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“Is it ready?”

“...It's ready.”

I see all five members brace themselves. Yomi gestures with his popcorn.

“All right. Roll it.”

 


 

Some time earlier...

 

Everybody has one great work in them. So my Japanese lit teacher told me when I was sixteen, and at the time I thought it was so much bollocks. But I guess it's true after all.

This is my film, over a year in the making. My magnum opus. This is the story of Nightmare.

Of course, none of this footage will ever see the light of day (unless Keisuke and the other techs get me monumentally drunk). If it ever does, it will probably end up like the home movie in Cloverfield, and the only people to see it will be a couple of top-secret military suits in a bunker somewhere, because my damn band will have inadvertently destroyed society with their shenanigans in the interim.

Well, strictly speaking they're not my band. I'm Sakito's primary guitar technician, and Hitsugi's backup. My name is Fujiki Ryota, and I've been with these guys for seven years; I can't help but feel proprietary towards them. And amazed. And incredulous. And sometimes terrified. And...well, like I have to make a documentary about the sociological, psychological phenomenon that is Nightmare.

So this is my story.

 


 

 

April 3 rd , 2008

 

Armed with a tripod, mediocre camera skills and an extensive network of industry acquaintances, I begin my search for anyone who'll give me the goods on Naito's collective love life. Luckily, my boys' reputation is...widespread...in certain circles, shall we say, and I find I have no shortage of informants.

Well. Here goes nothing...

 


 

May 11 th , 2008

 

I set up my equipment in a quiet corner of the hotel bar and usher my first interviewee into his seat. As it turns out, I don't even need to ask a lead-in question.

“They're perverts,” he says immediately into the camera as if he's been dying to get this off his chest, sounding part disapproving and part awed. “They're a bunch of perverts!”

I nod sagely. Ruki (front-man of successful group the Gazette and miniature sexpot, for the official record) purses his fabulous lips, apparently choosing to gloss over the fact that three out of the five members of his own band are currently (I suspect) banging a selection of the more normal-looking groupies, post-live, in their respective rooms.

“And how did you reach this conclusion?” I enquire, doing my best investigative journalist impression, taking care to stay well out of the way of the camera's eye. Might as well keep this film pretty.

He sighs. “Well, everyone kind of knows everyone once you get to a certain level, you know how it is. Uruha's done some jams with the guitarists. That kind of thing. So we've met quite a bit.” I make an encouraging hand motion. Ruki furrows those visual-kei eyebrows and, after a moment's thought, continues. “We ended up in the same hotel about a year ago, yeah? The tour before this one, remember?” I do; my buddy does Kai's drums. “And my room,” he says pointedly, “was right opposite theirs. They were all in a row, see?” He gestures with his arms.

“And you saw what went on?” I prompt.

“More heard,” the little singer corrects me. “And surmised. But I saw some stuff. My piece of shit phone had no signal in my room, so I had to keep going out in the hall.” He blushes modestly. “My girlfriend likes to talk nights, and a guy has to get what he can, right? It's hard, on tour. Well, you know that too, I guess.”

“What happened, then?” Ruki is a chatterbox; I'd more or less forgotten, he doesn't look the type. This might take some editing.

“It was like fucking Scooby Doo,” he says cryptically, and then, expanding on this, “there were doors opening and closing half the night all over the place. First I saw Ni~ya sneaking into Ruka's room, then Hitsugi was bunking up with the pretty one, what's his name, Sakito, and a couple of hours later Ruka was in with the singer!” He throws up his arms. I know the feeling. “And the noises! It's not like these are top class hotels, the walls are like paper.”

“Like what?” I demand eagerly, sounding not so much a reporter as a teenage girl breathlessly trying to pry a choice bit of gossip out of a much cooler friend.

“Oh, you name it, yakking, snoring, shouting, singing, fucking...” He screws up his face as if he can't decide whether to be disgusted or impressed. Eventually he settles for confused. “I mean...what the hell is going on?!”

 

Well may Ruki look perplexed.

Naturally I, in my omniscience (read: nosiness), know exactly what is going on with Nightmare. For those of you wondering, let me summarise:

This band is mad. I've been a guitar tech and studio musician for nearly fifteen years, and I know mad when I see it. And another thing: this band is hot. It comes with the visual-kei territory, and all the hotness has to vent itself somewhere. This can happen in one of two ways: there's the standard way, as practised by Ruki's delightful bandmates, which consists of shagging everything female that moves and has the slightest attraction to eyeliner. And there's the...other way.

With Nightmare, this way consists of stretching member-ai to its creaking, protesting limits: as far as I can tell, through careful scientific observation, Sakito and Hitsugi have long been involved in some kind of bizarre yet passionate non-sexual love affair, while Ruka is fucking and fighting both Ni~ya and Yomi on an indiscriminate basis.

Not weird enough yet? Well, let me throw in the fact that this band is not, in fact, one band but two, and you need some kind of explanatory pamphlet to sort everything out. Yeah. Sendai Kamotsu. The alter egos. Now they put the perv in 'absolute fucking perverts!'.

Take Yomi, for instance: he's a little cutie, apt to let Ruka bully him, and, as far as I can tell from overhearing them in studio cupboards and seeing them during embarrassing walk-in bathroom incidents, will resignedly put up with playing the sub to his drummer's sexual bossiness. Chiba, on the other hand... Well, you've all seen him. And he'll take a crack at anyone, even when he's looking like that, so Sendai moments are pretty much filled with the other members covering their asses (literally) in fits of paranoia, and Ruka (or Gigaflare, if you will) trying to resist, and finally succumbing to, Chiba's terrifying kinkiness. Thank god they do that in private, that's all I can say. I...don't even want to imagine it.

The two guitarists, normally platonic, serene and oblivious to the melting-pot of sexuality caused by their horny and immature trio of friends, get all weird as soon as you put them in red boiler suits and start calling them by their other names: Sakito, who even I'll admit is the most stunning example of cool, disinterested beauty I'll probably ever clap eyes on, starts to act nerdy-flirty when he becomes Satty; Hitsu (well, Fullface, and who came up with that name?), clearly feeling the strain of all that gorgeousness aimed right at him, gets flustered and self-conscious in a way he never does in Naito, though I know for a fact that the two of them sleep in the same bed whenever they get half a chance. Personally, I think it's all Chiba's fault: the overspill of randiness obviously upsets their balance.

Ni~ya/Chen-chen, during all this, while Gigaflare's humiliated, adoring attention is fixed on their singer, sets his temporary sights on the ladies; he's obviously incapable of jacking down his smouldering sex appeal, even when wearing a comedy moustache, and the backstage hallways of Sendai's events are littered with palpitating female employees (in danger of being bowled over by band members and sundry staff on the run from Chiba and his many phallic costume accessories).

And this is the situation I'm trying to do my job in.

 


 

June 17 th , 2008

 

It isn't long before Nightmare themselves start to get curious as to why their colleagues and staff all suddenly feel the need to dash into corners and empty rooms at odd moments with me and my tripod (for a while I think they suspect me of running an amateur porn ring, which seems to make Yomi a little too excited).

When they eventually find out, they take it quite well (though I'm not much looking forward to Sendai Kamotsu getting wind of it...).

They agree to have their say on camera.

 

My guys are initially reluctant to dish the dirt on their bandmates, but once they get the hang of it they become so enthusiastic I can't work out how much of what they're telling me is artistic embellishment and how much is out-and-out lying (something I begin to suspect when a poker-faced Yomi informs me that Hitsugi took a solemn vow of celibacy in a secret Buddhist ceremony and that's why he hasn't had a date in three years).

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I eventually persuade Sakito to go first, and he soon proves that, however reticent Naito may be about sharing their exploits with outsiders, they obviously kiss and tell in breathtaking detail amongst themselves.

 

“So what do you want to know, Ryo-kun?” asks Sakito, sinking down elegantly onto the break room's ancient sofa. He shoots the camera a slightly suspicious look, but can't help preening himself for its benefit anyway.

I pick a pair at random. “Tell me what the deal is with Ruka and...Ni~ya.”

“Oh! All right.” Sakito appears to perk up, now that he knows he's not being asked to talk about his own love life. “Then...I guess I'll start with how they got it together.”

“You know that?” I ask, then wonder why I'm surprised: Sakito is a notorious gossip, and since he can charm the pants off anyone wearing pants I doubt that mere information is going to give him much trouble.

“I know everything,” he confides, improbably. “Er.” He frowns, managing to look enchantingly puzzled. “...How should I do this?” I give him a shrug. “Okay,” he continues, “I'm going to tell it like...like this is a movie I saw. Or a movie I'm in. Not sure yet.”

“Works for me.”

“It's an X-rated movie.”

“I wouldn't expect anything else,” I reassure him wryly, picturing the two of them. Yikes. Sakito crosses his drool-worthy legs, peers up at the ceiling as if he's arranging his thoughts, then looks provocatively into the eye of the camera and begins.

 

“Hello, everyone,” he purrs, giving the lens an Elvira-style smile (I wonder just who he thinks is ever gonna watch this?). “Welcome to... What is this, anyway?” he demands, breaking off and turning away to look at me.

“I dunno,” I say, off-camera. “Wife Swap?”

Sakito gives a little 'tsk' of disapproval. “...The Secret Life of Drummers,” he compromises, and drops back into narrator mode. “Now, if you've been following the prequel to all this, you're going to know what I'm talking about. If not...just try and muddle along.” He thinks for a minute, then launches into his tale.

 

“The subject in question: Ruka. Ruka's our drummer. He's the oldest. He's the tallest. He's sweet, and he's a bully. What else...? He's band leader, in name. I'm band leader in fact.

Ruka doesn't like girls. He just doesn't. But the things he does like, he goes right at. He doesn't give up, ever. And one of the things he likes is Ni~ya.

This all started years ago, back when Naito were indies and everyone was still trying to negotiate their boundaries. Which for Ruka meant working out exactly what he could get away with and what he couldn't. Well, he soon figured out that I wasn't having any of that gropey crap, and neither was Hitsu, but that just meant he could narrow his focus down to two, which was more manageable anyway.

At the time, I don't think he even meant anything by it. He just liked being close to people, and Yomi was so easy-going, and Ni~ya was very beautiful and easily flattered. It made Ruka happy, to find two guys who didn't care that he could be a sulky, sadistic bastard sometimes. I knew him from a while back, and I don't think I ever saw him as happy as when the five of us formed Naito's final line-up.

Anyway, sometime during the next five years Ruka figured out that he really didn't have any interest in getting a girlfriend, and that he never would. Not that he said so, but it wasn't hard to tell: he stopped joining in the dating conversations and just sat back and watched with that 'standby' face he makes – you know the one I mean. And then something, it's hard to say what, but something subtle changed between him and the other two. It's not like he was feeling Yomi up any more than before, or trying any harder to get Ni~ya's attention; but you could sense it. Well, I could.

Now, you've got to understand that around this time...it'd be when, middle of 2005? ...At this time, Ni~ya was absolutely smoking hot, even I could see that. Even Hitsu. Not that he hasn't always been, but then he had that silver-white hair and what with the pale skin he was just like a, a beautiful black-eyed ghost. And Yomi was... Well, he was Yomi, and his legs were too short to run away. So you can see how Ruka might have been enjoying himself a little bit more than usual when it came to playing with those two, what with his brand new revelation and all.

Yomi knew, I think, and he didn't care. Well, he sometimes complained when all the affection directed at his nipples got a bit over the top, but he's never minded, not really. He's always been closest to Ruka, and it was Yomi who really brought Ruka into the band. Plus, round about then Yomi was still getting over his height complex, and Ruka made him feel like being tiny was a good thing. So that was all fine, they just carried on as before.

But Ni~ya... Ni~ya started to get weird. It's not like he ever had anything against guys who like guys, but he obviously felt the same change I did, and it bothered him. Sometimes, when he was thinking about something else, he'd sit and let Ruka pet him and mess about with his clothes and grope his leg just like before. And then other times you could tell his whole attention was fixed on Ruka, even though he wasn't looking at him, and as soon as our drummer so much as stuck a hand out he'd get it slapped away. I don't know what Ruka thought about that; it never stopped him trying, anyway.

Then,

Stop it!” burst out Ni~ya one day, right here in this room, actually, when Hitsu and I were having a little rest on the sofa. The two of them were sat at the counter, over there, eating their lunch – it was karaage bento – and Ni~ya had been pushing Ruka's hand off his knee for the last ten minutes.

Ruka looked surprised; not offended, exactly, but as though he really didn't know what Ni~ya was talking about. Which just goes to show that all the touching isn't always sexual: I think sometimes he just likes to use people as furniture. But when Ni~ya said that – and he'd never said anything like it before, not in that tone of voice – that was the moment they both became aware of it. The tension between them. And the fact that they'd felt it, and each knew the other one felt it too. Obviously I was pretending not to look, but I saw Ni~ya give a little shudder and glance away with a toss of that silvery hair. Ruka went into sulk mode, the one that makes him look really gormless, and that was the end of that.

But you can't open up a can of worms like that and expect to be able to take it back to the shop, as it were. The next few months were pretty hairy for all of us, what with being so busy and having to deal with trying to pretend our drummer and our bass player weren't on the edge of falling out on a cataclysmic scale. Especially since, for Ruka, touching Yomi and Ni~ya was so natural by then that he sometimes didn't think about what he was doing; which was fine if it was Yomi but which, if not, could turn whatever studio/hall/hotel we were in at the time into a minefield for anything from minutes to an entire day. It was all very wearing.

In the end, though, something had to happen. Well, obviously it did, or we'd all still be walking on eggshells today. It wasn't long after New Year 2006; I remember we'd just started work again after the vacation, and Ni~ya was back to black and looking just plain fine.

Management sure as heck weren't easing us into the new year gently. We had a long rehearsal in the morning, and the afternoon seemed to be reserved for individual briefings. That basically meant the four of us stuck in here while Yomi was getting told off for appearing chauvinistically obsessed with breasts during interviews and at key inappropriate moments. Which I'm sure was funny as fuck, but of course we weren't allowed anywhere near it.

Well, you can imagine how much fun it was being left in a room with the Awkward Twins for however long it was going to take Yomi to stop laughing, so Hitsu and I went to get a cup of tea with Kei-kun downstairs.

Both of them twitched at the sound of the door shutting behind us; they gave each other a quick glance across the sofa, then Ni~ya picked up the old copy of Fist of the North Star he'd found where the microwave manual should be, and Ruka went back to doing...whatever it is Ruka does, which looks very much like nothing but there must be some brain activity going on in there at some level.”

 

 

( “How do you know what they were doing?” I interrupt, making Sakito scowl at me prettily, “if you weren't actually watching through a crack in the door?”

“Some of the minor details may be artistic licence,” Sakito admits haughtily, “but I assure you the rest comes from an informed source.”

“Informed?”

Informed.”

“Oh. Fine, fine!”

“May I continue?” he asks, all icy. Looks like I broke his flow; he must be getting into this!

“By all means.”

“Right!” )

 

 

“After a few minutes they settled down and started to relax. It wasn't as if this thing was all their relationship was made of, after all: they were friends, colleagues, a creative team, and more often than not that's all it felt like.

Then Ni~ya gave a tense little sigh and shoved Ruka's wandering hand off his knee – see, it's pure reflex, I don't think he can actually stop himself because it's so deep down, in the same part of his brain that tells him to breathe and blink. Another thirty seconds (that's about the average), and the hand made its reappearance; Ni~ya caught hold of his wrist and threw it back at him. He shot Ruka a covert look, and relaxed his scowl a little when it became apparent that, mentally, his friend was miles away and that this wasn't actually a legitimate attempt to cop a feel.

Ni~ya transferred his manga over to his other hand, so he could keep the closest one free to deal with Ruka, and the whole repetitive process went on. Now, you may ask why he didn't just get up and sit somewhere else, but this sofa is the comfiest seat in the room and Ni~ya is nothing if not spoiled. And stubborn.

After a while, his book being wonderfully nostalgic, Ni~ya's repudiations became increasingly absent-minded, just the occasional murmur of “lay off!” and a flap of his hand in the general direction of his leg, which naturally didn't even register with the drummer. Then, suddenly,

Don't.” Ni~ya's voice turned low and urgent as, in a moment of particular inattention, Ruka's fingers contrived to stop their rhythmic tapping on his knee and slide their way gently towards the inside of his thigh. He grabbed Ruka's wrist warningly.

The change in tone seemed to penetrate whatever passes for Ruka's thought processes and he looked up quickly, those pretty brown-sugar eyes of his focusing on Ni~ya's taut expression before snapping down to his hand and apparently being surprised to find it resting high on the smaller man's slim leg. He blinked.

“...You're nervous of me, aren't you,” he said, as if this was the first time such a thing had occurred to him. Having Ruka's full attention suddenly fixed on him caused Ni~ya to gulp, but, being stubborn, as I said, he wasn't about to admit it.

“I'm not nervous,” he retorted scornfully, pushing Ruka's hand away. Or at least attempting to; Ruka may look like a string bean, but all that drumming has to be good for something, and he didn't budge an inch.

“Then what?”

“Seriously, Ruka, stop it.” Ni~ya was starting to look as though he'd realised what a mistake he'd made by drawing attention to the whole thing: Ruka was leaning in infinitesimally, second by second, his gaze sharp and wandering over his friend's pale features as though they were telling absolutely fascinating secrets.

“If not nervous, then what?” Ruka repeated, letting his fingers spread across Ni~ya's denim-clad thigh and squeezing experimentally, eyes still watching his expression raptly. Ni~ya finally turned to stare at him, essayed another push, and then, when that had no effect, gave a groan of frustration and let his head flop back against the sofa.

“I'm not nervous, you big dumb bastard, I'm horny! And you are not helping!” Ruka drew in his breath abruptly at that, but Ni~ya ignored him. “You know how long it's been since me and Emiko broke it off?” he demanded angrily. “Two weeks. And I am this close to getting a playdate with someone else, thank you very much, so kindly quit throwing off my groove and move your hand the fuck away.”

“Your groove?” was all Ruka could think of to say, clearly knocked off point by the other man's furious declaration.

“I mean it, Ruka.”

“...But why go through all that hassle,” Ruka countered in a murmur, blanking his bassist's growl of warning protest and inching his fingers inexorably along the leg beside him, “if you're only looking for a playdate?” Ni~ya's hand tightened painfully on his wrist, and he leaned in, taking the opportunity to inhale the scent of gleaming black hair. He let his voice drop to its lowest tone, the one that could give Yomi the shivers if he pitched it right. “Play with me.”

Ni~ya made a thin little sound that could have meant anything as Ruka's hand suddenly reached its goal, sliding between his legs and lingering there. He felt he should try to come up with a better complaint regarding that, but he also felt like he couldn't, at this moment, lift a teaspoon, never mind force aside a tall, determined drummer. That voice, it was practically criminal, how did he even do that?

“Bastard,” he managed weakly, inhaling swiftly as he felt Ruka's mouth against the shell of his ear. “This is taking...unfair liberties...with my unfortunate circumstances!”

“...Yeah, well...” Ruka pressed his lips to the white curve of Ni~ya's neck, “frankly, I'll take what I can get.” He let his tongue flicker out briefly, tasting warm skin, felt him shift into the touch. He quickly pressed home his advantage and snapped open Ni~ya's belt, gliding his fingers over the tell-tale growing hardness beneath the other man's jeans.

Ohh you sonofabitch!” Ni~ya exclaimed as Ruka's ill-behaved hand slid briefly across his stomach before insinuating its way beneath his waistband. To his chagrin he knew there was no way he was going to stop him now, not when it had been so long (a fortnight, goddammit!) since anyone had helped him out in this way, and Ruka's fingers were long and warm and musician-clever and the mouth on his throat was so hot and distracting. He felt the man's other hand fiddling with the few buttons on his tight black shirt (yeah, Ni~ya knew he looked good and he'd never bothered to hide it, though now he was sort of wishing he'd tried) before a set of nails raked their way down his pale chest.

Fuck!” He gave a snarl of aroused disapproval, clutching at Ruka's coffee-coloured hair (he was growing it out and, happily, it was now the perfect length for pulling), then arching up despite himself as Ruka's mouth closed determinedly over his nipple. Ruka didn't remain there any longer than it took to give the sensitive flesh a sharp bite, and the next thing Ni~ya knew the drummer was sliding down his body to the floor between his legs, one hand ripping his fly open as if it had done him an injustice and the other wrapping firmly around his cock.”

 

 

( “Dude!!” I find myself yelping from across the room. Sakito breaks off and glares daggers at me.

“What??” he hisses. “I told you it was X-rated.”

I know this, and I'd been steeling myself for it, but hearing that word from Sakito's lovely mouth, especially in conjunction with Naito's backline... Well, I suppose I'll just have to get used to it, but it doesn't help that he's also looking a little flushed at the images he's conjuring up; I hope it's embarrassment, because I think being alone in a room with a turned-on Sakito might just kill me.

“Sorry,” I say contritely, wondering if he'll notice if I stick my fingers in my ears for the rest of the story. “Carry on.” He huffs prettily.

“I was just getting into the swing of it, too!” He uncrosses his legs and leans back in to the camera. “All right, where were we?” )

 

 

“Ni~ya glared down, not sure whether he should be feeling furious, petrified or just plain lucky as Ruka yanked the jeans down around his hips, leaning forward to press a kiss to the stark white skin below his navel that had been bared in the process. His eyes flicked up, darkened by dilating pupils, and Ni~ya felt himself crack a nervous, encouraging smile; he immediately began berating himself silently for it, but the damage was done: Ruka gave him another smouldering look, sliding a hand beneath his thigh and lifting to hook one long semi-clad leg over his shoulder.

Nnngh!” Whatever Ni~ya was going to say got completely lost between his brain and the muscles that produced the actual words: the taller man had taken prompt advantage of the improved access and slid his warm lips up the underside of Ni~ya's undeniable hard-on, taking a happy breath and enveloping the head in the heat of his mouth. Firecrackers exploding in little ripples all the way down his spine, Ni~ya dimly felt himself curl his leg in closer to Ruka, the drummer's hand still tight and possessive on the back of his thigh as he shifted to take Ni~ya deeper.

“You know I...really am gonna kill you...right?” Ni~ya managed, as angrily as he could bring himself to sound in the current circumstances.

“Mmf?”

“...Yeah, you heard me...!” Hand dropping involuntarily to clutch Ruka's hair and drawing a grunt of discomfort from behind the long fringe, Ni~ya bit his lip and was totally unable to stifle a moan at the continued, delightful assault on his erection. He hadn't been this hard for years, as the combination of Ruka's soft lips and his vicious (well, verbally) tongue dragged the most humiliating series of aroused sounds out of him, although he would really like nothing better than to kick his drummer in the head and slope off to have a sexuality crisis in peace.

But the idea of moving was impossible, as was the reality, come to that. Ni~ya felt sure that it should be an empowering experience to get your dick sucked, with the enchanting possibility of master-servant fantasies should you require a little frisson of the kinky (that's how it had always been for him in the remarkably bountiful years preceding this, at least); but apparently Ruka hadn't been given the memo. He felt helpless.

Please,” Ni~ya heard himself whimper, gasping in pained frustration as the attempt to hurry Ruka along simply resulted in five sharp nails biting into the bare, snowy skin of his thigh, and the loss of that magical mouth completely. Ruka lifted his head and gave him a despotic glare; Ni~ya couldn't see his own expression, but he imagined he looked embarrassingly servile and desperate.

“I like that,” Ruka rumbled, sending a ripple of shudders across Ni~ya's shoulders: his voice was soft, a little hoarse from having Ni~ya down his throat for so long, and completely imperious. “Ask me again, Ni~ya-chan.” He grazed his nails over the head of his prone friend's cock. “Ask me nicely.”

Ni~ya, feeling obscurely that the drummer should be acting overcome with gratitude right now and wondering why the hell it was suddenly as though he owed Ruka a favour, opened his mouth to start an argument, and somehow came out with:

Please, Ruka...” He tried again, felt his friend's sharp teeth against his hip-bone. “I...please!!”

Ruka gave a quiet chuckle at that, bordering on sadistic in Ni~ya's currently limited opinion, and lowered his mouth onto Ni~ya's erection once more, grabbing his hips peremptorily as Ni~ya let out a beatific groan through gritted teeth and tried to thrust upward.

Ni~ya was dimly aware that he was gasping inelegantly and that this was most likely going to set some personal record for lack of sexual stamina; he put it down to the fact of his recent dry spell, and not to the way Ruka was responding with almost preternatural intuition to every little moan and catch of breath, the movements of his mouth and his wicked tongue increasing in intensity with each sound. Certainly not because Ruka probably knew him better than any other person in the world. Definitely not because it was Ruka doing this to him, Ruka controlling him so perfectly...

Ahhh...Ruka, I...!” Ni~ya threw his head back, unable to articulate the rest of his warning. Ruka glanced up for a fraction of a second, caught the taut arch of his neck, the way every toned, pale limb seemed to freeze, and the next moment Ni~ya was biting his own tongue with an undignified yelp as Ruka's nose coolly brushed his stomach, mouth completely engulfing him. His fingers dug into Ruka's scalp as he came, feeling Ruka's own powerful hands tight and unyielding on his waist.

Ruka tensed a little beneath him and made a contemplative noise, if rather muffled, but didn't try to pull away. Ni~ya, watching in a hazy state of pure bliss, was amazed and not a little impressed to see him swallow as he pulled back, just giving a pensive, very Ruka-ish frown.

“You didn't...” Ni~ya paused, waiting for his own breathing to catch up, white chest heaving. “...You didn't have to do that, you know...” He could only remember two women who ever had, and neither of them had managed anything like the poker-face Ruka had evidently been practising.

“Hmph.” Ruka waved aside the comment as though it wasn't even a consideration, but didn't bother giving a more expansive answer, staring up at Ni~ya with, the bassist thought, worrying intensity. Ni~ya's limbs might as well have been puddles of goo, his body was so sated, but his endorphin-soaked mind was nevertheless getting a little anxious, especially as Ruka, eyes not leaving his face, was beginning a slow crawl back up off the floor.

“Your body,” murmured Ruka darkly, hands slipping up the small of his back beneath his shirt, “is the most fucking beautiful thing I have ever seen.” He pressed an overheated kiss to Ni~ya's flat stomach.

Ni~ya thought this might be a good time to muster some righteous indignation at his friend's molestation tactics, and managed a half-hearted,

“You jerk...”

Ruka's lips were gliding up his chest, tasting salt on the damp white skin; he planted one knee back on the sofa, and then his lanky frame was looming over the other man.

“Hey...!” Ni~ya's protest was rather more enthusiastic this time, his hands darting up to press warningly against Ruka's ribs. “Don't you even think about it-”

“You've got no idea how long I've been thinking about it,” Ruka rejoined in a low growl, ignoring the pressure of the pale fingers and continuing his unnerving approach.

“I mean it!” exclaimed Ni~ya, sliding backwards as far as the arm of the sofa would let him and feeling the welcome prickle of annoyance flash through him. “I know where that mouth's just been, remem- mmph!!”

He was cut off mid-sentence as Ruka suddenly surged forward, his mouth meeting Ni~ya's hard in a kiss that brooked no argument. Ni~ya spent approximately half a second being absolutely furious, and then, to his own amazement, his lips parted under Ruka's and his hand snaked up the back of the drummer's neck, catching his hair and dragging him down, closer, closer, the taste of himself disconcerting on Ruka's commanding tongue and the heat of his body dizzying.

“...Gonna get you back for this,” Ni~ya gasped in the tiny space it took Ruka to catch his breath, vaguely hoping his spiked lip ring was causing some pain, and then Ruka's mouth silenced him again, arms wrapping around his back and clinging as if he'd never touched Ni~ya before and would never be able to again.

“Ru...” Ni~ya's thigh met with a hardness between Ruka's legs; the other man let an amazed sound of desire escape in the breath between them, and Ni~ya felt himself ignite. Making a concerted effort, he wrestled himself up from his horizontal position, pleased to note that Ruka's response time had slowed down significantly now that he was sporting his own hard-on; before the drummer could pull himself together Ni~ya shifted their positions and shoved him over onto his back, sinking down to straddle his hips and effectively pin him there. Ni~ya wasn't any waif, he knew, and Ruka wasn't that much bigger than him.

Ah. This was much more like it, thought Ni~ya, his bossy nature clamouring to reassert itself, taking the opportunity to tug his jeans up clumsily and fasten at least one shirt button to give himself a modicum of dignity. Ruka glared up at him, panting a little, flushed in a way Ni~ya had never seen before, had never wanted to see until about five minutes ago. He pushed upwards experimentally, but Ni~ya wasn't having any escape attempts: trying not to look too post-orgasmic and exhausted he reached out and grabbed Ruka by the throat, not enough to hurt (well, maybe a little bit) but enough to slow him down.

Ni~ya-chan,” Ruka began, in the voice that was invariably effective in getting his orders obeyedtoot sweet.

“Oh, I don't think so,” Ni~ya interrupted, tightening his grip. Ruka squirmed bad-temperedly. “You gropey, manipulative sod, you're going to lie there and put up with whatever I choose to do to you! Understand?”

“No,” said Ruka, as sulkily as he could, what with the hand round his throat. Ni~ya's spare fingers crept pointedly down his stomach and fastened on his zip. “Maybe.” Ni~ya leaned forward to kiss him.

At that moment the break room door banged open briskly, making both men jump.

“Ni~ya-kun, are you in here, it's your tur- Hey, are you guys fighting?!” Suzuki-san, Naito's collective manager (we have a new one now), burst in, coming to a comic halt at the sight of his bass player crouched over his drummer and apparently about to throttle him. “What's going on here?”

Ruka let fly a particularly choice swear word but, his voice being so low, Ni~ya was able to cover it with practised ease. “Just re-enacting...re-enacting my favourite scene!” he explained cheerfully, hopping up with alacrity and grabbing his now much-crushed manga. Ruka, not having had the benefit of a blowjob and therefore much less inclined to be cheerful about anything, snorted dangerously. “He's a sore loser,” Ni~ya told Suzuki-san confidentially. Ruka gave him a thunderous glance, swinging his long legs off the sofa and tugging a cushion furtively onto his lap.

“...Whatever.” Suzuki-san glossed over the shocking immaturity of his charges and delivered his original message. “It's your turn, Ni~ya-kun, Hitsu-kun's finished already.”

Ni~ya heard Ruka mutter something behind him along the lines of “at least somebody has,” and, feeling the drummer's glare boring into his back, executed a quick sashay out of the room.

Suzuki-san turned on his way out. “Hang in there, Ruka-san,” he said blithely. “Your turn soon.” The door shut behind him. Ruka gave a deep, ironic sigh, then cracked an evil little smile that would have made Ni~ya extremely nervous had he still been around to see it.

Oh, yes.”

 

 

“Ta-dahh!” says Sakito, switching back to his normal voice and turning to look expectantly at me. “The End.”

I continue gaping at him for a few seconds, but eventually manage to shut my mouth through sheer force of will. Sakito relaxes, heaving the accomplished sigh of a Booker Prize winner.

“I am good,” he crows to himself when it becomes obvious I'm incapable of comment. “I may retire and write trashy women's fiction.”

“...And all that,” I say carefully, as soon as I'm able, “was your way of telling me that-”

“That Ni~ya got all horny one day and caved in to Ruka's groping like a total girl and let himself get sucked off in the break room? Well yeah,” sniffs Sakito disdainfully, “if you want to be really boring about it.”

“And since then...?”

“Pretty much, on and off.” He considers. “Neither of them likes giving up control, so there's quite alot of 'off'.”

“And that happened in here,” I say dully.

“Right here,” confirms Sakito, sounding proud.

“On that sofa.”

“Ahh,” says Sakito, smoothing his slender hand over the fake leather nostalgically, “some marvellous things have gone on on this sofa.”

I refrain from continuing that line of conversation.

“Well, thank you very much.” I switch the camera off, eyeing the rest of the room's furniture warily: I suspect I'm going to be finding out much more about it than I ever wanted to know. “It was very...informative.”

“Any time.”

“Okay.”

“No, really,” Sakito says eagerly, seemingly in a state of (post-gossip) bliss himself. “Any time!”

I may have created a monster.

 


 

June 18 th , 2008

 

“Oh yeah,” says Yomi the next day, unabashed, pouring himself a cup of tea and taking no notice of the camera. “I saw them.”

“You – huh?”

“Well, some of it,” he revises. He smirks. “I'd just finished getting bawled out for talking about D-cups on air – I mean, ridiculous, it's not like it happens every time I open my mouth! Anyway, who doesn't like them?” He sips his tea philosophically. “So I went to the break room to get Hitsu for his turn, and as soon I opened the door a crack I heard these noises.” He gives a filthy little cackle – you know the one – and raises his miniature eyebrows suggestively. “So of course I had a little look out of curiosity. Guess you know what I saw!”

I nod gloomily. In great detail. “So,” I enquire, “are you Sakito's informed source, then?”

“Oh no,” Yomi says happily, and shoves an entire biscuit down his throat. “One of them must have told him all about it.”

Maybe Ruki is right after all. Maybe my band is a bunch of perverts.

Chapter Text

July 17 th , 2008

 

I initially intend to have a cup of tea and a catch-up with Yuki, a former tech who now runs his own set of practice studios, but I take along my camera in case Penicillin's Hakuei should happen to be there, since this is supposedly one of his favourite spots for messing about by himself. He's always been a great friend of Ruka's, after all, and I want to see if I can get someone's perspective that differs from my image of him to date, which vacillates between borderline S&M king and, in the case of Gigaflare, the hapless victim of his singer's deviancy.

