?” he whispers bitterly. I shake my head. He hugs me tighter.

We stay that way for a long time.

Hey. My pizza never came either.

I blink my eyes wearily. I’m so tired I could just pass out where I’m walking. I stayed up with him all night and he didn’t tell me to leave, neither of us really talking but both of us unable to sleep. I’ve never felt so bad in my life as I do this morning, the two of us walking together to the studio even though it’s the last place on earth I want to be today.

Yomi slips his small hand into mine and I grasp it loosely for the bare comfort it brings us. He’s moving awkwardly this morning and I know I hurt him a lot last night; every time I think of it I feel a mixture of sickness and desire - I want him so badly I can hardly even see him as a person anymore, even though I know now it won’t help me at all to have him. I think he cried more than once in the night, quietly and unobtrusively. That’s not my Yomi. That’s not the same cute hyper little guy I’ve wanted for so long.

I can’t believe we’ve come to this pathetic state. I’m even thinking like a loser.

I try to pull myself together as I meet Sakito in the kitchen area making tea. I smile a hello at him and walk on through hurriedly before he can see there’s anything wrong or comment on the bruised state of my face. Yomi lingers behind with him and in a way I’m relieved.
Luckily there’s no sign of the other two in the main room, so I sink down heavily on my drum stool and start setting up. I can hear the murmur of Saki’s perky voice and surmise that Hitsugi has been sent down to the store for snacks and Ni~ya-chan hasn‘t arrived yet. Thank god.

After a while, which I spend fiddling and doing nothing useful whatsoever, Yomi comes in with a cup of tea and perches himself beside me tentatively. I note how his little fingers curl around the hot edges of the cup and want him again almost painfully. We sit in silence.
Saki comes in and looks at me a little strangely, then shrugs and begins simultaneously eating his breakfast and tuning up.

About five minutes later I jump as Ni~ya-chan makes his entrance, bass slung over his shoulder and his pale face faintly pink with cold. He shoots one look at me, and at Yomi sitting quietly beside me, and then his jaw tightens and he looks away. I suddenly ache and I can’t look at him.

“Morning! Nice of you to joins us!” grins Saki cheerfully.
Ni~ya-chan smiles easily - there’s something about Saki that means you just can’t get grumpy at him. Maybe it’s how fundamentally good-natured he is. Maybe it’s his beautiful face. I wish I could turn on the charm like he does, anyhow.
Hitsugi comes in finally, grumping about always being the errand boy. Saki tosses his black locks carelessly.

“That’s your prerogative as the youngest”.

Hitsugi sprawls next to him and prods him disrespectfully in the stomach.
“Yeah, ‘cos you’re so aged and saggy”.

“Hey! Cheeky kid”, Saki laughs, prodding him back. Suddenly I feel really old.

All things considered, we have a pretty good practice that morning; there’s a restless energy to it that must come from the three of us. Saki seems surprised but pleased at the outcome, even though he keeps shooting exasperated looks at me and Ruka. Seeing Ni~ya being so cold and hateful to Ruka is very strange, totally out of place, and very painful to watch from my point of view; I feel so guilty, although the sensible part of my brain keeps telling me it’s more Ruka’s fault than mine. Ni~ya hides his hurt well from the others, but I can see it in the way he moves around us, and in his black eyes when they appear to be fixed on him, only him, and then look away quickly.

When we break for lunch Hitsugi-kun with strange tact manages to place himself between them and starts rambling good-humouredly to no-one in particular, in between slurping noodle cup. I take the opportunity to escape for a minute into the kitchen area, where Saki is using the microwave. He turns round and quietly slides the door shut behind me. I relax against the counter.

“Are you going to tell me what’s been going on?” he asks eagerly, and I stop relaxing. I try to look disinterested.

“No. There’s nothing to tell”, I lie.

He looks sceptical.
“Come on. Did you hit Ruka?”

“No! Why would you think that? Nothing’s going on!”

“You’re such a poor liar”, he smiles, leaning next to me companionably. “You got it last night, didn’t you?”

“I what?!”

“Yesterday”, he explains to me patiently like I’m mentally challenged, “either Ruka or Ni~ya made love to you”. I blush bright tell-tale red.

“How can you tell that?”

“You’re asking me? It’s obvious, from the way you’re moving, from the way you sit, by how stupid you three are acting. Somebody did something last night about which one or more people are none too pleased. I’m not blind, Yomi.”

“Oh”, I whisper, feeling ashamed. I wonder if Ni~ya has noticed.

He tilts my chin up with one slender finger.
“So why are you acting so miserable? I know it probably hurt but try and look a little satisfied”.

“But I’m not satisfied”, I whisper, then wince as I realise how dumb that sounds. He lifts a perfect eyebrow.

“No? Well then…” He leans down and kisses me gently, easily, and it’s sweet and soothing enough that I start to unwind. The warmth of his body is pleasant, and I lay my hands on his stomach as he takes me in his arms, almost forgetting everything -

“Wait!” I break away from his mouth sharply. He looks a little surprised but not offended, still holding me lightly.
“I can’t”, I say miserably, “it’s not right”, even though there’s nothing I want more than to just forget myself in Saki’s embrace.

“Wow”, he comments, stroking my hair, “whoever it was, you must have fallen for him bad”.

I hang my head. Maybe. I know which I prefer…but I’ve tied myself to Ruka and I do love him, I think. And Saki…I know he wouldn’t ever be mine; there’s no reason why he’d ever want to be.

“Well”, continues Saki calmly, “if you ever need me, you know I’m here, right?”

I nod. But I shouldn’t go to him again.

When I go back in, Ruka is talking to Hitsugi-kun and actually smiling - I don’t want to disturb him when he’s looking so peaceful, so I step out of the back door onto the steps. The wind slams it shut behind me, and I shiver, my bare arms raising goose-bumps. Ni~ya is sitting below me, staring off into space; his shoulders are tense and he looks entirely miserable.

I lower myself down next to him gingerly, leaning to one side a bit - my ass is killing me and no doubt about it. He observes my careful movements and smiles bitterly. I hope he doesn’t get as angry as he did with Ruka.

“Are you ok?” he asks concernedly, looking darkly at the bruises on my arms. I hug myself, covering them with my hands.

“Sure…” I feel sincerely awkward - I’m pretty sure he knows, and that he knows I know he knows - oh, whatever. I don’t know what I can do to make him feel better; maybe I can’t do anything. Maybe Ruka’s the one who needs to do something, because he’s the one Ni~ya can’t keep his hurt gaze away from constantly. But I should say something.

“Ni~ya, I -”

“Yomi”, he interrupts heavily, “I told you I wouldn’t pressure you, didn’t I? Please… don’t bring any of this up now”.

I shut up, then open my big mouth again.
“But I just wanted to say -”
I don’t finish as he sinks his face in his white hands, speaking through his fingers.

“Please. Yomi. Just leave me alone for a bit…ok?”

I sit and gawp at him as he begins to cry silently into his hands. This is worse than him being just angry with us. I lay one hand on his shoulder.

“Please”, he whispers. I pull my hand back and tiptoe back inside, a lump in my throat as well. How many more of my friends can I hurt?

I open the back door and step outside for a cigarette. I feel like shit, my nerves are all over the place. Then I see Ni~ya-chan on the steps below me; I start to turn round to creep back in without him seeing me. He doesn’t look up, or even seem to notice that I’m there. I faintly hear the muffled sound of sniffling - he’s crying?
I gulp. I’m so fucking guilty; I know all of this is completely my fault.

I nervously go down the steps and sit down next to him. His head is sunk in his arms and he doesn’t acknowledge me. I should do something. What the hell should I do?
I sit there in silence, not knowing what to say - there’s nothing I can say to make this better.
Eventually he looks up, and my heart turns over as I see his pale, devastated face. His eyes are red with crying as they stare into mine, not even showing anger anymore but just complete desolation and hurt. I can’t look away from him, his white skin stark and beautiful against the black of his clothes and hair.

“You had to go and do it, didn’t you”, he says hollowly.

I hang my head guiltily. “I -”

Almost tiredly he gives me a backhanded slap across the face, his fist curled loosely, exactly on the place he hit me yesterday. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I gasp as the pain unfurls again in my cheek. I raise my hand to my face and his black eyes follow it. He bites his lip, then abruptly jumps up and rushes inside, not saying another word.

I’ll just sit here. If I don’t move or speak to anyone, maybe no-one else will get hurt.


Sakito sat cross-legged on the kitchen counter, idly skimming through a bundle of prospective lyrics. He had to admit he was worried - despite their excellent practice that day, it was blindingly obvious that something very wrong was happening between his three friends, and finally he had a pretty good idea what.

He absently chewed on his fingernail, trying to figure out what he could do about it without his vocalist getting hurt. Just why this should be so important Sakito didn’t know, but he was determined not to let it happen.
He wondered if he should ask Hitsugi’s advice, but thought better of it - the other guitarist would most likely explode or have some kind of breakdown if he even suggested that relationships in the band were about to get even more complicated. Hitsugi’s opinion, as he had told Sakito at length the previous week, was that they were all a bunch of kids with no control over their juvenile hormones, and as such deserved a good spanking. Sakito had sniggered at that and made a comment that caused Hitsugi to glow scarlet and then burst out laughing.

He was just pondering over the striking bruise on Ruka’s face, and what the exact circumstances were that had caused it, when the door slid open and Ni~ya walked in, closing it behind him quietly. Sakito’s sharp eyes quickly noted every nuance of his bass player’s appearance. He promptly shoved a cup of tea at him.

Ni~ya tried to smile normally.
“You can’t solve every problem with tea, Saki”.

Sakito shrugged elegantly.
“You can try”.

Ni~ya directed his gaze at a point about three inches to the left of Sakito’s ear and spoke.
“I need a week off”.

“And what would you do with your week off?” Sakito asked, staring closely at him.

“I’m going to go stay with my parents. It’s about that time. Can you square it with Management, Saki? Please?”

Sakito eased himself down from the worktop.
“Of course I will. Don’t be such a moron”.

Ni~ya looked up at him, surprised but hopeful.

“I know what’s wrong, Ni~ya. I’d be a total bastard if I didn’t let you get out for a while”.

“You - you know…?”

“I’ve seen the way you’ve been staring at him for the last two days. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. So just go - we’ve got nothing that important coming up this week, I’m sure I can, er, persuade Management.”

Ni~ya met his eyes.
“Thank you”.

Sakito waved his hand airily.
“No problem. Just…try not to let it hurt you. It might all turn out different to how you think”.

“That’s easy for you to say”, Ni~ya mumbled, shining black hair covering his face again as he stared into his tea.

“Just go. I’ll take care of everything”.

Sakito frowned as Ni~ya left the room. Just how he was going to take care of everything, he had no idea.