Hakuei is there, and happily remembers, after a minute, who the hell I am. The interview doesn't go entirely to plan, though, because turns out he is not alone; and whenever I ask him a question I'm distracted from the answer by the fascinating spectacle that is the off-tour Miyavi, plus invariable guitar, on the couch behind him. I didn't even know they knew each other, but they seem very chummy, in spite of the fact that Hakuei is dressed in chic, minimalist black while the younger man looks like an explosion at a fashion show, what with his height and that beautiful face and his frankly bonkers layering of clothes.

“Let's have a reminder, then,” says Hakuei, in answer to my generic fall-back question, 'what do you think of my band?'. He turns to the Naito spread in the new issue of Fool's Mate. “Lessee... What do I think?”

“That means 'who would he do?'” chips in Miyavi, smirking as the older man turns to punch him in the arm.

Hakuei leans forward to peer at the photographs, while Miyavi lounges back amid the cushions in lanky, self-assured gorgeousness, effortlessly picking out a complex acoustic melody that almost makes me lose focus of what I'm actually doing here. I mean, my boys are awesome guitarists, and I'm no slouch, but Miyavi is pure virtuoso level; you tend to forget, when you're staring him in the face, that he can do anything other than sit around looking like a supermodel.

Hakuei pushes his yellow-tinted glasses up on his forehead, and points to each picture in turn.

“Maybe; if I was wasted; hell yes; yes; already done him.” Miyavi raises his lovely eyebrows, which Hakuei somehow picks up on despite having his back to them. “C'mon, me and Ruka? Back in the day? Everyone knows that.”

I make a mental note to ask Sakito about this; it doesn't seem too remote a possibility – I suppose Ruka had to practice with someone before he let loose on Ni~ya – though the idea of him going for anyone the size of Hakuei, who is much too big to push around, is a little bizarre.

“What??” he demands, at the dubious silence. “Ruka can be a real cutie.”

I try to line up the concept with the man in question, fail, and turn to Miyavi instead.

“Care to throw in?” I ask politely. He tilts his head quizzically, stares at the pictures for a moment, and shrugs.

“Hmm...”

“There's no point asking him,” cuts in Hakuei, pushing the eccentric guitarist back to his previous position with a fingertip. “When it comes to guys, he's a textbook narcissist. Give him a mirror and he is gone.” Miyavi just smiles his pinball smile and twiddles with his guitar some more. “The only reason he hangs out with me,” Hakuei continues matter-of-factly, “is that we look kind of alike and it's the closest he can get to auto-erotica.” Miyavi gives the camera a well-practised wink and a sensuous flick of his tongue over his lip piercing.

I ignore this with difficulty, and consider Hakuei's theory. I guess, in terms of braided, leggy pouty-ness and boundless tattooed self-confidence, he has a point.

“Sakito, now,” says Hakuei, returning to topic. “I would so be hitting that if he wasn't already in that weird thing they say he's got going with Hitsugi-kun; and if I wanted to piss Ruka off. Which I often do, actually.”

“Oh, you know about that too, do you?”

“Course.” Hakuei gives a rueful grin. “Sakito's straight, anyway, isn't he? Sex-wise, I mean. Ruka says he has a whole string of women on call at, like, five minutes' notice.”

 

This, now. This I want to know. And I suppose I know just who to ask.

 


 

 

July 20 th , 2008

 

 

I had determined, early on, that Yomi would not be permitted to give an interview about either Ruka or Ni~ya – it was bad enough hearing it from Sakito, and I'm not about to let Japan's filthiest-minded midget loose with all that potential obscenity-trial material. Instead, I decide to designate him Hitsugi and Sakito, poster boys for fluff.

 

Conveniently enough, I don't even have to go looking for Yomi; he's been badgering me for a turn ever since he heard about Sakito's nosebleed-inducing bit of film. So I sit him down in front of the camera, inform him of his pre-determined pairing, and issue a stern warning about keeping this suitable for junior high students. Which seems like a reasonable level.

Yomi looks momentarily put out, then grins resignedly and flaps a reassuring hand at me, tuning out the commonplace sound of Ruka and Ni~ya yelling at each other in the next room with practised ease.

“All right, all right. Saki and Hitsu. Tell me what you wanna know.”

“So...are they lovers, or what?” I ask. We may as well set the record straight from the start. Yomi pauses, looking uncharacteristically pensive.

“Depends what you mean by lovers,” he muses, shrugging. “If you mean 'are they in love', then yes. Hell yes. If you're asking me whether they're fucking-”

“Keep it clean!” I cut in, before he can slip back into his natural filthiness. “I'm relying on you!”

“I am!” exclaims Yomi, in a tone of righteous innocence that does not become him at all. “They're lovers. Yeah. I'm going with that. But they're not doing it.”

“Then...” I begin,

“Saki has one night stands,” Yomi continues, determined to get his point across. “Well, it'd be a crime to let all that hot go to waste, right? It's okay, Hitsu knows about the girls, and the two of them have never been like that. Hitsu...” Yomi looks thoughtful, with an option on amazed. “...I don't think Hitsu has sex with anyone. Ever.”

“What a weird arrangement,” I probe, nosily. Yomi, a man currently living as one side of a polygamous guy-on-guy lust triangle, nods.

“But it works.” He shrugs again. “I can't tell you when they got started, they've been like this as long as I've known them. But I can tell you how they made it official.”

“In a G-rated way?” I confirm anxiously.

“Sure.” Yomi grins. “Well. Maybe PG. But I'll rein it back!” I ease in behind the camera.

“Go on then. Let's get it over with.”

 

“It was winter,” begins Yomi. I give him a look, and he screws his face up in thought. “Okay, if you want precision, it was December 2005. It was also 3am, and Sakito, our uber-gorgeous guitarist, had been on a date. This, as you can probably guess, was a fairly regular occurrence: I've never been able to work out if Saki is naturally highly-sexed, or if he's been taught to be like that by the multitude of people who've been hitting on him left, right and centre since he reached his late teens and skinny geek miraculously became model-esque beauty. Either way, he's sure had a lot of girlfriends in his time.

Tonight, though, he was finishing up his evening with something much more important: a decent night's sleep (you'd be amazed – well, not you, Ryo-kun, but most people – how rare a commodity that is for us). And he planned to get it in the company of his favourite person in the whole world, and in his favourite place: his best friend and fellow guitarist, Hitsugi's, small apartment. He'd been looking forward to this for a week, and he wasn't about to let some horny beautiful woman with amazing ti- with an amazing personality stop him. Yeah, I know...Sakito was one weird guy.

Sakito unlocked the door with his spare key and shut it quietly behind him. It was dark in the apartment, but the warm, lived-in atmosphere (and the faint sound of snoring from the other room) assured him that his friend was in. He managed to navigate his way over to Hitsu's ironing basket with his usual super-annoying grace (don't tell him I said that) and without treading on the tiny dog Hitsu shared his flat with (he was sure it got underfoot on purpose), and extracted the grey cotton sweat-pants and tshirt he'd left there the previous week: the younger man was great at housework, especially if Sakito asked him nicely.

Shedding his fancy outfit and donning his pyjamas in the time it took him to glide along the hallway to the bedroom, Sakito tugged back the neatly tucked-in covers and slid silently into the bed. It was too dark to see much, but he could tell the other guitarist was sleeping with his back to him, compact frame limp and totally relaxed.

“Hitsu,” he whispered, not being the kind of person who could let his friends just get on with their day without drawing attention to himself (not that it's really surprising, given the hours per day people spend fixating on him). He slipped a slender arm around Hitsu's waist, the fluffy, wine-coloured fabric of his room-wear warm and soft beneath his fingers.

“Wstfgl,” said Hitsu, incoherently. And then, waking up just enough to realise what was going on, “oh, hello...”

“Hey...” Sakito grinned lazily as he felt his friend's fingers link with his own; a perfect fit, as always. “You can go back to sleep,” he breathed graciously. Hitsu gave a soft, good-natured grumble, tipping his head back so his tawny-and-blonde mane brushed the older man's cheek.

“...Have a good date?” he murmured, hand tightening on Sakito's elegant fingers.

“Mmm.” Sakito made a noise of acquiescence, leaning down to burrow the tip of his cold nose beneath the extravagant hair until he reached the skin below Hitsu's ear. “It was fine.”

“Didn't want to stay over, though?”

“...No,” said Sakito. He pressed a sleepy kiss to the nape of Hitsu's neck. “This is better.”

“Mmf.” The younger man made no complaint as Sakito draped one perfect leg over his hip and snuggled down, the warmth and softness of his body lulling his beautiful friend quickly to sleep.”

 

 

( “Is this gross?” demands Yomi, breaking off and looking a little nauseated with himself. “It's so...fluffy.”

“God, no!” I exclaim. And then, in a mumble, “...not after Sakito's interview...” I start to remember some of the grisly details, but manage to stuff them back into the deep vault in my brain from whence they arose.

“All right.” Yomi looks slightly mollified. “But just say the word, and I can re-rate it to include T&A any time you like!”

No,” I say firmly. “It's very cute. Keep it that way. For me!”

He sighs, nods, and dives back in. )

 

 

“So in case you weren't right alongside this yet, that should give you an idea of the kind of friendship Hitsu and Sakito had going. I was totally used to it by that time; but you can't exactly say it was normal. Still, as long as no-one drew attention to it, the two of them were perfectly happy.

'Course, it could be difficult not to upset the balance, especially with Hitsu, who had always seemed more thin-skinned than Sakito when it came to sex conversations (even worse than you, Ryo-kun, and believe me you are repressed). Case in point: about a week after the above event, the five of us were on a mid-practice lunch break. I was on my DS, stuck in between Ruka and Ni~ya, who were in the middle of some kind of weird feud at the time and trying not to sit next to each other. Sakito was cross-legged in the chair opposite, fiddling with one of his guitars while Hitsu sat contentedly at his feet like the total pussy-cat he is.

I was levelling up and trying to ignore Ni~ya's helpful suggestions when I noticed Ruka gearing up to speak (this can take him a while). Eventually,

“Hitsu-kun,” he said, looking immensely bored, but that could mean anything with him. Hitsu pricked up his ears. “What're you doing Tuesday night?”

Hitsu shrugged. “Dunno. We don't have anything scheduled yet, do we?” Sakito shook his head above him, all dark shiny hair and braids; with the bizarre telepathy the two of them sometimes displayed, Hitsu nodded, despite the fact that the other guitarist was completely out of his eye-line. “Why?”

Ruka examined his long nails with a practised air of ennui. “That chick in admin on the top floor, she's into you.” (Don't tell me Ruka isn't interested in poking around in other people's business; he just hates it when you get up in his face about it...) “She was asking Kei-kun about you.”

Hitsu froze at the explanation; I hadn't seen him look that discomfited since the last time Chiba tried to feel him up in the elevator (heheh). Ruka was watching him carefully, with that disconcerting, but thankfully rare, look of piercing attention he occasionally wears.

“Want to give it a go?” he asked. “Kei-kun could set it up.”

“No thanks,” said Hitsu, voice tight but, by and large, amazingly calm, given this revelation of his guitar tech's gossipy betrayal. Sakito's pretty fingers slid down from his scratch-plate and began to pet Hitsu's hair unobtrusively; Ruka's brown eyes remained fixed on the younger man's face, evaluating.

“...All right,” he said, after a minute, and dropped it, leaning in to give me more unwelcome advice on my gaming technique. “Didn't think so.”

Hitsu closed his eyes, leaning heavily into Sakito's hand, practically purring at the contact, and the awkward moment was over. I've always wondered why Ruka brought it up in the first place; he knows Hitsu as well as any of us.

And that's the point, because Hitsu, in complete contrast to Sakito, did not date, not even to get laid. At least, he never had done since I'd known him, and that had been years. So human contact was probably even more important to him than the rest of us (well, maybe not Ruka, god of groping). And that was what Sakito gave, on a casual day-to-day basis and whenever one of them had time to trek over to the other's apartment or hotel room and spend the night; and in return he had the novelty of being absolutely adored, without the adoring party trying desperately to get him naked whenever they met.

Now you may wonder about the little problem of morning wood-”

 

 

( “Ah-ah!” I warn Yomi, shaking a finger at him. He rolls his eyes.

“Not even that?” he says, disbelievingly. “Sheesh!” )

 

 

“...About the problem of waking up a little bit too happy some mornings,” he amends. “Well, Sakito was sure it must happen, although he never encountered it himself because Hitsu would always wake up before him, despite sleeping like a log through the night. He didn't appear to need anyone's help to deal with it, anyway.

So we'd all come to the basic conclusion that Hitsu was probably asexual (well, Saki told us he was, and then we googled it, and then we agreed). But it didn't bother us; compared to some of the stuff that was brewing in Naito at the time, a guitarist not sleeping with anyone was pretty tame. And it didn't stop him and Sakito being head over heels for each other; most of the time they kept it on the down-low, but the air of blissed-out contentment that sometimes just radiated out of them made it pretty obvious, and could be totally annoying, especially if you happened to be single at the time.

Still, the fact remained that Sakito was seeing women, mostly casually, and Hitsu wasn't. Which, although Hitsu would never have dreamed of saying anything, lent itself to the odd fit of paranoia and the deeper, almost unconscious worry that his best friend, who, let's be honest, would be an unbelievable catch for anyone, might meet someone he'd want to get serious with.

Sakito had never said that was what he was looking for when he started seeing someone; but he hadn't said it wasn't, either. And then it happened: he met someone.

Kyoko (no, not that one) was, from what I gather, in effect a female version of Sakito: willowy, beautiful, excellent in her chosen vocation (distance running) and, beneath the elegant exterior, a total nerd. So much for opposites attracting. Sakito had bonded with her over a heated Kirk/Picard debate in a bar, which he was supposed to be visiting on a date with somebody else, and since that first meeting had been seeing her enthusiastically, both in bed and out of it.

It took a good two months for Hitsu to start looking worried, and that was only because the normally circumspect Sakito couldn't keep his mouth shut about Kyoko's geeky attractions. And still our youngest member didn't say anything; what would he say? He could hardly complain (well, I could have, and Ruka would have, but Hitsu isn't us, now, is he), not without making it seem like he had some claim on Sakito that didn't, as far as they were concerned, exist. So he just put up and shut up, and carried on being the very definition of stoic depression.

It was when Sakito turned up one morning, ready to be primped and pampered for our Shoxx photo-shoot and smelling of her, that the rest of us noticed how badly Hitsu was taking it, even if he didn't notice it himself. Hitsu can look very soulful, and it's never deliberate puppy-dog eyes (which I personally make good use of when I want something out of Ruka) or anything obvious: just a pale, frozen kind of face that makes you want to squeeze him and tell him everything will be all right. Add to that the fact that the costume girls had taken it into their heads to give him a kitty tail that day, and we were talking adorability overload. Now that kind of thing really puts Ruka and Ni~ya's backs up, both of them being highly susceptible to cute; so they temporarily shelved their erotically charged hostilities to deal with the situation.

“So what's up with you and this chick?” enquired Ni~ya subtly, while he and Sakito were taking a lightning-fast smoke break outside (it was March, and Sakito's pale, bare stomach wasn't ready to do much basking yet).

“She is so much fun,” confided the guitarist. “You know she can do all the lines from Wrath of Khan?”

“Is that a good thing?” Ni~ya asked doubtfully.

“Oh, yeah. And she is hot,” said Sakito happily. “Talk about legs.”

“Hmph!” Ni~ya sniffed deprecatingly. “Hot women, ten a penny,” he stated, with the voice of experience.

“I know that, but-”

“Other things, more important,” the bassist interrupted, taking a long, appreciative drag on his cigarette. Sakito gave a ridiculously pretty frown.

“What things, exactly?”

Ni~ya shook his head, pitched his cigarette stub down the steps, and stood up, extending his body into a long, flexible stretch that would have had Ruka champing at the bit had he been there to see it.

Ruka wasn't, however: he was lolling against the door of the make-up room, waiting in 'off' mode for the smokers to get back inside. He woke up as he heard their chatter, Ni~ya sounding mysterious, Sakito vaguely peeved. Ni~ya gave the drummer a brusque nod, then whisked past him (at this point they were in a no-touching period of their fighting/flirtation) before he could do anything untoward.

Sakito made to follow him, but Ruka stuck his arm out with the unnerving speed he can display when he feels like it, and stopped him.

“You as well?” asked Sakito tersely, folding his slim arms. “If you've got something on your mind, please just say it!”

Instead, Ruka grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him round so he was facing the make-up room. Sakito huffed in surprise: Ruka wasn't normally so tactile with his de facto leader as he was with me or Ni~ya, and his sheer implacability must have come as a bit of a shock.

Do something about this,” ordered Ruka, quietly.

“About what?” demanded Sakito, staring at a heap of cosmetics boxes. Ruka sighed impatiently and pivoted him until he was looking in the right direction.

That.” Sakito looked, and saw Hitsu curled into a corner of the couch, apparently deep in thought and oblivious to the pair of them, his only movement the nervous tugging at his lip ring. But Sakito, now he was actually paying attention, knew that expression of old; he knew how much trouble his quiet friend had articulating his thoughts when something was bothering him, and he recognised this face as the only outlet Hitsu ever allowed himself.

“How long has he been like this?” he asked in a low voice, not wanting to disturb the other guitarist or annoy Ruka, whose height and tendency to loom were bothering him for pretty much the first time ever.

“Ever since you opened your mouth and said her name,” stated Ruka flatly, in his ear.

“...Pardon?”

Ruka made a faint disapproving noise. “Are you that gone on her, then?” Then, before Sakito could get a word in, “If you didn't even notice... You never talk about your dates. Hell, they never last long enough for it to be worth it. So it's never mattered.”

“But...?” Sakito assumed there was more coming, and listened, gaze fixed on Hitsu.

“...But this one isn't a date, is she?” pointed out Ruka in one of the voices he reserved for Yomi, the one that said Sakito was an unbelievable idiot; he bristled. “This one's a girlfriend.”

“Problem?” asked Sakito, perplexed.

Big problem, if you like her that much.” Ruka let go of him, dropping back into his usual laconic tones. “Just look at him. And think about it.” Then the air behind Sakito was suddenly empty (Ruka having wandered off to find me and attempt to get me to give him a lapdance – it didn't work then, and it still hasn't).

Sakito stood in the doorway a while longer before the call came from the photography set. Hitsu shook himself lightly, waking up, and noticed his friend watching him silently. For a moment he looked blank; then he smiled one of his sweet little smiles and unfolded himself off the couch to go back to work. Sakito observed him, and the others' behaviour towards him, carefully.

Then he went home and thought. He thought for a long time, about his many relationships of the last few years, and Kyoko, and Hitsu, and Ruka (who kept insinuating himself into the silent debate as a kind of moral arbiter, which was just plain ridiculous), and himself and where his life was going.

Sakito was never one for wavering. By the following morning, he knew what he wanted.

 

The next evening we had free, which was a couple of days later, I went round to Ruka's place, forgetting that he had banned me some time before for being a noise nuisance while drunk. And Sakito went to Hitsugi's.

Hitsu was as unreservedly delighted to see him as always, and Sakito realised, with a guilty start, that it had been longer than usual since he'd spent any time lazing in this particular armchair, which was, next to Hitsu's bed, the place he felt most comfortable in the world. Hitsu made tea and sandwiches, swiped dust off the kotatsu in a house-proud way, and they settled down to watch crap TV and talk.

“Do you ever think about us getting married?” Sakito asked, curiously, at the romantic conclusion of the ridiculously cheesy drama they'd been sitting through because neither of them could be bothered to get up and find the Alien DVD.

“I don't think it's allowed,” replied Hitsu after a pause, but he was smiling. “Legally.” Sakito shook his head.

“To other people, I mean.” Hitsu's smile vanished.

No,” he said instantly. Sakito felt the arm around him tighten briefly, as if involuntarily. He ran his hand lightly up the other guitarist's back, between his shoulder-blades, petting him soothingly. That was very much the reaction he'd been hoping for, he realised.

“Lately...neither do I.” Hitsu froze at that, and Sakito wondered what he was thinking; did he sound like a total hypocrite right now? “I used to,” he continued, “every time I met someone new; but now...if I think about giving up this...well, it just seems too weird, doesn't it?”

“...If it's what you wanted,” said the younger man deliberately, carefully, as if letting go an inch of control would break him, “I would say...go for it.”

“But that's what I'm saying.” Sakito began to trace random patterns on his friend's back, and tried to imagine, for a moment, that there might be a time when he wouldn't need this. He felt Hitsu's brief shiver. “It isn't what I want any more.”

“What're you getting at?” enquired Hitsu, doing a fair impression of calm, leaning in familiarly to Sakito's absent caress.

“I suppose...God, it's hard to find a way to put this without sounding fifteen...” Sakito studied the ceiling for a minute. “Okay... Will you go out with me?”

“Excuse me??”

“We're not really friends,” Sakito explained, then hurried on at Hitsu's pale-faced stare of...what? Shock? Hurt? “Well, obviously we're friends, you're my best friend. But it's more than that.” Hitsu was looking surprisingly perturbed at this, thought Sakito, for whom it had been self-evident. “It has been for years.”

“I love you,” said Hitsu, quietly, as if it was the only thing he was sure of at this point. “I want to be with you.”

“Exactly! We work, Hitsu. Just as we are.” Sakito wrapped his slender arms around the younger man. “So why should I act like I want to spend my life with anyone else?” Hitsu, who had looked absolutely incredulous at this announcement, gradually relaxed into Sakito's embrace, seeming both amazed and relieved. Ruka was right, thought Sakito, gratefully; how irritating of him.

Hitsu leaned his head against the chair-back, not looking at his beautiful friend, feline nose pointed at the ceiling; clearly there was something still troubling him.

“But, the sex thing...” he murmured, without blushing, for a change: he was still looking rather pale.

“Don't worry,” Sakito reassured him quickly, before he had to say anything else; he was, when he wanted to be, sensitive to Hitsu's lack of interest in the topic. “I know you don't want that with me; with anyone.”

“...Okay,” said Hitsu after a minute, in a low voice, still watching the light fittings rather than meet Sakito's eyes. Pleased that he hadn't turned all embarrassed, Sakito carried on.

“And I'm straight, right, so it all works out! I can come up with some arrangement to deal with that side of things; I know quite a few women who'd be cool with it. I don't actually have to date them.”

“Mmph,” Hitsu responded after a moment's reflection, sounding quite pleased, Sakito thought. He beamed.

“So: you wanna go out with me?”

Yes,” said Hitsu firmly. He finally turned to look at Sakito, who melted a bit, as usual, at the sweetness of his metal-filled smile. “But let's at least pretend we're not in high school, shall we? I will be your partner. For as long as you want.”

“Good,” Sakito said, triumphant; he knew this was the right decision, had known it from the moment his friend had opened the door and given him the most complicated, hopeful but above all loving look he had ever received. Hitsu's grin widened, and Sakito beckoned to him. “Kiss.” Hitsu leaned forward without hesitation and pressed their lips together, closed-mouthed and firm. Sakito, delighting as ever in how comfortable it felt, even with all the piercings to contend with, let his eyes slide closed. When he opened them Hitsu had drawn back and was watching him with a mixture of amusement, gratitude and something else he couldn't quite place.

“Just...one thing.”

“Yes?” asked Sakito, who was feeling ready to grant his partner pretty much anything he wanted right now.

You're going to tell the other three about this. I'll be hiding.”

“Idiot.” Sakito gave him a fond look. “Bet you a dinner date they already know.”

“Oh!” Hitsu brightened even further at the thought of a wager. “I'll take that bet.”

Sakito just gave a happy sigh, and kissed him again.”

 

 

“There!” says Yomi, nodding in workmanlike fashion at the camera. “Happy?”

“So who won?” I ask, feeling more relaxed and relieved than I'd imagined an in-depth interview with Yomi would ever leave me.

“Saki did, of course!” Yomi grins. “All three of us knew what was going on, you know? And Ruka told me what he'd said to Saki. It was pretty obvious what decision he'd make, right?”

“That was a pretty sneaky bet,” I remark, and am rewarded with a cackle. Yomi pauses to eavesdrop on a particularly emphatic volley of shouts from Ruka and Ni~ya, who are still going strong next door.

“Yeah, 'cos taking Saki out to dinner is such a chore.” Fair point. Yomi pouts. “Are you gonna let me have another crack at this? I want to do a fun story.”

“No.” I know what Yomi's definition of 'fun' entails, and I don't need a step-by-step dissection of his dirty mind's inner workings.

“Spoil-sport.” Yomi sticks his tongue out at the camera in a gratuitous display of immaturity, then scuttles off to, by the sound of it, egg Ni~ya on.

 

Well. That was very...yeah, fluffy. But since it's very hard to believe a word that comes out of Yomi's little mouth, I may have to do some confirmatory research.

 

 


 

August 2 nd , 2008

 

 

It takes a while, but after much surreptitious questioning and a little informative eavesdropping I manage to find one of Sakito's women. Yuuka-san works in the VAP office, is cute as a button, and can drink me under the table.

“Yeah, I went out with Sakito-san,” she admits, hauling me back onto my stool with an expression of adorable effort and straightening up the camera herself. “Well. Once. Ages ago.”

“Was it as good as he looks?” I blanch as Yuuka-san slides another tequila along the bar at me. We drink.

“I have no idea,” she tells me, slamming down her shot glass with a satisfied sigh. She shrugs, perplexed. “We were in the middle of dinner, he was looking...well, like he does. I'd got quite a bit of merlot down his throat, and I remember thinking-”

“'Score'?” I suggest, drunkenly.

“Pretty much.” Yuuka-san makes a face. “Then the next thing I know his phone rings, and when he sees who it is he picks up. This in the middle of a date, right?”

“Who-” I hiccup, and try again. “Who was it?”

“Don't know. I tried to listen in, but all I got was something about a dye job gone wrong.” Aha. “Then he suddenly says, 'take off all your clothes and get under the shower. I'm coming over.'”

“And then?”

“And then he buggered off!” She crosses her legs resignedly, and I aim an appreciative leer in their direction. “Like I was gonna let it go any further after that, anyway. The man is a slut!”

I'm pretty sure I know what happened, and that it had nothing to do with steamy bathroom assignations and a lot to do with the burnt orange hairdo Hitsugi was sporting for two days the September before last. But Yuuka-san doesn't need to know that.

“Sakito's a nice guy,” I slur, probably not inspiring much confidence. Yuuka-san pushes another glass towards me with one pretty finger, slowly, like she doesn't want to spook me.

“And what do you know about nice guys?” she asks softly, with the cutest calculating grin you ever saw. I throw back the fatal tequila shot and lean in.

“Want me to show you?”

Yuuka-san beams, and slides her little foot up my ankle.

Score!!

Chapter Text

August 14 th , 2008

 

I decide to take a little break from the all-kinds-of-disturbing, or sickeningly cute, revelations of my boys regarding their bandmates, as neither my nerves not my bank account (sadly depleted in the purchase of random hetero pornography in a determined bid to stay straight) can take too much in one go.

I return, perhaps unwisely, to my quest for outsider perspectives on Naito and their goings-on.

 

My first port of call is my irritatingly tall and good-looking senpai, Junnosuke, who formerly worked for VAP and is now a producer at a top studio frequented by the heavier side of visual-kei and some mainstream metal/hardcore stars. We reminisce happily over youthful Pantera concerts, and somehow make our way from that to the oddity of frontmen in general, and Yomi/Chiba in particular.

“They're all like that,” says Jun. He thinks about this. “Well, maybe not quite like that. But they've all got a screw loose.” To illustrate his point he waves a hand towards the window of one of the recording booths, where his expert assistants are having a terrible time trying to get the right levels on the mic of the tiny singer warming up inside.

If you're at all interested, incidentally, the singer in question is Kyo of Dir en grey, former v-kei artist and now miniature metal extraordinaire. Jun really is doing well. The techs, however, are having huge problems, because Kyo's vocal range is ridiculously wide and can also swing from softly melodic to terrifying roar in a second; I can hear it even through the glass. I shake my head sympathetically, and we return to our conversation, determining that, on a sliding scale, my guy is still probably the freakiest, Kyo's incredible teeth notwithstanding. Which is nice to know.

“Yomi: What d'you think?” calls Jun, as the door opens.

“Yomi? Who's Yomi?” deadpans Kyo, with a look of genuine blankness, leaving off torturing his microphone long enough to wander out of the recording booth and be piloted over to the camera. And, once he's had it explained to him, “Oh, him. The one that's shorter than me.”

It doesn't look like we're going to get much of anything out of him: I hear when he's recording he's completely oblivious to everything but the extraordinary ugly-beautiful noises coming out of his mouth anyway.

“Anything to add?” asks Jun optimistically, sticking the camera in Kyo's bizarre little face with what I consider admirable bravery. “What's he like?”

“No idea what he's like,” Kyo says disinterestedly. He glances up at the tall producer, and up some more, then back down at himself; he wrinkles his nose wryly. “I'm just glad that he is.”

 

Well. That was productive. Maybe I should try talking to someone normal...

 


 

 

August 20 th , 2008

 

 

“Nightmare?” The young woman – I peer at her Like An Edison name-card surreptitiously: Harata-san – looks thoughtful for a moment. Then realisation dawns. “Oh yes, I do remember them. You're making a film about them?”

“Any first impressions?” I enquire.

“...Well...” She lowers her voice. “Actually...I think I saw two of them holding hands once. I mean, not on camera or anything, they were just in the waiting room. It was the one...the one that looks like a girl. Like a gorgeous girl. And the scary-looking one.”

“Scary?”

“The one with all the piercings.” I manage not to snigger. Hitsugi! “Anyway,” she continues, “I thought that was kind of daring! At the time.” I can't help but raise my eyebrows. “For two men, even these days... But then...then a few weeks later I happened to look through one of the interview room windows on my way back from lunch...”

“And?” I demand. Something juicy must be coming.

“They were all in there, with their manager,” confides Harata-san breathlessly, leaning closer. “And the tall one...you know, the really tall one...was squeezing the little one's...bottom!”

“And?!”

“And nobody paid any attention at all!” She looks scandalised. I fan her solicitously with a piece of paper, and sigh.

“You haven't worked here very long, have you...”

 

This is getting us nowhere: 'normal' is clearly just as useless as 'mental'. Time to bite the bullet and return to the source material.

 


 

 

August 29 th , 2008

 

 

It's nearly three months after Yomi's charming tale, what with having a summer tour in the interim, before Hitsugi screws up his courage and agrees to be interviewed (on pain of being banned from the platonic delights of Sakito's bed, I gather). I'm almost looking forward to it: if Yomi, emperor of innuendo, managed to keep his story sweet, how bad can Hitsugi possibly make his?

Naito are in the middle of a couple of days' recording, and while Ni~ya's laying down his bass tracks I take the opportunity to sneak the reluctant guitarist away to what is essentially a cupboard with a couple of chairs in it (and which no doubt has been, or will be, defiled at some point by one of Ruka's clandestine make-out sessions).

I set up the tripod as best I can under the bare light and take my seat optimistically.

“Can you pixelate my face?” asks Hitsugi anxiously.

“With that hair?” I eye his extravagant red-and-black 'do. “What would be the point?”

“This is so embarrassing.”

“It's not compulsory,” I shrug. His eyes flash.

“I hear Yomi talked about me in his interview. I'm getting my own back!”

“If you say so.” Guess we know who'll be the subjects of this particular story. I pull a face: Ruka again. Will Hitsugi even attempt to keep it clean?

Hitsugi fumbles inside his hoodie as I watch, and pulls out a crinkled sheaf of paper. I raise my eyebrows.

“I've written it down,” he says stubbornly. “It's too embarrassing. So I'm just gonna read it out, and you have to pretend I'm someone else. 'Kay?”

“It's your interview,” I remind him encouragingly. “Knock yourself out.”

Hitsugi raises his script and buries his nose in it until only his bridge piercing and eyes are visible. I roll camera. Speaking in the tones of a middle school student giving a Sex Ed presentation, he begins.

 

“Once upon a time, somewhere in Tokyo, there was a super excellent band. The band was called Nightmare, and its members consisted of two dedicated, mature guitarists and a trio of miscellaneous freaks.

Now one of these weirdos was the drummer, whose name was Ruka and who was a huge embarrassment to anyone who preferred to think of sex as something people did in private. Ruka had a lover, in an argumentative, on-and-off kind of way, but apparently that just wasn't enough to keep him busy. So he took it upon himself to get another one.

Ruka had always been rather fixated on the band's singer, Yomi, even before Nightmare came into being, even before he knew he wanted to sleep with guys and cause his loyal guitar-playing friends much mental distress in the process. Everyone could kind of understand that: Yomi was cute and teeny-tiny and plain hilarious into the bargain; it wasn't everyone who could get Ruka to really laugh (he had a ridiculous laugh), but Yomi had an extensive collection of dirty jokes and could make him absolutely lose it. In return, Ruka would grope him. Not exactly a fair exchange, in your author's opinion, but Yomi put up with it. And perhaps, after a while, he even started to like it.

This giggling/groping exchange continued for years and years, and by that time Ruka was taking advantage of Ni~ya, the bass player, wherever there was a flat surface going spare, while his relationship with Yomi maintained its bizarre status quo. Now, please don't make the mistake of confusing Yomi and Ruka for their opposite numbers in Sendai Kamotsu, Chiba and Gigaflare: because although Giga and Chiba had for some time been sporadically engaging in creepy kinky sex games that the writer of this document doesn't even want to think about, Ruka hadn't so much as kissed his singer.

As it happened, there was a bet going between the other three members of Nightmare on exactly when this would occur, and in a way it was frustrating them to no end that it never did. Maybe Ruka, amazingly, treasured his close relationship with Yomi so deeply he was prepared to think twice before trying to jump into bed with him and scare him off for good with his bossy, rough-handed S&M tendencies. Maybe Yomi was giving off discouraging vibes whenever Ruka got beyond a certain point in his semi-sexual assaults. But everyone agreed something had to happen some day.

Then, a year ago, something did. It was the final night of Nightmare's tour, and everyone had had a brilliant time and was looking forward to going home, though at the same time they never wanted it to end, not when it felt so good. Never doubt that: however much the adult members of the band might malign their immature friends' public make-out sessions, nothing was as good as being in Nightmare.

Everyone was still high from the encore when they were finally shepherded onto the tour coach that would take them through the night and back home to Sendai for some well-deserved parental pampering. Times like that, especially at a final, there's a lot of feeling involved. But eventually the adrenaline started to wear off, and before long Saki, the most beautiful guitarist and all-round wonderful human you could ever hope to meet, was propped up against Ni~ya's shoulder, and Ni~ya himself was snoring gently into his head-rest. Hitsugi, the long-suffering second guitarist, was perched on one of the bunk beds and chatting sleepily with the encouragingly subdued little-and-large pair playing cards opposite him.

Ruka gave a cavernous yawn. “Snap.”

Yomi blinked, leaning forward until his nose was almost touching the pile, and tried to focus his eyes. Eventually he nodded, Ruka swept the cards off the folding table into his lap, and the world's slowest game of Snap continued.

“Pass the bottle,” ordered Ruka lazily, and Hitsugi tossed him the remains of the (second) red wine, which was of dubious provenance and doing a fine job of making the three of them very gently merry. Yomi reached out grabbily as Ruka held the bottle out of range, tipping it up to drain the dregs.

Suddenly there was an alarming bump that shook the bus, and the ominous sound of slowly shearing metal.

“Fucking crap!!” yelled Ruka, dripping pinot noir, as the coach came shuddering to an emergency stop. Yomi and Hitsugi made various noises of bewilderment, clinging to the bedrails like so many monkeys.

“...Wassgoin'on?” demanded Ni~ya, who seemed very surprised to find himself in an undignified heap in the middle of the aisle with Sakito, who had used him to break his fall, sitting on him.

“I suspect,” said Saki, getting up gracefully and extending a hand to help his bass player to his feet, “that we may have broken down.” They all paused and listened to the discouraging, engineless silence.

A few moments later, Tamura-san, Nightmare's new manager, appeared in the back section of the bus. “Sorry, guys!” he said frantically. “Gearbox is shot, apparently.” A chorus of complaining groans. He raised his hands in pacification. “We've called for a replacement, but we're kind of in the middle of nowhere here, and there's just a minivan can come out.”

“So...” prompted Saki. Tamura-san sighed.

“We'll most likely not make it to Sendai before tomorrow; it's only a local service. It's okay, I'll just find you a hotel.”

“What about you?” Saki enquired, relaxing as the other guitarist's hand slid subtly across the small of his back; Tamura-san eyed them worriedly. “When are you planning to sleep?”

“Sleep?” said their manager, slightly maniacally. “Ahahaha!” He whipped his phone out and backed away through the dividing curtain. “Just hang tight 'til the minivan gets here, okay?”

The five members looked at each other.

“Bugger,” said Yomi, with feeling.

“Let's go and have a look, then.” Ni~ya stretched, rooted around in his bag for his cigarettes, and stalked off down the aisle. The others, for want of anything better to do, trailed after him.

It was surprisingly chilly outside. Ruka and Hitsugi, looking smug in their sensible jackets, stood back and watched their friends shiver and poke amateurishly at the bus. They had ended up stranded, it appeared, on the hard shoulder of a long, boring stretch of four-lane highway, flanked by a steep grass embankment leading down to a river, arrow-straight and black under the thin moon.

Ni~ya and Saki, having contributed their insignificant opinions on mechanics to the penitent bus driver, disappeared back inside to put on more clothes, wrinkling their elegant noses at the diesel smell.

“Come for a wander?” offered Ruka. Yomi shrugged, and followed him across the barrier at the edge of the road (going under while the tall drummer hopped over) and down the grassy slope. “Piece of crap machine,” Ruka commented, pausing as the offending bus was blocked from view by the hill and the cold breeze off the river reached them. Not that he sounded particularly vexed, as far as the innocent bystander, whose identity you can probably guess and who was harmlessly smoking at the top of the slope (totally unaware of what was coming), could tell.

“Mmph,” agreed Yomi wordlessly, tucking his little hands into his sleeves and his sleeves into his armpits. He watched Ruka light up, the wind tugging orange sparks from the tip of his cigarette into the darkness between them. Ruka closed his eyes and sighed gratuitously. Yomi sidled closer hopefully.

“Gimme,” he said, stretching up.

“Uh-uh.” Ruka lifted the cigarette out of reach disapprovingly. “You know you're not allowed, it's bad for your voice.

“What are you, my mum?” Yomi made a determined, futile grab, popping up around Ruka's eye level for a moment like a jack russell puppy. The drummer clicked his tongue, obviously fighting back a laugh at the spectacle. He slung one arm around Yomi's neck, leaning on him companionably and heavily enough to make the tiny singer buckle slightly at the knees, putting paid to his attempts to capture the delicious, forbidden nicotine.

“C'mon, you killjoy,” wheedled Yomi, gasping a little with the effort of supporting his lanky friend. “Just one, it's freezing!”

Ruka continued to watch the river with evident fascination, the chilly wind ruffling his fringe. Yomi, whose own hair was still pinned back unfashionably off his forehead after removing his make-up, and who was getting cold air full in the face, let out a litany of grumbles under his breath and tucked his hands presumptuously beneath Ruka's coat, relishing the warmth radiating from his wine-and-adrenaline fuelled body.

“All right,” muttered Ruka after a minute, as though his singer's plea had only just filtered through to his brain. “Just this once.””

 

 

( “Oh, wait,” Hitsugi breaks off, “Saki says that at this point we should be listening to a Snow Patrol song, for ambience. But I don't have it with me.”

“Which one?” I ask, running over the three somewhat popular songs I know and infrequently mangle at karaoke, and thinking that Sakito is getting far too enthusiastic. Hitsugi peers at a note in the margin of his paper.

“Um. 'Dark Roman Wine'.” I shrug. “He says it explains a lot,” Hitsugi says doubtfully. “Maybe you can add it in ADR.” Yeah, right, like I can do much beyond cut and paste in Windows Movie Maker.

“I'm sure you're perfectly capable of creating a suitable atmosphere without the music,” I encourage him, and he grimaces.

“...I'll do my best.” He finds his place again, and continues sheepishly. )

 

 

““...Just this once,” agreed Ruka, and his hand slid up to rest casually on the nape of Yomi's little neck, tugging him closer almost hesitantly. He puffed the stub of his cigarette into a blaze of red and leaned down, tipping the smaller man's head back at a convenient angle.

Yomi, perfectly used to being manipulated by his bandmate, tilted his chin up obediently, parting his lips at a nudge from Ruka's free hand and allowing the drummer, now a bare inch away, to breathe a slow, curling trail of smoke into his mouth. He felt himself shiver, partly at the sweet taste of tobacco and partly, he thought vaguely, at the sensation of Ruka's fingers, the feeling of inhaling his breath. Physically, he supposed they had been much closer at some previous point in their acquaintance, but nothing had felt this intimate: Ruka wasn't exactly known for his delicacy, and all the butt-grabbing and nipple squeezing in the world couldn't equal the subtle play of fingertips beneath the hood of his sweater, raising the fine hairs on the back of his neck.

“Satisfied?” murmured Ruka, who had realistically reached the limits of his lung capacity some seconds ago and was now simply looming over him, focused on the heat of their shared breath in the cold air surrounding them. Yomi, somewhat thrown off by Ruka's keeping his hands to himself for once but tipsy and tingling enough not to care, tightened his hand on Ruka's tracksuit jumper, let his eyes slide closed and stretched up, drawing Ruka's head down the tiny distance it would take to meet his lips.

He felt Ruka inhale sharply, more in the motion of the ribs beneath his hands than in his mouth, which was suddenly pressing gently against Yomi's, lingering long enough for the singer to feel the light, uncertain tremor in his lips. Then he knew, as clearly as he knew Ruka knew, that this was something that had been coming a long, long time between them, so slowly that he hadn't even noticed its approach.

“...Hey,” said Ruka softly, pulling back and looking as though he was about to try and start a meaningful conversation; but Yomi wasn't about to let his friend start thinking, god forbid: he let himself slip forward, onto his tiptoes, and then he could reach Ruka's mouth again, cutting off whatever the drummer thought he ought to be saying as his tongue grazed Ruka's moody bottom lip, the cold metal sphere of his piercing. Just an instant of doubtful pause, and then Ruka was kissing him again, hands on either side of his face, tugging him up further until he was swaying precariously on the tips of his sneakers and it was either hold on or fall right over.

From somewhere above them came the faint sound of a guitarist's hapless squawk as his poor unsuspecting eyeballs were emblazoned with the image, accompanied by the louder rumble of a convoy of passing trucks that shook the ground beneath them, though Yomi couldn't be sure if the trembling he felt came from the traffic or the wind or the slow, earnest movement of Ruka's lips as he locked their mouths together.

Mnph...” Yomi heard himself let out a muffled whine as he felt Ruka's tongue glide reverently against his own; he pulled the taller man closer, until they touched all along their bodies and he couldn't imagine anything else existing that was as warm as Ruka.

He didn't know how long it went on, this languid, tired-out and electric embrace, feeling almost hypnotized by the awed way in which Ruka was kissing him. Eventually, however, he realised that his neck was protesting strenuously at the position it was stuck in – only coming up to Ruka's chin had definite disadvantages, and they had never seemed so pressing as right now. Wincing, he reluctantly lowered himself back onto his heels. For a moment Ruka's mouth followed him before the drummer changed his mind, evidently deciding that breathing would be a rather useful thing to do at this point.

Ruka lowered his head, this time burying his face carefully in Yomi's neck and inhaling the scent where his skin met the worn fabric of his sweater.

“Er.” Yomi turned his head enough for his tingling lips to meet Ruka's much-pierced ear. “Was that...an okay thing to do?”

Ruka didn't answer for a long moment, which was pretty much par for the course with him; Yomi passed the intervening time by threading his fingers through the windswept hair that mingled with his own and watching the pale stars visible over Ruka's shoulder, taking a quick, pleased breath as a pair of long arms wrapped themselves around him familiarly.

“...You make me very happy,” said Ruka quietly, after a minute, his voice almost too low to hear.

If Yomi could have got any closer to his friend upon hearing this, he would have. As it was, he just pressed his cheek against Ruka's temple, tightening his fingers at the words. He'd known it, of course, known for years that himself and Ni~ya, no, all of them, made the stoic drummer come completely alive in a way nothing else but music could. But it had been purely intuition (well, and Saki) that told him so; to hear it from Ruka's mouth after all this time was both unlooked-for and brilliant. Incredible. If he'd known it was going to feel like this, he would have pushed for it earlier.

“Ruka?” he ventured, aware that the other man had dropped back into his customary speechlessness. “Shall we go back? They've probably got the replacement bus there now.”

“Don't wanna,” said Ruka, his voice muffled by Yomi's skin but a hint of his usual implacable surliness just discernible beneath the hum of cars and the rustle of wind through the grass.

“Come on,” Yomi cajoled softly, a little grin of apprehension and anticipation tugging at the corners of his mouth. “You want us to get to the hotel tonight, right?”

That got Ruka's attention, all right. Yomi suppressed an inappropriate giggle and used Ruka's open-mouthed pause to wriggle out of his grip. He tucked his arm through his friend's and hauled him manfully towards the road.

“You fucking amaze me,” was the last thing Ruka said before they joined the others.

The new minivan drew up as they approached, and they clambered into the warm interior gratefully, taking no notice of Hitsugi's wide-eyed, trauma-victim gaze. Saki pushed the other guitarist in ahead of him, shooting him a look of curiosity that became him very well and snuggling up, preparatory to some world-class gossip gathering. Ni~ya sprawled into a seat, long legs taking up an improbable amount of room, and promptly went to sleep.

Yomi sat watching the moving tail-lights of the cars in the darkness, Ruka pressed tight against his side. The drummer was tense with excitement. Yomi wormed his short fingers between Ruka's long ones. They both sighed. And waited.

It seemed an age before-”

 

 

( Hitsugi turns over a page, moans quietly to himself, and goes bright red.

“Oh no...”

“What's up?” I ask from behind the camera. “I actually think it's quite sweet so far.” I think about this. “Urgh.”

“This is where we move from the bus to the...to the hotel.” He looks mortified.

“If it's so embarrassing just reading it out,” I demand, “why did you ask them to tell you about it in the first place?”

Hitsu's jaw drops. “You think I heard it from the first-hand source?!”

“Did you not?”

No!! Well,” he amends, “I saw some of the first bit, the part I just read. But...no, no, it was Saki who made me listen to the rest!

“What d'you mean, he made you listen?”

He flushes a dull crimson. “I was in the bath,” he mutters, squirming uncomfortably. “I couldn't get away!”

“Oh really!”

“He said it wouldn't be fair if I didn't do an interview too, so he gave me some...material.”

I try not to grin. Hitsu really is adorable when he's embarrassed.

“Look,” he pleads, “this is...this is excruciating. Can I just please get it over with?”

“Sorry.” I give him the go-ahead gesture and do my best not to burst out laughing. He tugs at one of his lip piercings anxiously, and then he's hidden behind the paper again. )

 

 

“It seemed an age before the minivan pulled to a halt, giving singer and drummer plenty of time to get all taut and trembly over impending events, events the present narrator had no knowledge of whatsoever.

Four of them looked out of the window. They made no comment. Saki aimed a kick at Ni~ya's admittedly shapely hip, and he woke with a snort and blinked at the uninspiring view of their prospective accommodations.

“Isn't that the Bates Motel?”

“This isn't exactly Ginza,” said Hitsugi, ever the voice of reason. “I doubt there's anything else they could find at five minutes' notice.”

“Looks like the last guest died about fifty years ago.” Ni~ya squinted through the glass at the frankly alarming shade of blue paint, which was flaking off the front of the building under the dim lights. “Possibly to get away from the décor.”

The Country Inn Yamamori was, in fact, a western-style roadside hotel, obviously not one of the large chains and thus falling into disregard, and it was this unprepossessing dwelling into which they were herded by an apologetic Tamura-san. The elderly woman at the reception desk, who looked rather bemused and somewhat suspicious at the sudden presence of so many outlandish-looking customers in the middle of the night, handed over the keys. Tamura-san passed them to Sakito and launched into another profuse apology; then, before they could reassure him that they were not in fact a bunch of divas given to impromptu sackings if they didn't get a jacuzzi each, he whisked himself off to conduct whatever nefarious business managers engaged in until the sun came up.

“Three keys?” said Saki, too late. “Is this peak season or something?” They stared around the lobby, but found no evidence of any other human inhabitants. He shrugged. “Oh well. One room for me and Hitsu.” No-one appeared to want to dispute this. The other guitarist gave him a tired, smiley sigh, looking forward with great fervour to the end of this evening and the blissful comforts of Saki's arms.

“All right.” Ruka grabbed a second key and twirled it briefly round his finger, nodding cockily at Ni~ya and Yomi. “You two can janken for who gets to sleep with me.” Yomi batted him reprovingly in the stomach, not getting a reaction.

“Oh, please be my guest!” Ni~ya told the little singer with so much enthusiasm that Ruka's head snaked round to give him a death glare. Both he and Yomi started sniggering; Ruka spun promptly on his heel and stalked off, leaving Yomi to carry his bags.

“Well, night all,” Yomi said casually, only the mild bouncing up and down of his heels betraying how excited he was. He trotted off after the drummer, blithely unaware of the pained grimace Hitsugi was wearing behind Saki and Ni~ya's backs.

After several minutes searching – Ruka not having deigned to show him the key card before flouncing off – Yomi found the right room, thanks to the bad-tempered muttering emanating from the half-open doorway. He walked in and was immediately pounced on by Ruka, whose hands curled tight around his upper arms and squeezed, making him drop their bags on his foot as his back hit the door. Then Ruka was kissing him, muffling his noise of complaint and making his head spin, not having had time to take a breath before Ruka's mouth closed hard on his.

Increasingly giddy with lack of air and the force and heat of Ruka's lips, Yomi reached out and clung on, insofar as was possible with the drummer still pinning his arms to his sides. Ruka was bent over at an awkward angle in order to reach him, but Yomi sure as hell wasn't about to stretch up and give him any help; he needed his diminishing energy just to keep himself on his feet. Eventually, though, even Ruka had to take a grudging breath.

“Jesus!” exclaimed Yomi, unable to decide between laughing and getting some oxygen into his lungs, “you have gotta lighten up!”

Ruka, who had been about to swoop in again, judging by the dark, hungry look he was fixing his singer with, blinked. To Yomi's surprise he lifted his head, flicked his eyes to his fingers digging into the smaller man's shoulders, and pursed his lips censoriously. He met Yomi's eyes worriedly. Evidently, thought Yomi, he hadn't grasped the concept of 'lightening up' at all, just swapped moody aggression for uncharacteristic hesitancy.

“Ruka,” he said, quietly, setting his hands over his friend's much larger ones until they eased their grip, “it's just me, y'know? So...chill out.” Apparently this concept was just as difficult to understand, if the uncertain frown and frozen posture were anything to go by. Yomi sighed to himself, took hold of Ruka's thumbs and drew his hands slowly over his shoulders, up the line of his neck until they were cupping his face.

“This is...this is okay?” asked Ruka after a minute, in a low voice, fingers tightening unconsciously on Yomi's cheeks. “You're sure...”

“Yesh, it'sh fine,” answered Yomi, whose face was currently being squished in a decidedly unsexy way by Ruka's nervous, earnest hands. He watched his friend's face carefully, trying to get a read on it: his features were motionless, not with the usual sulky vacancy but as though he was controlling himself so deliberately that nothing was getting past his walls. Yomi closed his eyes patiently. “Jusht quit freaking out and kish me.”

After what seemed like several years of standing there like an idiot, he finally felt Ruka's lips descend on his own once again, soft and starving and making his head spin again in a totally different way. Once Ruka had let up on his grip enough for Yomi to actually move he began to kiss back, rising naturally on tiptoe again to meet the taller man's mouth more easily. If this became a regular occurrence, he thought hazily, they would both end up needing a chiropractor unless they could work out a more convenient system.

As though reading his mind, Ruka solved the problem by sliding his fingers slowly down Yomi's chest (without even the sly tweak at a nipple – Yomi was amazed) to encircle his hips and then lifting him effortlessly off the floor. Yomi, after one surprised squeak, wrapped his short legs around his drummer's waist, their heads now level and making the whole business of kissing infinitely easier.

“You're so light,” murmured Ruka delightedly as he paused to take a breath, one hand casually supporting Yomi beneath the thighs while the other dragged its way up his back and into his hair. “Not like that lump!”

“...I'm gonna-” Yomi was temporarily cut off as Ruka's tongue delved briefly into his mouth, sending a cascade of pleasant ripples down his spine. “-tell him you said that!” he concluded, teasing, and was totally unprepared for the muffled rumble that vibrated against his lips, and the sudden increase in pressure as Ruka nudged his mouth wider commandingly, long fingers splayed across the back of his head to press him closer. God, it felt good, though!

Mouthy,” Ruka growled, in the deep tone that did, indeed, give Yomi the shivers and suppressed his momentary urge to say 'well, duh!' or something equally sarcastic. Before he had the chance to say anything at all, in any case, Ruka had spun them both round and simply tossed the smaller man onto one of the twin beds, which let out a worrying creak as he landed.

“Oof!” said Yomi, surprised: instead of bouncing, he found himself sinking slowly into the mattress as if it was trying to eat him. Ruka, who had that dark, intense glower plastered over his face again, ignored this and launched himself forcefully after him.

Yomi, at this, was treated to the comically blank expression on his friend's face as the small bed, clearly not in the best condition to begin with, gave another sound of protest and, very slowly, collapsed beneath them. He found himself nose to nose with Ruka but, instead of being intimidated and generally turned on as he had been a moment before, could do nothing but burst out laughing at his look of offended confusion.

“...Not this bed, then,” he managed, spluttering to himself. Ruka launched into a fluent volley of swearing under his breath; Yomi, still laughing, wrapped his arms around his neck consolingly. After they had got the giggling/cursing out of their systems and Yomi was bright red with mirth, Ruka rolled his eyes, picked him back up, heaved himself off the stricken bed and started again with the next.

“Carefully this time!” Yomi cautioned, still smirking. Ruka tipped him reasonably gently onto the sheets and followed him down, swinging one long leg over his hips and kneeling above him, panting a little with exertion. Yomi reached out again, but Ruka, with an air of bruised pride, just grabbed both his wrists in one hand and forced them back to the pillow above his head, pinning him easily. He wriggled experimentally: Ruka's grip tightened and his free hand snaked out to grasp Yomi's jaw, looking as though he was enjoying the struggle. He raked his eyes down the singer's tiny body, and Yomi felt the heat rise to the surface of his skin with the desire in that stare. He waited with bated breath for whatever was coming next.

Leaning down, Ruka kissed him again, bruising and aggressive, with none of the tentative sweetness he had shown earlier that evening. For a moment Yomi was surprised at his drummer's marked penchant for this: Gigaflare, he thought vaguely, seemed to be much less inclined towards such intimacy in his relations with Chiba. Then again, Ruka was much better (creepily so) at separating the two than he was.

But coherent thought soon became impossible, and he was lost in the sensations of Ruka's lips, his familiar scent, the strong fingers squeezing his wrists together so hard it was almost painful. And that, too, felt incredible: he found himself wanting to sink into Ruka, let go and give in to anything, anything he wanted. He didn't know what was causing it, whether it was Ruka's size or expression or just the general aura of power that had taken over from sullenness at some point in the last five minutes, but as he shifted to get himself closer he noticed without surprise that he was hard.

Ruka had grabbed hold of his hooded sweatshirt (kids' section, Jusco) and seemed to be trying his level best to rip it open, but, having no buttons and being of reasonable quality, it wasn't budging. He muffled a short snarl of frustration against Yomi's mouth.

“Mmph – ahh!” exclaimed Yomi, as a particularly vicious tug at the offending garment shook him like a rag doll. Ruka had transferred his lips to his throat and was biting lightly at his skin, foiled in his attempts to get him naked. “It's not a...bloody race, Ruka!” Yomi panted, the feeling of teeth so close to his jugular simultaneously unnerving and arousing. “...Didn't I just say chill out?”

At this he felt Ruka abruptly change pace again: the drummer raised himself away from Yomi's body so fast it was almost a scramble, noticed the vulnerable position he was holding him in, and clenched his jaw.

“...Sorry,” he muttered, looking vaguely appalled.

“No need to be sorry,” Yomi assured him breathlessly, taking the opportunity to extract his bruised wrists from Ruka's constraining fingers; he still had a rather pressing hard-on that was demanding to be dealt with, and he wished Ruka had a few gears in him between Reverse and Fifth, which were all he had displayed so far. “...Just slow it down a notch!”

Ruka looked suddenly so miserable that Yomi didn't know whether he should burst out laughing again or be sympathetic to whatever was bothering his uncommunicative friend. While he was procrastinating he raised a hand to brush Ruka's dark hair comfortably away from his face, tracing his fingers over the curve of his ear and tugging lightly at the long series of piercings. Ruka sank down just enough that he could lean into the touch, supporting himself on his elbows.

“...You got no idea,” he said eventually, “how hard this is.” Yomi bit back an innuendo and did his best to look open and receptive.

“What d'you mean?” he prompted, when nothing more was forthcoming. Ruka sighed tensely.

“I didn't think this would ever happen.” He looked sullen. “And now I've got you here... Believe me, I'm trying so hard to be careful. Really, I am, but...”

“What for?” enquired Yomi curiously, trying to press up against the other man's warmth. Ruka just levered himself further away with a troubled scowl.

“...Because I don't want to hurt you,” he admitted.

“Eh?”

“Well look at you!” Ruka's hand touched Yomi's cheek for a moment before he tugged it away. “You're so little.” Yomi tried not to roll his eyes, but Ruka wasn't done. “And I'm...not gentle.” He didn't look proud of the fact. “Not when I can get away with it. Doesn't matter with Ni~ya-chan, he's big enough to fight back, but you... And,” he added, more pertinently, “this is your first, so...”

“We have had sex before,” Yomi reminded him, interrupting this spiel. He thought about it. “Well, kind of. Bits of us have.” Ruka just furrowed his eyebrows and looked perplexed. Yomi gave up. “Anyway, who says I want to fight back?”

“You will,” said Ruka, pessimistically.

Fine.” Yomi sighed, sliding his hands to the back of Ruka's neck. “Just...do your best this time, and we'll see how we feel later, yeah?”

After a moment Ruka nodded, taking a long, calming breath. Inching his hands beneath Yomi's sweater and tshirt he peeled them carefully off, Yomi raising his arms patiently to help. Then Ruka's eager fingers met his bare skin and he couldn't stop a ripple of pleasure that raised goose-bumps on the skin of his arms as the drummer's mouth followed, lips sweet and supplicating. Yomi arched up into the touch luxuriously as Ruka paused over his left nipple, a soft flick of his tongue stiffening the pink flesh before he pressed an open-mouthed kiss to the warm skin. The little singer heard him give a pleased, incoherent mumble, and was assailed with the bizarre dual sensations of familiarity and strangeness at the sound.

“More,” he whispered without thinking about it. That seemed to encourage Ruka, whose wide hands spanned his waist, clinging tightly for an instant and then sliding down further to dip beneath the convenient elastic waistband of his sweat-pants. Yomi wriggled his hips up enthusiastically and reached down to tug Ruka back into a deep kiss to distract him as he kicked the rest of his clothing off clumsily, peeling his socks down with miniature prehensile toes. Ruka's arms went around him of their own accord, and when his hands encountered nothing but bare skin they froze, biting deeply into Yomi's lower back and drawing a pained wince out of him that mingled seamlessly with the nervous pleasure as the mouth on his turned demanding again.

“You really do like it like this,” he grinned breathlessly as Ruka aimed for his neck again, one thigh dipping between his legs and nudging them inexorably apart (not that Yomi had even considered putting up a fight).

“...Don't harp on about it,” muttered Ruka, face buried in the crook of Yomi's shoulder. “I'm doing my best.”

“No you're not,” Yomi informed him, tugging ineffectually at the hem of his tshirt. “Not yet!”

Ruka batted his hands away irritably and tugged the shirt over his head. When Yomi turned his attention to his jeans he pinned the shorter man down with a knee, not letting him help as he snapped his belt open.

Yomi found himself watching lasciviously as Ruka shucked himself briskly of clothing; he was sure he looked like a grade-A pervert right now, but Ruka naked was beautiful, though he probably wasn't as aware of himself as Ni~ya or Sakito, say. Yomi stretched up to spread one hand across his back, mouth meeting the inked skin of his tattoo. He felt Ruka shiver beneath his lips, and grinned a bit; the drummer's erection was pressing insistently against his hip, intimidatingly impressive and at the same time, as he slid his fingers gently along it and heard Ruka's groan, so familiar.

Then Ruka, not to be outdone, was pushing Yomi's legs wider and was touching him, finally, his hand firm and clever, moving over him expertly so that he had to muffle a gasp in the taller man's chest.

“Ruka,” he managed, after another searing kiss that had covered up a whole series of pleasurable little whimpers, “if you keep going-” He bit down on a moan as Ruka's teeth met his earlobe, tugging just a little too hard at the silver piercings. “-If you keep...I won't...”

As the sense of Yomi's fragmented pleas filtered through to him, Ruka's busy fingers stilled on the shaft of his cock. For a moment he simply rested over Yomi's prone form (slightly crushing him, but Yomi wasn't about to complain). Then he heaved a bracing sigh and peeled himself away from the eager little body beneath him, crawling over to the side of the bed, whose springs creaked in protest, and rummaging around in his luggage.

Yomi watched him impatiently, breath coming rapid and light, his entire body tingling with the remembered feeling of Ruka's smooth skin against his.

“Come on,” he murmured, wound so tightly he was sure he would go off as soon as his friend touched him again. Eventually Ruka gave a jubilant grunt and hauled himself back onto the covers, clasping a pack of condoms and a tube of astroglide optimistically. Yomi, through his haze of frustrated desire, noted that it was full.

“How long have you been carrying that around?” he remarked; it was very hard to resist teasing Ruka, although admittedly the panting tone it came out in wasn't that cool. “Still waiting for Ni~ya to give it up?”

“Shut up,” retorted Ruka, with less than his usual verbal flair. He narrowed his eyes, and Yomi gulped, hurriedly obeying. “Open your legs.” Ooh, but he liked that bossy, guttural tone, and he loved the way Ruka's piercing gaze was fixed on him, as though nothing existed in the world right now but Yomi. Ruka slipped one hand beneath his back, lifting him easily, and with the other flipped the lid of the lube, looking positively gleeful (for Ruka, this meant a mild pupil contraction and an upward twitch of the mouth, but Yomi was an expert at reading him).

Holy F, that is cold!!” burst out Yomi in a decidedly un-classy shriek as Ruka's fingers touched the inside of his thigh. The drummer gave him a look of short-lived forbearance, but removed his hand to let the liquid warm up, filling the time by leaning in to press a series of heated kisses from Yomi's midriff to the low, sensitive planes of his stomach. Yomi writhed happily, hands tangling in Ruka's wind-mussed locks.

Then Ruka's hand was back, gliding its way between his legs; Yomi tensed at the feeling, the first really unfamiliar sensation he'd encountered tonight, other than the kisses. Another second, and he let out a genuine yip of protest.

“Ru – ow – stop!!” Ruka did so immediately, though he didn't look happy about it. He glared up at the tiny singer, who glared back, struggling up on his elbows. “Ruka,” panted Yomi severely. “I know you're attached to them and all, but...if you wanna do this to me, you have got to cut your nails. Right now!”

“Oh.” Ruka looked nonplussed.

“C'mon!” prompted Yomi, wiggling in irritation, knees clamped together mulishly. “You said you were gonna be careful the first time, and this definitely falls into that category. Please,” he continued, as Ruka failed to move, “I want you to fuck me too, so just...come on!”

That did the trick: Ruka, grumbling, delved back into his bag and disappeared stiffly into the bathroom, from whence came the snick of scissors. Yomi took a quick perv at his retreating form, then let himself fall back on the sheets with a thump.

“What are the odds of you letting me go on top?” he called, to pass the time.

Not good,” echoed Ruka's moody voice, instantly.

Yomi sighed to himself, turned on beyond belief and ready to throttle someone if that someone didn't hurry up and do something about it. He should have known better than to expect a chick-lit romantic scene with Ruka, of all people; but that first kiss had been so sweet, so near perfect, that it had lulled him into a false sense of security. On the other hand...if Yomi was going to sleep with a guy, would he let it be anyone else? He didn't think so.

This brief reverie was mercifully cut short at Ruka's return. He brandished a hand in Yomi's direction, just long enough for him to get a glimpse of brutally short nails.

“Enough?” he grumped.

Yes.” Yomi caught him by the arm and tugged him down as best he could onto the bed.

“Good.” Ruka allowed himself to be dragged back across Yomi's body, grabbing the lube on the way. He bent his head and began a gentle attack on the hollow of Yomi's throat while he fiddled around with the tube at the other end of his body. The smaller man moaned happily. Then two slippery, newly-cropped fingers slid inside him, and the sound changed to a whine: that felt weird, and tight, and even weirder as Ruka eased them deeper, mouth distracting on his neck.

“Hurts?” asked Ruka monosyllabically, stopping his movement briefly, his free hand cradling his friend's little body tightly. Yomi thought about it as best he could, what with the myriad sensations springing from all over his skin.

“...No,” he whispered doubtfully. He felt Ruka nod, then the fingers were moving again in a perfectly even rhythm, each time a little more deeply. Yomi heard his own broken, uncertain sounds, quickly silenced by Ruka's mouth hot on his, though they kept escaping with every one of Ruka's swift, excited breaths. After a while, Yomi had no idea how long, another finger insinuated its way in, making his closed eyes water.

“Too much...!” he breathed against Ruka's cheek, hands clinging desperately. The drummer made an ambiguous noise and moved his hand in a new way, and a dart of the most shocking pleasure Yomi had ever experienced shot through his stomach. “God...!”

“Hmph,” muttered Ruka, thoughtfully, and did it again. Yomi arched up against him, felt him smile covertly into the damp skin of his neck. This time he couldn't get a single word out, could do nothing but hang onto Ruka like a life-line. “Got it,” Ruka rumbled, sounding distinctly smug. And then, “you're ready.”

“...Am I?” asked Yomi dubiously. Now that it came to it, he was feeling extremely apprehensive, and at the same time wanted to experience that pleasure again, and had never in his life wanted to fuck someone as badly as he did Ruka right now.