Chapter Text

I spend the days of the next week in a strange limbo-like state, not knowing what to do with myself - Sakito and Hitsugi have gone on some prolonged jam session with that tall, pretty guitarist from Gazette, Uruha I think he’s called, and there’s nothing much for us to do around the studio. So I mope at home, doing nothing but waiting for it to get dark, the only thing that can take my mind off all the things that are bothering me.

I spend the nights in Yomi’s arms, in Yomi’s bed, the occasional moonlight filtering down on us through the shoji screens, his diminutive body slick and tense below me as I make love to him; he always clings to me desperately, trying not to cry out when I hurt him, because I’m almost mindless with pleasure when I touch him and I don’t take care of him like I should. Once is never enough for me and when we do it for the second time I can be more gentle, his little mewls of satisfaction lovely to my ears as his legs curl around my waist and I hold him tightly to me like I’d never let go.

But when it’s over I feel worse than ever; I just can’t stop myself and he doesn’t try to stop me, but I know this isn’t really what he needs. And as soon as I leave his arms and the physical sensations fade, a newly familiar smothering mask of hurt closes around me that I can’t shake off.

Ni~ya-chan is gone.
He left last week without saying another word to me; I don’t know where he’s gone, although I’m sure Saki has a good idea, but he’s not saying anything to me.
The shock I felt when Yomi wasn’t speaking to me is nothing, nothing compared to the pain of losing Ni~ya-chan, and I can’t even talk to him or try to apologise. I wasn’t prepared for this, I never thought it would hurt so much…Ni~ya-chan has always been right there beside me, taking care of me unobtrusively and silently. And now he’s gone and I miss him like I never thought possible. I still have the faded reminder of him on my cheek, sore and aching.

I don’t even know when he’s coming back. Whenever I ask Saki he just looks at me strangely and says ‘soon’, and nothing more. I can’t figure out what that look means, but I think either Yomi’s told him about us or he’s figured it out by himself - Saki’s very astute when it comes to things like this, although I’m sure he’s never actually had a normal, functional relationship in his life - not that I can talk.

And then one evening Yomi comes to my apartment. He curls himself beside me on the couch and takes my hand, playing with my fingers pensively as he stares down at them.

“What’s wrong?” I ask in trepidation, noting with surprise his determined, nervous expression.

“I…” He sighs and looks up at me. “I think we have to stop this”.

“What?!” That was so unexpected I can’t think of anything to say.

“I mean, not for ever”, he continues hurriedly, presumably noticing the look of horror on my face. “I just…need a rest. Some space, some time to think about things”. He leans his head gently on my arm. “Please don’t be angry, Ruka”.

I sit there. He’s absolutely right, damn him. This is too intense, too weirdly obsessive to just keep going with it like this, because one of us is going to crack. I’m already starting to see signs of physical and mental exhaustion on Yomi’s little body.

But I feel so scared at the thought of being without him. I’ll be entirely alone with my stupid problems and nothing to distract me from them. But how can I refuse him this?
I raise my hand and he flinches slightly; does he really think I’d hurt him that way? I guess I haven’t looked after him like he deserves. I start to stroke his hair softly and pull him close to me, hoping desperately it’s not for the last time.

“If this is what you want”, I whisper. He nods. I bite my lip. “But…will you still come and see me sometimes?” I ask pathetically.

“Of course. Ruka, you’re my best friend and I love you, and I can’t change that”. He looks surprised that I would even ask. He reaches up and pulls my head down to kiss me delicately, and again I’m overcome with wanting him. I wrap my arms tightly around his small frame.

“Once more…please?” I beg quietly. For answer he moves closer and melts against me, his hands tangling in my clothing. We make love right there on the sofa, and I’m as gentle as I can be, trying not to hurt him, trying to show him I love him. He moans my name out softly, a mixture of resignation and desire that is almost painful to hear.

And then he leaves. And I’m alone.

I sit silently for the rest of the evening, trying to sort out my thoughts from one another into some sort of sense, but I can’t do it. I’m too tired and too miserable.

And that night I have a very strange dream.
It’s fuzzy and dim, like I’m seeing it through a muslin curtain, almost like it’s not a dream at all but some kind of weird hallucination, the feelings in it are so strong. I’m lying down in some place, and I can’t tell anything about it except that it’s dark but not pitch black, and slightly cold. I’m not tied down by anything I can see, but when I try to move in order to look around, I find I can’t. But oddly enough this doesn’t worry me. I’m just waiting for something, although I couldn’t say what.

I shiver a little, goosebumps raising on my arms. Then my whole attention is fixed on the figure suddenly standing in front of me, a little distance away, appearing so fast it‘s almost creepy. They move towards me and as I’m trying to work out who it is they slowly begin to climb over me. In one of those irritating dream states I don’t know who it is, or even if it’s a boy or a girl.
Their body touches mine and I stop shivering immediately with the wonderful heat. Whoever it is walks their fingers slowly up my chest, making me shiver for an entirely different reason. For a minute I think it might be the actress who played the girl with the yellow tracksuit in Battle Royale, whom I used to have a huge crush on and really hoped to ‘meet’ one day. But I don’t think it is.

All I can tell is that they may be wearing black but I can’t be sure; their touch is gentle and their eyes are soft and dark, but as I look they flash with something that immediately turns me on. Their hair falls forward in a shining curtain. It might be long, it might not be, I can’t really see. They’re definitely shorter than me. As I try to raise my head for a closer look they push me back down gently but firmly, and teasingly lean in closer over me, our bodies brushing together. And as they bend down towards my face as if to kiss me, I suddenly want them helplessly because I know that if I have them I will be satisfied and completed, forever.
I try to reach up to pull them nearer. They’re about to touch my lips and those dark eyes look into mine in a way that seems terribly familiar - but just as I’m about to put my finger on it, they laugh.

And I wake up, sweating and aroused. I sit bolt upright. How fucking weird was that? What was that? More to the point, who was that?! I’m gonna go nuts if I don’t find out; that was the sweetest, sexiest dream I’ve had for a long time. Was it Yomi? I just can’t tell.

I eventually manage to sleep again, but my mystery girl/boy doesn’t return. In the morning I can still remember the dream. Too, too weird. I’m sure it means something really deep…or something.

Well. Ruka sure took that better than I expected. I was imagining the horrible things he might say to me all the way to his apartment - but when I finally got up the courage to tell him, effectively, that I wanted out, he didn’t make a fuss at all. He looked sad - but then he always does these days. He seems preoccupied with something I can’t figure out, something he’s so concerned about that it makes what I told him seem trivial. Maybe. But I really do need a rest. I’m running out of energy for this, physically and emotionally.

I really need to talk to someone - well, Ni~ya’s out of the question and besides, no-one has seen him all week; Hitsugi-kun will either lecture me or laugh in my face; so it will have to be Sakito. But I find it hard to talk to Saki objectively these days, especially on this subject. I realise that I don’t really have that many friends apart from these four guys, at least none close enough to talk with about something like this.

Well. Saki it is. I mooch round to his house (and it is a house, not an apartment - someone must be paying him well) and bang on the door.

“Just a sec!” I hear through the panelling.

“It’s me!” I shout.

“Oh”. He opens the door and I step back in alarm. “Come in”.

I do so. I was freaked out there for a minute by the acid green…stuff covering his face.
“Saki, what is that gunk all over you?”

“Face mask. I’m supposed to have a date tonight”. He’s wearing an expensive-looking dressing gown and his hair is pinned back from his face by a sparkling band.

“Oh.” I bite my lip. Maybe now is not the time.

“Make yourself at home”. I kick my shoes off and sit down on one of the huge cushions that adorn his floor.

“What’s up, Yomi? Is this just a social visit, or is there something particular I can do for you?” He smiles coquettishly.

“Well…er…I was hoping I could talk to you for a bit…I really need some advice…but if now isn’t a good time I could -”

He looks concerned, and sinks down next to me, catlike.
“Of course now is a good time. I’ll just cancel tonight.”

“Oh, but -”

“Ssshhh”. He picks up his keitai and dials as he walks out into the kitchen. I hear him talking softly in a persuasive voice. Then he comes back in and sits down again. “It’s fine. Of course”.

I look at him nervously, but he looks kind and patient, a little smile at the corner of his mouth.
“Er…well. I supposed you’ve guessed by now that…God, this is so embarrassing…um, Ruka and I have been…”

“I knew it!” He smiles triumphantly at his own powers of deduction.

“Yes. Well. What I was trying to say was, I’m totally confused. And I want to know what I should do. Today…” damn, it is really hard to talk about this with someone who’s grinning like the Cheshire Cat, “Today I told him that I didn’t want to do it anymore”.

“Ah”. he nods understandingly.

“I said I needed to think. He seems Ok with it, to be honest I don’t think he was paying much attention…but did I do the right thing? I think…maybe I love him, but I don’t know if I love him the right way to do…that with him…”
God I sound so stupid.

“Well, does he satisfy you? You know what I mean?”

“God, Sakito!” He’s so embarrassing. “Yes. He does I guess…but afterwards we both feel…empty. Is that normal? It’s too weird”. I’m bright red now, I can hardly look at him.

“Hmm. I thought so”. Oh really. “I think you did the right thing, for now. Until that boy can control himself…he’s too big for you and he’s too rough. I know exactly what kind of person Ruka is in that respect, I’ve seen guys like him before”.

“Er…ok. But…but what should I do now? And what about Ni~ya? I feel like such a jerk, Saki, I’ve been really cruel to him”.

Saki leans back against the sofa.
“I wouldn’t worry about Ni~ya right now. He’s just taking a break. And it’s not just your fault, Yomi, there’s more to it”.
There is? How does Saki know all this stuff?

“Well”, I say decisively, slightly reassured by Saki’s approval of my actions, “I told him I was going to think, and I am going to think”.

He grins widely and does a little jive with his hands, switching his head from side to side.
“He’s thinking, he’s thinking, and we should go out drinking!”

I laugh suddenly. He looks ridiculous.

“Seriously though, Yomi. I prescribe a night of getting wrecked with me”.

I glare at him incredulously. “How’s that gonna help?”

“Well what else were you going to do? Stay in alone and mope? If you come out, you’ll have the pleasure of my delightful company! I’ll get you so drunk you won’t even remember what day it is!”
He bounces up from the floor and stands above me.

“Go have a drink while I get dressed. There’s loads of stuff in the cupboard over there”.
He sashays off into the bathroom. I ruefully pour myself a drink (well, might as well take advantage of Saki’s high-class booze while I can), and in a couple of minutes he returns with his face mercifully free of gunge, his make-up light and perfect. He wanders off into his downstairs bedroom, leaving the door open, humming some pop song.
I peek round the edge of the door and get a view of him standing in his underwear, his huge wardrobe doors wide open. I pull my head back quickly and sit back down. He’s so perfect I’m almost jealous.