“Turn over.” Ruka removed his fingers, drawing yet another whimper out of his singer. “It'll be easier for you.” When Yomi seemed incapable of movement he nudged him over himself, tugging him up on his knees. Yomi, willing to go with it since he suddenly found himself useless and jittery with anticipation, caught the sound of plastic ripping and the faint exhalation as Ruka spat out a corner of condom packet. Some more miscellaneous rustling, then Ruka was looming over him, long body pressed against his back and mouth at his ear.

“Keep still,” came his low voice, in what was presumably meant to be a reassuring tone, “until you get used to it.” Yomi shuddered faintly, nodded as if what Ruka was saying made a blind bit of sense to him at that moment.

Ahhh!” Yomi tried, but he couldn't stop the soft cry of shock as Ruka entered him; the taller man's arms were around him, clasping him carefully, but it barely mattered because he could feel nothing but his cock. If he was honest with himself, and he nearly always was, Yomi had spent many a spare minute over the past few years thinking about what it would be like, but even his own generously dirty mind had failed to imagine this. It hurt, almost, because Ruka was big; he'd known that, but it was more the extraordinarily strange feeling of fullness, mixed with the complete vulnerability of his current position, that was making his head reel and his breath come in short, panicky bursts.

“'S okay,” whispered Ruka, and Yomi was sure he was doing his best to be careful, to be gentle, but he wasn't pausing and the feeling was getting odder and more intense. Ruka's lips met his shoulder passionately, hands steely on his waist. A long period of silence. Then, “...I think I'm in love with you,” came a tiny voice.

Yomi wasn't sure he'd heard it at all, but he wasn't about to ask for a repeat since he knew his drummer would never admit it twice; he hoped he had, and he clung to it as Ruka began to move inside him. He groaned softly into one of the pillows: it was as though every pleasure/pain neuron in his body was firing at once, he couldn't tell if it was good or bad or what it was, just that he felt he might die if Ruka carried on, or, for that matter, stopped.

“You're so good,” Ruka informed him, his own voice unsteady now. Yomi was sure he'd be thrilled about that fact later, would be flattered that he could cause such a reaction in his stoic friend, but now all that existed were Ruka's hands and his mouth and his cock, all of them clearly getting progressively more excited.

It became obvious, all of a sudden, that Ruka had just been warming up: he changed up a gear, and all thoughts of his being careful went out of Yomi's brain; he began to move more forcefully, twining his fingers in Yomi's damp hair and tugging his head back, seeming to revel in the noises he was wrenching from the smaller man. Rocked forward with each movement, Yomi grabbed the rickety bed-head, clinging for dear life as the sensations assaulted him, and dimly heard the cheap wood meet the equally cheap plaster wall.

Ruka...!” For a moment he pitied whoever was next door; then Ruka slammed into him again, and his mind waved goodbye and left his body to deal with everything.




 

“Hah!” exclaimed Saki triumphantly, lolling across the duvet of the corresponding bed in the next room, as the sound of a post hitting the wall filtered through to them. “What did I say? Last night of the tour, I said. You guys owe me ten thousand yen. Pay up!”

“You say that every year.” Ni~ya, who had slunk into their room for an impromptu sleepover (e.g. he'd run out of cigarettes), grudgingly fished his wallet out of his discarded jeans and handed over a couple of crumpled notes. “Yomi is quick!” he commented, sounding rather impressed. “First night? I still haven't let Ruka fuck me.”

“Yeah, well, you're different.”

“Damn straight!” said Ni~ya proudly.

“You're a bitch.” Sakito fended off Ni~ya's indignant swipe, and threw a hotel pen at Hitsugi. “Oi!”

“SAY WHAT?” enquired the other guitarist who, as soon as he had changed into room-wear, had switched on his iPod and was currently listening to the Deftones at full volume as a precautionary measure against what he suspected would be going on next door. Saki leaned off the bed and tugged his headphones out.

“I won the bet. Pay me!”

Hitsugi pointed sourly at his bag, letting his partner grab it and greedily extract the precious cash. His head shot up as he caught the unmistakable tones of his singer moaning through the thin wall, blanched, and hurriedly stuffed the headphones back in his ears.



 

Back in their room, Yomi thought he was losing it: the sense of Ruka surrounding him was absolutely overwhelming now, all rolled together with pain and ecstasy and a healthy serving of alarm as he began to understand just what Ruka had meant when he said he'd never be gentle if he could get away with it. Not that he thought the other man would wilfully hurt him; but he was becoming doubtful that he'd be able to get on his feet in the morning, never mind sit on his backside in a bus for hours.

“Don't go drifting off,” Ruka growled in his ear, bending to lick a red-hot stripe up the nape of his neck. “Stay right here with me...”

Yomi dragged himself back to the moment in some trepidation, which was immediately vindicated as Ruka pushed him enthusiastically face-first into the pillows, changing the angle of their connection and hitting that unbelievable, magical spot inside him. He gritted his teeth around a yell as pleasure hit him like a hammer strike, swiftly doubled when Ruka's free hand slid down his belly to his hard-on, stroking demandingly in a wonderful counterpoint rhythm.

Ruka-” Yomi managed desperately, unsure if his friend could even hear him, given the single-mindedness of his onslaught; he had no idea how to coordinate his muscles, or whether to try and stop him or urge him on. The older man must have taken notice at some level, though: his fingers slid up to grip Yomi's taut jaw, pulling his head round enough to kiss him, a shockingly adoring caress in the midst of what he was doing to the little singer's body.

Yomi parted his lips beneath Ruka's mouth, too shaky to be neat about it but getting his feelings across, he hoped. They must have been communicating in some way, he concluded blindly, because Ruka's merciless hand sped up, a spring of pleasure coiling so tightly in Yomi's stomach he could hardly breathe, much less speak.

Ruka gave him a brief, considering glance, moved in a slightly different way, and Yomi came undone completely, the force of his orgasm rendering him completely silent (possibly a first for him) as he came over Ruka's hand and the ruined sheets beneath them. He heard the drummer drag in a harsh breath before he began to move again, and now his body seemed to have reached a new level of sensitivity, his slick skin aching beneath Ruka's hands. So it felt like hours, though it was barely thirty seconds, before Ruka let out a groan that was half a snarl and froze, his whole body rigid and tight against Yomi, who shut his eyes and got lost in the closeness.

Fuck,” whispered Ruka articulately, gasping, his face buried in Yomi's shoulder.

“...Yeah,” came Yomi's intelligent answer. And then, because he thought he might collapse any second under his weight, “...let me up...”

It took Ruka a minute, but he ran his hands covetously down the length of his friend's exhausted body, once, and shifted away, just enough to pull out and flop down on his back, making a half-hearted attempt to straighten himself and the bed out. He reached out languidly and tugged Yomi down on top of him.

“...Fuck,” said Yomi, too exhausted to think up his own four-letter exclamation. He laid his head on Ruka's heaving chest, the thunder of his heart practically audible in the sudden silence.

Yeah.” Ruka's arm slid around him possessively. “Are you...all right?”

“That was you doing your best to be gentle, was it?” demanded Yomi, though not very crossly; he felt absolutely satiated, as well as bone-weary and throbbing all over.

“Sorry,” said Ruka stiffly, nuzzling his nose into Yomi's messy hair in what the singer assumed was an apologetic way.

“Don't be.” Yomi yawned hugely. “Was 'mazing.”

“...Was it?” Ruka asked in a hushed, hopeful voice.

“'Course. Just...maybe not if I have to do any kind of walking the next day. Or sitting. Or anything that's not lying flat on my stomach having you wait on me...” Ruka snorted fondly, his pulse rate starting to return to normal.

“I may be willing to negotiate,” he conceded, as if conferring a great favour, and pressed a tired kiss to Yomi's forehead.

“Let's start now, then.” Yomi leaned his elbows on Ruka's stomach, making him wince. “Run me a bath. And bring me painkillers. And tea.”

“And what do I get for that?” Ruka demanded suspiciously. Yomi leaned down and kissed his chest persuasively.

“Well you already got my cherry!” He chuckled.

“And?” said Ruka, massively lazy. Yomi rested his chin on his hands.

“...And I won't tell Ni~ya you said he was fat.”

“I did not!” began Ruka indignantly; then, pausing and appearing to consider his other lover's probable response to this, scowled. “Fine. Done.” Yomi grinned his widest, weirdest grin.

“I think this is going to work.””

 

 

Hitsugi breaks off with a shuddery sigh.

“That's it,” he says, completely hidden by his script now. He sounds very odd.

“You okay?” I ask. I'm not sure that I am.

“...Can I have a drink of water?” comes his little voice from behind his barrier of exquisite humiliation, or whatever it represents.

“Er... Sure.” I haul myself to my feet and make my unsteady way to the vending machine in the hall. Hitsu thanks me politely, drops his paper as if it's a terrible curse, and drinks. He looks as weirded-out as I feel. No more Ruka! I tell myself firmly. Not 'til I get over this, anyway...

“That,” says Hitsu, weakly, after he's drained the bottle and hyperventilated to himself for a bit, “was the most embarrassing thing I have ever done in my life. And that includes crying at Hibiya and getting my lip ring caught in Saki's jacket zip.” I nod in sympathy.

“That was much worse than Sakito's story, even,” I agree, hardly able to believe it. Hitsu fiddles with the label of the water bottle in what I'd think was a sexually-repressed way if I hadn't been reliably informed by all and sundry of his total lack of interest in the subject (and if I hadn't seen his reaction to his own story, which I fully understand: I don't know how I'll look Ruka and Yomi in the eye after this!).

“Saki can be kind of a sadist,” Hitsu admits, miserably and fondly.

“No! No more!!” I switch off the camera hurriedly before he can even get started.

No more confessions this month!

Chapter Text

It's taken me a while, but by now I've realised my dedication to this project is being taken blatant advantage of by my esteemed colleagues: in addition to my actual work, I'm constantly being 'persuaded' to take on a bunch of other out-of-studio tasks with the band that no-one else happens to feel like doing, all in the name of research. 'Just in case I meet someone who wants to be interviewed.'

And the bastards have a point.

 


 

 

September 4 th , 2008

 

 

It's at this stage that I finally get round to approaching Naito's current manager.

“I don't want to talk about it!” declares Tamura-san melodramatically, then proceeds to show that in fact he does by plonking himself down in his office chair and gazing beseechingly at the camera. “I mean, do you have any idea what it's like trying to manage these people??”

“Happily not,” I answer, fervently.

“Trying to find the balance,” he bitches, “between hiding the actual fact that half your band members fuck guys and making it look just enough like they might want to to keep the BL fangirls happy...” He disloyally cracks a bottle of Mucc-sponsored Rockstar with slightly shaking hands and upends it down his throat.

“Dude,” I say, carefully, “are you okay?”

Tamura-san nods vigorously, picks up a risqué set of photos sent over by Sendai Kamotsu's manager, and promptly bursts into tears.

I'm so depressed...!”

I fish out one of the local counselling centre's business cards that I've taken to carrying around with me – Tamura-san makes the fourth staff member to crack like this under questioning – and flick it onto his desk, giving his shoulder a comforting pat.

“There, there. One day they'll retire.”

 


 

 

September 12 th , 2008

 

 

“Ahh, Chiba-san!” chortles Hitsugi/Fullface's father, who is in town with his wife for a few days and has dropped by the Shoxx office to pick up his multi-faceted son and take him to dinner. Apparently just thinking about Sendai Kamotsu's singer is enough to send him off into fits of laughter. I wait patiently, marvelling at him. “What a character!” You can say that again. Hitsu Senior slaps his thigh in a paroxysm of amusement.

This, now, this is rare: most people, once they've actually had an extended conversation with Chiba, tend to walk away from it reeling slightly and looking at him askance from then on; especially when their own precious child is voluntarily plunging himself into the depraved world of red boiler-suits, obscene lyrics and naked running around. But no, in this man's eyes Chiba remains a lovable rascal. Just amazing.

“That last costume, now...” begins the proud father, face split in half like a good-natured watermelon, he's grinning so hard.

“Daaaad~!” whines Hitsugi quietly, in the tones of a schoolkid whose parents are actually enjoying talking to the teacher about him and just won't stop. “Come ooon!”

I let the poor guitarist off the hook and wave my polite goodbyes, since Hitsu is not, after all, Fullface, and tends to glow with embarrassment at the very mention of Sendai's singer and his antics.

But this starts me thinking, and it occurs to me that, while my documentation of Naito is well under way, I haven't heard a peep out of their alter egos yet. I think some more. Actually, maybe that's a good thing: I don't know if I'm ready to take it. But I suppose I could ask around...

 


 

September 16 th , 2008

 

 

“That Gigaflare is one weird dude,” a Barks cameraman tells me one day over the tea dispensing machine. As if I needed telling. “I mean...what was he doing to that poor little guy?”

I assume this refers to Giga's outbreak of boredom during the last interview this particular cameraman filmed, which he apparently felt the need to articulate by kissing, or perhaps attempting to eat, Chiba's shoulder for ten straight minutes. I refrain from informing the misguided employee that Giga is just kind of a wuss and that the 'poor little guy', to the contrary, is the world's most humongous pervert; and that it's actually rather rare for Giga to attempt to get anywhere near him without some kind of defensive weapon (such as a snare drum) to hand. Chen-chen is usually a safer target, but on that occasion he had been commandeered as a kind of cat toy by Fullface, and was annoyingly out of reach, so Giga was stuck with what he could get.

“Best not to think about it,” I advise the cameraman fervently.

 

Unfortunately, Sendai Kamotsu do not make this easy. And sometimes all the denial and earplugs in the world aren't enough.

 


 

 

September 22 nd , 2008

 

 

The most unnerving thing about Sendai, I reflect from my hideout, is that Chiba, when not actually onstage, looks very much like Yomi. The only way to tell the difference, other than to memorise every entry on Sendai's practice schedule, is that Chiba has an outrageous accent and tends toward rather a lot of red clothing. Of course, after he's been in the building ten minutes and has propositioned/harassed enough people that members of staff start hiding, it becomes fairly easy to spot him.

Luckily, this morning I came prepared, having been alerted the day before to the probable presence of one or more Sendai members by the tiny drawing (warning) of a horse in the corner of the rehearsal room calendar. So I spend the first few hours of the day skulking in the storage/technician's room (aka the Dweeb Den), systematically cleaning and restringing all Sakito's guitars in a perfectly understandable fit of cowardice. Keisuke brings me some cup noodle as I'm starting in on Hitsu's, looking like he's just run the gauntlet.

“I think they're almost done...” he says exhaustedly, before looking behind him, stiffening, and darting away. As if in confirmation I hear Ni~ya's voice raised in an irate yell (and it is Ni~ya now, not Chen-chen – don't ask me how I can tell; practice, I suppose):

“Oi!!” A clatter, and the sound of something being thrown across the room. “Don't bring that thing anywhere near me, you wretched little pervert!” Ah. But it appears Chiba is still around.

I am glad, so glad I wasn't required for any of this morning's goings-on. Fortunately there's been very little music of any description, and no-one has discovered my hiding place. The main reason for this is that tomorrow they are filming the PV for the new single, 'Uma Nami de', which necessitates hours of improvisation, miming practice and utter gut-wrenching hilarity, if the shrieks and guffaws coming from next door are anything to go by. Oh. And suggestively shaped root vegetables. Wonder whose idea they were...

I'm still slurping noodles, blissfully alone again, when a shadow falls across the glass panel of the door. I freeze, momentarily wonder if I can get away with playing dead like the possum I saw on the Discovery Channel, then shrink back as someone slips into the room.

“What's up with you?”

I crack an eye open: tight black jeans, no glasses, perfect poise. Sakito, then, not Satty. That's good.

“I'm fine!” I say unconcernedly, brushing soup off my trousers. Sakito gives me a patronising look that's too pretty to be offensive, and sashays towards me, leaving the door dangerously ajar. He rests his insignificant weight on a low-backed stool and wheels himself nearer.

“Have you seen my white Strat?” he asks, peering around the racks of instruments.

“I just cleaned it. It-”

At this point I spot a flash of red outside the door, and make the mistake of following its movement instead of pretending it doesn't exist, which is always the sensible course. So I'm just in time to see Gigaflare edging around a table, looking silently petrified at the vision of Chiba advancing on him brandishing a carrot and wearing a calculating expression.

“Dammit!” I mumble, squeezing my eyes shut, way too late. Sakito leans forward, smelling of soap and vanilla, so he can look out. He chuckles.

“Ryo-kun, you're so sensitive. You think that's creepy!”

“Yeah, I bloody do, as it happens!”

“That's nothing.” Sakito dives for my messenger bag, suddenly animated. “Get your camera out! I just thought of a story for you.”

“Ohh no!” I exclaim defensively, clutching my tripod protectively to my chest. “I only just got over that smut novel you made poor Hitsugi-kun recite last month!”

“Don't be so silly.” All of a sudden Sakito is right up in my face. “Give me the camera.”

“Okay!” I squeak, instantly bamboozled by all that beauty an inch from my nose (look, I'm straight, goddammit! Haven't I already proved that?!). I make a momentary effort to stand my ground, but against a sneak attack like this what can I, a simple puss, do? Sakito curls his lips in a smile, snicks the camera into position on the tripod, and aims it at himself.

“I couldn't let Hitsu have this one,” he tells me, looking fond. “It would be too mean. But it ought to give you an idea!”

“Of what?” I ask, helpless against his bossy hotness.

“Of what you don't see backstage,” he grins. Personally I had been sure that, in the course of my long years with these guys, I had pretty much seen everything that could be seen, certainly of Chiba. I can't imagine...! But I don't have to. He's going to tell me anyway. I resign myself to my fate.

“Ready?” asks Sakito, my own personal X-rated Scheherazade, picking up on my surrender immediately. I nod, with a certain amount of dread. “Right.”

He glides out of his seat, shuts the door and switches off the light, and we're plunged into near-darkness; he flips open his keitai so the illumination from its screen uplights his face eerily.

“This is a horror story,” he explains as I fiddle hurriedly with the settings on the video camera. “I'm going to do the voices too, so...well, try not to laugh, you'll kill the mood.”

“I'll do my best,” I assure him in a hollow tone. And away he goes.

 

 

“Hello, viewers. So you're back for more, eh? You're gluttons for punishment. Here we go, then.

It was a dark and stormy night in Tokyo. Well...no, all right, it was quite a pleasant evening, actually, but that doesn't really have the same ring, does it? As you may remember, Ryo-kun, Sendai Kamotsu were finishing up their magnificent Gaylympic tour, which puts us in...2005. How time does fly.

Now this was long before the members of Nightmare had even started on the various relationships we're enjoying today: before Ruka had taken advantage of Ni~ya in a public place even once, before he'd bedded Yomi so classily in a crappy motel. But Sendai aren't Naito, and Chiba has always been...well, let's say precocious.

Chiba, as you probably know from experience, is fearless. And shameless. And pretty much omnisexual: as far as I can tell, he'll do anything to anything. Me – I mean Satty, the stage director, the costume girls, poor Fullface, he's not picky; we've all had to fend him off with the nearest sharp object to hand. But he does play favourites, and his target of choice is, has always been, Sendai's drummer, Gigaflare.

I'm not a hundred percent sure why. Maybe it's something to do with the refreshing reversal of power dynamics between Ruka/Yomi and Giga/Chiba, because where Ruka is practically the definition of an 'S', Giga, much to his chagrin, is a resounding 'M'. Maybe it's that Giga is freaking terrified of Chiba (which is partly caused by, and also goes a long way to explaining, the M-ness). And maybe it's because Giga adores him.

It's not hard to see this. It shows itself in a very particular face, and that night Giga had been making it a whole lot. At the point in the story where we come in, which is at the Ebisu live final, Chiba was in the middle of one of his onstage MC sessions (or, see-which-of-my-friends-I-can-embarrass-the-most atrocities, as Fullface calls them) and was currently getting flirty with Giga.

“I don't care how cool you say he is!” Chiba was telling the screaming, sniggering crowd. “You can't have him!””

 

 

( I stifle a snort at the eerily accurate impression of Chiba's Sendai accent coming out of Sakito's beautiful mouth.

“Sshh!” says Sakito, peremptorily, still looking marvellously creepy, curled over his glowing phone. “It's very hard to get this right!” )

 

 

““'Cos we're in love!” Chiba announced proudly, radiating pure affection at the panting drummer. “Right??”

Now, pure affection is all very well, but when it's emanating from a midget in a leotard wearing a trunk over his nose, a tea-towel on his head and another, huger, trunk in a place where...well, you know where it was...it can have a bit of an unnerving effect.

And there it was, the patented expression of humiliated adoration, once Giga had managed to tear his eyes away from the trunk and actually look Chiba in the face (which was not an improvement, let me assure you): the expression that says, all at once, that Chiba is so moronic as to be unbelievable, and that Giga loves him anyway, and at the same time is so embarrassed that he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry or wet himself (Satty skipped off to the loo at this point, not wanting to deal with any of those options, but I swear, sometimes I think Chiba's primary aim is to make us laugh until one of us has a heart attack). Yeah, I know Giga writes at least half the songs, but as soon as those somewhat risqué lyrics are put in Chiba's mouth they somehow become bannably obscene; which may be Giga's intention, but certainly doesn't help him deal with the effect.

Anyway. When I, er, Satty came back onstage it was his turn under interrogation, and poor Giga was wilting behind his drum kit, trying to compose himself enough to remember the next song. That's what Chiba does to him, you see, and while he can just about control himself during the actual performance by borrowing some of Ruka's 'blank' masks...behind the scenes he's not half as successful.

They'd come offstage one by one, while Chiba was still reciting his melodramatic Gold Medal soliloquy, giggling and sweating and taking a much-needed break to burst into mirthful tears in various corners before the encore began. Chen-chen and Giga had judiciously managed to prevent Chiba taking all his clothes off (not that it would deter him for long), and the drummer had snuck off by himself, while Satty was helping Fullface get changed, to work out whether he was more aroused or horrified by the experience.

Giga took some deep, calming breaths, pulling his face back into a semblance of the sulky-bastard Ruka look he liked to try and emulate. Then he froze as someone crept up behind him and he felt something long and hard poke insistently into the back of his thigh. See, the more regular kind of sexual harassment (if there is such a thing) is not unheard-of in visual-kei circles, what with the musicians looking like they do, and for a second Giga thought he might have to turn round and thump a horny staff member who had mistaken him for Satty in the dark.

To his profound relief, and then (a moment later) to his profound terror, he realised it was a trunk.

“Giga~!” Two tiny hands crept around his waist. “What're you doing here, all lonely-like?”

“Not now, Chiba...!” quavered the drummer, which didn't suit him at all.

“We've got...three minutes,” came Chiba's voice, seductively. Giga found himself unable to move as the small fingers made their determined way towards his red sweat-pants and another (shorter) trunk pressed affectionately against his shoulder-blade. “Want me to relax you?” Chiba purred (or as close as he could get to it while wearing a false nose), with no sense of irony whatsoever.

“No!” squeaked the taller man, shuddering. One hand was sneaking into his underwear. “Please...Please, leave me alone! I gotta...” He cast about frantically. “I gotta find my drumsticks!”

I can help you find your 'drumstick',” Chiba whispered to his trembling bandmate.

“...That doesn't even make sense!!”

But Chiba was, as ever, weepfully impervious to logic, protest and panicked begging. Giga screwed his eyes closed, not that it helped, and awaited the inevitable. Then, to his utter joy and everlasting gratitude (well, about ten seconds' worth) he heard the brisk, over-excited tones of Chen-chen as he poked his head round the corner.

“What're you two do- Oh, Chiba,” said the bassist, impatiently. “Put him down and get changed, we're due back on! Satty's waiting.” Giga felt their little frontman/elephant press his spandex-clad body (and that was just wrong, right there!) against his back stubbornly. “Come on!” ordered Chen-chen. “You can play with him all you like later.”

Giga shot his friend a glance of appalled betrayal that promised as much revenge as he could possibly manage at a later date, but didn't miss the opportunity to leap away from Chiba's insistent embrace. The singer eyed his lanky bandmates, who both shrank away from him and made a determined dash for the stage.

“When we finish!” Chiba called after them in chilling tones, arms akimbo, “whichever one of you is slowest...is mine!!” He rubbed his hands together and chuckled to himself in a way very reminiscent of a miniature Bela Legosi (hence the horror theme), then pattered off in pursuit of his band.

Okay, to cut a long story short, Sendai went back onstage and did a fabulous (or at least highly entertaining) encore. Satty and Fullface, grinning at each other like idiots, distributed plectrums to the squealing audience. Chen-chen basked in said audience's lustful approval at his platinum blonde hotness, it being only his due. Chiba, needless to say, managed to perform his ritual strip-tease and run around the stage causing certain of his band members (namely his bespectacled guitarist) to get stuck in between hysterical laughter and a grimace of disapproval and almost give themselves lockjaw (which isn't even physically possible – that's what Chiba can do to you). And Gigaflare, wearing an expression of mingled dismay, amusement and grudging horniness at his below-the-neck naked state, charged right at Chiba and propelled him off the stage before he could do anything more outrageous.”

 

 

( “I so remember that!” I exclaim, disturbed. “Giga pushed him right past us, when me and Keisuke were waiting in the wings.” I'd gotten an unwanted eyeful and had mental trunk/tentacle-hentai dreams for a week. “But a minute later they'd disappeared!”

“Sure,” says Sakito easily, giving a patient sigh at my interruptions. He glances away from the camera at my face, peering into the darkness, and smiles delightedly. “And why do you think that was?”

“...I don't actually want to know.”

“I know you don't,” retorts Sakito, sounding smug. “But it's too late now!” )

 

 

“Backstage, Giga's momentum eventually ran out and he came to a panting halt. He looked about him: with a kind of creeping unease he realised that he had evidently rushed right through the safety of the collected staff members and was now alone in a dim, silent corridor. Alone with a naked Chiba, and with his hands all over him. Giga gulped, which was an impressively manly response, all things considered: had this actually been a horror movie he'd have been screaming like a girl to the sound of clichéd background music, indicating that there would be killings and buckets of blood forthwith. Instead (which was possibly worse), Chiba took a long, deliberate look at Giga's hands, which, for some unearthly reason, were lingering on the skin of his chest and lower back; then he smiled up at him.

“All right!” exclaimed the drummer, dropping his arms to his sides like lightning as he realised what a dangerous position they were in. “Here we are! I was first! I win!”

Yes,” said Chiba, not moving away; Giga could still feel the phantom smoothness of his skin beneath his fingertips. “Here we are!”

“I – But – Chen-chen was slowest!” stammered Giga, throwing his friend to the wolves without a moment's hesitation. “That's what you said.”

“Perhaps I did,” agreed Chiba impishly, gliding forward creepily like a J-horror ghost (that's what Giga was reminded of, anyway) and forcing his tall bandmate to back away at his dogged approach. “But you're here...I'm here...I'm nude...” He grinned delightedly. “Let's seize the moment!”

“Let's not!”

Chiba ignored him, continuing to stalk towards him, manoeuvring him back through the labyrinth of corridors. For a fleeting moment Giga considered standing his ground; he was much, much larger than Chiba, after all, and on the basis of physics alone should be able to bundle the smaller man into a cupboard and leg it, no trouble at all. When he tried it, however, Chiba just grinned wider, black contacts gleaming spookily, and walked right into him, pressing up against him emphatically. As soon as his singer's bare skin met the fabric of his trousers Giga felt all his limbs stop working, and it was only with great effort that he managed to get them going again. No, he wasn't going to try that twice.

A moment later he was being pushed up against a door, which sprang open beneath his weight and, before he could do anything about it, toppled him into the room beyond. Chiba giggled, a sound Giga was usually quite fond of but which, in this instance, made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Then he stuck out one bare little foot and kicked the door shut.

Giga looked around frantically: this was obviously some kind of artist waiting room, with a table and chairs, an old fridge, and walls covered in the scrawls of previous musicians, but for the life of him he couldn't remember seeing it before; maybe his brain was shutting down protectively. Only one of the lights was working, and that was, typically, illuminating Chiba's painted face to perfection.

“Don't be shy, Giga~,” said Chiba, kindly, observing his bandmate with what seemed like great amusement. “Just give it up already. There's nowhere to run!”

Giga felt his face drop comically. He knew perfectly well that he would give it up, because that was the way it invariably went every single time this happened: Chiba was completely irresistible, not in the conventional way, naturally, but in the sense that he had the awful ability to paralyse the unhappy drummer.

The face, though, tonight the face was giving him major problems. It was the trunk. Giga tried closing one eye, but that didn't help, he could still see the bloody elephant in front of him. He lifted a hand in front of his face, squinting, and ah, that was better, now all that remained was Chiba's tiny body which, if Giga was honest, he was really very attached to, so long as the head on top of it wasn't talking. And it was naked. And that was...mmm, yes, he could do this! Giga took a few deep, comforting breaths, sternly telling himself to man up.

Really, Giga.” Chiba's voice cut through the middle of this silent pep talk, sounding (fake) hurt. “This won't do at all!” And no, no, it was all going wrong again because the little singer was getting closer, reaching up and tugging Giga's protective hand away, and argh, there was the trunk again right in his eyeline!

At this point, Giga, grasping desperately for any act of self-preservation that would get him away from the face, did the only thing he could think of: he dropped to his knees.

Contrary to all expectations, he immediately felt better. From down here he couldn't see even a hint of face paint, his vision being filled with Chiba's teeny stomach, a few inches from his nose.

Oh!” said Chiba gleefully, “that was quick!” Ah. Giga looked down, and now his vision was filled with quite another part of his singer's anatomy, which was looking very happy indeed. Giga didn't care; this was a great improvement over what was going on up there, and with luck he could manage to distract Chiba from whatever terrible plans were being formed in his little elephant-head.

“Come here,” he murmured, sliding a nervous hand behind Chiba's back and drawing him forward, bending his head to kiss him on the pale expanse of skin south of his navel; Chiba's flesh was warm and smooth and so very normal that it was almost possible to disassociate his body from his brain and the head that carried it around. Sadly, though, Chiba still had a voice box and he wasn't afraid to use it.

“Ooh! Lower, Giga, lower!” That accent was so damn un-erotic and Giga wondered why, as he obeyed, he felt himself getting aroused. This was so uncool. He decided to focus his efforts on getting Chiba to shut up at all costs and, to this end, ran his lips rapidly down the shorter man's stomach and along his erection without pausing, lavishing the excited head with a firm swirl of his tongue before swallowing him up completely. Giga liked to consider himself an expert at this (Ruka was a quick learner, and had helped him a lot), and it was to his huge regret that, while the sudden attack made Chiba's knees tremble and his hands clench themselves convulsively in Giga's hair, it had no noticeable effect on his motormouth whatsoever.

Nnnhh!” moaned Chiba, which was perfectly acceptable, and then, “whosa good little bitch...!”

'I'm not your bitch,' the drummer tried to say with his mouth full, which came out something like “mmnforbchh!”.

“You so are,” giggled Chiba breathlessly, as Giga's long fingers wrapped around the base of his cock, adding more delicious friction to the already incredible path of his mouth.

“...I know,” Giga managed glumly, as he paused to take a breath. Chiba clearly approved of this, because he actually kept quiet for the next few minutes while his bandmate went back to work. Giga made his mouth a hot, airless vacuum, concentrating fiercely on the maddening movements of his tongue, which he knew could drive anyone crazy if he kept it up long enough; Chiba was human (well, just), he was no exception. Gradually he managed to forget about how weird this was, losing himself in Chiba's scent, the sensation of tiny fingers pulling possessively at his hair, the feel of his friend's adorable ass beneath his hands.

“Mmph...” Giga held Chiba's hips steady, inching his own knees apart for balance on the cold linoleum floor, and began to deep-throat him with very little difficulty (all size comparisons with himself aside, Chiba was a very short guy...). The singer's hands were flexing and tightening against his scalp helplessly, his brash voice reduced to wordless breaths and whimpers. Giga was enjoying this now, he actually was, he really did love Chiba, after all, and-

But his fond, hazy thoughts were suddenly cut off as the smaller man took hold of him firmly beneath the chin, pulling him in closer very impolitely. Giga felt the muscles tense beneath his hands. Then,

“DING-DONG!” yelled Chiba, at the top of his voice, completely ruining any mood that might have been trying to build itself up, and this, this Giga recognised from somewhere, and dammit it had had to do with fucking elephants that time too! Jumping at the invasive sound, Giga made the mistake of opening his eyes and glancing upwards. Gaah, there it was again, there was no getting away from it, and in a flash everything came flooding back, his consciousness of what he was doing and where and with whom and that horrible, horrible trunk!

Chiba gazed down at his drummer's flushed, distressed face and, obviously liking the look of him all shaky and subjugated, chose that moment to come. Giga was perfectly fine with the not-spitting option, it didn't faze him at all, but dear god the cacophony of elephant noises did, and by the time Chiba was done the older man was on his hands and knees, doing his best not to choke and pass out through trying to laugh and swallow at the same time.

“...!” exclaimed Giga, eyes watering. Chiba patted him on the head with a wobbly hand (even in dire straits like these, Giga was very good), narrow chest heaving.

“There's a good boy!”

“...Oh, god,” groaned the unfortunate object of his affections, wondering if anyone would mind if he just died right here and how long it would take them to find his body if he did. “...Never do that again!” Chiba smiled at him blissfully.