After about ten minutes of me getting progressively more lazy and slobby, he emerges like a butterfly from a chrysalis in a deep blue velvet outfit that shows all of his stomach and quite a lot of the rest of him. His hair is teased through perfectly. He looks absolutely delicious. I feel like a hobo next to him, in my jeans and Plastic Tree t-shirt that I’ve had for about five years.

I stare levelly at him.
“Sakito. What do you think you’re wearing? You are not going out on the pull.”

He smirks.
“We’ll see about that, won’t we?”

I roll my eyes as he goes through to the kitchen again and rings for a cab. I think I’m going to spend a very long evening sitting by myself. It’s like magic. I walk into a public place with Saki, and Bam, I’m invisible. Oh well.
I try and pull myself together, try not to think of Ruka sitting by himself (as I presume he is doing - well, that’s what I was going to do, anyway). This will be fun. I haven’t been out with Saki alone for a long time. Now if I can just control my drink intake…

Four hours later I am roaringly, stupendously, magnificently drunk. I’m sprawled on a high stool by the wall of whatever bar we’re in right now (names and places having long ago been reduced into a blur), something blue, liquid and possibly lethal in a glass covered with suspicious paper umbrellas and random bits of fruit in my hand.
Saki is giggling helplessly on my shoulder as I sing along with the background music at the top of my voice, possibly not all that tunefully. He’s stuck to me almost freakishly like a limpet all night, mercifully ignoring the drooling, admiring glances of various men and women that have been following him round all evening, even though I don’t think he’s had to buy one drink for himself yet.

“Y’see, Yo - Yomi!” he hiccups, giggling harder, “I told you you’d forget everything if you came out with me!”

“Uuh-huh. I think I’ve forgotten how to walk”, I slur stupidly. He leans against me heavily, burying his face in my neck to stifle his laughter. His breath is tickling me and I push him off.
“Hey Saki - y’know Hitsugi is gonna kick your ass tomorrow morning! Try and behave like a sh- like a sensible adult, huh?”

“Dunno what you mean”. His cheeks are flushed, his hair is a mess now, he’s staggering all over the place, and he looks so fucking beautiful I’m surprised someone hasn’t just jumped him by now. Lucky I’m here to protect him…

“I think”, I say seriously, wagging my finger at him and trying to focus my eyes, “that we should go home now”.

He pouts at me sulkily, then collapses in giggles again. I roll my eyes, or try to, and attempt to get down from the stool which results in me crashing to the floor.


Saki pulls me roughly to my feet and I lean against him while I try to find my balance, not that he’s a very stable prop at this stage.

“C’mon”. I take his hand and pull him through the crowded bar. He stumbles after me till we pass the stolid-looking doormen and are out in the street. It’s raining again. He laughs as the run-off from a roof gutter splashes down on me, soaking my hair and making me splutter with surprise.

He wraps an arm around my shoulder companionably, resting his weight on me till I think I’m going to fall right back over.
“Shall we go for a lil walk Yomi?” he suggests, hugging me as he tugs me away down the road.

“We can walk to the taxi stand”, I tell him severely. “I think it’s about time you went to bed. You’re drunk, Sakito”.

“Why thank you for letting me know!” he exclaims with a passable attempt at sarcasm in his inebriated state.
We start to walk, or stagger, down the street. I’m concentrating very hard on walking in a straight line and trying not to trip over my own feet, as well as actually remembering where the taxi stand is, which is proving harder than I thought.
We stop on the corner to wait for the traffic lights, despite Saki’s attempt to stroll straight across into the middle of the road. It’s raining harder and there aren’t many people on the streets.

I jump as he wraps both arms around me, squeezing me tight in a bear hug so I can hardly breathe.

“Gerroff!” I growl, my voice muffled by his jacket. I’m relieved when he retreats to resting his hands on my shoulders. He looks down at me cross-eyed for a second, then surprises me totally by leaning down and kissing me firmly and gently. My eyes flutter closed and as always I’m swept away in the sweet feeling of Saki’s lips on mine. I reach up dazedly to let my fingers flicker over his face; even blind drunk his kisses are amazing; he slips his tongue between my lips slyly and I hang on his neck, feeling both lulled and excited at the same time.

He pulls back and grins down at me bashfully and happily.

“You’re such a kitten”.

“I’m a what?” I say breathlessly, still hanging on to him, my legs suddenly wobbly. His grin gets wider, drunk and stupid but irresistible. I wish I were so happily oblivious.

“Aww…” he latches onto me again, his wet skin and warm body brushing against me as he kisses me expertly, regardless of anyone who might be walking past. I don’t have the heart to stop him, I don’t want to stop kissing him back, but I suppose I should…

“Stop it Saki!” I manage to gasp out. He looks a little hurt. “You shouldn’t kiss me”, I tell him drunkenly and tactlessly, not letting go of him.

“Didn’t you like it?” He sounds incredulous and I laugh a little.

“Eheheh. You haven’t got any morals, Sakito”, I lecture him as he fingers the bottom of my t-shirt and kisses my ear. “I belong to Ruka”, I say more quietly.

He looks puzzled.
“Huh? That’s a weird thing to say. You don’t belong to anyone. You belong to you, see?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means, my pretty little kitty”, he smirks, moving his lips to my neck, “that you can do anything you like. Especially right now”.

“Give it a rest, Sakito”, I say more firmly than I feel, pushing him away from me. He pats me on the head. I troop down to the nearest taxi, Saki rambling along in my wake, and climb inside, giving my address.

“No!” he giggles, climbing in after me clumsily and almost squashing me as he loses his balance. “Stay at my house”.

“I don’t think so, Saki. I think you need a good sleep”. The driver is listening in to this exchange with amusement.

“No! I can’t sleep by myself. It’s too scary”. He snorts with laughter.

“Don’t give me that. I want to sleep in a real bed, not on someone’s sofa”.

“You caaaan!” he whinges comically. “My house has more than one bed, y’know”.

I purse my lips and glare at him.
“Ok. And I say this against my better judgement. But I’m not looking after you if you throw up, and I’m not caring for your hangover, and you’d better make me a magical breakfast tomorrow”.

“Yay!” he squeaks, sticking an arm around me again. I pry him off me and resignedly give the driver his address.
He falls asleep on the way back, sliding down to rest his head on my chest. He’s soaking wet. I sigh in exasperation and fold my arms, trying to resist the temptation to cuddle him and run my fingers through his dark hair.

When we reach his house he magically springs back to life and pays the driver, which is a good thing as I am now broke for the night.
We walk up the path, and as soon as he gets through the door he begins taking his clothes off.

“What the hell are you doing?!” I squawk in panic.

“I’m all wet”, he explains patiently, standing in his underwear, hands on his slim hips. “Now I’ll put some more clothes on if you can’t take the temptation”. He wanders into his bedroom and emerges in pyjamas, drying his hair with a towel. He throws a bundle at me, which turns out to be a very thick, very expensive pair of my own which will definitely be too big and look ridiculous. I scuttle into the bathroom to change. It’s good to have bare feet again.

When I get out I find him in the spacious kitchen. He’s wearing a housewife apron and has his thick-rimmed, geeky glasses jammed on his nose. They keep slipping down and he has to push them up with his arm, as his hands are full.

“Saki. It’s one a.m and you’re cooking tempura. What’s wrong with you?!”

“I’m hungry. Aren’t you hungry?” he waves a wooden spoon at me, spattering me with batter mix.

“Of course”. Stupid question.

I sit quietly at the counter, watching him cook and listening to him ramble on incoherently.

“’Cos y’know, those guys are gonna be great soon! I met their bass player. Reita? Reita. He’s verrrry pretty. So we had a nice chat and I said maybe we could, er, do something fun sometime”.

“Of course you did.” He’s right, they’re all very pretty in that band. And their singer sure looks like he wouldn’t let any guy walk all over him unlike someone not a million miles away…


He’s piled up a huge plate with tempura (everything in his fridge that you could possibly dip in batter, it looks like), and two bowls of rice. He balances it all on his arm and miraculously makes it to the living room without it falling to the floor. He plonks himself down on a cushion, his long legs sprawled across the tatami. He turns on the TV and flicks through till he finds a Disney movie, and settles back, patting the cushion next to him.

“Siddown. Eat!”

I obey, nodding in approval of Saki’s cooking skills. When I’ve stuffed myself to satiation he clears the dishes to one side and leans back against the sofa, yawning. He reaches out and pulls me to him. He feels so comfortable and I’m so tired. I rest my head against him and relax. He seems to be behaving himself.

“Yomi”, comes his soft voice after a while, “are you sleepy?”

I yawn hugely in reply, and he sits up and stretches luxuriously. He stands up gracefully, having regained his balance since earlier, and pulls me to my feet. He doesn’t let go of my hand as he leads me towards his bedroom. When we get to the doorway I stop.

“Hey, whoa whoa. You said you had more than one bed in this house!”

He stands behind me and wraps his arms around my middle.
“I lied, stupid”.

“Fine then. I’ll sleep on the sofa, ok?”

He shakes his head emphatically.
“Not ok. Come and sleep next to me. I won’t do anything, I promise! Don’t you trust me?”

I laugh hollowly.
“Come on Saki. You’re a slut, to put it politely”.

“Well, I never! Come on Yomi, it’s a great big bed, it’ll be like I’m not even there!”

This is a bad idea. But his eyes are pleading me so sweetly.
“Fine. But you owe me big time, buddy”. I march in ahead of him and clamber into the admittedly huge bed (I sure hope he only sleeps in here), pulling the thick covers obstinately up to my chin. I shouldn’t have got drunk! How can I possibly spend the whole night in the same bed as Saki and not want him to kiss me more? It’s beyond human capabilities.
He climbs in on the other side, dimming the light until it’s soft and low. I determinedly roll over to face away from him and try to ignore his presence. After a while I hear an occasional, rhythmic rustling. I twist my head round curiously. He’s sitting up and reading, his glasses perched on the tip of his nose even though I’m not sure he really needs them. Every so often he turns a page. Huh. So he’s really not interested in trying anything. I feel a bit put out.

“What’re you reading?” I ask, turning round to lie on my back.

He waves the book in front of my eyes.
“Gone With the Wind. A Western classic love story. It rocks!”


“If it’s bothering you I can stop and put the light out”.

“That’s ok”, I say graciously. I shut my eyes and fall into a light doze, my train of thought going off everywhere.

The next thing I’m aware of is light kisses being pressed on my face, my eyes, my nose, finally my lips.
“Hey! Quit it! I’m trying to sleep here!” I grumble. I open my eyes. Saki is half-sitting up, one hand resting lightly on my chest, his face close to mine. As I look at him he lies back down and rolls me over towards him so that I’m lying on my side, staring into his smiling eyes.
He pulls me in towards him and kisses my mouth again slowly, his hand now combing through my hair and sending shivers down my back.

“I mean it Sakito!” I say, trying to sound irritable when all I want is for him to continue. He smiles and strokes my cheek, his head resting lightly on the pillow.

“Please, Yomi”, he breathes. “Just a kiss, for me”.
Wow. Sakito, the most stunningly beautiful person I’ve met, is actually begging me to kiss him. Well, kind of. What can I do?
I roll my eyes for the umpteenth time this evening and let him tug me towards him again. He presses his lips against mine with such sweetness that it takes my breath away. I close my eyes and try to maintain some sort of control as I kiss him back, hesitantly at first, his mouth warm and pliant beneath mine.

“Mmm…” He sighs in a little voice, and this suddenly feels so totally right. I lean up on my elbow so I’m slightly above him and kiss him harder, my hands moving to either side of his perfect face as he returns it hungrily, his strong hands running down my chest fondly. I break away from his lips and gently kiss his pale throat, his skin soft and fragrant with bubble bath. He sighs softly again and runs a hand through my hair tenderly as I move my mouth slowly down to the opening of his pyjama shirt.

And then I stop. What am I doing? Didn’t I just tell myself I wasn’t going to be fooled into doing this? Then five minutes in his bed and I’m all over him like some horny pervert.
I sit up with difficulty. He also flows up from his prone position and regards me seriously.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like me?” he asks in a small voice. I eye him suspiciously, but he doesn’t seem to be kidding around.

“It’s more the other way around, isn’t it Saki?” I say blankly. “You don’t really like me or love me, not really, at least not any more than any of those other guys you go with. I’m not special to you. I can’t be with you, so why should I tease myself?”

His expression clears.
“Is that what you really think?” He sits up straighter, throwing the covers back and looking strangely earnest for him. “What if I told you I would want to be with you? Just you?”

I snort sceptically.

“You’re such a little cynic. Be with me”, he says seriously, “I can make you happy, I promise I can make you happy if you’ll believe me that I want you!”

I sit there with my mouth open. What the heck is going on here? When did all my band members go so crazy? I half-expect Hitsugi-kun to leap out of a cupboard with a dozen roses and propose to me. I snigger slightly at the absurdity of this thought. But seriously!!

“It’s not that funny, Yomi!” he exclaims, looking offended. “If I could have you I’d give up all the others, I’d give everything up to be with you!”

“Where did all this suddenly come from?” I demand.

He scratches his head.
“I…don’t know. That’s all kind of irrelevant anyway”.

“Oh really, is it?”

“All that matters is that I love you!”

Now I’m sure this is all some very weird dream brought on by stress and when I wake up I’ll be in my own bed, hopefully alone. I never thought I’d hear Sakito say those words to anyone, let alone me! Is he really that drunk? Is he serious?!

“Come on, Yomi”, he says persuasively, lightly, but his eyes are wide and eager. “Be mine”. He takes my hand and kisses it. I want him. I instinctively want him like I want food and music and sleep. But…

“How about we give it…kind of a test run?” I suggest. He looks comically confused for a second, then turns on me a smile of incredible happiness and takes my other hand, placing both of them around his neck.

“Anything you want”, he tells me, then bends his head to mine and kisses me, sliding his arms around my waist. I tilt my face up to his, his mouth moving lovingly against mine. I feel contentment surge through me as his hands slide beneath my shirt, caressing gently along my ribcage. He breaks away from my mouth and just hugs me tightly, his face hidden in my neck. I close my eyes and hold him close, and feel him gently lowering me to the bed.
And then…I think I fall straight into sleep.

I feel myself swimming into wakefulness and groan. I crack open one eye and then wish I hadn’t - blinding sunlight is streaming into the room through a gap in the curtains straight into my brain. I lie there for a minute, trying to will myself back into sleep; when it’s obvious this is not going to happen I open the other eye and try a look around.

I start. Sakito is sitting on the bed next to me, cross-legged, rather unnervingly watching me sleep. He smiles as my eyes meet his and reaches out to brush my insane morning hair away from my forehead.

“Good morning, sleepy”.

I stare at him bitterly - he seems remarkably chirpy and fresh-faced considering how much he drank last night. Last night…how much does he remember of that? He was pretty wasted. He tosses back his perfect hair and I growl, feeling as though my head’s going to burst. Some people are just born with way too much luck. I want to just close my eyes and sleep again till next week.

He reaches out and helps me up into a sitting position, me grumbling all the way.

“Ugh…what time is it?”

“Eleven o’clock. More than time for you to get up, Mr Snory”.

“What are you babbling about?” I moan.

“I’m never letting you sleep on your back in my presence again. I’m amazed I got a wink of sleep!”

“I do not snore!” I complain as he rips the bedcovers back cruelly and pulling me to my feet. I’m forced to cling to him as the room spins around me. Ugh.

He takes an amused look at me.
“Why don’t you go and have a bath while I get breakfast ready?”

“I think I’m gonna be sick”.

He steps hurriedly away from me and ushers me firmly in the direction of the bathroom, leaving me to run the huge bath and play with the myriad kinds of bubbles and soap. When it’s full to the brim and steaming I climb in and sink back against the side, heaving a pained sigh and closing my eyes. I’ll just lie here for a little while…

I wake up to Saki kneeling by the bath and prodding me in the shoulder. I blink blearily at him, then look down at my hands, the fingers just beginning to prune up at the ends.

“You shouldn’t sleep in the bath”, he scolds me, “You could slip under and drown, and then where would we be with no singer?”

“Nice to see you too”, I growl at him moodily. He smiles cheerfully, then darts in to kiss me before I can protest.

“Time to get out”, he announces, holding out a towel that’s bigger than I am.

“Go away then”, I say bashfully.

“Don’t be such a baby”. I shyly stand up, the cooler air hitting me suddenly, and grab the towel from him, wrapping it around myself gratefully. He moves towards me and takes the edges of the towel.


He silences my whining with another kiss, and gently rubs me dry, his hands caressing me through the towel like an expert massage. He brings me my now dry clothes and helps me dress, not that I need any help, planting random kisses on my knee, my stomach, my chest. I’m starting to feel a bit better. Maybe breakfast isn’t such a bad idea. Contact with Saki is so relaxing. I can’t believe I fell asleep on him last night! How embarrassing. Judging by the way he’s acting this morning, he remembers everything, probably a lot clearer than I do. I hope he won’t push me into anything…I hope he’ll wait for me…

After breakfast he sticks some yen in my hand and passes me my jacket.

“Go home. Go to bed”.

“Don’t you want me here?” I ask worriedly. He strokes my neck gently.

“Of course I do. But right now, you need to go back to sleep, and you need to think. When you want to see me again, come back. And…if you discover it really is Ruka you want…I’ll understand”.

I feel touched. I impulsively stand on tiptoe to kiss him, and he takes me in his arms like I’m the only other person who exists, holding me tightly but not painfully, his hands caressing my back. I’m about to suggest that I just skip out the whole thinking bit and stay right here, when he straightens up so I can’t reach him.

“We’ll have another practice the day after tomorrow. I’ll see you in the studio”.

“Ok”. I step out into the late autumn sun feeling happy for the first time in weeks. Saki waves at me till I turn the corner.

Sakito waited until his singer was out of sight, and then went back inside and plopped down on one of the kitchen stools, leaning his elbows on the worktop. He frowned a little perplexedly. As Yomi had predicted, he did indeed remember everything about the previous night, and was feeling not a little confused. He honestly hadn’t meant to make any move on him, and certainly hadn’t even thought about some cheesy romantic declaration!

He huffed a little.
But now it had been said, he didn’t intend to take it back. And that, too, was pretty odd. Sakito had always assumed that when, if ever, he settled down with someone then that someone would be rich, protective and handsome - about as far away from the cutely dorky little singer as it was possible to get.

He thought of Ruka for a moment and shook his head. Latent obsession was not something to found a relationship on, as Saki had learnt the hard way - often being the object of said obsession, he knew what he was talking about. But at the same time he didn’t want to see his friend hurt more than he had to be. It was all very difficult. Sakito mused that perhaps only Hitsugi had the right idea. But then again, Hitsugi was a nerd.

He tapped his manicured nails on the worktop, deep in thought. How could he help his friends without rocking the band’s metaphorical boat?
He leant over to the table and picked up his keitai, tossing it up and catching it a few times thoughtfully, then speed dialled.

“Hello?” came a sleepy voice on the other end.

“Ni~ya. You can come home now”.

Silence. Then Sakito heard the dial tone as Ni~ya hung up.

“How rude”.

Now…he would see what happened. Sakito thought back to high school chemistry class, reflecting that sometimes the only thing to do was to shove all the ingredients in the same beaker, stand back and see what the resulting explosion created. Then again, maybe that was why he got a D in science.

Ah well.


Chapter Text

I trot along to band practice feeling a whole lot more cheerful than I have a right to; evidently two days without having exhausting sex has not done me any harm. I did try and think about what was best for everybody in this big mess, but all I can think is how much I want Saki…I guess maybe I could love him, if I gave him the chance. So I’m avoiding thinking about anything for now, because I’m quite guilty about how little guilt I feel over Ruka…I don’t want to hurt him (not least because there’s a good chance he’ll hurt me back by smacking me in the face or something), but…

So I’m feeling a little nervous but basically ok. As soon as I get through the door, avoiding Yukiko’s eye, I’m sent crashing to the ground by a flying tackle from Hitsugi-kun.

“Ooof!” I say, squished beneath him.

“Yomi, my iddle diddle darling!” he yells. “Well this week has just been hell without you!”

“What are you ranting on about?” I ask dryly, struggling to get out from underneath him. He grins down at me, then jumps to his feet.

“How’s your turbulent love life going?” he asks, leering at me. What the hell has Saki been saying to him?! I can’t tell him anything, goddam gossip queen.

“How’s yours?” I snipe snidely. He sticks his tongue out at me. Oh maturity. Either that or he’s finally cracked under the pressure of hanging around us.

“Break it up boys, it’s only nine o’clock”, yawns a voice, and Saki mooches in, looking like the loveliest geek ever in his glasses and baggy sweatshirt. I feel a pleasurable little shiver, and smile at him shyly. He smiles back with the utter self-confidence of the truly beautiful and irresistible.

“So what do you think?” he asks cryptically.

“Still thinking”.

Hitsugi-kun furrows his eyebrows, then gives up trying to understand as the door opens and Ni~ya enters, half-hidden in the furry collar of his coat. I gulp a little and step closer to Hitsugi-kun, him being the only person in this studio I haven’t had a romantic entanglement with (wow, I‘m a slut). Ni~ya pushes his hood back and shakes out his gleaming hair. He looks a little tired but composed; he catches me staring at him and smiles, a slightly sad smile but not bitter.