“There, there.” He grabbed Giga's limp arm and helped him into a kind of crouch, which was as far as his short limbs could stretch. “Just...lie down right here...” He pushed the unprotesting drummer down on the rickety table, which was the largest flat space available, “...and have a nice little rest.”

Giga did as he was told, flopping down on his back and closing his eyes. He felt like he'd just run a marathon, both physically and emotionally. But he'd survived and, thank god, it was all over until the next time he got caught (he privately resolved to use Chen-chen as a human shield from now on; that'd serve him right!).

Somewhere off to his side he heard the creak of the fridge door being pulled open, but he was too tired to bother investigating.

“Hey, look,” came Chiba's suggestive voice, sounding as if he had discovered a lost civilization, “I found a banana!!”

What?” Giga's eyes slammed open and he pushed himself up on his elbows, because that voice sounded like it was having a thought, and the thought was scary. Chiba appeared to be halfway inside the large fridge (all that was visible was his rear end), rummaging around. Giga, suddenly feeling anxious all over again, started to get up quietly, planning to sneak off while his captor was otherwise engaged. But to no avail: Chiba, with apparently preternatural hearing, backed out of the fridge as soon as Giga began to stir.

“Oh no you don't!” he ordered, waving the banana at him threateningly. Giga eyed it like it was a loaded gun. “You lie right back down there and wait for me to sort you out.”

“I don't need to be 'sorted out'!” protested Giga, tremulously, which was true: whatever bizarre arousal he might have been feeling just now had been completely extinguished by Chiba's orgasm voice, which had about the same effect as a bucket of cold water on the groin. Chiba appeared at his side in a millisecond, brandishing the offending fruit; Giga lay back down so fast his head cracked against the tabletop. “All right...I'll keep still!” Chiba ran a short finger pointedly down his prostrate friend's chest, past his flat stomach and over the waistband of his baggy sports trousers.

“That's right.” He returned to rootling about in the fridge. Giga, his breath coming faster at the juxtaposition of Chiba's screamingly scary face and light, teasing touch, whimpered self-pityingly and threw one arm across his eyes like a heroine in a bodice-ripper about to be ravished by bandits, barbarians or similar.

“Hey,” came Chiba's voice, rather muffled, “you know nyotaimori?”

“Um...no?”

You know,” Chiba continued, enthusiastically, “eating sushi off a naked chick.”

“...Yes?” Trust Chiba to know the technical term for that. Giga frowned as he listened to his friend/lover/molester giggle to himself, and wondered if this was going where he thought it was going.

“You are not putting sushi anywhere on me!” he warned.

“Course not!” said Chiba, popping up right by his ear.

“Argh!”

“Calm down,” cooed Chiba. Giga kept his eyes squeezed tight shut. Then the smaller man's warm hands were slipping beneath his shirt, skimming over his ribcage as he tugged the fabric bodily upwards; Giga was forced to move a little to get the shirt over his head, but otherwise he kept completely still: he was having no part in any of this until he was sure what Chiba had in mind.

So far, so good: Chiba's little fingers traced the line of his jaw, sliding sideways to brush over his lips; Giga responded dubiously, meeting the questing digits with the tip of his tongue. Then there were hands on his torso, dragging lightly down his chest, pausing to tease the sensitive skin around his nipple.

“Nice?” asked Chiba, who had hooked one leg over Giga's so he could lean in and reach better; he sounded like he was grinning.

“...Yeah,” the drummer breathed, almost disbelievingly. It really was; Chiba's touch, at this moment, was considerate and intuitive, and now Giga couldn't see his face he could feel himself beginning to stir back to life. Chiba's fingers passed gently over the evidence of this in the front of his pants, so faintly he wasn't sure if he'd just imagined it.

“Y'know,” came Chiba's weird little voice in his ear (Giga managed not to jump this time), “you're really pretty like this.” Hmm. Suspicious. “You have really nice skin...You'd be a perfect candidate.”

“...For what?” asked Giga, exhaustedly, leaning up into the touch, which was abruptly absent.

DANTAIMORI!!” cried Chiba passionately, and then he was leaping on top of the petrified Giga, whose eyes shot open as a tiny but painful knee landed on his hip; before he could open his mouth to cry out Chiba had reached across him, grabbed a half-open packet of something that he must have stolen from the fridge, and upended it over him.

What the fucking hell-!?” yelled Giga, as a torrent of golden brown kernels and salt cascaded over his torso.

“Elephant Eats Peanuts Off Naked Man!!” announced Chiba, ecstatically. “Interspecies haute cuisine at its finest!”

“This is not fucking cuisine!” screamed the drummer, wriggling around under Chiba, which just made things worse. “This is a fucking Musician Murders Colleague in Bestiality Sex Romp tabloid scandal!!” His ability for coherence completely depleted, he tried frantically to get his terrified limbs to do something, anything. But it was too late: the hideous apparition on top of him was already on a roll.

“Ohhh yeah!” trumpeted Chiba (appropriately enough), shoving Giga's shoulders down against the table with both hands. “Mr Elephant is hungry!” Then he dipped his head down, and the next instant Giga was moaning piteously because the trunk, the fucking trunk was pressing up against his sternum as Chiba worked his way down his chest, trying to get his mouth within kissing distance of the skin, what with the ungodly nose in the way, and hoovering up peanuts as he went.

“Ohmygod...ohh fuck...agghh!” was all Giga could say, because it tickled, goddammit it tickled so badly and his arms and legs turned to jelly, and now he was weeping with laughter even though this was categorically the least funny thing that could ever happen to him, ever. “Pl...Please...stop!!” This, of course, had no effect at all, other than to make the freak crawling all over him grin beneath his face paint and begin to tickle him in earnest.

“More nuts for Mr Elephant!” declared Chiba, salt-dusted hands diving beneath his debilitated companion's trousers. Giga let out another shriek of laughter, eyes streaming, and dug his long nails into the wood of the tabletop to stop himself having a fit. “Spread your legs,” Chiba ordered him, trunk prodding him in the stomach and small fingers finally grabbing hold of their target.

“Chiba...!” gasped Giga, who was having serious trouble drawing breath as the singer inexorably inched his underwear down. “Please...!”

“Mr Elephant.”

“Mr...ohgod...I can't say that!!” Giga squirmed, then gasped again at the long, stroking movement of Chiba's palm along his cock, which was getting so many mixed signals that it had no idea what it should be doing right now, given that Chiba's other hand (and his goddamn nose) was still tickling him mercilessly. “Please...!” he wailed hopelessly.

“You want me to stop tickling you?” came Chiba's voice from somewhere around his belly button.

“Y...Yes!”

“You gonna address me as Mr Elephant?”

“I...Yes!!”

“You gonna let me do whatever else I want to you?”

Ohh...” Giga swallowed miserably as Chiba's thumb brushed over the head of his cock. “...Yes, yes!”

“All right!” Chiba lifted his head, black eyes gleaming. “Then here's my question!” He looked at Giga, who stared back, motionless. “Do you want the trunk...or the banana?”

Giga's mouth dropped open in horrified disbelief. “You what!?” he began, but Chiba was hopping back up his body and the tickling began again, and then Chiba's face was pressed against his own and the trunk was knocking against his nose and over his cheek and oh, eww, ugh, it was so creepy-

“...The banana...!” squealed Giga in despair. Chiba chuckled in his ear.

And then, dear viewers-”

 

BANG!

 

Sakito and I both leap in our seats.

“-Giga did not do that!!” exclaims Ruka in outrage, throwing open the door like an avenging angel (well, that's what he looks like to my suddenly overjoyed eyes). “I mean we- I mean-” Sakito grins, looking evil under his mood lighting. “All right, you paparazzo,” Ruka growls at me, and then a hand covers the camera lens with finality. “That's enough!”

Guess that's the end of that. I sigh in disappointment (massive relief), even as I'm cowering before Ruka's fiery-wrath-of-the-Lord impression. Sakito, on the other hand, has burst out laughing and is thumping a slender knee with his fist at the fond memories this episode has apparently brought flooding back. Ruka, who has turned brick red with vicarious fury on behalf of his alter ego (very unusual for him), looks like he'd love nothing better than to wrap his hands round Sakito's lovely neck and strangle him. He doesn't, of course, Saki has way too much power, and, if I'm any judge, a whole lot more abominable stories up his sleeve that he will unleash upon the world if provoked.

But not to me. Please god not to me. I never want to hear Chiba's name again, especially in conjunction with drummers, elephants or any kind of snack mix. I think forlornly of my fruit bowl at home, and shudder. Half of that will have to go, for a start.

“So do you see?” says Sakito, holding off the apoplectic Ruka with one hand. “You have to hear this side of things, or your whole production is going to be totally unbalanced!”

“Unbalanced,” I parrot in agreement. Yeah, thanks to that little fairytale I think that's pretty much the state Sakito has left me in.

 

But no more. No more. My camera is taking a holiday! Away from Sendai Kamotsu, away from beautiful spawn-of-evil narrators, away from everyone. I shall travel to the pastoral vistas of Utsukushigahara and film the wild bunnies.

Even they can't shag as much as this bloody band.

 

Chapter Text

November 1 st , 2009

 

Well, I'm back!

I hope you didn't think I was on holiday all this time, because I totally wasn't. My countryside expedition got the boot after two weeks: meadows and bunnies and flowers are all very well, but the abominable weather cast rather a pall; and besides, it turns out I've been irretrievably spoiled by the level of drama I've been treated to while filming Naito all this time, and rabbits really don't fill the gap.

So, home I came. We've had a busy year, which has kept my documentary-making at bay somewhat, as has the still-traumatic memory of Sakito's last offering (I still can't eat peanuts without gagging). So, while I've held off on any more in-depth porn-novels-on-tape from my boys themselves (well, I tried once, but Ni~ya's story about Ruka and Yomi and the plunger has to be a lie, not to mention unbroadcastable), I've done a few informative interviews with musicians, staff and industry insiders, which pretty much confirm my impressions to date.

And let me reassure you that Nightmare and Sendai Kamotsu have continued to happily (mostly) engage in their various platonic/polygamous/sweet/sadistic relationships while I've been off-air. Hitsugi and Sakito are still delighted with each other, Ruka and Ni~ya are still arguing like blazes and having shallow, fantastic sex, and Ruka and Yomi are doing the same but with higher levels of bullying and sweet-talk. Same old, same old.

But there is a reason I've chosen to get back in the directorial saddle now: something has happened, and I think inter-band relations are about to take a turn for the weird. And I'm in too deep now to miss a moment.

 


 

 

November 7 th , 2009

 

 

Big News. It's official: Sendai Kamotsu are on hiatus. For an undetermined period of time. This 'bankruptcy' is not good for any of us, I'm beginning to realise. Okay, so we're getting slightly more time to go home and see our spouses/boyfriends/goldfish on occasion, but I doubt that's going to last, and the other advantages all have to be weighed against what this is going to do to certain members' mental states: just how much of the Sendai personalities are going to end up spilling over into Naito now, and how much confusion is it going to cause??

Ruka is looking increasingly worried, presumably at the likelihood of Chiba surfacing without warning one night when he's messing about with Yomi and forcing him at elephant-point to do unholy things with household appliances, with no chance to prepare his defences beforehand. And he's not the only one with issues, if tales of their final concert are anything to go by.

 


 

November 9 th , 2009

 

 

“You know what I saw?” murmurs Keisuke, leaning confidentially towards the camera. “The two of them came off stage – the other three were still pissing about, remember? – They walked right past me and round the corner. So far, so normal. Well, I was waiting for Chiba and co. to finish so we could go start sorting out the guitars. I followed them, and right there, right there Giga had Chen-chen pushed up against the wall, moustache and all, with his tongue shoved down his throat!” He gives a traumatised shudder. “I won't forget that in a hurry. Not with all that moaning.”

 

 


 

November 13 th , 2009

 

 

“Let me explain,” says Ni~ya earnestly, a few days later, from his cushion in the local izakaya he dragged me into after work. “I don't know what Kei-kun saw, but I'm telling you right now, it wasn't Chen-chen's fault!”

I wonder briefly, not for the first time, if it's possible for all five members of a band to suffer from multiple personality disorder simultaneously. Well, I suppose the other three display some consciousness of their alter egos being part of themselves; but Ni~ya and Ruka have major difficulty with this, especially lately, and appear quite happy to ignore it and have their bodies play host to two completely different people.

“Whoa,” I break in, stopping Ni~ya before he gets into the flow. “I cannot film another perverted Gigaflare sex episode. I refuse to!” Ni~ya bridles at this, looking highly offended.

“Chen-chen does not have pervy sex with anyone!” he states, shaking an admonishing finger at me. “Chen-chen is hot. He doesn't need to resort to Chiba's methods!” He pauses, and manages to look both smug and annoyed. “Giga came to him.”

“I see.”

“No you don't,” says Ni~ya, riding roughshod over my lack of joy at the prospect of another of his stories. He gives the camera a firm look. “This is how it happened...”

I close my eyes. And we are off.

 

 

“Chen-chen was feeling kind of peculiar,” says Ni~ya, as if the two of them had met over coffee one morning and discussed the whole thing. “He'd had an emotional day. It was that day, obviously, the final concert of Sendai Kamotsu, and feelings were running high. He knew that they'd be back touring at some point in the future, but when was anyone's guess, and they were all determined to make the most of it. It was sad; he was sad, though he wasn't really given to showing it; and he was excited by the live, and caught up in the feeling of playing: there was nothing else like it. So it was a heady mix, and add to that the ten straight minutes of hysterical laughter when Chiba unveiled (literally) his hairdo – god, that combover, Chen-chen had thought he was going to die – well, he was feeling very unsettled indeed.

As he and Gigaflare trooped off stage for the final time (Giga flinging his frog head aside with a look of both relief and regret), letting the two guitarists have their lengthy attack of hysteria all to themselves, all he wanted to do was sit with his four friends for a while, because they were the only ones who would really understand what this was like; and then go home and collapse until he felt more like himself again.

Someone, however, had other ideas. And Chen-chen was about to find out, much to his astonishment, what they were.

It took less than ten seconds after they had exited the stage and passed the techs and staff members waiting in the wings for Giga to stop, grab Chen-chen's collar without so much as a by-your-leave, and throw him up against the nearest wall.

What the bloody hell do you think you're-” began the bassist, affronted and irritable with the mess of emotions boiling away inside him; but he didn't get any further because Giga's mouth abruptly crashed into his, completely stealing his breath and maybe breaking a few teeth if the force of it was anything to go by. Chen-chen was flabbergasted, knocked for a loop, and any amount of similar phrases. It was just plain rude of Giga, and quite unlike him, and as soon as the frankly mind-blowing kiss stopped and he had his tongue back Chen-chen intended to tell him so.

There were other reasons why he was not thrilled about this, apart from simple good manners: Chen-chen had a rule. Actually, I have the same one: neither Giga or Ruka is allowed to mess about with us while we're seeing someone else. We do have some moral standards. And at this point Chen-chen had a girlfriend, had been seeing her a few weeks and was rather enjoying it. Giga knew that, and he knew perfectly well that his friend was currently out of bounds.

Chen-chen very much wanted to remind his bandmate of this rule, preferably via the business end of a slap in the face; but he couldn't move. Giga, who was generally diffident and cautious when initiating intimate relations, was kissing him so passionately, so deeply, that all he could do in retaliation was slide his hand up the drummer's spine and tangle his fingers in the fine hair at the nape of his neck.

“Giga...!” Chen-chen gasped, but didn't get any further. He'd always known how talented the older man was with his tongue, but somehow he hadn't really appreciated it until now, had never been so totally immobilised by the feeling as he was at this moment. He heard himself moan, and wound his other arm around Giga's neck; Giga was pressed hot against him, clinging, and clearly more affected by this final concert than he could let on in words. It was his bad luck, Chen-chen thought giddily, that he had happened to be in close proximity to the drummer as they came offstage, and wished Chiba had been around instead. Really, this wouldn't do at all.

“Back off...” he muttered insincerely against Giga's lips. “I'm...seeing someone!” Then, contradicting himself helplessly, he surged up against his friend's body as Giga's hand slid down to grasp his marvellous ass firmly through the red fabric of his boiler-suit.

Please...” whispered the drummer as he took a hurried breath, nuzzling his face appealingly into Chen-chen's pale neck. Chen-chen closed his eyes, reluctantly (or not) allowed Giga to push a thigh between his legs, and tugged him closer. Giga wasn't very communicative, as a rule, so that one little word spoke volumes; he obviously needed to be close to someone right now, and it was just typical that this was the first way of doing it that had popped into his head.

Giga kissed him again, tongue brushing his own wickedly, and Chen-chen let his own enthusiastic response answer for him. He felt very philanthropic (among other, less virtuous things), and pleasantly superior about how well he was dealing with the prospect of Sendai's lengthy disappearance compared to his friend. He couldn't deny it was nice having someone to hold onto, though. He'd planned on it being Miki, was going to call her up as soon as he got home; but this would have to do instead. It wasn't a bad substitute, thought Chen-chen grudgingly as Giga's leg began to roll against him expertly: he was already hard, and the drummer had barely touched him. Speaking of which...

“Giga...” he murmured, trailing his lips along the older man's jaw to give him a friendly, attention-getting nip on the earlobe. He heard him grunt questioningly, and bit harder.

“Ouch...!”

Do something for me,” Chen-chen commanded, grabbing Giga's hand and guiding it purposefully between his legs. “If I'm gonna cheat with you, you'd better make it good, you git!” He felt Giga nod swiftly against his shoulder.

“Bathroom, then. Quick...!”

There weren't many sights less erotic, thought Chen-chen to himself as he burst into the backstage toilet and slammed the door behind them, than a very tall man in what amounted to a red jumpsuit with a cartoon tiger face emblazoned across his backside. And, in general, he tried not to let silliness get involved in his sexual encounters. But now, to his surprise, he found that he couldn't care less; he just grabbed hold of the tiger with both hands as Giga backed him roughly up against the sink, and tugged their bodies tightly together; the drummer was hard too, he realised, and the fact made him even more impatient for someone to get his clothes off.

But his friend seemed to be having another emotional moment: Giga's face was pushed against the hollow of his throat, arms locked around him, and it didn't look like he was about to ravish Chen-chen at all.

“If you want to talk, Giga,” he said throatily, trying to sound patient (that's not really a Chen-chen trait, but he was doing his best), “...you know I'll listen.”

“No,” snapped Giga, and the bassist found himself knocked back against the bathroom mirror, half-sitting in the sink because Giga was suddenly kissing him so hard, both hands grasping his head and long fingers sinking into his shining black hair. It occurred to Chen-chen that this presumably was his friend's way of talking, and wondered, breathlessly, if it would be worth spending more time learning the language if it was going to feel this good.

“Suit yourself!” he gasped when Giga finally let him go. “Now sort me out!!”

The drummer, finally getting the message, removed his hands from Chen-chen's hair and, with refreshing directness, yanked down the long zip that fastened his boiler-suit. He pushed the red fabric aside, baring the bass player's wonderfully white skin – it was hot under the stage lights, and Chen-chen, being a sensible man, had opted for just underwear beneath his costume. Giga gave a soft little growl, not exactly aggressive but appreciative, and slipped his hands inside, one arm sliding round to the slick skin of his back and the other working its way rapidly south.

Aahh...!” exclaimed Chen-chen quietly, hooking a slim thigh around the taller man's hip and reeling him in, his fingers clutching at Giga's damp collar. The man was good, he really was (Chiba must be awfully demanding), hand brisk but unhurried, his expressive mouth sucking lightly at the juncture between Chen-chen's handsome neck and shoulder. Chen-chan had, temporarily, forgotten all about Miki, which he would probably feel bad about later; at the moment, though, nothing seemed more important than his friend, this man who was doing such delicious things to his body (all right, maybe Chen-chen was somewhat given to thinking with his dick; so what of it?).

Hands clumsy and uncoordinated, he fumbled with the fastening of Giga's own outfit; he could feel the older man's skin burning through the cloth and had an incredible desire to press his palms against it, feel the heat of his body, the race of his heart.

Yes,” breathed Giga, in a satisfyingly worshipful tone. Chen-chen arched his neck back to give him better access to his throat, and in doing so caught sight of himself in the mirror.

“Dammit!” He was still wearing the moustache, and it looked just idiotic next to the expression of pleasure and the faintly pink skin that was the closest the pale man could get to blushing. He clenched his jaw and ripped it off, ow, ow; and Giga was kissing him again, clearly not giving a damn about facial hair one way or the other, just wanting Chen-chen's hands back on his body.

It was about then that Chen-chen heard a faint creak.

“Hey!” called Kano-san, Sendai's manager, sticking his head round the bathroom door. “Are you guys rea-oh for god's sake!” Chen-chen pried himself away from Giga's insistent lips, panting, and nodded, a string of curses running in a silent loop inside his head.

“Coming!”

Luckily for everyone concerned, Kano-san is a lot less highly-strung than our manager.

“Yeah, I can see that!” he said, rolling his eyes and pointedly not looking in the direction of Giga's incriminating hand. Well, for anyone who has to deal with Chiba on a regular basis, two relatively normal-looking blokes having a teenage-level fumble against a sink is not going to be much of a challenge. “Now come on, the bus is leaving.”

Giga shot him a dark, Ruka-esque look, but Kano-san, who had a lot on his plate that night and was probably feeling a tad bit emotional himself – he was a great manager, and now his considerable skills were going to go to waste on a normal band – contrived to totally blank him. Chen-chen yanked the drummer's hand out of his boiler-suit, zipped himself up and gestured to their manager, who was tapping his foot ostentatiously.

“Lead the way!”

Kano-san vanished back the way he had come, and Chen-chen followed, attempting to get himself under the necessary control to make a dignified exit from the building. Then Giga's hand slipped slyly over his retreating behind, giving it a frustrated squeeze. Chen-chen came to a halt.

Soon,” he promised irritably. “Just...keep it in your pants for five minutes!” He felt the taller man's lips on the back of his neck, and sighed. “Let's just get on the bus.”

“And then?” came Giga's low voice. Chen-chen shivered a bit; really, he was a persistent bastard!

“And then you can leave the rest to me.”

 


 

 

The Sendai tour bus, unlike Naito's, was not exactly the height of luxury. The back section had two tiny bunk beds in case anyone felt the desperate need to sleep (or hide from Chiba), with a curtain for privacy, but that was about it. Which was why the band tended to congregate in the regular seats in front of the curtain, far enough towards the back to give their manager and assistants some peace. When Chen-chen led Giga up the narrow aisle between the seats, he saw that only Satty and Fullface were present, meaning Chiba was still doing god knows what inside the building, or that he was in bed. Chen-chen hoped not. He needed that bed, and if Chiba got wind of what they planned to use it for there was no hope in hell he'd just let it go without making a spirited bid for a three-way.

The two guitarists were sitting together, both engaged in the Herculean task of getting the knots out of Fullface's black-and-blonde hairdo, which was extremely impressive in volume and reminiscent of a stylish Sideshow Bob, but was murder to untangle. They looked like a couple of monkeys, thought Chen-chen with amusement: Satty had his knees pulled up to his chin as his slender fingers picked delicately at the back-combed splendour, while Fullface was tugging resignedly at the other side of his head with a comb and making a variety of strange expressions. Occasionally Satty would lean in close to say something innocuous and comforting in Fullface's ear, which would nevertheless make the younger man start and blush a little.

“Oi!” hissed Chen-chen at Satty conspiratorially, beckoning. He took a covert hold on Giga's hand, felt his impatient tremble. Their willowy bandmate levered himself out of his seat, leaving Fullface pouting at his own fringe.

“What is it?” he asked in a stage whisper. Chen-chen grinned through his frustration: Satty was so much less poised than Sakito, and it tickled him.

“Do me a favour,” he said in more hushed tones. He could sense Giga behind him, tense and needy, and felt his own pale cheeks heat up. “Keep everyone out of the sleeping area, okay?”

Now if it had been Sakito, he would have grasped the implications of this in an instant. Being Satty, it took him a few seconds, but after he had looked the pair of them up and down, he seemed to get it.

Ohh.” He giggled softly, eyes shining behind his glasses. “You know you've only got forty-five minutes?”

“All the more reason,” said Chen-chen, tightly, “for us to start and not be interrupted, especially by certain people. Certain short people.” Satty glanced at Giga's suddenly urgent expression, grimaced sympathetically, and nodded.

“I'll do my level best.”

Chen-chen winked at him, gave him a hearty clap on the shoulder, and immediately turned away, tugging his drummer towards the delights that lay behind the curtain. As he lifted it aside he heard Satty slide back into his seat, turn to Fullface coyly and say,

“Hey, guess what...!” He kind of wished he could stick around to watch their youngest member suffer at the hands of Satty's experimental flirtations. But there were more important things to take care of.

Stumbling in the half-dark Chen-chen let the curtain swing back, took a step forward and immediately fell over Fullface's horror manga collection, which was, for reasons unknown, in the middle of the floor. Giga caught him with his ever-surprising reflexes before he took a nosedive.

“Crap!” complained the bassist, who had stuck his hand out to break his fall and come into contact with the unseen mountain of junk that formed a sea of untold and suspicious depths over the bottom bunk (some of Sendai are total slobs: who'd believe Satty could be that untidy?!). “It'll have to be the top, then.”

Giga needed no further urging, just scrambled up the narrow ladder and wriggled his way onto the bed (his feet hung off the end, but you couldn't have everything), sliding round on his stomach to pull up the blind that covered the high back window and shedding flickering light onto them both. He looked glad he had done so: Chen-chen, always thinking ahead, had decided it would be easier to get undressed first, and was performing a nonchalant strip in the small space available to him. His red boiler-suit pooled around his feet, underwear following; then he looked up. The drummer was watching him breathlessly, dark eyes running eagerly down the length of his pale body.

“Take your time, why don't you,” said Chen-chen drily; it wasn't as if all five of them had never seen the others naked before, or as if Giga hadn't had his hands all over him in the past, albeit in rushed, cramped conditions (not that this was going to be any different). Giga blinked, looking amazed (quite rightly) at his good fortune, and extended his hand, helping Chen-chen swarm up the ladder and into the bed beside him. The younger man tucked himself in behind the safety rail with difficulty, ending up nose to nose with Giga and with his conveniently naked body pressing against him.

“Roomy up here, isn't it,” he observed, throwing one leg over Giga's to give them some breathing space. Giga's hands directly closed around him, running in a long, hungry sweep down the length of his back to grab his hips (Chen-chan has the most incredible hips, don't you think?) and tug him even closer; his mouth met the bass player's, tongue parting his lips fiercely. Chen-chen, who had been about to make another caustic remark on their lack of romantic locale options, grumbled to himself as he was silenced again, but soon got over it as he felt Giga's erection press into his thigh. Chen-chen likes to be liked, and all that evidence of the fact was very flattering.

“Take off your clothes,” he whispered into the kiss, this time making a more successful attempt to unzip Ruka's costume. At this juncture the difficulties of undressing in a smaller-than-single bunk bed filled with two rather tall men became apparent. It wasn't helped by the fact that Giga didn't seem to want to let go of him at all, and for the next couple of minutes the air was filled with whispered, heated discussion.

“Move it over, you load!”

“...I can't, my arms are stuck in the sleeves.” Some hushed rustling.

“Then stop trying to grab me!” The sound of a hand connecting sharply with a stomach. “What did I just say?!”

“Dunno.”

“Hang on...ow!”

“Sorry.”

“...Now move your hips... Not into me, you great big oaf! ...That's better.”

“...Mmm.”

“Ohh...!” Chen-chen, sounding startled, then thrilled. “Ohh, I think that's got it...”

He melted against Giga, who was finally equally naked, and the shocking sensation of skin against skin all along his body made him swallow heavily with arousal. Giga's hands were back on him and felt like they were touching him everywhere, not stopping anywhere long enough to be really satisfying but intent on exploring everything.

Chen-chen, conscious of the time, was about to slide down Giga's body and offer to perform the ultimate favour that would leave the drummer in his debt forever more when he heard the engine start; then he felt the bed vibrate as the bus began to move. Which must mean the arrival of...

“Wotcher,” came Chiba's hoarse, exhausted voice from the other side of the curtain. “That's all over, then.” Giga froze at the sound and made a panicked little noise; Chen-chen clapped a hand across his mouth before anything else could escape. Really, his drummer was a complete baby.

“Come sit with us,” he heard Satty say.

“Yeah, please do!” added Fullface, slightly desperately. Satty must really be up in his space, thought Chen-chen, and smirked.

“I was gonna lie down,” protested Chiba. “I am knackered!” Chen-chen heard the sound of people moving, and then the old-man-like sigh as Chiba sank reluctantly into a seat.

“You can't go back there, anyway,” Satty told the little singer.

“Oh, why?”

“Chen-chen and Giga.” Now it was the bassist's turn to tense up; he didn't trust the other two not to give the game away, even if they didn't mean to, through sheer overacting. “They're having a fight,” Satty continued. Chen-chen relaxed marginally.

“'S a pretty quiet fight!” commented Chiba, who, from the pained sounds emanating from their seats, had joined in the epic battle to restore Fullface's hair to normal.

“I told them to keep it down; I don't want them to bother Fullface, he's upset. Aren't you!”

“What?” came the younger guitarist's startled voice.

“You're upset!”

“Oh!...Oh, yeah.” Fullface settled down. “Actually, I am!” He made a little noise between pleasure and worry; Chen-chen would have bet anything that Satty had just given him a consoling hug. He waited a few moments, but no more objections from Chiba seemed to be forthcoming, so he took his hand away from Giga's mouth and leaned in to replace it with his lips. He felt the drummer tremble with longing and apprehension.

“It's okay,” he whispered, sliding a hand between their bodies in an effort to make his friend forget about Chiba's proximity. Giga let out a low sound against his skin. “Let's just do this.”

“Want you,” murmured Giga ardently, squirming in the cramped space until he could push his leg further between Chen-chen's thighs.

“'Course you do,” said Chen-chen; it hadn't ever occurred to him to think otherwise.

“I mean I want you.” The drummer ran his hand down Chen-chen's back again, and latched onto the sensitive spot behind his jaw, making the bassist close his eyes with pleasure, lashes two quivering crescents against his white cheeks. “...All of you,” Giga muttered in his ear.

Chen-chen's eyes shot open: to illustrate his point, the older man's hand had continued its downward movement and was now approaching a very presumptuous place indeed.

“You've got a bloody nerve!” Chen-chen hissed, whining softly as Giga's thigh moved teasingly between his legs. “...What makes you think...I'd let you now?!”

“...Because now I need it.” Giga raised his spare hand, palm briefly cupping his friend's cheek before he kissed him again plaintively. Chen-chen scowled through the pleasure; he had never done this before, what Giga wanted, since their time together had necessarily been limited by circumstance and Chiba and he had never been very attracted to any other man. And it had to be today, when Chen-chen himself was feeling so off-kilter and emotional, that the drummer had to ask.

“I suppose you want to be on top,” he said dourly; he had sensed, from that very first kiss, that Giga was holding back, and his pent-up feelings were bound to explode in one direction or another. From the way he was insinuating himself between his legs, Chen-chen could make an educated guess which direction it would be. Giga nodded against his shoulder, lips travelling over his collar bone and down to his pale nipple.

“Typical...” Chen-chen bit back a groan at the movement of the other man's talented tongue, one hand coming to rest in his hair, though even he couldn't be sure if he meant to tug Giga away or drag him closer. His thoughts were scattering, swirling as they congregated to follow Giga's mouth; he still managed to feel pleasantly superior, though, and it was this delightful sense of self-worth, rather than any logical reason, that made his decision for him.

“All right,” he whispered; Giga froze in his downward path, which was fine because Chen-chen hadn't finished. “But we'll have to make some changes.” With that he took a firm grip on Giga's shoulders and rolled the drummer underneath him. Giga made a concerned, doubtful noise – he clearly had a complex about having someone on top of him, and Chen-chen tried not to imagine whatever it was Chiba had done (there was no possibility of anyone else having such an effect) to make him feel that way.

“Quit worrying,” he said impatiently, thumb brushing over Giga's bottom lip. “Just lie there and be quiet and let me take care of everything.” He laid himself along Giga's body, nudging his hip against the older man's hard-on deliberately and feeling his own skin flush at the contact. Really, this philanthropist thing might have more benefits than he had supposed at first, he thought, as Giga groaned in approval beneath him.

“I said sshhh!” whispered Chen-chen against the drummer's lips. “What if Chiba hears us?!” Giga's eyes flashed with panic for a moment, and he bit his tongue to stifle the moan that his talented friend had been drawing out of him with each roll of his delicious hips. He did his level best to keep silent, which meant Chen-chen was the one to jump and let out a surprised little sound as Giga's fingers snuck up on him and slipped between his legs experimentally.

“All right...!” muttered Chen-chen, for whom the sensation was entirely new and rather disconcerting. But Chen-chen isn't scared of anything (other than his vocalist, obviously), and he wasn't about to turn all whimpering uke for his bandmate. He pulled himself together. “Just hold your horses and give me the lube...””

 

 

( The narrative stops abruptly. I look up, trying to assemble my features into an expression of polite enquiry instead of a horrified rictus.

“Problem?” I ask. The heretofore enthusiastic narrator folds his arms.

“Look. It was totally a mercy fuck!” says Ni~ya, looking shifty. “He was being kind, letting Giga take the lead. He was being a good friend, that's all. I mean, look at this!” He spreads his arms emphatically. I look: tall, gorgeous, spoiled, that's Ni~ya. No, wait, not Ni~ya: “Chen-chen's obviously a top.”