“How was your trip, Ni~ya?” queries Saki, sticking a slender arm round him and pushing tea at him. Ni~ya smiles the special smile that people reserve just for Sakito, and relaxes.

I unobtrusively wander into the studio, biting my lip as I see Ruka by his drum kit.

“Hello”, I say nervously and inadequately.

“Hmm?” He looks totally spaced out. I wonder if he’s pissed off?

“Oh, hello”. I don’t think so. He’s frowning, clearly miles away. I wonder what he’s thinking about. Obviously not me. So either he’s so annoyed with me he’s blanking me from his mind…or it’s this strange thing that’s been preoccupying him all week, and that I just can’t figure out but doesn’t seem connected with me…so that’s probably alright, then. Um.

“Are…you ok, Ruka?” I ask cautiously.

“Yeah…yeah, that’s great, Yomi, well done”.

Huh? He looks up at me sharply for a moment, his head on one side, then frowns and shakes his head minutely, his eyes regaining that pensive look.

From the kitchen I hear Hitsugi-kun’s voice raised in what sounds like some joke, and a few seconds later the high soft peals of Saki’s laughter, underlain plainly by Ni~ya’s lower tones, and I’m glad that they can laugh. Then I look back at Ruka, and raise my eyebrows.

His expression has risen like a sunrise. He lifts his head from his contemplation of the snare drum.

“Is Ni~ya-chan back?” he asks softly, casually, but his eyes have lit up.

I lean back against the wall.


“Oh…!” He raises one hand to his cheek, the bruise barely visible now. His expression is struggling between apprehension and happiness.

As footsteps move towards us his face relapses into its usual expression of sulkiness, and he ducks his head. Hmm. I guess he’s nervous to see if Ni~ya still hates him. I would be too.

“Hi”, says Ni~ya coolly, staring slightly coldly at Ruka. Ah.
Ruka doesn’t look up to meet his eyes, but I can see his hands trembling slightly in his lap. Well… it could be worse! At least one of them’s talking.


I hear Ni~ya-chan’s laugh echo from the other room, and my heart misses a beat. I’ve never been so glad to hear anything in my life as that sound. I know Yomi is looking at me strangely but I can’t help myself. I’ve been totally dozy over the last few days, the weird atmosphere of that dream hanging over me still, but now he’s back and I can finally think about something else. I think I was a tiny bit afraid, irrationally, that he’d disappeared for good.

A stab of apprehension passes through me as I remember how he last looked at me and told me that he hated me, because I don’t see why that would have changed. So when I hear him come into the room I can’t meet his eyes, and when he greets me so coldly, I know I was right. My heart sinks a little. But I have to try and be mature about this for once, because I’ve caught Saki giving me this strange pleading look on occasion; he must be worried about his band, I guess.

“Shall we get started, then?” I say casually, trying to sound enthusiastic. We’re a little rusty just from having a week’s break, but that is quickly sorted out, because we just gel together so well musically; I wish that were true elsewhere…should I tell Ni~ya-chan I’m not seeing Yomi anymore? Would it even make a difference? I still feel a kind of pain when Yomi is near me, but it’s been blocked out by this goddam dream, which is all I can think about these days. If I don’t find out who that was I’m gonna go crazy.

So the days pass by as we prepare for our upcoming lives. Things have settled into a kind of rhythm; I don’t look at Ni~ya-chan, and he ignores me unless he has to, but I can tell everybody’s trying not to be openly hostile to each other. There’s so much tension in the air you can hear it sizzle, but I’m learning to ignore it. Yomi clearly and sensibly wants to avoid dangerous physical contact with me, and so sticks close by Sakito, who keeps shooting me those strange, pitying, exasperated looks but hasn’t yet taken it upon himself to come and get whatever it is off his chest. Hitsugi is almost insanely cheerful, which I think is some kind of nervous reaction to all the drama, and is embarking on one therapeutic hobby after another, the latest being knitting between sets. Saki is pleased and says he needs a new jumper.

To put it mildly, everything is very strange. I hope it doesn’t get any stranger when we start to tour next week; hours on a bus, I tend to find, make people go a little odd…


Chapter Text

During one of their merciful lunch stops they relaxed. Yomi and Ruka absently played Snap at the little table, each absorbed in their thoughts. Hitsugi was knitting with his tongue stuck out, contemplating how to manage the collar and wondering if he shouldn’t have stuck to a scarf instead.
Sakito sat on the roof of the bus, wrapped in a blanket and basking in the cold sunlight. He glanced around as Ni~ya clambered up to sit beside him. He looked at his friend in concern; he was worried at Ni~ya’s unusual quietness and the air of melancholy anger that was still discernable around him. He decided to move things along a little.

“Ni~ya. Are you still angry with Ruka?”

“What do you think?”

Sakito inched his slim frame closer.
“You do know that Yomi split up with him, right?”

Ni~ya’s head shot around like lightning to look at him, then back down at the roof of the bus.
“I…didn’t know. They’re always together, and it just looks like they’re…” He hung his head, hair covering his face, and fiddled with his shoelaces neurotically.

“It’s true. So…I think you should do what you want to do. You can’t be this miserable forever”.

Ni~ya shook his head.


Sakito sighed. How was he supposed to sort things out if everyone kept being so obtuse all the time? He reached out and took Ni~ya’s pale hand, holding it tightly. The bass player didn’t move. Sakito gave up and let his thoughts drift to Yomi, smiling faintly. If everyone had his own straightforwardness, he mused, things would be sorted out in a lot less time and with a lot less angst for everyone involved.

I stand mopily in a corner, my grumpy frown keeping everyone away from me. I’m not enjoying this tour very much at the moment. Ni~ya-chan is not speaking to me at all now, his icy courtesy changed into an uncaring aloofness. He won’t look at me. I can’t look at him because I don’t want to see his beautiful eyes hating me. He’s been like this since Yomi, excited by a successful live, came over and gave me a quick goofy kiss on the lips. Not exactly sexy, but I could feel sudden waves of disapproval from both Ni~ya-chan and Sakito, although why from Saki I don’t know. Since then Ni~ya-chan hasn’t said a word to me. I don’t know how much longer I can stand things as they are.

We had a great live tonight; Yomi is back on top flirty form and making all the girls want to mother him with his little shorts outfits. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. But I can’t concentrate and have a good time, I haven’t been able to for a week.
I want my friend back! I’ve been putting it off for days, but tonight I tell myself I must do something about it. I have to talk to him, even if he ignores me.

We gather by the bus behind the live-house. Sakito is allowing Hitsugi to drag everyone out drinking somewhere in town, and won’t be back till the small hours if I know him once he gets going. I shiftily sidle nearer to Ni~ya-chan, who acts as if I’m not there. I fold my arms.

“Coming, then?” asks Hitsugi, who is holding onto the over-stimulated, post-live, squeaking Yomi by the scruff of his neck. Yomi grins his devastatingly cute grin at me and I smile back at him, half glad to see that expression back on his face after weeks of frowns.

“Er, I’ll follow you guys. I just have to have a little, er, talk with Ni~ya-chan for a sec”. I reach out and grab the cuff of his shirt without looking at him, but I see Hitsugi’s face suddenly look alarmed, and Saki bites his lip. Ignoring this, I tug at his sleeve firmly, feeling his cold gaze freeze me indignantly.

What am I thinking?

“O…k”, says Hitsugi, clearly wanting to put as much distance as possible between himself and Ni~ya-chan before he explodes. “Well, er, call Saki to find out what bar we’re in, see ya, bye!” He hurries off, dragging a protesting Yomi with him and being trailed by Saki who is glancing back at me with that damn look in his eyes, as usual.

I start to move towards the bus as the only relatively private place around here. Ni~ya-chan doesn’t seem too willing to move with me and I try and grab his wrist to pull him in the right direction. His fist clenches and he yanks his arm away.

“Just…don’t”, he says flatly.

“Damn well come with me, then”, I say bravely, sneaking a quick look in his general direction. His face is hidden by his hair as usual, but his fist is quivering in a familiar and alarming manner. Seems he hasn’t got over his need to hit me. He totally ignores my glance and sweeps past me into the empty bus. I steel myself and follow him up the steps, falling over various items of Yomi’s that are scattered over the floor in the half-dark. He’s down at the far end with his back to me, clearing up Hitsugi’s junk-food wrappers with a single-minded air to him, reaching up now and then to push his dark hair from his eyes.

I don’t quite know how to begin this.

“Why are you bothering, Ruka?” comes his icy voice as he reaches down the side of the couch. “You can’t even begin to mend this, so why bother?”

“Will you quit being such a jerk?” asks my stupid mouth without my brain even engaging. His back stiffens even more.

“Just…go away. It’d be best for you…” He’s obviously trying to keep calm although I can hear the slight tremor of anger in his voice. My (as I now know) ridiculously short-fused temper threatens to flare. His black-clad back is offending me as he stands there, not looking at me.

I stride towards him as best I can in the tiny space until I’m right behind him.
“You’re going to listen to what I have to say, Ni~ya, if I have to -”

He spins around suddenly, straightening up and letting his clenched hand fly towards my face. By an improbable reflex I bring my own hand up and catch his wrist before he connects with me. I squeeze down on his skin, not about to let him try again.

“STOP HITTING ME!!” I yell down at him. He doesn’t unclench his fist and I feel him try to pull away. I don’t think so. His head is bent and I’m staring down at him, my enraged glare directed at his shining black hair.

“Fucking listen to me”, I growl, yanking his hand back towards me as he makes another attempt to free himself.

I hate you”, he informs me in a venomous whisper, all that fake coldness evaporated in his anger. “Let me g -”

“I split up with Yomi a month ago!”, I blurt out suddenly, trying to get a word in before he attacks me. Ni~ya-chan has very sharp nails.

He stops fighting my grip instantly and tenses up again, icy tone back.
“I know that, you bastard. I’m not blind”.

He does?! Then why the fuck is he still -
“And I’m sorry, Ni~ya-chan, I shouldn’t have done that to him in the first place, I was wrong, I know it, ok?!”

He still doesn’t look up at me, as I stand there incredulously, still holding his wrist in a painfully tight grip. I can hardly hear his whisper.

“It’s not enough”.

I gape down at the top of his head. What an unbelievable fucking bastard! I just apologised to him, I admitted I was wrong for fuck’s sake! I’ve never ever done that before to another living person! And I meant it, too. Well if that didn’t help at all then I don’t know what I can say.

“What else can I do?!” I hiss, squeezing down on his wrist in exasperation. His breathing quickens. “What more do you want from me?!”

With my free hand I grab him under the chin and force his head up to face me.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing. I blink, just to check I’m not going nuts, and stare back down into his eyes for the first time since he returned, large and black. You could get lost in those eyes.

Shit. I think I finally know who I’ve been dreaming about.

I let go of his face and grab onto one of the bunks for support. I can’t look away from his dark eyes, gleaming like opals against his white skin; they’re full of so many conflicting emotions I’m almost dizzy with it. He doesn’t look away and my hand on his wrist begins to tremble. He clenches his fist once more and tugs his arm back away.

“Let. Me. G -”

Before he can escape I grab him by the back of the neck, close my eyes and kiss him like I’ve been wanting to kiss my dream person for a month. He makes a muffled noise of outrage, and the next thing I encounter is his hand connecting hard with my stomach. He pulls himself back.

“Fuck you…” he pants as I struggle for air. His voice is shaking with anger. “Fucking asshole -”

I pull myself together and pull him towards me again.

“Fuck this, fuck you, get out!” he yells hysterically. I shut him up by kissing him again, my arm around his neck pressing him closer against me and tilting his head back. I can’t believe I’ve been so stupid. His hands are scrabbling for purchase to push me away from him; I walk forward the tiny distance it takes to back him up against the wall and lift my free hand to stroke the snowy skin along his cheekbone; he flinches away from my fingers as if they were red hot.

My head spinning with too many thoughts, I break away for air, my face a bare centimetre away from his.
He snarls, opening his mouth for another volley of curses.

“You f -”

“Ni~ya-chan, please!” I breathe, shocked to hear my voice shaking. I replace my hand on the side of his face, feeling his black hair slipping beneath my fingers. He doesn’t move, he might as well be a statue except for his rapid breathing with small, hitching irregularities.

Ruka…” He exhales in a trembling whisper that I can barely hear. I gaze into his bottomless eyes for what seems like minutes but couldn’t be more than five seconds. I can’t read them at all. I suddenly realise I haven’t breathed in for a long time and gasp for air, just as he shoves me away from him, catching me by surprise, and before I can figure out what’s going on he hits me, the hardest he ever has, a blow of pure rage that sends me reeling backwards. My foot catches on one of Yomi’s books that litter the floor, and just like that I’m flat on the carpet, something that feels like headphones digging into my back.

I look up and he’s standing above me, shaking out his aching hand. He sniffs loudly, his eyes gleaming in the half-dark. This is it for us.

I feel my heart contract at the thought of what I’ve found and what I’m about to lose instantly.

Before I can move he walks forward, very deliberately; he sinks down to his knees and he’s straddling my hips, not touching me at all. His face has gone entirely blank. Last time that happened it meant that he hated me so much he couldn’t even express it.

“I -”

“Shut up”, he snaps commandingly. As I watch him raptly he places both hands lightly on my stomach, and I quiver at the sensation. Ni~ya-chan is quite strong. He could hurt me badly now if he wanted to. He leans forward slowly, sliding his hands infinitesimally up my body, his weight resting over me warmly; his face moves closer to mine.

I immediately have such a strong sense of deja-vu that my breath catches in my throat. That fucking dream! What the hell is going on here?

He stops his movement, face poised above me tantalisingly. He frowns deeply, looking distinctly pissed off. He pauses.

What took you so fucking long?” he whispers.

Then he kisses me, finally, a kiss full of sweetness and absolute desire and I’m lost. His kiss promises everything that my dream-Ni~ya did, and I lift my hands to bring him closer, my fingers weaving into his gleaming fall of hair as his kiss deepens and he lets his body rest over mine trustingly, his lips warm and desperately loving.
Just as I’m getting really involved he stops. He moves away and I reluctantly untangle my hands from his hair to let him sit up, his weight concentrated on my hips, which is either a very bad idea or a very good idea depending on your point of view.

I reach for one of his pale hands which are resting casually on my chest, and link our fingers together.
He raises an eyebrow, face as pale as ever.

“I love you”, he informs me crossly. I grin stupidly and nod.

“You’re so full of yourself”, he scolds irritably, but I note the rapid movement of his chest and the way his fingers tighten on mine. “You want this?” he asks.

I attempt to yank him back down towards me and he bats my hand away as though it were nothing.
“We will do this my way, Ruka”, he tells me. “I’m still rather angry about how you’ve treated Yomi”, he says conversationally. “Let’s see how you like being bullied”. He grins, a mixture of happiness and slightly worrying evil that instantly turns me on. He looks so beautiful!

He pats me lightly on my cheek, cruelly sending pain flaring into life in the place where he just hit me.

“Ow!” I complain loudly. He ignores me, running his fingers gently over the tattoos on my arms, seemingly fascinated. I reach up to caress his slim hips but he grabs my hands and forces them back down to the carpet.

“Keep your damn hands to yourself”, he orders. He takes hold of the collar of my sleeveless shirt contemplatively, then tugs the two edges apart forcefully, hard enough to send the buttons flying off god knows where.

“Ni~ya-chan!” I exclaim, scandalised. “That was one of my favourite shirts”, I whinge, then shut up as he sinks down to kiss my neck, the sharp canine on the right side of his mouth scratching my skin. He strokes down the centre of my chest gently and I begin to lose myself in the sensations until he suddenly rips his sharp nails down my skin. I yelp. He gives my throat a final nip and leans up on his elbows, pinning me to the floor.

I try and raise my head enough to see what he’s done to me.

“Fuck, that hurt!”

“Don’t be a baby, it’s only bleeding a little bit”, he says dismissively, still with that delighted smile.

“That’s not the -”
I can’t finish because he rocks his hips suddenly against mine, the pressure helping my hard-on along, not that it was needing much help. His smile widens.

“You may kiss me now”, he says primly and leans down, pushing my ruined shirt off my shoulders and letting my eager mouth meet his, exploring my lips delicately with his pink tongue, the only part of his skin that seems to have any colour. He’s pretty good; his lip ring feels odd, but I like it, cold as his mouth is warm. I want desperately to hold him, but I don’t know what he’ll do if I try, so I clench my hands and try to keep them by my sides.
Still kissing me I feel his hand trailing down my stomach, my skin tingling under his cool fingers; then he’s gently stroking my erection through my jeans with teasing little touches. I moan quietly and arch up into his touch, pressing myself against him, and I can feel how hard he is too. He gasps into my mouth but doesn’t stop touching me or kissing me. I’m giddy with desire.

Finally he pauses, panting, and raises himself back up. I growl in frustration and reach out to keep him from moving away.

“Hands”, he reminds me warningly. I bite my lip and drop my arms. He kneels up, the cold air hitting my skin like loss, but he just shuffles backwards to yank off my boots and socks. He sits at my feet for a moment, grinning at me lovingly, and then lays himself out again along my body, his head resting on my stomach and his hair tickling the sensitive skin there.

I half sit up in time to see him begin to kiss his way down my belly and over the waistband of my jeans, and then my head tilts back again as his lips press against my cloth-covered hard-on and his hands expertly unbutton my trousers, pulling them down along with my underwear, excruciatingly slowly. He tickles his fingers up my thighs and I squirm involuntarily, causing him to smirk. He lightly strokes the tip of my erection, teasing it with his fingernail, making me moan again impatiently. He sniggers and darts up my body again to kiss me hard, our tongues moving slowly against each other.

“Please?” I say, almost begging when I can finally separate my mouth from his.

His full mouth curls up to one side.
“Well…I do like how you say that”, he concedes.

“Please!” I say again, more forcefully. I want him! Right now!

He kneels between my knees once more and gives me one long, slow lick with his pink tongue before he takes me into his mouth, hands resting lightly on my thighs. I gasp, and I can’t stop my hands reaching up to hold his head gently between them as he pulls back to kiss my hard-on delicately before closing his mouth over me again, deeper.
I can’t control my breathing or the sounds I find myself making as he continues, letting my hips buck up gently into his throat, my fingers tightening their grip on his thick, beautiful hair which is all I can see of him at the moment; his own long fingers caress their way gently around the base of my penis, running softly through my hair, and just as I’m completely helpless beneath him, he stops.

I let out a strangled moan of frustration, which in hindsight sounds pretty stupid, as he pushes himself upwards.

“Wh…whatareyoudoing?!” I demand through my hitches for breath. He stretches like a panther.

“Would you like”, he says, licking his lips and standing up, “a cup of tea?”

I gawp at him incredulously.
“. . . .!” is all I can say, aching all over for him to continue.

He stares at me quizzically for a minute, then bursts out laughing.
“Joke, moron!”

I glare at him disbelievingly.
“Very…fucking funny…what are you doing?”

He leans back against the bunk and leisurely begins to undo the complicated buckles on his PVC top; eventually it drops to the floor, revealing his milky torso, perfect and slender. His small nipples are pale rose.

“Hurry up!” I growl throatily, wanting him even in all his contrary bossiness. He undoes his trousers at a snail’s pace, his eyes fixed on mine all the time, not letting me look away.
Finally he stands there naked in front of me, and I gulp because I’ve never seen anything so lovely. His skin is like china, set into blazing white against the dramatic blackness of his hair and eyes. I sit up, ready to come over there and get him if he just keeps standing there doing nothing but teasing me.

He smiles at me sweetly and I push myself up off the floor, striding over to him as best I can with my current disability and backing him up against the bunk beds. He starts breathing fast as I slide my hands over his hips possessively and kiss him deeply. He gives in and his arms wrap around my neck.

“Are you gonna let me do what I want now?” I ask as I suck gently on his shoulder, his pale skin warm and salty beneath my mouth. I close my hand around his erection and he whimpers, tilting his head back submissively to give me access to his white throat.

“Ruka, you are so…full of it”, he repeats unsteadily, digging his nails into my back as I squeeze him gently. “Stop being…so self-satisfied”.

“Do you want me or not?” I demand in a whisper. That smile again.

“Don’t get pushy”, he chides me breathlessly. I lunge for him again but he turns his head to the side and I end up kissing his ear, hearing his soft breath of laughter. He rocks his hips against mine slyly and takes my hand, sliding it downwards from his hard-on and between his legs, his skin smooth as satin. I nibble on his ear and let my free hand cup his ass as I carefully slide a finger inside him. He draws in a hiss of breath but doesn’t say anything, kissing the side of my neck as I part his legs a little and add another, stroking gently so that he muffles a moan into my skin. I continue for a minute until he’s purring against my neck.

“More”, he whispers. I slowly remove my fingers and let him go. He frowns petulantly.
“More, I said!”

I hold up one finger.
“Just one minute, Ni~ya-chan”. He watches me expectantly as I pad over to the couch and dig around until I find my bag, and the little secretive tube of lubrication I’ve recently started keeping there. He beckons me back over and I eagerly comply; he wraps his slim arms around my neck once more as I fumble to get the cap off and messily squeeze some over my fingers before replacing them in the heat of his body.