“I believe you,” I assure him hurriedly, before he can start listing, in detail, all the other attributes that make him a natural pitcher.

“You do.”

“Of course!” I do hope I'm not about to have Ni~ya's first experience of a masculinity crisis on my hands, especially when it's not even his crisis. But no, he looks satisfied at my reassurances; he nods, hikes up a corner of his mouth in a grin, and continues. )

 

 

“Giga waved a silent hand in the direction of his bag, but didn't appear to be able to move. Chen-chen, muttering to himself, slid away from his friend's excited body and off the bed, stubbing his toe on Satty's glasses case before he managed to locate the sex supplies pocket of Giga's BPN backpack.

“Do I even want to know what you and Chiba do with this?” Chen-chen asked as he held up the lube, a smirk curling at one side of his pretty mouth. Giga looked mortified.

“No. You definitely do not.” Chen-chen sniggered, hopped back up the ladder and squeezed himself into the bed, where the drummer's arms caught him urgently. Then Giga was leaning up to kiss him, taking the half-empty tube from his hands; Chen-chen let him have it, supposing that for once he should bow to experience and let the other man show him what to do.

“If I'm hurting you,” whispered Giga into his neck, breath raising shivers on his skin, “tell me.”

“Oh, I will,” Chen-chen assured him emphatically, a ripple of pleasure washing over him as his bandmate's hand closed over his erection. The next moment he bit his lip on a nervous sound, one of Giga's long fingers slipping inside him carefully – the hand with short nails, and now Chen-chen knew why.

“Okay?” breathed Giga against his cheek.

“Shut up and keep going.” Chen-chen knew he sounded brusque, but he wanted to get used to the feeling as quickly as possible and take back control; he liked that Giga was considerate (he had been reliably informed that Ruka was anything but), but at this rate they could go on all night, and he didn't have all night.

Giga obeyed him, one hand still moving teasingly over his cock; he arched up against him, and Chen-chen felt his head spin, it was intense, it really was, and he didn't know how long he would be able to keep a hold on himself if it went on. Giga's previously worried face was now filled with understated delight, eyes half-closed and dreamy as Chen-chen leaned down to kiss his shoulder, and the bassist was sure his own expression looked just as dopey.

By now Giga had three fingers inside him and he could just go on forever like this, it felt so good; Chen-chen could hear himself letting out little whimpers of desire into Giga's mouth, his hands clutching at the drummer's arms. He took a deep breath and tried to pull himself together: he was sounding way more girly than was allowable, and Giga seemed to be enjoying it a little too much. Time to man up.

Enough,” said Chen-chen throatily, trying to sound normal; he was going to dictate the pace of this, dammit. He shifted away from Giga's body slightly, rising to his knees and scooting back just enough to take the condom his bemused friend held out to him and slide it over the man's hard-on. He glanced down: Giga was blinking up at him, looking charmingly befuddled at having the reins taken away from him yet again; it suited him, thought Chen-chen. He placed a hand in the centre of the drummer's chest for balance and, not without some well-hidden apprehension, lowered himself onto his cock.

Nnn...” Chen-chen swore silently to himself as the sound escaped him, but there was nothing he could do about it: he'd chosen this position precisely so that Giga wouldn't have any say in how fast they could go, but he was still big, bigger than three fingers had really prepared him for, and the feeling was a bit of a shock. But Giga was gazing up at him so adoringly, looking so sweetly stupid with his mouth open like that, and Chen-chen was not about to give up and disappoint him. Besides, Chen-chen is a winner.

“...Good?” he demanded softly, sinking down further and working hard not to gasp as Giga entered him fully. He rested his elbows on the drummer's midriff while he got used to it, black hair spilling across Giga's chest, which was rising and falling rapidly with his excited breathing. Giga didn't reply, but a moment later Chen-chen felt a hand cradling the back of his head, fingertips stroking his scalp encouragingly. Giga really could be sweet when it mattered.

After a while Chen-chen felt better, and decided he was confident enough to move (having looked at his watch and found that there were only twenty minutes left of their journey). Having, as I may have mentioned before, totally awesome hips, he found it very easy to do and, once he had got over the intensely strange but pleasurable sensation of having another man's cock moving inside him, was able to proceed as slowly as he pleased.

“Chen-chen...” came Giga's low, pleading voice, which the bassist liked and always had, “...stop...fucking teasing...!” His hands closed around Chen-chen's slim waist entreatingly, but the bassist was too big to be moved if he didn't feel like it.

Oh,” whispered Chen-chen, executing another tantalisingly slow rise and fall and observing Giga's dilated pupils, “but you like it.”

Please...!”

Chen-chen gave another smirk at that, though he was feeling too turned on to make it really snarky. As a reward for using the magic word he relaxed his body and allowed Giga to lift him, fingers biting into the curve of his hips and adding darts of rather wonderful pain to the melting pot of sensations. Giga, being enthusiastic and quite strong when he put his mind to it, managed to push him up very high and fast.

Ow!!” And now Chen-chen had the full inconvenience of the top bunk brought home to him yet again, as his head met the roof of the bus with a crack. He froze, listening for any sounds of inquisitiveness or comprehension from the other side of the curtain; or at least he tried to, but was rather hindered by Giga, who was now getting into the swing of things in a most untimely way, moving the bassist into a quicker rhythm that made him throw his head back with sheer bliss.

“Goddammit, ow! Will you quit that!?” hissed Chen-chen, who had banged it again. He tried leaning back down, but it was very difficult to lie flat over Giga and keep up that wonderful tempo at the same time.

“Should've let me go on top,” Giga mumbled, almost too quietly to hear. Chen-chen opened his mouth to argue, then shut it again to keep in a moan as the drummer's hands slid down to squeeze his ass fondly. Chen-chen gave up: Giga was too good at this and he wanted more of it; he supposed he could suffer a minor concussion in exchange for all that pleasure. He pushed himself back up carelessly, hands heavy against Giga's ribs – well, if he was in for some bruises, the other man should have his own share. He began to move again, tentatively, until he found that rhythm and almost bit his own tongue at how good it felt.

Giga was staring up at him, looking intoxicated, his long fingers running over Chen-chen's damp skin as far as he could reach, as though he could never get enough of touching him. Chen-chen was thoroughly gratified by this awed attitude toward himself, and was hard put to stop himself gazing back in uke-ish adoration at this man who could do such amazing things to him by basically lying there on his back. But there was still plenty to grumble about, and the bass player was never one to pass up the opportunity.

“...Normal rock stars,” complained Chen-chen breathlessly, “they get to – ouch – do it with groupies in hot tubs and the back of limos!” He leaned further forward to kiss Giga untidily, then pushed himself up to keep the momentum going. “...What is – ow – wrong with us...?!” From the front of the bus came the sound of their three bandmates singing 'Eye of the Tiger' in appalling and enthusiastic English, evidently over their melancholy spell. “This is...ridiculous!”

“Mmph,” murmured Giga in guttural agreement, but didn't seem able to come up with anything more articulate. Chen-chen, gasping for breath but still going with all the energy at his disposal, saw his eyes slide closed blissfully, hands convulsively tight on the bassist's waist (Chen-chen knew he'd have marks tomorrow, his skin was so fair, and how was he going to explain that to Miki?). He didn't care, just began to rise faster, harder, hand braced against the roof of the bus to minimise the damage to his skull while he attacked his drummer with all the sexual competence he possessed (which, as you can imagine, is considerable).

Giga bit his full underlip as the younger man dragged a low, amazed sound out of him; Chen-chen looked down sharply, because he'd heard that urgent little moan in the past and knew exactly what it meant.

“You bastard!” he hissed in alarm, doing his level best now to stop moving, “don't you dare-”

But Giga, face locked in a frown of insular concentration, had stopped listening and was rocking his friend's body down onto his cock faster and faster, muscles taut in his forearms. Chen-chen screwed his own eyes up, the tight, ecstatic feeling spiralling up through his stomach, he was getting close, so close, he only needed another minute...

And then Giga froze, nails cutting into the flesh of Chen-chen's hips, and let out a helpless growl of pleasure, tugging the bassist down onto him hard, neck curved back and brown hair spreading in an abandoned wave across the blankets. For several seconds, which felt like a lifetime to Chen-chen, he didn't move, in all probability couldn't move; then his hands rose shakily to cover his face in exhaustion.

Che...” he began, rapturously, but was cut off mid-praise by the murderously frustrated tones of his bass player.

Fuck,” snarled Chen-chen, thumping Giga's heaving chest with a clenched fist, “...I knew you were going to do that!”

“...I'm so sorry,” came Giga's satiated, embarrassed mumble from behind his hands. Chen-chen glared at him accusingly; he could have carried on berating the drummer into next week, but his hard-on was demanding that he forgo the satisfaction and deal with it right now.

“Fuck your sorry,” he muttered, between quick catches of breath. “Make those damn hands useful!”

To his relief Giga immediately obeyed (if nothing else, Chiba had him well trained), reaching out and tipping him over beside him, skilled fingers gravitating straight to Chen-chen's insistent erection and apologetic lips to his throat.

“Oh, better,” gasped Chen-chen, sliding his arms around the taller man's back and clinging as Giga's tongue flicked out against his hot skin and the movement of his damp hands sped up into a fast, unrelenting pace. He gritted his teeth, getting some payback as his own nails dug into Giga's shoulders, making the drummer wince silently and set his teeth to Chen-chen's white neck (that was a Ruka trait, he thought, but it felt good).

“Ready?” whispered Giga, lips against his ear. Chen-chen nodded frantically, mouth pressed to the other man's shoulder, the salt taste of sweat on his tongue. He felt the shape of the drummer's tentative smile, and that was the last thing he was aware of before every single neuron in his body fired at once, Giga's hand tight and perfect on his cock.

Chen-chen had no idea how loud he cried out as he came, just that Giga had grasped him by the hair and shoved his face down into his chest to muffle the sound, holding him close as he shuddered in gratification.

“...Well...” puffed Chen-chen eventually, when his surroundings had stopped spinning and Giga had sat up and was cleaning them both off with a handy pillowcase. “...I hope you're happy now!”

Giga looked down at him and gave him a sweet, brief grin. Now that he had gotten off, Chen-chen was inclined to feel grumpy and resentful again at this whole state of affairs, but couldn't help a corresponding smile rising to his lips as he lay there waiting for his heart rate to return to some semblance of normality. He raised one arm languidly and peered at his watch.

“Shit! Five minutes!” He heaved himself up on his elbows. Giga grimaced at him and slid down to the floor, throwing on jeans and tshirt in the half-dark (Chen-chen thought they were probably his, but it didn't really matter too much). The bassist followed, limping down the ladder hurriedly. He stood shifting from foot to foot for a minute while Giga dug around and located more clothes for him, then shuffled into them and attempted to straighten out both their hair.

“Right. What do we look like?” he demanded, fanning himself with his hand.

“...Like we just fucked in the back of a bus,” Giga told him honestly.

“Oh well. No help for it.” Chen-chen exhaled deeply and tugged the curtain back, stepping out as firmly as possible with his backside in its current put-upon state. He wandered nonchalantly down the aisle, and straight away came face to face with his three bandmates. Giga gulped down a nervous laugh behind him, and Chen-chen himself wasn't sure whether to snigger at the tableau or apologise profusely. Chiba was sitting between the two guitarists, who were clearly the only things keeping him in his seat: Fullface was pinning him down by the shoulders while Satty's slender hand was clapped across his mouth; both men were bright red and carefully avoiding eye contact with one another.

“...Thank god,” exclaimed Satty upon catching sight of them. “Do you have any idea how long we've been sitting like this?!”

“Huh?” said Giga, intelligently.

“Well he figured it out about fifteen minutes ago; and we wanted to give you the chance to at least finish,” Satty told them, blushing prettily and grinning in a sheepish way. He took his hands off the struggling Chiba with evident relief.

“Spoilsports!” cried the singer indignantly. “You guys don't let me have any fun!” Fullface smacked him across the head at this blatant falsehood, and Chiba turned to him. “Think of how nice we could all play together,” he said slyly, pinching Fullface's cheek teasingly. The guitarist spluttered for a few moments before abandoning the attempt to think of a comeback and curling up protectively in his seat like a hermit crab.

“So,” carried on Chiba, turning to Chen-chen and winking outrageously in the direction of the silent Giga. “Didn't I do a good job with him?”

“Shut it,” Chen-chen told him, collapsing into a seat opposite the rest of his band. Chiba observed his expression of discomfort as he tried to find a position that didn't make him ache, and grinned wider.

“What, did you let him go on top?” He shook his head sagely. “What a waste of a perfectly good-”

“All right, that is enough!” broke in Satty repressively, at Giga's look of profound embarrassment. He pushed Chiba out of his seat and beckoned the drummer to sit between himself and Fullface. Chiba, undismayed, bounced down next to Chen-chen. They all looked at each other. “Let's just go home,” suggested Satty. One by one they nodded. And then, because they were friends and they were still a great band and because even Chiba knew when to shut up and let it be, they all broke into smiles.”

 

 

“Right!” says Ni~ya, still looking slightly uncomfortable at this revelation of his other half's spell on the bottom, “is that all clear now?”

“You made it abundantly clear,” I tell him glumly. He leans back, lounging comfortably on his cushion, and takes a long swig of Asahi.

“That none of it was Chen-chen's idea,” he confirms.

“Chen-chen's name is clear,” I assure him wryly. I can't believe I just said that... I cast about for some scrap of comfort after yet another over-eighteen ramble down memory lane (I swear, if I hear the word 'cock' one more time I'm taping my own down and joining a nunnery!). Well, I suppose Gigaflare is marginally more bearable than Ruka in terms of obscenity levels. Is that really a comfort? I slump behind my camera, and sip weakly at my own Jack Daniels (though Dutch courage apparently has no effect on me...).

“What's your problem?” asks Ni~ya oh-so-kindly, lighting up while observing my fainting form. He blows out an elegant trail of smoke. “I kept it tasteful!”

If that was tasteful, I never want to hear one of them do tasteless. But who am I kidding? If I'm determined to persist with this project, I know it's only a matter of time.

Chapter Text

November 19 th , 2009

 

 

I'm noodling around with one of Hitsugi's new ESPs, trying to get a feel for it (Keisuke says there's something odd about the bridge), when I get a call from Ryuu-chan, a photographer at Arena 37c, with whom I bonded several years ago over a mutual love of The Sopranos and who I meet sporadically so we can go drinking and recite lines from yakuza movies.

You still doing your documentary?” he asks over the phone.

“Yup.” Ryuu-chan had declined to be filmed himself, saying that he'd rather not think about any aspect of Naito's sex lives, but I think he finds the concept amusing.

Want some more outsider comments?” He sounds like he's grinning.

“Will they be informative?” I ask suspiciously; I'm not picky, but I do like my interviewees to have some opinion.

No idea.” Ryuu-chan says something to someone in the background. “You'll want to meet them, though. Just get over here.

What the hell. It's basically lunch time (also, I can hear a worrying noise from the storage closet behind me, just recognisable as Ni~ya's high-pitched giggle, and I want to get as far away from whatever's going on in there as possible). No-one will notice if I leave...

 

I eventually arrive at the studio where the interview/photography session is supposed to be taking place.

“There you are,” says Ryuu-chan. “They're on lunch, you timed it well.” And then, preceding me through the door, “you so owe me!”

I follow him into the room, give it a quick scan and see a man in designer stubble fiddling with a guitar, primped for a photo-shoot and playing a riff I feel I ought to recognise; behind him another man, handsome, with luxurious dark hair, is stuffing his face with consommé chips and looking far too scruffy to be allowed anywhere near a camera. Then I turn my eyes back to the guitarist in a comedic double-take.

Oh my god. Is that really who I think it is?? Ken! That's Ken!! Who's Ken, you say? Only the primo guitarist in the biggest band in the country, that's who!

I am genuinely starstruck this time: this is one of the guitar gods of my teenage years (back in the '90s when L'arc~en~Ciel were sporting huge hair and some of the gayest shirts you ever did see), and here he is, sitting right in front of me!

“Yo,” says Ken casually, silencing his guitar and blowing a stream of smoke from the corner of his mouth. I stand there gaping like an idiot.

“This is Fujiki Ryota. He's doing a bare-all documentary about Naito,” puts in Ryuu-chan, who has apparently worked with Ken and his currently dormant side band S.O.A.P before, and has had any idol-worshipping tendencies bashed out of him by their consummately immature sense of humour. He grabs the camera from my limp hand and waves it in the legend's direction. “You have heard of them, right?”

Ken shifts the eternal cigarette to the other side of his mouth, setting his guitar down (I eye it covetously, but I'm pretty sure someone would notice if I nicked it).

“Naito schmaito,” he says dismissively. Ryuu-chan raises his eyebrows, but the guitarist hasn't finished. “Sendai Kamotsu!” he exclaims gleefully, looking more enthusiastic by the second. “That's what I'm talking about!” I hear the other man snort behind him from his pile of junk food wrappers (That's...Sakura! Sakura! Oh my god, I feel like I'm fifteen...I wonder if I can hold off asking for their autographs...).

“You know who they are, then,” says Ryuu-chan drily (Ryuu-chan is quite happy with Naito, but has been slightly off Sendai ever since Chiba tried to hump his leg at a photo-shoot back in 2003). Ken nods eagerly, dropping ash all over the floor.

“They are fucking brilliant!” Another one, I think to myself. He looks wistful. “Wish I could've gone to one of their lives.”

“What's the attraction?” I enquire, forcing myself out of my shy fanboy silence. Ken waves his arms around, trying to convey...well, I'm not exactly sure what he's trying to convey. He gives up and beams at the camera.

“What's not?” he states, grinning in a way very reminiscent of Hitsugi Senior (they're obviously the same breed). “I just hope we can be that fucking funny if we start touring again!”

“You mean filthy,” puts in Sakura, throwing a cup noodle pot good-humouredly at Ken's head. Ken just grins wider. Now I understand. Though for someone with a band called Sons Of All Pussys, who have been known to go onstage sporting giant penises as hats, he seems easily impressed. “If only I had the confidence,” begins Ken soulfully, and at which Sakura and Ryuu-chan let out identical cackles of amusement, “to run around stage in a thong!” He sighs. “How happy I'd be...”

“Is that a tuner in your pocket?” breaks in Sakura rudely, pointing to his sometime bandmate's tight jeans, “or do you like them that much?”

“It's a tuner,” says Ken, pulling it out.

“Oh.”

“Anyway,” states the guitarist, defensively, “they're really catchy!” Sakura shrugs neutrally.

“I'd rather their other band,” he muses. Ken looks amazed, as if he can't conceive of anyone preferring beautiful men in gorgeous outfits to a midget dressed as Tutankhamen.

Why?”

I stand there, googly-eyed, and happily watch my idols bicker: I don't care if they have no relevant information or anecdotes whatsoever. Sakura pushes a hand through his thick hair.

“They're cute like that,” he explains. “And just the right level of funny. And I approve of their drummer.”

“Because he's a good drummer?” asks Ryuu-chan. Sakura huffs out a breath impatiently.

“Er, no. 'Cos he's like me.” He smirks. “I've seen their video clips.” Ken rolls his eyes and manages to look nostalgic at the same time, and it occurs to me that Sakura is probably no stranger to groping tiny singers, if L'arc's early years of fanservice are anything to go by.

“Horny bastard,” scolds the guitarist, cheerfully.

“Get it while you're young.” Sakura begins tapping his legs in a complicated rhythm – the invariable drummer's fidget – and looks admiring. Ken lights up another cigarette.

“Oh, he does,” I mutter, and Sakura grins. Sakura grinned at me! I retreat behind Ryuu-chan before I go all giggly and ridiculous; but what a coup for my movie (not that anyone's going to see it): two rock gods talking about my little band(s)! Keisuke is gonna be fucking green.

But they have, once again, managed to turn the subject back to Ruka, whose reputation has obviously spread wider than even I had dreamed. That man is a phenomenon all by himself. And, like almost every other person I talk to, I seem to be morbidly fascinated by it.

I have a bad feeling about this...

 




November 22 nd , 2009

 

 

It's barely a week since Ni~ya took up so much of my poor innocent camera's memory with another of his erotic visual novels. And yet here I am, talking to him again. How did this happen? I blame my recent encounter with my musical idols: it's made me feel brave enough, confident enough, to enter the Dweeb Den while Ni~ya and his main tech, Masa, are trying out some new Killer basses.

“Yo, Ryo-kun,” says Ni~ya. He holds up a jewel blue Fervency model. “Whaddya think?”

“It's hot,” I tell him. Ni~ya nods, glancing down at himself and back at the bass.

“I'll keep it then.” He jerks his head at the stool next to him. “Sit down.” I obey, with some trepidation. “Got the camera?” he demands.

“I'll go get some tea!” squeaks Masa, the coward, beating a hasty retreat; my colleagues have long since learned what to expect when band members and my video camera collide. I plonk it on the table.

“This isn't going to be another of your stories, is it?” I ask. Best to get that out of the way before he even gets started.

“Nope,” says Ni~ya, raising a shapely eyebrow. “Just wanted to add a footnote to last week's film.”

“Is it important?” I switch the camera on and aim it in his general direction.

“I think I might as well say it. For posterity. In case anyone was wondering.”

“Right...”

“I'm speaking for Chen-chen here too, you understand.”

“Go on then!” Ni~ya gives the camera a level stare.

“Okay. Now look. I'm basically straight, you know. We are. I expect I'll get married one day,” he says easily. “That's all.” He shrugs. “Well, I don't suppose it'll be for a while, but...”

I can feel my eyebrows travelling up my forehead. Is another sexuality crisis about to raise its head? Is he in denial? Is Chen-chen? At least the others seem to know what they want.

“How does that fit in with Ruka?” I ask. Ni~ya shakes his head, grinning fondly.

“I love Ruka,” he assures me. “'Course I do. And what he can do with his tongue should be illegal. But I adore women, I love everything about 'em. I'm not like Yomi, I'm not gonna let Ruka sulk his way to making me go exclusive with him.” He snorts. “Besides, I reckon if he and I actually tried to live together we would literally kill each other in a fortnight.” He casts about for a suitable analogy. “If me and Ruka were male and female, right, we'd be the kind of couple who get married while they're shag-drunk, then fight and go at it like rabbits for eighteen months, have an acrimonious divorce, still end up meeting every few weeks by 'accident' and fucking each other's brains out even though they know how totally screwed up it is, and eventually spiral into a sea of alcoholic depression and anger management issues.” I blink. “And that's why we can't ever go monogamous,” he concludes.

I think back to some of the truly tempestuous arguments the two of them have had in studios, buses, hotels, bars, and I can't help but agree with him: why imagine it would be any different if they shared a home?

“It's a moot point, anyway,” Ni~ya informs me calmly, taking a drag on his cigarette as if his little tirade had never happened. “Ruka loves Yomi. I mean, he loves me too. But he's in love with him.”

“And you know this how?”

“Oh,” says Ni~ya, “it's obvious. If you know what Ruka's like.” He gives a low whistle, and smirks – he has a mouth pretty much designed for it, and he knows it looks good. “You should ask him about the time he found out Yomi was still sleeping with women. I don't often say this, but – poor little guy!” He must notice my look of horror, because he waves his hand dismissively. “Nah, don't worry, he loved it. Just ask Ruka.”

“Do I want to?”

“Probably not,” admits Ni~ya. “But you should. In the interests of research.”

Goddammit.

 




November 23 rd , 2009

 

 

I know as soon as I get hold of Ruka that this is going to be a non-starter.

“Yeah,” says Ruka laconically, leaning back in his chair with one of Ni~ya's basses resting nostalgically in his lap. He gives me the patented glower. “I told him. I showed him: I don't like seeing him with anyone else.”

“Showed?”

“I don't want to talk about it,” he says stubbornly. “So long as everyone knows that Yomi doesn't go with anyone but me.”

“And who else are you going with?” I ask, genuinely interested; he seems to be able to juggle Yomi and Ni~ya pretty easily, after all, I wouldn't be surprised if he could manage a few more. Ruka closes his mouth and stares at me incredulously.

“Who else?” he exclaims, clearly aghast at the very idea. “Don't you think I've got enough on my plate keeping those two satisfied?!”

“Sorry.”

“Oh, man, you got no idea how exhausting they are.” He huffs sulkily. “I'm good, but I'm not the fucking Duracell bunny!”

And flatly refuses to talk about himself any more. Well, I might have expected it. But my professional pride (hah) won't let me give up that easily.

 




November 27 th , 2009

 

 

Luckily for me there is someone else who can speak with authority about Ruka and his goings-on, is much easier to find in a good mood, and is quite thrilled to be asked.

I'm talking about Ruka's biggest fan: Gigaflare.

It takes a few days of covert watching before Giga emerges (Ruka is clearly the dominant personality, and since Sendai have been on hiatus it's been harder to catch their drummer), but when he does I'm ready with my camera.

“Ruka's so awesome, isn't he,” Giga sighs enviously, clasping his hands together in an enthusiastic, teenage way that's amusingly at odds with his deep voice. He lolls back on the sofa (yes, the sofa, though I doubt Giga has had half as much fun on it as his alter ego), shaking his head in wonder. “When he says do something...his singer does it. Can you imagine...!” A panicked, if fond, look flits across his face at the thought of Chiba before he returns to his gushing. “He's just so manly and cool.”

I stifle a snigger, imagining how this would appear to anyone who didn't know the ins and outs of the Naito/Sendai arrangement; it would just look like Ruka sitting here praising himself to the skies like a starry-eyed fangirl. The image tickles me, but I try to stay on point and get to the story; Giga must know about it; I just have to get him to tell me.

“Oh, that,” says Giga, once he's finished wittering and I can get a word in edgeways. “God, that was amazing...” Uh-oh, he's off again.

“Well how did it happen?” I break in. “What happened? I need details, please!” What am I saying? Giga gives the camera a solemn look.

“It was all Yomi's fault.” He rests his chin on his hands. “And I must say, Ruka handled it perfectly.”

“I'm thinking more along the lines of when, what, where, how, Giga.”

“Oh. Right. Yeah.” The drummer, who is evidently never given this much opportunity to talk without an interruption from one bandmate or other, makes a visible effort to pull himself together. “Sorry. Just better at writing stuff than telling stories.”

“It's okay,” I tell him soothingly, “take your time, there's no-one around. So. Ruka. Yomi. Monogamy.”

“...All right,” says Giga, tucking his long limbs up to sit cross-legged on the sofa. “It happened like this...”

He gives me a moment to steel myself, and begins.

 

 

“It was a perfectly ordinary day,” Giga says thoughtfully. “Insofar as recording is ever ordinary. I don't think you were there that day, Ryo-kun, it was mainly vocals.” He blinks. “Oh, sorry. I should say that this was July 2008, and Naito were in the middle of recording 'Majestical Parade'. It was also unbelievably bloody hot, and the five band members were spending their days trying to get from their apartments to the studio without having to endure more than twenty seconds of the furnace outside. Once in the air-conditioned rooms they would lounge around languidly and watch whichever poor bugger was in the sound-proof (and air-conditioning-less) recording booth at the time, lying prostrate on the sofas and storing up their energy for when they would have to suffer the sweat-box.

At the moment it was Hitsugi, who was doing some backing vocals while Yomi took a break. He was barefoot, in shorts and tshirt, with a towel tied across his forehead to keep his long hair out of his eyes, and looked thoroughly exhausted. Sakito, cool as a cucumber with a paper fan and the flimsiest white cotton clothing imaginable and the air-con blowing across his neck (thoughtfully directed right at him by a smitten studio tech), stood leaning against the booth window making encouraging little signs at his partner.

I don't know where Ni~ya was that day – it must have been something important because the vocals, more than anything else, need a lot of consideration, and all of them liked to be around if they could, to give Yomi some moral support if nothing else. Not that he seemed to need it much: he had just done some excellent takes for 'Lost In Blue', and was now texting busily from the small area of sofa not taken up by Ruka. The drummer, who enjoys crowding people but likes a lot of space for himself (and why not, he's band leader after all, and all that responsibility has got to have its perks!), had one leg slung heavily over Yomi's lap, and was lying with his head back, observing Hitsu upside-down over the sofa arm.

Yomi made a little noise of annoyance, and Ruka lifted his head the bare minimum required to see his singer frowning at his phone, his tongue stuck out in concentration. He leaned up on his elbow and propped his head in his hand, poking Yomi in the stomach with one foot and granting him a fond, patronising smile.

“What's up?”

“Kanji,” said Yomi absently, scrolling bemusedly down his keitai screen. Really, that weird little face could look just plain adorable, thought Ruka, feeling proprietary; he debated moving closer to give Yomi the old stretch-and-grope move, but decided it was too much effort.

“What kanji?” he demanded, holding out his hand. “Give it here, I'll show you the right one.”

“No, it's fine!” Yomi told him, clutching his phone to his chest indignantly. “I can do it on my own!” He blew a lock of chestnut-coloured hair out of his face and resumed typing. Ruka eyed him gleefully: the inability to read unusual characters was just another of his vocalist's charming points – not that he would ever say so – and made Ruka feel even more intelligent than he obviously already was (just as Yomi's height could make him feel even taller; was there nothing about him that didn't serve to put Ruka in a good mood whenever he thought about it?).

“Who're you messaging?” asked Ruka lazily.

“No-one!” Hmm. A certain tendency toward secretiveness, maybe; but Ruka was dealing with that habit by the simple expedient of either taking Yomi's phone to get a look at his schedule or sitting on him until he spilled whatever information Ruka thought he was hiding. Right now, though, he just could not be arsed. He looked around for something else to entertain him; but Hitsu was competent and reliable when it came to vocals, and rarely needed his input.

“Sakitooo,” crooned Ruka in the direction of his guitarist, in the soft, deep voice that was usually pretty effective at getting people to do him favours. “Will you go get me a CC Lemon?”

“Ha ha,” intoned Saki from where he was elegantly draped against the window, still watching their youngest member attentively. “Get it yourself; I'm not your maid.”

Ruka spent several seconds indulging himself with the image this conjured up (he had never been dumb enough to put the moves on the beautiful guitarist – he knew what reaction he'd get, and besides, he had his hands full with his two-person harem already – but that didn't mean he couldn't look), then pulled Sulk Face no.3 ('do what I want and I won't make your life a misery for the rest of the day').

“But you're up.”

Go,” said Saki, throwing his fan in Ruka's general direction and hitting Yomi in the ear. Ruka realised this wasn't going to get him anywhere: he was still bored, Yomi, after one surprised squeak, was still texting and basically ignoring him; he might as well get up.

Having trekked the two whole floors to the vending machine and back, Ruka was feeling grouchy, and returning to the studio and seeing that Saki had claimed his place on the couch did not help. He leaned against the doorframe and silently watched the backs of his bandmates' heads, trying to decide whether it was worth getting in a mood over, since Hitsu was listening back to his latest take through his headphones and there was clearly nothing else to do.

“Let's have a look!” he heard Sakito say, unfolding one graceful hand; Yomi immediately passed his phone across. Hmph. Ruka scowled, wondering what it was about Saki that made everyone do exactly what he wanted. The slender man scrolled through Yomi's messages. “Oho!”

“Right?” exclaimed Yomi, sounding giggly. Saki nudged him.

“You're a little pervert. And you got that kanji wrong.” Yomi shrugged resignedly, and Ruka pursed his lips: Yomi was up to something.

“Look, though,” the vocalist pointed out happily. “She liked it!” Saki's dexterous thumbs flew across the keypad; then he laughed softly.

“Guess she did! So, when are you seeing her?”

“Tonight,” said Yomi. “Eight-thirty, Bistro Ku, then back to my place!” He made a suggestive noise.

“How imaginative.”

“Whatever works,” the shorter man told him, tossing his little head. “At least I have a date.”

“I don't need a date.” Saki glanced up, beaming, as Hitsu emerged from his booth looking faint and flapping desperately at his hot face with both hands. He beckoned his panting friend over and began to ply the fan in his direction, and the conversation drifted onto the subject of vocals.

Ruka had stopped listening anyway, and was leaning against the wall outside, quietly processing what he'd heard. No wonder Yomi hadn't wanted to show him his text messages. Not if he was dating. The drummer was mildly impressed that his singer had managed to keep it from him this long, but that was just a kind of background chorus to the central emotion: he was very angry. It's probably no surprise to you that Ruka has a jealous streak a mile wide, but it had never kicked in with the force it did at that moment. How dare he?!

He folded his arms, a dark, lowering look settling over his features. He wondered, briefly, why he was feeling like this all of a sudden: he'd been able to put up with Ni~ya's girlfriends perfectly well, and how was this any different? He did his best to ignore the rising wave of anger and think.

It was true that Ruka had always felt protective of his tiny singer, and fiercely possessive (albeit in secret), even back when he'd had no legitimate right to be. Perhaps it was because they had known each other since Ruka was a legend on the Sendai indies scene and Yomi was just a country bumpkin: Ruka had met him, had recognised him immediately as someone he'd be able to bully forever more, and had been instantly fascinated; and, on some deep-down level, had considered Yomi his personal property ever since. And now that the two of them were actually fucking...well, the idea of his friend getting some with anyone else would just not stand.

Ruka gave a long, deliberate sigh through his nose; his vocalist was obviously not yet clear on how their relationship worked. He was going to have to do something about this. And before Yomi had the chance to lay a hand (or worse) on another woman.”