“Ahh!” He cries out softly.

“Too fast?” I apologise. He shakes his head firmly but I notice his legs trembling slightly as I scissor my fingers out. He rests his forehead on my shoulder and clings to me tightly, his breathing harsh and laboured. I’m trying to curb my impatience because I don’t want to hurt him; but it’s hard. I rub my lips across the nearest available patch of white skin, loving the taste of him.

“Now”. His voice shakes me out of my contemplation of his skin.


“Are you deaf, Ruka? I said now, goddammit!” He smiles at me shakily, and I shake my head. So bossy. I grin back ferally.

“How do you want to do this?” I ask him matter-of-factly. He rolls his pretty eyes and I dig my fingers a little deeper, eliciting another whimper.

“I want…an easy ride, thank you”, he manages. Fine. I ease my fingers out and push him back gently to lean against the top bunk. He braces his hands on my shoulders and as I hold him by the hips and lift him he wraps his long legs tightly round my waist. I let the bunk support some of his weight as I position him over my erection. This is gonna test my stamina. I lower him carefully onto me, leaning against him as he leans against the bed for balance. He tightens his grip on my waist so I can slide further into him and I gasp as his body surrounds me, feverishly hot and constrictive.

“Oh…” He bites his lip hard as I fill him, stifling a low moan, and his nails scrape the back of my neck. I’m overcome with the mixture of physical feeling and emotion.

“I do love you, Ni~ya-chan”, I whisper, leaning my forehead against his, and he smiles like sunshine in spite of the pain. I thrust into him gently, watching his mobile face as he tries to work out what expression to put on it.

“Ruka…” he whimpers and I begin to move in a steady rhythm, relishing being buried in him. He moans quietly with each thrust although I can’t tell if it’s with pleasure or with pain. Gradually he quietens down and closes the tiny gap between us to kiss me passionately, his mouth moving oddly as his body moves upwards each time. He begins to rock his hips in counterpoint to me and I grow dizzy as the sensations grow more intense.

“Harder”. I try to focus and look at him in concern.

“Ruka…” he whispers threateningly, so I obey, unable to stop my own moans now. I lean him back so he’s half lying over the top bunk and push into him deeply. He cries out, a distinctly pleasurable note in it this time, and I run my tongue over his chest, swirling it around an erect nipple. His hands grip my shoulders tightly as I raise his legs higher around me and caress his hard-on firmly, I’m almost about to come and I try to draw it out longer, thinking of deeply unsexy things (back waxing, 70s horror movies, Hitsugi sitting in the bathtub in full make-up singing Je T’aime - ugh - yes, I really have seen that).
It works, barely, because Ni~ya-chan suddenly arches his back in the most wantonly sexy display of pleasure I’ve ever seen and cries my name out as he comes against my stomach. I pull him against me one last time and manage to blurt out “I love you!” before my orgasm rips through my body like wildfire and my legs can no longer support our combined weight.

I collapse on the floor with Ni~ya-chan tumbling ungracefully on top of me. Fucking…ow. He begins to giggle breathlessly and kisses the tip of my nose.

“What’s wrong with you?” I ask suspiciously, panting. I’m not as fit as I thought, it seems.

“I love you”.

“It’s nothing to laugh about”, I grumble. Ah. I think I’m lying on Saki’s eyelash curlers. He shifts against me.

“You’re not very comfortable”, he complains dozily.

“No I’m bloody not! Come on Ni~ya-chan, get off me”. He sits up reluctantly and takes my hand and I drag myself up, my body telling me to sleep, sleep! He kisses me softly and slips past me into the tiny bathroom. It’s about this time that I notice the fucking door is open. Ah well. I suppose I should get dressed again.

Later, I lie with my head pillowed in Ni~ya-chan’s lap on the little bunk. He strokes my hair absently as I fight off sleep. We should go find the guys, who are undoubtedly drunk, broke or unconscious by now, possibly all three.
He smiles down at me with his old, familiar smile, which I now recognise as a non-verbal equivalent of ‘I love you’, and I could kick myself for how blind I’ve been all this time. I impulsively pull his head down and kiss him firmly till I run out of breath. I open my eyes again; his upside-down face is regarding me amusedly.

“You kiss me like you own me”, he scolds. I smile smugly and he flicks his finger against my bruise meanly. He lifts my head up and snuggles down until he’s lying next to me, resting his head on me, his damp hair splayed out across my chest like ink.

“Why do you love me, after all?” I enquire lazily.

He shrugs casually. “Beats me. It’s a mystery to me. You’re sulky, you’re arrogant, you’re a bully…”

“Well thank you for your loving words!”

“But…” He shifts his head against me. “Somehow…everything I am strives towards you.” He looks up, meeting my gaze.

“Well what about Yomi?” I ask, curious.

He frowns.
“I care about Yomi a whole lot. If I couldn’t have you, well…we could both love him. But if I had to choose between you, it would be no choice at all”.

I take him in my arms and sigh, relieved and completed by Ni~ya-chan’s love.

“Guess what, Ni~ya-chan?” He raises an eyebrow at me.

“You’re my dream lover”.

He pulls a face and looks up at me pityingly.
“Jesus. Cheesy much, Ruka?”

I squint. Yeah, that sounded retarded.
“Er, don’t worry about it. I’ll explain when I can be bothered”. He pulls himself out of my embrace with difficulty.

“Come on”. He nuzzles my shoulder. “Let’s go and find Saki. Now that we have something to celebrate”.

I nod.

Woo. Aargh. Er…isha good time tonight. Better get ‘nother drink…

Whoa. Shtop - stop. Ok. At least try and think clearly Yomi, even if you can’t talk properly.

I am having fun. Ah, coherent sentence. Go me!
I can’t say I’m not worried about Ruka and Ni~ya, and what terrible things they may have done to each other by now, but…I’m so great! I am just a great front man! One day the world will know it! I just told this to Hitsugi-kun and he told me that he’s never seen a really famous monkey before, whatever that meant.

And I think…I think that Saki is wearing down my resistance. He won’t stop whispering dirty things in my ear, getting louder and louder as everyone gets drunker, about all the things he’ll let me do to him if I’ll be with him. More persuasively, he says he’ll cook for me every day! That can turn a boy’s head, you know.

Hitsugi-kun reels off, hiccupping, saying something about getting another round. I look over blearily at the dance floor. Hmm. I suddenly have the urge to strut my funky stuff. Before I can try the complicated process of getting up, however, Saki has grabbed me by the ear painfully.


“Hey. Yomi!” he leers at me beautifully. Is there nothing that can spoil his perfect face?


He leans over the table and kisses me deeply, his tongue darting into my mouth for a second before he lets me go.

“Saki! You gotta stop doing that! Tryina…trying to thing! Think!”

“I love you!” he hisses conspiratorially from behind his hand.

“Quit it!”

He gets up, falls down, gets back up again and ambles round to my side of the table, plonking himself down unceremoniously on my lap.

“Ooof!” Saki is pretty tall. I push him off onto the seat next to me. “Now look,” I begin.

He grabs me and pulls me against him, tipping my head back to rest against his arm, my arms crushed against his body 1930s-Hollywood-style. He kisses me wonderfully until I’m desperate to breathe. He releases my lips and I wheeze, my eyes bugging out, but he doesn’t let me go.

“Yomi, be my lover! Please!”

“Why should I?!” I complain, trying to breathe in his tight embrace.

“Because if you don’t you’ll regret it”, he tells me melodramatically. “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon, and for the rest of your life!”

He’s been watching Hitsugi-kun’s Classical Hollywood DVDs again. He lifts one arm to stroke the hair back from my eyes, his own lovely eyes naked and pleading, serious for once. I stare into them raptly, my drunken brain trying to make a decision.

“I’ll give you a foot massage every day”, he offers sneakily.

Right then.

“Ok”, I whisper. “We’ll see how it goes, ok?”

He gives me a knowing, grateful smile, as if he knew I was going to say yes all along. Maybe he did. Has anyone ever said no to Saki? Then he kisses me softly, sexily, a thank-you and a promise in one.

I feel eyes on me and break away reluctantly. Hitsugi-kun is standing in front of us, a tray of drinks in hand, looking absolutely mortified. He blinks comically. I grin sheepishly while Saki beams happily at him.
Hitsugi-kun sits down weakly, shaking his head and muttering to himself along the lines of “mumblemumbleSO EMBARRASSINGmumble”.

“So, I wonder where Ni~ya and Ruka have got to?” I say to restart the conversation. Saki looks thoughtful at this. Hitsugi winces. Possibly they’ve killed each other, is what I know he’s thinking. That’s what I’m thinking.

“Well, maybe they’ll be along”, shrugs Saki, kissing me cheekily on the side of my mouth. Hitsugi is trying to hide behind his hand and a paper umbrella.

“Have some decorum!” he hisses under his breath. “This is a public place!!”

I can just tell that Saki’s about to make an obscene or offensive rejoinder to this, and so I open my mouth to stop him. Then I shut it again as I see Ruka and Ni~ya making their way through the bar towards us, apparently whole and unscathed. They reach us and sit down on opposite sides of the table, absolutely poker-faced. Oh. Can we conclude that their talk did not go well?

With surprise I notice that Ruka’s shirt is missing a number of buttons and his chest is scratched. He also appears to have a new bruise. Oh my god, have they actually had a physical fight? If so, Ruka’s sure come off worst. This is too weird.

Hitsugi-kun and I gape at them, open-mouthed.

“Well?” snaps Ruka, yawning. “Somebody get me a drink!”

Saki nudges me so I oblige.
“Er…do you want anything, Ni~ya?”
Something pink, he says. Er…ok. As I trot off, winding about a little, I notice Saki sitting with a huge and triumphant grin on his face. What’s that in aid of? I turn my head and see Ni~ya smile back slyly. What is going on tonight?

We finally find our designated hotel again in the small hours of the morning. Management have stingily decreed that we cannot all have a room tonight - only one of us is allowed that luxury. I’m about to clamour for the privilege, as brilliant genius front man, when Saki grabs me, limpet-like, around the shoulder.

“He’s with me tonight!”

“Er, not like that though!” I add hastily. Hitsugi-kun looks disapproving, presumably at being left with the bum choice of either Ruka or Ni~ya and their foul moods.

“We will share, we don’t mind”, breaks in Ni~ya to my amazement, in his cold voice. Ruka curls his lip in a little snarl and Ni~ya’s expression goes blank.

Hitsugi-kun gapes.
I gape.
Saki’s mouth twitches.

“Is that a good idea?” I ask boldly / drunkenly / stupidly.

Hitsugi-kun waves his hands around.
“Well I’m not sleeping with any of you, thank you!”