 

 

( “So this wasn't some revenge thing?” I probe. “You know, for you and Chiba.” For an instant a sly, satisfied grin passes over Giga's lips; then he blushes as he remembers exactly what incident I'm referring to.

“No,” he says, shaking his head, “but he would stand up for me if I wanted it.” He goes all gooey again, presumably over the concept of a knight-in-shining-armour Ruka, and I'm not sure whether to laugh or suggest he seek psychiatric help. “No, this was all about Yomi. And rules. And just plain having fun.”

“Oh yeah, Ruka's got a charming sense of fun.”

“Right?” says Giga eagerly, completely oblivious to the truckload of sarcasm with which I'd planned to deliver my comment. Enthused, he begins to elaborate. )

 

 

“It was eight in the evening before they finally called it a day. By that time Ruka's personal green eyed monster had had plenty of time to wake up and begin plotting; and Yomi wasn't helping himself by covertly checking his phone every few minutes, oblivious to his drummer's brooding stare.

They all parted round the back of the studios: Saki and Hitsu catching a lift with Tamura-san into Shinjuku, where they could have a quiet drink and gaze moonily at each other over their yakitori; Yomi, as we know, was off to the station in order to make his date on time; he left the others at a trot, tipping Sakito a cheerful wink as the two guitarists followed their manager. As soon as they had all dispersed Ruka slipped quickly round to the car-park, paid the absolutely shocking fee, and slid behind the wheel. He had maybe three minutes, he thought.

He caught sight of Yomi again just before the main road, the vocalist's short legs motoring along like a sturdy little pony's. Ruka grinned sourly and slowed to a crawl, heading for the pavement. Yomi started and looked round as he sensed someone tailing him. Happily, Ruka's car was huge, dark, with blacked-out windows and enough menace to be appropriately unnerving and redolent of yakuza kidnappings, etc; and he enjoyed the expression that flashed over the singer's face before he twigged just who it belonged to.

Yomi came to a stop as soon as he figured it out and stood there, narrow chest heaving slightly as Ruka pulled up beside him. The drummer rolled down the window opposite him.

“Are you...gonna give me a lift?” puffed Yomi, sweating in the heat, leaning against the car door and getting smudges all over the paintwork. Ruka, who liked everything to be clean and neat to an almost fanatical extent, glared at him: just one more thing his misbehaving lover would need punishing for.

“Not exactly.”

“Then what d'you want?” demanded Yomi, jiggling up and down impatiently beside the vehicle. “Kind of in a hurry here, Ruka.”

“Get in the car,” ordered Ruka bluntly, leaning across to the passenger side and looking all dangerous and sexy. He was not in the mood to do his explaining out here; no, it demanded somewhere much more private.

“No!”

Yes.”

“But I-” Yomi began in protest, glancing at his watch. But Ruka was an expert at choosing just the right voice and the right expression to keep his singer in line. He didn't even have to undo his seat-belt: he just stared at the little vocalist, the nails of his left hand grazing across the circle of the steering wheel in an absent way that nevertheless seemed to make Yomi rather nervous.

“I said get in,” Ruka repeated levelly, “or I will put you in.” Yomi rolled his eyes (he's never actually been scared of Ruka, he just knows when to toe the line), threw his bag through the window and tugged the door open, dropping resignedly into the spacious seat beside his drummer.

“This had better be good.” Yomi crossed his arms petulantly. And then, irritated, “I had a date.”

“That's right, just keep on talking,” Ruka told him, injecting a warning note into his low voice for Yomi to pick up on (or not) and trying to decide whether he was feeling more annoyed or anticipatory. He wasn't certain how this was going to go, but his singer needed a lesson and he was sure he was going to enjoy giving it. In a way it was a shame he hadn't put up more of an argument: the back-street was empty and quiet, and the idea of Yomi duct-taped in the boot of his car held a certain appeal.

Even at this time of night it took thirty minutes to get them home – damn Tokyo, why did he even drive here? – and to his amazement Yomi managed to keep up a disgruntled silence the entire way, not even bothering to ask where they were going or why, just staring out of the window with his tiny arms folded (after sending another text, and Ruka didn't need to ask who that was to). Occasionally he would shoot Ruka a speculative look; but the older man didn't much feel like being appraised, and maintained Sulk Face no.2 ('I'm not going to speak one word while the camera's on me today'), thwarting any attempts by Yomi to figure out what the hell was going on.

Ruka parked up beneath his building and slammed the door, herding Yomi ahead of him into the elevator. Being stuck in a confined space with him was getting Ruka rather excited, what with all the thoughts of what he could do to him if the lift happened to break down and trap them in there. But no...no, good things come to those who wait.

“Thought I was banned from your flat,” remarked Yomi, raising his eyebrows as they finally arrived at the drummer's apartment. Ruka reached past him and unlocked the door, tugging it open and pushing his singer inside.

“You're on probation.”

“Thanks so much,” said Yomi, sarcastically, stalking (as far as anyone with such little legs could stalk) through the kitchen into Ruka's spotless living room and giving the place a curious once-over for any changes made since the last time he was allowed in. He had just opened his mouth again, perhaps to make some comment on the new rug, when the drummer's arms went around his waist from behind, a foot tripping him up by the ankles and sending him tumbling to the floor, where he could examine the pattern in great detail.

Oww! What the-” exclaimed Yomi, sounding genuinely shocked (and a little muffled) as Ruka thumped down to the carpet next to him, pinning him down with a knee in the small of his back before he could try and turn over. Yomi made an attempt to speak, but Ruka set one hand to the back of his head roughly and shoved his face down into the soft nap of the rug. Without wasting a second, Ruka unsnapped his own belt and yanked it awkwardly through the loops of his jeans, enjoying the sensation of his prostrate singer beginning to struggle crossly beneath him. He grabbed Yomi's arms and tugged them up behind his back, using the belt to lash them securely together. So far, so good: Ruka had always wanted to do this to one of his partners, and Ni~ya was far too strong and wary to let him get even this far; but Yomi, ahh, he'd been so easy to get the jump on, and he looked perfect. The drummer moved his leg, shifting to straddle Yomi's hips heavily, hand running in a satisfied caress up to the vulnerable nape of his neck.

“...Well,” said Yomi in a stunned kind of voice as Ruka's fingers moved across his skin, “this is all very nice. But if I may ask...” He writhed around so he could peer up at Ruka with one eye, incidentally causing some very pleasant friction to certain parts of his captor's anatomy in the process. “...What the bloody hell is it is aid of?”

“Wouldn't you like to know?”

“...Yeah, I would, actually!” Yomi winced as Ruka's fingers found one of his earrings and pulled sharply, still struggling in vain to free his arms.

“One word,” growled Ruka. “Infidelity.”

“Excuse me?” The smaller man had obviously decided he was feeling more amazed than freaked out: he ceased fidgeting and stared at his assaulter in mixed disbelief and amusement.

“You. Dating.” Ruka didn't feel like explaining any further, but he supposed he should, since Yomi wasn't exactly quick on the uptake at the best of times. He aimed a light cuff at the side of his singer's head to relieve his annoyance, mouth curling upwards at the glare he got in return: there were huge objections Yomi could be making to this treatment (Ruka was perfectly aware that this wasn't the orthodox or approved way to have an argument), but he wasn't saying anything; that had to be a good sign.

“I don't want you to,” he added, hand tight and possessive once again on the back of Yomi's neck. “You're with me. Not anyone else. Get it?” Yomi's mouth dropped open incredulously.

You're saying this to me?” he demanded. “With your track record?!”

“That's different,” retorted Ruka, logically. “That's Ni~ya-chan.”

“I know it's different.” Yomi wriggled again, to no avail. “But it's still not fair! And I suppose Ni~ya gets to do whatever the hell he likes?!”

“'Course,” said Ruka, looking surprised at the idea of their bassist doing anything else. “He's Ni~ya-chan.”

“Hah!...ahh...” Yomi's sarcastic huff was abruptly cut off as Ruka's knee dug viciously into the back of his hip.

“That's enough out of you,” the drummer decided, arousal pricking him at the sound of his friend's moan. “You're going to lie there and I'm gonna do whatever's necessary until you take this in.” He leaned down, letting his lips brush Yomi's ear and lowering his voice to a rumble. “And then I'm going to fuck you.” He felt a shudder ripple through the man below him.

“What if I don't want to?” protested Yomi.

Do you want to?”

“...Yes!”

“Well then,” Ruka murmured. And, “you need a lesson.” He pushed a hand into Yomi's thick hair, tugging lightly. Yomi pitched up against him defiantly.

“Bring it on.”

“It's going to hurt,” said Ruka happily, getting chills of anticipation at the prospect of finally playing with his singer to his heart's content. Yomi snorted scornfully, then gave one of his dirty little giggles.

“I can take it!”

“Oh, good.” Ruka clenched his hand, dragging Yomi's head back to enjoy the arch of his neck and his indignant, pained exclamation. When he got a look at his face, however, the younger man was grinning, and Ruka couldn't help cracking a momentary smile himself: it was always a surprise to him, when he was busy focusing on Yomi's miniature, basically helpless body, just how sexually aggressive the mind inside it could be. That was a good thing, of course, up to a point; but tonight Ruka intended to bend all his efforts to letting Yomi know who was boss, and he was going to enjoy the hell out of it.

He raised himself up just enough to turn Yomi over roughly onto his back; the singer winced as his own weight came to rest over his bound arms, and made a determined if friendly attempt to bite the caressing thumb that Ruka was running over his lower lip. Ruka snatched his hand back fast and the next second it connected with Yomi's cheek, not hard enough to bruise but enough to raise red finger marks on the singer's shocked face.

Ow!” exclaimed Yomi. “No rules?!”

“Don't need any.” Ruka raised an eyebrow at Yomi's dubious expression. “Don't you trust me?” The younger man gave him a long, considering look, left cheek burning.

“...You know I do.”

Ruka bent to kiss him, relieved, and Yomi answered it, his lips hot and passionate against the drummer's. But this wasn't helping him get his point across, thought Ruka; so he broke the kiss abruptly and set both hands to Yomi's shirt, ripping it open and sending buttons flying off in every direction. He'd always wanted to do that, too. He ran his hands gratuitously down his torso, revelling in the nervous shivers his fingers were raising on Yomi's skin.

So cute,” crowed Ruka, prodding fondly at his prone singer's little stomach.

Mm...zip it!” Yomi growled, exhaling softly as Ruka shuffled down to kiss him below the navel. “...You want flat as a pancake and perfect, go screw Sakito!”

“No.” Ruka kissed him again, then dug his long nails deliberately into the soft flesh, making Yomi jerk beneath him and eliciting a sharp whine of discomfort. “I like you just like this.” So saying, he dragged his hands downwards, leaving bright trails against the pale skin of Yomi's hips as he grasped the waistband of his jeans and drew them off.

“Do I absolutely need to be naked for this lesson?” demanded the singer, Ruka having deftly removed his underwear along with everything else.

“If I had my way you'd be naked for everything.” Ruka pushed himself between Yomi's legs, ignoring his friend's breathless laugh and sliding both hands beneath his thighs to give his ass a familiar pinch. Yomi was getting hard already, he noticed, and smirked darkly; he wondered how long that would last. If anything, though, his expression seemed to excite the smaller man: Yomi curled his legs around him and pushed as close as he could get without the use of his arms. Ruka decided he was having way too much fun right now, and, gratifying as it was to see what an effect he had on his singer, decided it was probably time to step things up.

“Come on,” he snapped, grabbing Yomi by the hair (he was finding he had a distinct fetish for this, despite the very weird face it turned out Yomi made when he was being hurt) and pulling him up, snaking his free arm around his little waist and manoeuvring him until he was tucked securely against his body. Ruka kept a tight hold on his wriggling friend with one hand, reached out with the other and, in one impatient movement, swept everything off the surface of the nearby kotatsu (the neat-freak part of him railed against this, but he was horny enough not to listen), clearing the low table and dumping Yomi face-down across it.

Yomi gasped as his chest hit the wood, and turned his head to glare up at Ruka, his breath coming fast and nervous. But the drummer was rooting around in the debris that was now scattered across the floor and paying him no attention other than to shove him down with one hand when he attempted to get up.

“Can't you at least untie me?” he complained. “I'm not gonna go anywhere, Ruka, honestly!”

Ruka just sniffed at that and made a grab for something, and came up brandishing a rolled-up copy of Autosport. He saw Yomi eyeing it with a strange expression, which turned out to be an attempt not to get the giggles.

“Seriously?” Yomi said, raising his eyebrows, such as they were. “I'm not a dog, Ruka, I haven't been chewing the furniture!”

“Well, you need punishing all the same.”

That's not gonna hurt much,” commented the singer, sounding both amused and a tiny bit relieved.

“Yes it will.”

“Really now.” Yomi grinned; he wasn't taking this seriously at all, thought Ruka, disgruntled, so raised the magazine and aimed it at his friend's ass with more force than he might have otherwise. “Aahhh...!” Yomi bit back the sound, gritting his teeth and screwing his eyes shut at the impact; it had clearly stung a lot more than he had imagined. Ruka smiled delightedly.

“See?”

Oww!” moaned Yomi, self-indulgently. “You git!!”

“Well I did say.” Ruka gave him another experimental smack, heard him groan between his teeth; that was hot, and so was the way he was pressing himself into the kotatsu in a futile attempt to get away. He trailed a hand over Yomi's behind, which was warm beneath his fingers and looking like it needed a lot more attention. “Once you're sorry, I'll stop. Are you sorry?”

No,” Yomi panted obstinately. “If...if you can fuck two people, I don't see why I shouldn't!”

“Fine.” Ruka pushed his head down and resumed plying the magazine. He could feel himself getting more and more excited, and was in danger of losing sight of what this was about in the first place: Yomi, who at first had been crying out indignantly, was now whimpering rhythmically into the table-top with every strike, his little body flushed and trembling, and that was pushing all Ruka's buttons, all right.

Hurts,” Yomi managed, by now sounding fairly contrite. Ruka observed the arch of his back with pleasure.

“You sorry yet?”

“N-no...!” The vocalist's face was flushed, as much as Ruka could see of it, anyway; and he was stubborn. It was quite impressive, really. The drummer, so aroused now that it was difficult to think straight, grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him over onto his back.

“Guess you're not,” he said wryly, observing Yomi's enthusiastic hard-on, his quick catches of breath. He should have known it wouldn't be that easy. “Maybe you need some time to think about it...”

Leaving Yomi lying there, he heaved himself to his feet and dragged his tshirt over his head, the cool air-con a pleasant breeze against his excited skin. He made short work of the rest of his clothes, and became aware of Yomi's lascivious stare; he knew the younger man liked looking at him, and apparently even a thoroughly bruised bottom couldn't dampen his ogling.

“Well, don't just lie there looking useless,” Ruka growled, making his singer jump. He slid one hand behind Yomi's head and tugged him forward onto his knees. “Get busy while you're thinking!”

Yomi tipped his head back to look up at him, wide-eyed and innocent. Ruka knew it was a total charade, but this was still his number one favourite position to find himself in, pretty much ever; and now Yomi's arms were tied and he was looking all tiny and helpless...well, it was just perfection.

“...Is this what you're after?” murmured Yomi, leaning up and forward to press his lips against Ruka's stomach. Ruka grasped his hair.

“Close.” He pushed Yomi's head firmly in the desired direction, sighing happily when the vocalist complied, as always, without argument. Remembering the horrific difficulties he had to go through every time he wanted Ni~ya to give him head, it seemed to Ruka that his singer was practically a saint in this department. Yomi's pretty lips parted easily, and then Ruka was shivering all over despite the heat with both the physical and mental pleasure of the act.

“Mmf...” Yomi was, in this as in everything else, extremely vocal, but in these circumstances the drummer was delighted to hear his voice, especially when it sounded like he was enjoying himself. Being so small it had taken him quite a while to reach a decent standard of proficiency, but Ruka had enjoyed every minute of the process; and now that he had picked up exactly the right angle and the right technique, Yomi might have been custom made for him.

“...You're doing fine...” Ruka assured the younger man, fingers still threaded in his hair to control the pace. Yomi gave another moan of effort: without the use of his hands he was having to work harder, but the sight from above more than made up for it, in Ruka's opinion, as did the movements of his musical tongue.

Yomi broke off to breathe, letting his lips glide over the head of the taller man's cock.

“You ready to forgive me yet...?” he asked in a soft, hoarse voice, giving Ruka one of his weird, sweet smiles.

“Not quite yet,” gasped Ruka, sounding annoyingly undignified but wanting back into the warmth of Yomi's mouth without delay. Another second and heat surrounded him again, making him groan and close his eyes as Yomi allowed his head to be drawn forward until his lips brushed the base of the drummer's erection. He set one hand under Yomi's chin, feeling his throat work busily, to keep him still while he began to move himself, wanting it deeper, faster than his singer was capable of on his own.

Yomi's moans went up a key, eyes screwed shut in a fierce frown of concentration. Ruka was more than aware that this was not being a particularly thoughtful partner, especially when the guy on the receiving end had no way to defend himself; but he knew, and had learned from, the sounds Yomi made when he was genuinely distressed, and he wasn't hearing them right now. It seemed the smaller man was viewing everything Ruka did tonight as a personal challenge and would suffer anything rather than say he was sorry. Well, that was just peachy as far as Ruka was concerned.

“Faster,” he growled, feeling the swift, tight exhilaration that told him he was close to the edge. Yomi did his best to oblige, his mouth suddenly hotter, wetter – Ruka had no idea how he was doing it, but he wasn't about to complain – spreading his short legs to give himself a more secure stance as his friend's grip on his jaw tightened. Ruka felt his tongue drag a long line up the underside of his cock, and looked down to see Yomi gazing up at him encouragingly. And that was that: Ruka dug his nails into Yomi's scalp, holding him still, and let his orgasm rush through him, an incredible sense of relief after all the tensions of the day.

Yomi's dark eyes widened, looking extremely surprised and very disapproving: Ruka wouldn't let him pull his head back until he was done, something he never usually bothered with; he was usually so happy at being allowed to come (without the ages spent wheedling necessary when he was with Ni~ya) that he'd make no complaint if Yomi chose to do a sly spit, provided he didn't make a point of it. But tonight the drummer was not in the mood to do him any favours, and held onto him tight so that it was either swallow or suffocate.

Ruka eventually let him go, chest heaving, watching him cough and blink giddily and slump down into a sitting position.

Oh,” he said blissfully, dropping to his knees after his panting singer, “...you are...fucking marvellous.” He tilted Yomi's chin up (he'd have bruises where he'd been holding him so tightly, but Ruka couldn't bring himself to regret any part of what had just happened), kissing him hard and gratefully. It took Yomi a long time to gather the willpower to tear his lips away.

“Bastard,” he rasped, feelingly, eyes watering and mouth bruised a delicate shade of red. He scrunched his little face up in an exhausted scowl. “You are just the rudest bloody...” He trailed off, gulping in another breath.

“You're all right?” asked Ruka, hand running soothingly up the length of his spine. Yomi nodded weakly.

“I said I could take it...” he muttered, leaning into Ruka's hand as it rose to cup his cheek. “...I can.”

“Still?” Ruka looked unconvinced; he enjoyed hurting Yomi, sure, but only as long as he didn't actually hurt him... Well, you know what I mean. His singer gave him a nervous glance.

“There's more?”

“Oh, more,” replied Ruka, who was getting his second wind and was quite ready to go another round now that he knew his partner was all right. And without further ado he picked Yomi up, slung him across his shoulder and strode out of the living-room.

“Careful!” Yomi squawked indignantly as Ruka hefted him higher. “I'm not a bloody bag of rice!” Ruka gave him a quelling slap on the ass with his supporting hand, making him yelp and squirm about as it connected with the already red skin. That was no problem, though: yet another thing Ruka loved about his vocalist was how compact and easy he was to carry; it was very convenient, like Yomi was the sexual equivalent of Travel Scrabble.

“There,” Ruka grunted, and threw him down on the bed, which was wide and sturdy and perfectly apt for tormenting badly-behaved singers on (unlike the scene of their first tryst). Yomi gave another yelp, landing on his arms: Ruka, that day, had decided to dress somewhat like a rock star instead of an out-of-work yanki picking up his laundry on the way home from pachinko (his normal casual style if left to his own devices), and his belt was studded with little conical spikes that bit into Yomi's arms and the skin of his back through his shirt, despite the soft bed-covers.

Owww,” said Yomi, piteously, giving Ruka the puppy-dog eyes. The older man didn't notice this, however, being engaged in rummaging around in one of his drawers; he vaguely heard Yomi complaining, but that was only to be expected (god forbid Ruka should be attracted to an appropriately submissive partner; then again, the fight was half the fun). He finally found what he was looking for and slammed the drawer shut, making Yomi twitch at the sound and look round, gaze quickly dropping to what he had in his hands.

“Oh, you can fuck right off!!” Yomi yelled at the top of his voice, scrambling as best he could to the other side of the bed. Ruka cringed at the volume (this room was next to the connecting wall), dropped the very scary, very phallic, very bright pink object he was holding, and turned back to his wardrobe, snatching up the first cotton scarf to hand and twisting it into a thick rope. “Dream fucking on!!” continued Yomi, sliding awkwardly off the covers. Ruka caught him with one hand, dragged him back up, and sat on him, holding the scarf out determinedly.

“You're too noisy. Open up.” Yomi gave him a furious glare and clamped his lips together resolutely. Ruka sighed. “Or you could just say you're sorry and that you'll do whatever I tell you from now on, and we can forget this whole sordid evening.” He was banking on Yomi refusing this offer, and was not disappointed when his captive shook his head mutely, eyes flashing. Ruka gave him a radiant smile, and reached out to pinch the tip of his cute little nose between thumb and forefinger. Yomi wiggled about beneath him for a few seconds, then lay very still and stared up at him accusingly. Ruka waited patiently: Yomi, being a full-time singer and excellent part-time blow-jobber, had a fairly impressive lung capacity, but he would have to breathe sooner or later.

By the time Yomi gave up he was scarlet in the face and looked just adorable; but it had to happen, and eventually he opened his mouth to gulp in air, eyeing his waiting friend resentfully. Ruka pounced, pushing the fabric swiftly between Yomi's teeth and pulling the scarf into a tight knot at the back of his head. Yomi gave him a muffled snarl, and that was cute too, coming out of that tiny body. Ruka gave him an affectionate kiss over the gag.

But Yomi's attention had been drawn back to the highly incriminating sex aid lying next to him on the bedspread. He scowled.

“Mmfmhmfmfmfmmhmf?!”

Ruka translated this as 'why the hell do you have one of those?!', and beamed at him ominously. “It pays to be prepared,” he told the struggling vocalist. “I knew you'd slip up one of these days and I'd get to play with you properly.”

“Mmmmf-fmm!!”

From the look Yomi was giving him, Ruka didn't need to bother translating what that meant. He scooped up the lube from where it had fallen to the floor, and closed in.

“It won't hurt,” he reassured his friend, smoothing a skilful palm along the shaft of his cock (he was still hard, just about, so Ruka supposed the experience couldn't be too unpleasant). Yomi's eyes fluttered closed and he let out an ambiguous little sound as a finger slid inside him. Ruka watched him more carefully than usual, logging every expression as he opened him up: now his singer couldn't speak (oh blessed occasion), he knew it was essential to keep an eye on him. He slipped one arm around Yomi's waist, relieving his supporting limbs of some of their burden; Yomi sighed gratefully through his nose, and Ruka leaned in to give him a friendly nip beneath the ear. The smaller man's hard-on was looking much more perky now, and he was beginning to move his hips experimentally against Ruka's ministering hand.

When Ruka removed his fingers and began to ease the long silicon toy into him, Yomi didn't complain; he just froze and gave an unsure, questioning whine, his eyes very wide. Ruka supposed the feeling was probably strange, even unnatural, but he was sure Yomi was adventurous enough to at least try and get used to it now it was there. He pressed it deeper slowly, nudging his friend's legs further apart to make it easier and bending to kiss his neck.

“It's okay, right?” he whispered against his skin. Yomi shifted his hips nervously, a soft moan escaping him as the angle changed; he pressed himself against Ruka, and nodded quickly. Ruka kept going, loving every change of expression on Yomi's face as the sensations washed through him. Once he thought his friend had taken as much as he reasonably could, being so tiny, he stopped, running his hand comfortingly along Yomi's tense leg. He decided he should probably let him get used to it, and spent the intervening minutes conducting a gentle assault on Yomi's nipples with his tongue and his teeth; given how many years they'd had to get used to being fiddled with, Yomi was still surprisingly sensitive here, and Ruka could play him like an instrument, coaxing a whole series of melodic sounds out of him (though rather incoherent thanks to the gag).

Once Yomi was gasping blissfully through the fabric of the scarf and pushing himself greedily into Ruka's hands the drummer kissed him again and, while he was distracted, slid his fingers down and flicked the inconspicuous switch on the base of the toy. Yomi jumped like he'd just been given an electric shock, and Ruka was very glad he'd had the forethought to gag him as a heartily amazed cry tried to escape.

Mmmf!” exclaimed Yomi, looking panicked as the vibrator, for such it was, began to move slowly inside him. Ruka grinned at him and pushed the hair back off his damp forehead. It was well worth the purchase just to see the look on his face right now.

“You like?” Yomi gave Ruka an incredulous glance and shook his head frantically, arching up into his touch with a desperation that belied his protests: he was harder than ever, shuddering beneath Ruka's lips, the pulse racing in his neck as the drummer bit him again. Ruka looked smug, and deservedly so, as he closed his lips over Yomi's throat to leave a deliberate mark. He set one knee between his friend's trembling legs and leant over him so that all he could feel was Yomi's skin against his own, sliding his hand between their bodies to encourage his singer's erection along.

“A little more,” he whispered persuasively, his low voice almost lost beneath Yomi's increasingly urgent moans and the electric noise of the toy inside him. As it turned out, Yomi didn't need a lot of persuading, Ruka being an artist with his hands as well as his lips: another minute and he was coming, leaving both of them sticky and gasping for breath.

“Mmhnf?” said Yomi plaintively, chest heaving. Ruka, who was licking a long, ravishing stripe up to his belly button (apparently his cleaning compulsion didn't extend only to housework), paused and considered him narrowly. Then,

No,” he rumbled, pushing himself up on his elbows. “I'm still not done with you...”

Yomi shot him a horrified, disbelieving look, then ran out of energy and dropped his head back, his miniature toes curling against the bed-sheets as the intense sensations continued to attack his over-stimulated body. Confident that he wouldn't be able to go anywhere, Ruka left his unhappy vocalist to himself and wandered through to the kitchen, grabbing himself a drink of water and collecting anything else that looked entertaining along the way.

By the time he returned to the bedroom Yomi had got some energy back, and had embarked on what was probably a swearing marathon, though it was hard to tell through the gag. He made a spirited attempt to kick Ruka, but that just ended in a resigned whimper as the vibrator shifted inside him. Ruka kissed him consolingly, petted his cinnamon-tinted hair for a minute, then rummaged around in the covers until he found the plastic clothes-pegs he'd grabbed as he left the kitchen.

“This might hurt a bit,” he admitted in Yomi's ear, flicking one of his nipples into hardness (they always had been, and remained, Ruka's favourite part of the body; he never got tired of them). “But you've had worse.”

Ignoring Yomi's warning noise of protest he rolled the sensitive nub between his fingers and then clipped the peg securely over it. Yomi twisted violently beneath him for a second, then went completely still, working through the feeling and trying to decide whether it was more like pain or pleasure, and how he ought to be dealing with both it and the toy still vibrating away between his legs. While he was handily quiet, Ruka repeated the action so that both nipples were trapped between the plastic jaws of the pegs.

Nnnh!” managed Yomi, skin glistening with the effort of keeping himself together as Ruka gave one peg a curious flick and the other a quick twist. He slid both hands covetously down his singer's small waist, fingers brushing tantalisingly against his erection; by now Ruka was hard again too, spurred on by Yomi's pained little face and enthusiastic body.

Not wanting to stop now that he was on a roll, the drummer sat back on his heels and felt about on the bed for more of his makeshift punishment devices. He held two of them up for his friend to see.

“Which do you like?” he demanded, feeling generous. Yomi's eyes darted from the hairbrush to the white candle; he shook his head emphatically. “'Neither' is not an option,” Ruka informed him. Yomi just looked away, apparently too exhausted to make a decision or even attempt to argue about it. Ruka was pleased: if his vocalist was finally getting worn down, maybe he'd get his apology after all. “All right,” he said pleasantly, and tossed the hairbrush across the room, reaching over to the bedside table for his lighter.

Yomi's eyes were drawn like magnets to the flickering flame; Ruka could feel the heat of it, spiralling up into the air-conditioned room. He gave the smaller man a reassuring pat.

“Everything's gonna be okay,” he murmured, his voice low and gentle. Yomi didn't look convinced, and his worry was soon vindicated as two droplets of molten wax splashed onto the skin of his stomach, making him whimper and jerk up against Ruka's restraining hand. Ruka knew it hurt (he had done this to himself before, by accident, while plastered), and was careful to keep the candle lifted high as he moved it across Yomi's skin, so that the wax would have time to cool a little from burning point before it hit.

At first, Ruka wasn't sure whether his singer would be able to cope: Yomi was tossing his head against the rumpled pillows, his tied arms straining against the belt with each splash of hot liquid, and didn't look very happy at all. Then, as Ruka watched attentively, he began to quieten down, having used up his energy for the moment, and his cries subsided into soft moans.

By the time the candle had made its way down to the sensitive flesh of his calves and inner thighs Yomi was almost completely silent, the only sounds his harsh breaths and the vibrator and the ensuing rustle of his body against the bed. Ruka glanced up from his painstaking little torture, and noted with interest that the younger man had begun to cry, but that he didn't even seem to notice it himself: Yomi's dark eyes were half-closed, suffused with tentative pleasure, and looked like they were gazing right through him. Ruka, fascinated, left off what he was doing and snapped his fingers in front of Yomi's face. No reaction. He smoothed a hand down his singer's body, and was rewarded with a slow arch into his touch. Hmm.

“Hey.” Ruka gave Yomi's hard-on a firm squeeze and caught a swift inhalation of breath; but other than that, nothing. That was interesting; maybe he had finally found the key to getting Yomi to shut up for once in his life. Mind you, it was quite a lot of effort to go to just for some peace and quiet...

He took another long look at his spaced-out friend: apart from the tears, Yomi seemed quite happy in whatever space inside his head he had retreated to. Ruka wondered what it was like in there, and, more pertinently, how you went about waking him up. He blew the candle out and set it on the bedside table before returning to his inspection. A pinch of the ear brought no response, and neither did a sharp bite to the inner thigh, other than to make Yomi shift indulgently against him. Very strange.

Eventually, Ruka resorted to the tried-and-tested method of a glass of cold water in the face. That did the trick: Yomi spluttered for a moment, then his gaze sharpened and focused on Ruka. A few seconds later it turned amazed and desperate as the realisation of what was happening hit him again; he made a frantic little noise, glaring down at the gag. Ruka, wanting to make sure that he was really all right before he did anything else, slid a finger beneath the fabric and tugged it roughly out of his mouth.

“That was very interesting,” Ruka told him. “Where did you go?”

“...I don't like this,” Yomi blurted out, after he had heaved in a gigantic breath. Ruka raised his eyebrows and slid a hand down the curve of his jaw.

“Well you did just now. And I think you still do. Look.” He twisted the younger man's chin, forcing him to look across the room. Yomi stiffened: Ruka, after delving around for something to silence his singer with, had left the wardrobe door open, and the long mirror on its inner face was reflecting them both perfectly. Ruka saw Yomi take in the sight of himself, aroused and panting with the pegs quivering on his nipples and with tear tracks on his flushed cheeks. His bandmate stared at his reflection for a long moment; then, to Ruka's delight, gave a shuddering sigh, leaning back into his touch, and if anything harder than ever. Hah. Saki was right, Yomi was a little pervert; seeing himself like this was obviously just icing on the cake.

“All right,” said Yomi, with a catch in his voice, though Ruka couldn't tell if it was from humiliation or arousal. “All right. I'm sorry...”

“Wow.” Ruka was thrilled, but did his best to look nonchalant upon hearing the word; he hadn't been at all convinced, as things progressed, that Yomi would cave in, and the sound of it was sweet.

“...I won't see anyone else,” the vocalist continued, arching back into Ruka's eager hands, the scent and warmth of him making his drummer shiver. “I don't need anyone else... Just you.” Ruka thought that, reading between the lines, this probably meant that since he could get Yomi off better than anyone else (certainly better than any girl), the singer thought he might as well put up with the whole possessive, inconvenient package that came with him. Well, as long as he got what he wanted, Ruka could live with that.

That's a good boy,” he murmured triumphantly.

“So please,” continued Yomi, shifting tiredly beneath him, “please let me go now...” Ruka gave his damp cheek a chiding pinch, and ran a hand down his body to twist the vibrator inside him, making his friend clamp his lips together over a sharp whine.

“I haven't finished yet.” He curled his fingers around Yomi's hard-on pointedly. “And neither have you.” The singer gave him a hesitant look, and Ruka wondered just what it was that he was afraid to say.

“...The first time we did it,” managed Yomi eventually, tears still welling, although he still didn't seem aware of it, “you told me...you loved me!”

“I did?” Ruka asked, suddenly panicked; he had no memory of it at all, couldn't remember anything but how hard he had tried to hold himself back, and the pleasure of finally being inside his tiny friend after so many years; the rest of it was a complete blank.