“No worries Hitsugi, no-one wants to sleep with you anyway”, says Ruka caustically. “You say really odd things in your sleep”.
Saki sniggers at this. Hitsugi-kun whaps him round the head, grabs the single room key, sticks his nose in the air and stalks off in a slightly wavy line.

Saki throws the second room key at Ruka’s head and shoots him a sneaky smile.

“G’night!” I manage as he grabs me by the collar and drags me off down the hall. As we get into the elevator he asks,

“Why did you ask if that was a good idea?”

“Duh. Well apart from the obvious, the room you gave them only has a double bed”.

A variety of expressions cross Saki’s face.
“Erm, well, I’m sure they’ll manage,” he says in an odd, choked voice. He’s acting bloody strange tonight.

When we get into our room I locate my bag, run into the bathroom and get changed at lightning speed, pausing every now and then to hover near the toilet as I feel the urge to throw up, but thankfully emerge un-pukey and in pyjamas.

I take one look at Saki shamelessly stripping in the middle of the room and dive into the bed nearest the door and burrow beneath the duvet. When I peek out he has put a pair of shorts on. I’m both relieved and disappointed that I didn’t sneak a closer look. He disappears into the bathroom for what seems like an age and returns looking fresh-faced and relatively sober.

He looks over at me, says ‘good night’ cheerfully and elegantly sinks into the other bed.
Hey! What is this?! I wait for him to get up and try something but he just flicks the light off and stretches out under the covers, yawning.

I lie there for a little while, puzzled. What happened to the disgracefully dirty things he said he was going to do to me?



“Saki! Are you asleep?” Stupid question.

I swing my legs out of bed and pad silently over to his bed. I peer down and catch a glimpse of his serenely beautiful face in the dim light that comes through the blinds. He is truly breathtaking, he doesn’t even look human. I smile, and lean down carefully to sneak a little kiss before going back to bed.

I’m just about to touch his lips when


A pair of arms shoot out and catch me around the waist, lifting me easily and dumping me on the bed. I scream again until the sound is cut off by Saki’s lips meeting mine eagerly, although they’re shaking with suppressed laughter. I struggle, but not too much.

“Hey there little kitty”, he crows softly, kicking back the sheets and dragging me in beside him. “What’s going on here? You sneaky little thing, attacking me when I’m defenceless!”

“You’re never defenceless”, I grumble. He has a wicked little gleam in his eyes. He pulls me close for a tight hug, but as I relax he begins to tickle me unmercifully. I shriek and try to escape but he rolls over and pins me down.

When I’m weak with laughter he stops and kisses me properly, his hands cupping my face sweetly.

“Stay here, Yomi”, he whispers against my mouth. He returns to lying on his back and without waiting for an answer forces me to recline against him, my head pillowed on his shoulder. He kisses my forehead.

“Go to sleep little drunky”, he murmurs.



“I - I love you”.

He smiles in the darkness and tightens his embrace.

I nervously sit in bed and wait for Ni~ya-chan to get out of the bathroom. I hear his raised voice drifting through the door, complaining about the size of the bath and how much his ass hurts. I feel like this is the first night of a honeymoon and I’ve got some big expectation to live up to, although I don’t know why or what.

He eventually emerges in blood-red short pyjamas, towelling off his face. He steps up onto the bed and bounces up and down a few times thoughtfully.

“I love our management”.

I smirk.
“Me too”. He bounces down to a sitting position. I pull back the sheets so he can get in beside me and he stretches out to relax against me, kissing the scratches on my chest apologetically. I wince.

“I hope you’re not always that rough”.

“Well, you’ll have to wait and find out, won’t you?”

I slip my arm around his middle and pull him closer. He snuggles in next to me, one leg hooked over mine. I tilt his chin up for a proper kiss, loving the expression on his pretty, stark face.

“How hurt do think Yomi will be when I tell him?” I ask anxiously. That’s one thing I’m scared about, although I suspect Saki already knows with that magical sexual intuition he seems to have. He regards me seriously.

“Well, I’m sure if he’s amenable we could work out…something between the three of us”.

I click my tongue at him.

“You are so shameless”.

He laughs quietly and presses his slender body harder against mine, his hands fluttering across my chest.

“Well, let’s see if that’s true or not…”

I grin at him until he cuts me off with his loving kiss.


Chapter Text

In his luxury single room, Hitsugi lay with his almost-finished jumper protectively cuddled in his arms. His long black lashes fluttered as his eyes moved rapidly beneath the lids in REM.
One hand twitched and then reached out towards the door.


He frowned in his sleep.

“Rhett…Rhett…Where shall I go?….What shall I do?….”

His hand dropped back to the pillow and he smiled a tiny smile.

“Frankly my dear…I don’t give a damn”.

We’re sitting on the bus again for another long trip to the next venue, and I’m feeling nervous in addition to having another terrible hangover. Saki has asked, well no, has ordered me to tell Ruka that I’m with him now, and says that the others might as well hear it at the same time to kill two birds with one stone, as it were. I told him that he could damn well tell Ruka, as a) he has no natural timidity and b) Ruka won’t dare haul off and hit Saki in the face. But no. Saki says I owe Ruka, which I suppose is true. I just don’t want to see his hurt face.

Ruka is lolling imperially on the couch with Saki and I squeezed into the other side like sardines. Ni~ya is reclining on the top bunk reading some manga or other while Hitsugi sits on the bottom, cross-legged like a tailor, furiously knitting and covered in wool.

Saki prods me sharply in the side.

“Go on”, he hisses.

We have a short and whispered, heated conversation. He prods me again.

“Go on, I said”.

Oh god I’m scared. I’m such a coward.

I twist my hands together nervously.

“Um. Ruka?”

“Hmm?” He seems in quite a good mood today, at least.

“Er. I have to tell you something, I think”. I shoot a glance at Ni~ya, who is still pretending to read, but I can tell is listening intently. I fall silent. Saki treads menacingly on my bare foot. I whimper and Ruka looks at me quizzically.

“What is it?” he asks kindly.


“Yes?” he asks patiently.

“I…I’m sorry!” I blurt out. He frowns in puzzlement. “I’m - I’m - I’m going out with Sakito!” I mumble, and cringe. Ni~ya sits up so quickly his head hits the top of the bus, his mouth hanging open incredulously. Hitsugi-kun has surreptitiously covered himself with the bed sheet and is moaning quietly in embarrassment. He’s embarrassed!

Ruka just sits there. His expression would be comical in any other situation, but as it is I don’t know what to make of it. Shocked, to say the least.

“What Yomi’s trying to say is that he’s my lover”, clarifies Saki helpfully. I can see Hitsugi-kun trying to will himself into non-existence.

Ruka blinks.
“Yes…yes, I’d grasped that, thank you, Saki”. He lapses back into silence. Ni~ya is staring at Saki and me intently, a small smile playing around the corners of his mouth.

“Got anything you want to say, Ruka?” asks Saki meaningfully. “Get it off your chest, as it were?”

Ruka twitches, his hand going to touch the scratches on his chest. Ni~ya transfers his stare to Ruka, pinning him with his dark eyes. Ruka looks at him questioningly, and Ni~ya smiles imperceptibly. Hitsugi-kun has peered out from under the sheet and is looking from person to person like it was Wimbledon.

Ruka clears his throat.
“Well. Well as it happens. Yes.” He pulls himself together and glares at the ceiling defiantly. “You should all probably know that, as of yesterday evening, Ni~ya-chan is mine. So keep your hands off. Get me?”

As I realise what the hell he’s talking about my jaw drops to hit the floor. Hitsugi-kun’s eyes are fit to pop out of his head.

“What - where - how - none of this makes sense!” he hisses to himself. Understanding finally dawns.
“Oh, please tell me you did not do it in this bed!” he wails.

Ruka coughs sheepishly.
“Well, in a manner of speaking -”

Hitsugi-kun lets out a tiny squeak and then stares blankly ahead of him, slowly pulling the sheet around himself again.

Saki, who is grinning like a shark, raises his eyes to Ni~ya, who does not seem at all fazed by the whole thing.

“Ni~ya?” he says quietly.

Ni~ya drapes himself over the edge of the bed.
“I love him”.

Heads back to Ruka. He’s sitting there, gazing up at Ni~ya with the most radiant smile I’ve ever seen on his face. Saki nods in satisfaction. It dawns on me that this is not a surprise to him. I nudge him.

“Did you know about this?” I ask out of the corner of my mouth.

He smiles beatifically. Damn, how does he do that? People are an open book to Saki. I should watch what I say around him.

“Well. That’s all jolly good then, isn’t it?” I quaver, brain overloaded by the drama and revelations of the morning.

“Yes. According to my amazing Master Plan”, Saki breezes, and I roll my eyes, “everything is now officially All Right. Because I am your leader, and I say so”.

A small squeaking sound. All eyes to the corner. Hitsugi-kun throws aside the blanket with a flourish. His face is pale and dismayed. Silence. He looks up.

“But Sakito”, he whispers, voice cracking painfully. “I - I love you!”

What?! Everyone’s faces freeze in disbelief and confusion.

“What?! Really?” asks Saki incredulously, amazed that this piece of romantic knowledge has slipped him by and looking distressed and startled.

Hitsugi-kun snorts.

“Of course not, you retards”. He cackles at the variety of expressions around him. “Seriously though. Congratulations to all of you. Really. Just try and have a little discretion for my sake, ok?”

He grins. Saki gets over his shock and smiles weakly, with a look in his eyes that promises revenge. Hitsugi-kun rummages under the sheet.

“Anyway. Everything is All Right.” He triumphantly pulls out a red and green blob of wool. “The jumper is finished! Here you go, Saki”.

Saki takes it. He stares at it. He blinks. Everybody blinks. Hitsugi-kun shrugs.

“No need to be speechless with gratitude”.

Saki pulls himself together.
“Thank you. Thank you, it’s…unique.” Hitsugi-kun beams. Ni~ya pipes up lazily.

“Hitsugi, have you ever heard of…Freddy Krueger?”

Hitsugi-kun frowns. I frown too as something hits me.

“Hitsugi-kun! It’s not All Right! You still don’t have a girlfriend!”

“Or boyfriend”, Ni~ya tells me, wagging his finger at me.

Hitsugi-kun shoots him a look. Then he smiles in a martyr-like fashion and folds his arms. “Don’t worry your tactless little head. There’s plenty of time for that yet. After all…” He stares dramatically into the distance and we all peer in the same direction in puzzlement. “Tomorrow… is another day”.

“…Hitsugi”, Ni~ya says seriously, “sometimes you can be quite insightful. Deep, even. And other times… such as this… you can rant and drivel on like a complete loony”.

Silence. Then Ruka begins to snigger. He throws back his head and laughs and laughs, Saki joining him more delicately. I bask in the sound of their happiness.

And I join them.