Yes,” Yomi sniffed, taking the opportunity to gulp in more air while the gag was out of his mouth. Ruka dropped his head to kiss his damp shoulder.

“Well...I do.” He closed his eyes. “I love you.” That might explain the jealousy, he thought; it was so obvious now! His singer writhed beneath him in pain and frustration.

“...Then act like it!”

Ruka gave him an adoring, predatory smile, relieved at finally having a name to attach to the seething mess of emotion Yomi was capable of inspiring in him. He leaned forward, lips meeting Yomi's tauntingly and chest brushing the clips biting down on his nipples, making him whimper and twist helplessly.

“I am.”

Aahh... You really are a sadistic son of a bitch...!” exclaimed Yomi, leaning up tentatively for another kiss.

Yeah,” Ruka murmured, dizzy with happiness as the smaller man's tongue brushed his. “But you love me anyway. Don't you. Don't you.” Yomi closed his eyes, but gave him a grudging nod; Ruka pressed their foreheads together appealingly. “...Wanna see this through to the end?”

“...All right...nng!” Yomi's voice trailed off into a moan as Ruka twisted sharply at the left peg.

Good.” The drummer gave him one more affectionate kiss, then moved to replace the gag against his friend's inevitable noisiness. Yomi clamped his lips together stubbornly, but Ruka just smiled down at him, slapped him lightly across the face, then slipped the cloth back into his mouth as he opened it to exclaim indignantly.

Yomi sighed in heartfelt relief as Ruka finally switched off the vibrator and eased it out of him, brushing hardened wax from his thighs at the same time; the soft skin where it had landed was pink and burning hot, but Ruka thought it was nothing that wouldn't be better in a couple of days.

When Ruka entered him, unable to wait any longer, Yomi groaned blissfully; having been well prepared by the dubious pleasures of the toy, it didn't hurt him, and Ruka could tell he was so close to coming that anything he did right now would most likely be received with grateful approval. He wrapped an arm around Yomi's back, supporting his weight, and began to move, biting his own lip at how good it felt; well, the smaller man always felt good, but tonight, with the promise of exclusivity he'd just dragged out of him, the feeling was phenomenal.

“Love you,” he whispered harshly, rapturously, as Yomi's short legs twined around him. With his free hand he tugged the two pegs off his singer's nipples, and was surprised and enchanted at the way Yomi cried out and tightened up around him as the blood rushed back to the abused flesh.

Yomi pressed a hot cheek against his temple, and Ruka sped up. He had never really bothered holding himself back with Yomi, not since that first time (he hadn't exactly succeeded then, either), but tonight it felt different, with his bound friend completely at his mercy. Ruka knew himself perfectly well, and was aware of his cruel streak; now, though, as he gazed adoringly at Yomi's intoxicated little face, he was thankful for it, if it could both get him what he wanted and cause his singer this much pleasure.

He noticed that Yomi had turned his head away and, without stopping, followed his line of vision: Yomi was watching the mirror again, observing them both hazily. Ruka grinned briefly; if he'd known this was one of his kinks, he'd have put it into play before now.

You look like a little whore,” he whispered experimentally into Yomi's ear, and felt his shiver and the way he began to move more energetically against him. Hah, dirty talk too; he should have guessed. He changed up to top gear; he knew neither of them would last much longer.

Yomi didn't even need touching this time: the combination of Ruka's cock and their reflections and the afterglow of pain was enough, and he yelled into the gag and came between them, turning his head at the last second to meet Ruka's eyes fiercely. Ruka, always determined to have the last word, held out a little longer, but the sight of Yomi beneath him like this was too much; he let himself go in a moment of pure dark ecstasy, and didn't even care for once that his friend was looking right at him and could see what a stupid face he made when he came.

“...You are fucking amazing,” Ruka gasped, snaking both arms round his singer and burying his head in his chest. Yomi was gasping beneath him, breath rasping in his throat.

Ruka wasn't sure how long they lay there; he thought his brain might have checked out for a while, because when he noticed his surroundings again the singer was nudging him sharply with a knee and making pointed, uncomfortable little noises. Ruka leaned up on his elbows and reached behind Yomi's head, picking at the knot of his gag, which had tightened itself up during all the struggling. He finally got it undone and pulled the fabric away.

“Motherfucker!!” yelled Yomi at once, his voice hoarse from his muffled protests and his eyes red with weeping. “Undo my arms! Undo them right fucking now, it hurts, you bastard sonofabitch, it hurts!!”

Ruka clapped a hand over his mouth, silencing him again; it was unbelievable, the volume his vocalist could maintain, even after all this. He rolled Yomi over hurriedly and unbuckled the twisted belt, freeing his arms. Yomi whimpered as they fell to his sides, and Ruka considerately began to rub them, getting the circulation flowing. Yomi quietened down marginally, and Ruka moved to his back, lifting the remnants of his shirt to massage the smooth skin, which had been deeply marked by the pressure of the spikes on his belt.

“That feel better?” he asked, leaning down to kiss the back of his neck. Yomi mumbled into the pillow tiredly.

Oww...Fucking...inconsiderate...jerkoff son of a whore...!”

“I love you,” said Ruka solemnly, his hands moving in soothing circles over Yomi's spine.

“Yeah, yeah...and I love you, you sadistic wanker...”

“And from now on you're all mine, right? Nobody else's.” Ruka didn't care how much Yomi swore at him; it was water off a duck's back, now that he had what he wanted.

“Like you'll leave me the energy to do anyone except you...” Yomi rolled onto his side, and allowed himself to be kissed. “Anything else, Your Majesty?”

“Yeah,” murmured Ruka, worn out and so happy he thought he might burst. “I want the spare key to your flat.”

“What? Why?” Ruka pecked him sweetly on the cheek.

“Because I've never heard anyone shout so loud in my entire fucking life. And you've made a complete mess of my house. I'm banning you again.”

Yomi opened his mouth furiously, and Ruka leaned in and kissed it. Yomi shut up, and he smiled beatifically. This might just have been the most marvellous day of his life.”

 

 

“There, you see?” says Giga, practically swooning in his seat over Ruka's incredible domly manliness or whatever the hell it is. “What a guy...” He peers at me. “...Are you okay?” he asks conscientiously. “I know Ruka can be a bit overwhelming for some people...”

I start to speak, then stop. And think. This is very strange: I have some dehydration and a mild headache, but other than that I think I feel...all right. All right! I just sat through an entire story about Naito's drummer, wannabe Marquis de Sade, and I feel all right! I hear myself give a hysterical laugh. I've done it; I've finally done it: I've broken through the (psychological) pain barrier, and I am now unshockable! God, this is so...so liberating.

Giga is looking at me strangely, and no wonder, but I don't care. I am so ready for whatever they hit me with next: the dirtiest, perviest, most illegal Chiba shenanigans Sakito can dream up, the most shockingly graphic porn-fest Ni~ya can invent. I can deal with it. I'm ready. Bring it on!

Chapter Text

Hello all. (Or at least, hello me, since I'm the only person likely to be watching this...)

Last time, you may remember, I managed to surmount any remaining squeamishness over Naito and their sexual proclivities (thanks to Giga and his blithely graphic praise of Ruka's little S&M games). I felt prepared for anything after that; so I immediately rushed off in search of a story that would test my new-found hardcore mentality.

Typically, though, everyone I speak to is suddenly determined to swing back in the other direction, with nary a mention of spankings, blindfoldings or indecent exposure.

I may have to resign myself to more fluff.

 


 

 

December 3 rd , 2009

 

 

“D'you remember that live at Hibiya?” I ask my engineer friend Hiroki, who has long since graduated from livehouses and halls and is now in charge of sound at the prestigious (i.e. gigantic) Tokyo Dome stadium. Hiroki leans back from his NASA-like mixing board, taking a swig of Mitsuya Cider.

“Oh yeah,” he says nostalgically. “Those were the days! Your boys were so damn excited, it was an awesome night. You kind of get inured to that here.”

I gaze down at the vast landscape of seats and the faraway stage. Yeah, really. It's like a different world...

I spot a group of jersey-clad figures below us, each armed with what looks like a military campaign map and being lectured by a strikingly good-looking young man whose executive bossiness, like Sakito's, apparently has the power to radiate out for a good kilometre around him. As I watch I see one of the shorter listeners (there are two little ones, not on the bijou scale of Yomi but definitely pint-sized) yawn, stretch his pale arms out deliberately in a move I've seen Ruka pull a hundred times, and drape one around the equally small figure beside him, fingers sliding down to grab a handful of ass in a proprietary manner.

Okay, maybe it's not so different...

Hiroki, during my distraction, has fished a recent copy of Shoxx out of my bag and is perving shamelessly over another of Sakito's skimpy outfits (it's the 'Believe' retrospective, which may explain this).

“Some things never change,” he comments fondly, giving the camera a crooked grin. I roll my eyes. “Yeah, that night,” Hiroki muses. “Hitsugi-kun was so cute that night. Cried like a little girl, remember?” Of course I remember, I nearly got suffocated by his surprise bear-hug as he came off-stage. “He was still going while you and Kei-kun were collecting guitars,” he informs me. “Saw him and Sakito back in one of the under-stage corridors, all over each other like, like limpets, sniffling away.” He sighs. “Must be nice to be that happy. 'Specially with Sakito around to 'comfort' you.”

His eyes drop back to the magazine suggestively. While he's lost in whatever dirty fantasy he's got going through his head right now I glance back out at the stadium. The quintet of figures below us nod at each other, watch the bossy pretty-boy's count-in and move smoothly into a short sequence of dance steps, and I suddenly realise who they are. Well, I should, they invade my TV set, my magazines and my train compartments on a daily basis. Johnny's! What exalted circles I'm moving in.

“Wait a minute,” I say, dragging myself away from my slightly embarrassing star-gazing to interrupt Hiroki's reverie, “what do you mean, all over each other? You mean like...making out?!”

“Couldn't tell you,” shrugs Hiroki, putting his feet up on the sound board. “It was dark down there. And they were just too close, couldn't get a ruler between 'em. You couldn't see what they were doing.” The happily married man reflects on this. “Know what I'd have been doing, though!”

“Hmph!”

Before I can think through the implications of this for my guitarists' idyllic, platonic love story, the half-door opens and two men burst in. I recognise them immediately as the little idols.

“Hiroki-san,” says the pale one, panting slightly, “Jun-kun says can you send a tech down to the stadium floor?”

“Chill out, Nino,” Hiroki replies, turning to speak briefly into his walkie-talkie. “Have a biscuit.”

Chill out?” repeats the young man scathingly (Ninomiya Kazunari, super-bitch, my brain supplies from its store of useless variety-show information). “With that slave-driver holding the reins?” He turns to the impossibly tanned shadow in the doorway. “Come in, Oh-chan, you're causing a draught.” The other man – completely round face, dopey eyes, absolutely perfect lips – shuffles into the sound stage and beams at the room in general.

“Ohno-san,” says Hiroki, “how's rehearsal going?” The little man blinks and appears to switch on (much like a good-natured, half-sized version of Ruka).

“Fun,” he says, “tiring. Jun's cracking the whip.”

“Well if you bothered to do any leading, Leader-” begins Ninomiya tersely, and at that moment they both notice the video camera. They gravitate to it like performing seals trained to react instantly to the presence of entertainment media (which, now I think about it, is a pretty fair description of Johnny's in general).

“What's this for?” demands Ninomiya, while Ohno gives it a sleepy wave.

“Documentary,” Hiroki informs him. They look unfazed.

“Oh. Are we supposed to be doing something in particular?”

“Shouldn't think so.”

The baby-faced Ohno quickly loses interest upon hearing this and plumps himself down on a spare stool. He spots the magazine Hiroki has left sitting on the mixing desk.

“Pretty!” he exclaims, reaching for it with incredibly elegant hands and riffling through it until he finds the cover photo-shoot, which is, needless to say, my boys.

“Yeah, isn't he,” says Hiroki irrelevantly. Ninomiya peers over his bandmate's shoulder, small hand sliding familiarly up his back in a long caress.

“Is this, like, some gay interest magazine?” he asks, sounding quite interested. Hiroki explains. Nino gives a long ohhhh of comprehension. “So that's what visual-kei looks like.”

“It's so pretty,” says Ohno again, examining the elaborate photography. Nino flaps a hand dismissively in his direction.

“Don't mind him, he's artistic.” He takes another quizzical look. “So...not gay?” Hiroki and I shrug eloquently, in perfect unison, and he raises his eyebrows. “Riiight...”

I let them squabble over the magazine, Nino trying to turn over and examine the guitars in the Angelo live report on the back pages, Ohno remaining stubbornly on the Naito article, rhapsodising over the colours. I make some desultory chat while Hiroki and I wolf down a quick bento, then take my leave as technical requests start to flood in and he snaps into action like a commander-in-chief.

I think, despite everything, I have it easier in my little job. But at least I now know how my guys come across to the outside eye. Gay interest magazine. I can't wait to tell Hitsugi.

 





December 14 th , 2009

 

 

I relay the previous comment to Hitsu after rehearsal one day. Unsurprisingly, Yomi, Ni~ya and Sakito overhear and fall about laughing (mostly at the idea that anyone could look gayer than the Johnny's boys themselves). Hitsu just purses his lips and hands me his guitar with a patient sigh at his comrades' immaturity. Hmph. He's not as embarrassed as I thought he'd be; guess narrating the tale of Ruka and Yomi's first sexual encounter has toughened him up. Maybe I should have waited for Fullface to show up and told him instead.

I watch as his bandmates' teasing slides right off him. Eventually Saki regains control over his giggles and slides an elegant hand apologetically across his partner's shoulders. Hitsu grins at him sweetly, completely blanking the two hooligans still guffawing behind him.

It's about this time that I notice Ruka, who is totally au fait with the gay interest label and who has refrained from cracking any idol jokes, sitting on his drum stool and staring interestedly at his two guitarists, arms folded comfortably across his floor tom. I assume this is the look of piercing attention Yomi described the last time it was his turn to narrate; it's certainly nosy, anyway. I watch him watching Hitsu, and wonder what he's seeing that's so interesting.

We all know Ruka won't talk about himself, but Yomi says he's all up in everyone else's business. If I ask him nicely...maybe he'll tell me.

 




December 17 th , 2009

 

 

In the end I decide to bribe Ruka with food, and we end up in a chain izakaya down the street from his place. The drummer is abstaining from drinking for the moment (he's still rather suspicious of the camera), but spears a piece of fried tofu and stuffs it down his face with relish.

“Exactly what're you expecting me to say?” he asks with his mouth full.

“What's with you and Hitsugi-kun?” I demand, without beating about the bush. Ruka swallows.

Me and Hitsu?”

“You look at him like he's an experiment.” He nods, and reaches across to my side of the table for the karaage. “What's that all about?”

“Well, he's a very interesting young man,” he says obscurely.

“Oh, you're not after him as well, are you?!” I exclaim in dismay. Really, that would be disastrous, not to mention just too greedy. Ruka chokes for a moment on a french fry, then pulls himself together and smiles for the first time this evening.

“Well...” he murmurs teasingly, and I give him a severe look, which he totally ignores. “No, course not. But since you mention it, have you seen how pretty Hitsu-kun is lately? Blonde and black, it seriously suits him.” He sighs. “But no. That'd be the most pointless exercise ever.”

“Yeah, that's what I heard, too.”

“Mm.” Ruka brushes his dark hair out of his face. “So I don't really know what you want me to talk about...” Okay. Ruka is more like Gigaflare than I'd thought; I guess I'll have to help him get started.

“Yomi tells me that Hitsu-kun is...what, asexual?” I begin. Ruka, to my surprise, gives a derisive snort.

“Yeah, right. And I'm Mother Teresa.”

“You're... Hang on, what are you telling me?”

“What do you think?” says Ruka scathingly. “And even if he was, Fullface sure as hell isn't.” I'm aware that I'm looking sceptical.

“But Yomi told me-”

“Huh,” interrupts Ruka. “Yomi doesn't know his arse from his elbow!” He shakes his head severely. “If you're gonna go around listening to him...”

“Okay, but-”

“Everyone just thinks so,” Ruka says reasonably, “because neither of them have sex.”

“Who're we talking about now?”

“Hitsu-kun and Fullface.” Ruka scowls. “Do keep up.”

“Right.”

“Doesn't mean they don't want to.” Where's all this coming from? I wonder.

“And you know this how?”

“Because I know him. Them. And 'cos I've got eyes in my head. Hitsu-kun is not asexual. He's just unbelievably bloody picky.” Ruka folds his arms. “That's not the same thing at all.”

My dinner goes untouched as I stare at him, intrigued: I don't remember ever seeing anything to suggest this, either onstage or off, and I'm pretty sure none of the others have mentioned it. It seems incredible to me that Ruka could be any more observant than, say, Yomi, who will always leap on the least hint of anything dirty, even when it's invisible to other (normal) people; or Saki, whose sexual antennae are very finely tuned indeed.

“You want to elaborate on that?” I suggest encouragingly. Ruka holds up his chopsticks, chews for a minute, then takes a swallow of tea and gives the camera a narrow look.

“I don't really have a story,” he warns me, in case I was expecting him to come up with a number one bestseller. “I'm just giving you the facts.”

“You mean your opinion,” I qualify.

“Same thing.” Ruka looks down his nose at the lens, and reaches for more tofu. “I'll tell you what I know, and you can think whatever the hell you like.”

“Suits me.”

“Okay,” says Ruka. “Here's the deal.” He leans back against the wall of our narrow booth, stretches his long legs out selfishly under the table, and begins to speak.

 

 

“All right. This is what I know: Hitsugi is in love. And, handily enough, he's in love with his partner, Sakito. And before you say yeah, everyone and his dog knows that...I mean in love. Like, heart pounding, pulse racing, head spinning desire. You're looking at me like I'm mental, Ryo-kun, stop it. Okay, I admit, it's not exactly obvious to the untrained eye, but to anyone who puts some effort into their observation it's pretty easy to see that Hitsu is not on some celibacy kick because he just doesn't want what everyone else wants. It's because there's only one thing he does want. And he can't have it.

Now, I've known this for a long time. But before you jump to conclusions about stuff like this, Ryo-kun, it's important to test your theories. Why else d'you think I used to try and match-make for Hitsu? With girls, with guys: I wanted to see how he'd react to the offer, when he was by himself and when he was with Sakito. And the conclusions? Well, Hitsu certainly isn't straight. And then again, he isn't really gay. Or bi, or any combination of the above. But he isn't so-called 'asexual', either; I suppose he's kind of...Saki-sexual.

There's a look he gives Sakito... Well, maybe you haven't seen it, 'cos he's had years of practice hiding it. But it's there, sometimes, when they touch: a kind of willingness for intimacy that goes further than the cuddling or hand-holding or whatever they're doing at the time. It's a kind of hunger, and resigned acceptance that he'll never have it satisfied, and maybe some amusement at himself for even entertaining the feeling. It's a complicated, subtle look, anyway, and I know Sakito doesn't see it. But then, he's not an expert at looking at men; and I am.”

 

 

( “I've never seen it,” I interject. Ruka breaks off, clicks his tongue at the interruption, and shrugs pityingly as if I don't know what I'm missing.

“Yeah, well, you're no expert either.”

“Are you sure about what you're seeing?” I probe. “Are you sure you're not just, I dunno, projecting or something?”

Projecting?” says Ruka scornfully. “Come off it. I don't go around mooning about over things I can't have. When I see something I want...I have it.” I suppose I had that coming.

“It's just...hard to credit,” I explain in my defence. Ruka sighs and silently demolishes a chicken wing, looking thoughtful.

“Fine. Let's try something else.” )

 

 

“Forget about Hitsu-kun for the moment; his feelings are obviously way too subtle to explain on some ham-handed video recording (no offence). Let's go back a year or so and think about Fullface instead.

Now, this was back when Sendai were still in full swing. Poor Giga was busy trying to cope with both satisfying Chiba in a way that didn't totally destroy his self-respect and persuading Chen-chen to spend some quality time with him. Chen-chen was chasing skirt, as usual. And Satty and Fullface were, probably unbeknownst to themselves, treading gingerly along the line where friendship ends and something else begins.

Sakito had always insisted that he and Satty were basically the same person underneath it all, and that Hitsugi and Fullface were similarly linked. Which is bollocks; you only have to look at the way Satty moves compared to Sakito and you can see they're as different as me and Giga. But let's suppose we roll with his theory: if Hitsu feels anything close to what Fullface feels, then believe me, he wants to bed his friend so bad it's a wonder he doesn't have steam coming out of his ears all day long.

Anyway. It was Christmas, and Sendai were, once again, far from home. They weren't touring this time, but holding their end-of-year party (you should know, Ryo-kun, you were there). And winter party basically equals onsen; so they were in Nagano, high up in the mountains in Kamisuwa with their staff and their crappy bus and their overnight bags. It's a beautiful place, perfectly calculated to inspire romantic manoeuvres in the dark.

Granted, I'm pretty sure you and Kano-san and everyone else were hoping to avoid romantic mood-making as far as Sendai were concerned (they've never exactly needed the encouragement); but that just wasn't gonna happen, and by eleven at night Giga was ensconced in the outside bath with both his lovers and being extensively groped by Chiba under cover of darkness. It wasn't long before the subdued giggling and underwater wrestling had scared most of the regular patrons back to the safety of the indoor pools.

“Where're the other two?” wondered Giga idly, both hands braced against Chiba to stop the singer climbing right on top of him. Chen-chen stretched out beside him, black hair spread like wet silk across the warm stones at his back.

“You know they won't come in with us,” he said, breath hanging in the freezing air, lifting one white leg out of the water to examine his toes lazily. “Apparently we're too embarrassing.”

“Hah.” Chiba gave a tremendous yawn and ran his small fingers lightly along Giga's arm. “We should get out and make room for them.”

“And do what?” asked Giga, suspiciously. Chiba dropped both his friends a wink, then grinned at his drummer's aghast face.

“We could do karaoke,” he suggested innocently. “I think they have a room on the fifth floor.”

“We could drink more,” countered Chen-chen, who is a terrible singer.

“Agreed.” Chiba bounced to his feet, and Chen-chen followed more gracefully, his pale body shimmering in the lamp-light.

“...Agreed,” Giga echoed, gazing wistfully at it and wondering what the odds were of getting his hands on it that night. Not good, he thought.

“Come on then.” They all sloshed out, and went to hit up the hotel bar.

 

An hour and a half later, Chiba and Chen-chen were so drunk they were practically asleep; Chiba was slumped face-down on the bar, reciting dirty haiku under his breath, and the bassist was drooling quietly into the shoulder of Giga's yukata. By the time he'd put them both to bed like the conscientious friend he was, Giga himself was, if not sober, then at least more awake; so he left them snoring in their futons and went for one last dip before he called it a night.

Leaning his elbows on the smooth edge of one of the indoor jacuzzi, Giga lay luxuriating in the hot water and quiet, and peered out of the tall plate-glass window. Cold air trickled in through the door, left half-open by Kano-san, and it was thanks to this that the glass was un-fogged enough for Giga to see through it to the peaceful outside bath and the mountains beyond.

“Night!” called Sendai's manager, grabbing his towel and disappearing into the changing-rooms. Giga waved a sleepy hand at him and sighed contentedly, closing his eyes.

He opened them again to the sound of quiet chattering, just in time to see his two guitarists slipping through the door, headed outside. They both perched themselves on low wooden stools beside the taps, shivering, breath steaming, looking thoroughly delighted at the absence of their three raucous bandmates. Fullface had his towel wrapped modestly around his hips and was carefully not looking at Satty, who had abandoned his own and was scrubbing himself vigorously with soap.

“So quiet,” came Fullface's voice (Giga could just about hear him, and believe me he was listening with interest), sounding content. He filled a wooden bowl with hot water and emptied it over himself, spluttering happily and shaking wet red hair out of his eyes.

“I know,” said Satty, peering myopically at his shampoo and conditioner bottles (he didn't have his glasses on, and it was quite dark). He shifted his stool a little nearer his friend. “...Wash my hair?” he requested, tossing his shining platinum locks encouragingly. Giga, watching with the fascination of a dedicated anthropologist, saw Fullface turn scarlet immediately at Satty's knowing little smile, and nod shyly. The older guitarist grinned at the success of his first move.

And that, right there, is one of the points where Sakito and Satty differ: Sakito doesn't flirt with men. Well, his face and his body language make it look like he does, and he's probably caused severe embarrassment to a lot of guys who think he's coming on to them; but it's just the pure grace and elegance of his movements that lead people to think he's radiating some kind of deliberate, seductive femininity. He's not, that's just the way he is; but it trips some men's gaydar anyway.

Satty, on the other hand, can be a right little flirt, though only with Fullface (as far as we've ever seen). He hasn't had a lot of practice, and he's not very good at it; but the younger man is so hyper-sensitive to every breath Satty takes that it's really quite effective at shaking him up. And tonight the lovely guitarist was relaxed and tipsy and in the mood to tease.

He turned his back on Fullface (and a very beautiful back it is too) and picked up a bowl, handing it to the blushing man, who took it obediently and poured a careful stream over Satty's head. As soon as Fullface's fingers made contact with his friend's hair he paused; he shut his eyes in a strange, deliberate blink, like a camera shutter clicking, and Giga was sure that he had just logged the sight and sensation away, to be enjoyed repeatedly at a later date.

Mmm,” purred Satty (in quite a clumsy, but really very sweet way) as Fullface's hands began to move, fingers creating a white lather of shampoo and rubbing gently against his scalp. Fullface closed his eyes again at the sound, and this time Giga saw that expression I was just telling you about, the one Hitsugi wears, the melancholy one that savours every single second of contact with his gorgeous friend. Satty, obviously, was facing the other way, and in any case wasn't about to look around for fear of getting shampoo in his fabulous eyes.

I wonder, if he had seen that look, whether he would have kept on flirting? After all, unlike Hitsu and Sakito, Fullface and Satty aren't partners – not officially, anyway. They're best friends, sure, and I'm pretty certain they have the potential to be a whole lot more; but that all depends on Satty, because Fullface, like Hitsu, will never make a move on his own. And Giga couldn't be sure if the older guitarist was flirting in play; or whether, if he had noticed the other man responding so earnestly, he would have encouraged it or freaked out.

But I'm getting sidetracked here (I told you this wasn't really a story). To return to the hot-spring, Fullface was still washing Satty's hair, and he was certainly taking his sweet time about it. Not that Satty seemed to mind; like his glamorous other half, he loves being pampered, he just doesn't get as much opportunity for it as Sakito.

“If I'm doing it too hard,” said Fullface, who had opened his eyes again to revel secretly in the sight of Satty's perfect naked back, “just tell me.”

“No,” murmured Satty indulgently. “...Feels good.” He tipped his head back, white bubbles cascading like sea-foam over his delicate shoulder-blades, his long throat curved invitingly. He made another self-conscious little sound of pleasure as Fullface's massaging fingertips slid softly through the fine hair at the nape of his neck, and Giga saw their youngest member part his lips, flicking the tip of his pink tongue swiftly over his piercings, as if he could taste Satty in the air between them.

They stayed like that a long time, Fullface's hands now stroking in a relaxing way through Satty's currently-blonde hair; the younger man was feeling amazed at his own daring, if his face was anything to go by, and growing more and more enamoured with every soft noise his slender friend let fall from his lips. Eventually, though, they seemed to start feeling the cold again; Satty shivered, passed the bowl, and allowed Fullface to rinse him off, clear streams of hot water sparkling down his skin to the stones beneath him. Both Giga and Fullface drank in the sight appreciatively; then Satty shoved some conditioner in his hair, wrapped his small towel around his head, and hopped into the bath (see, Sakito would never do anything like hop, especially if he was trying to turn someone on).

“Coming?” he asked, splashing the water beside him with one hand. Fullface, who had been observing his walk to the water with depressed awe, twitched and pulled himself together, wading in and sitting down a short way from his friend, sinking up to his shoulders in the steaming bath. Satty immediately shifted along beside him, his beautiful body a long, slim silhouette beneath the surface. Fullface gave a covert sigh.

Now, there's another reason why Hitsu and Fullface tend not to get in the bath until very late at night; it's not just that they find the three of us so embarrassing (well, they do, but that's not the point). It's that they have tattoos. These days, most places don't stick to the no ink rule as strictly as they used to; but the short guitarist is very aware of people looking at him, and doesn't want to cause anyone any discomfort, and so tends to wait until everyone else gets out. It doesn't matter so much for Giga and I, we just tie a wash-cloth round our arm and we're not offending anyone. But Fullface's are harder to hide; and of course Satty wants to keep him company, so he hangs back too.

The tattoos, Giga realised, were to become Satty's next point of attack, as the slender man reached out a hand and set the tip of his fingernail lightly against the front of Fullface's right shoulder, over the eye of the dragon inked there. He gave a sly (well, Giga assumed he thought it was sly) grin at the younger man's startled rush of breath. Fullface opened his pretty eyes wide, clamped both hands between his knees in an embarrassed, childish gesture, and allowed Satty to touch him. If it's me or Chiba, he'll just shake us off, but he clearly doesn't have the willpower to do that to the other guitarist. Which, I think you'll agree, just supports my opinion about his feelings.

“You don't show this off enough,” Satty said quietly, grazing his finger over the sinuous arch of the dragon's back. “Or the one on your leg.” He shifted deliberately, and Giga suspected that he'd just brushed his own smooth calf against Fullface's: the shorter man jumped again, though it was very hard to tell whether he was blushing or not, since his feline face was bright red from the hot water anyway. “After all the trouble you went to getting them done,” continued Satty, his hand now trailing down Fullface's arm, “the least you could do is give people a look at them every now and again.”

Fullface mumbled something Giga didn't catch, and Satty laughed softly, sitting pressed comfortably hip to hip with his friend. Giga was feeling rather sorry for the younger guitarist: it must be hard enough for Fullface to cope with his desire and his friend's beauty on a day-to-day basis without having it shoved in his face in such an amusingly obvious display. Satty really was an amateur when it came to subtlety, and the worst thing about it was that he evidently had no plans to follow through. Giga shook his head mutely. Fullface wasn't equipped to deal with this kind of situation, and the drummer wondered what he would do if the flirtation carried on.

The answer, it turned out, was 'nothing'. Satty continued his inconsequential chatter and fake-casual little touches, and Fullface just leaned back against the wall of the pool, face half obscured in the steam. The way he held himself told Giga that he wanted nothing more than to lean in to his friend's caresses, to respond the way any normal, uninhibited person would to such behaviour; but he didn't. Giga wasn't sure if he knew how.

So, nothing happened, and it kept on happening for a long time, so long, in fact, that Giga did actually fall asleep. He woke up once, observed his guitarists still talking, then dropped off again. He levered his eyes open a few minutes later, forced himself to get up, and tiptoed out of the bath, sleepy and overheated and trying to make as little movement as possible. Once in the changing-room he dried himself off cursorily, slung his blue yukata on and made his way to bed.

 

It was very late when he next woke up; so late, he thought, that it was almost early. Moonlight shone idyllically through the paper shoji screens, but not quite enough to illuminate Giga's watch. He raised his head a minute amount, and gave his sleeping bandmates a quick once-over. Unlike Naito, Sendai tend not to flash the cash, and all five of them were sharing a wide tatami room, traditional work-outing style.

Giga observed, with satisfaction, that they were all present and correct: Chiba was a mere lump beneath his duvet (it was possible that he'd just shoved a load of pillows under it and gone walkabout to torment some staff members; but probably not that likely at this time of night); Chen-chen was lying sprawled on his back on the far side of the room, looking gorgeous and still snoring quietly; and the other two lay in the middle futons, apparently emotionally intact after their touchy-feely bath and sleeping silently.

His guitarists, Giga noted with yet more interest (he was awake now, and until Chen-chen shut up he'd never be able to get back to sleep), had pushed their futons and covers together and were sleeping in the centre of the pile, heads almost touching. This wasn't unheard-of for the pair of them, but it was rare. I've seen the claustrophobic cuddle Hitsu and Sakito tend to sleep in when they get the chance to share a bed, and this was nothing like so close; but, to Giga, it still seemed surprisingly intimate. He wondered who had instigated it.

His question was answered soon enough. Giga had been lying there about ten minutes, musing over what he'd seen that evening (and what might be for breakfast in the morning), when he heard movement in the centre of the room. He half-opened his eyes, and saw Fullface lean up on one elbow quickly, suddenly wide awake. There was just enough light to show the utterly startled expression on his mild face as he looked down at Satty, who was sleeping peacefully on his back, leaning in towards him; one shoulder of his yukata had slipped down, baring a wide sliver of pale skin at his torso. Satty might be a total dork when he was awake, reflected Giga, but asleep like this, with his clothes half off and his blonde hair spilling over the pillow, he looked like an ad for an adult phone line: cheesy and completely beautiful.

As the drummer watched, Fullface peeped around anxiously, took another long look at Satty as if to make sure he was actually asleep; then allowed his face to break into the softest, most purely adoring smile Giga had ever seen. He stared for a long time, drinking in the man below him. After a while, looking like it was the most daring thing he'd ever done in his life, Fullface raised one hand silently and ghosted a finger along the edge of Satty's yukata where it parted in a wide V to display his delicate neck. Giga thought he wasn't even touching skin, just the cotton fabric; but it was still somehow one of the most erotic acts he could remember witnessing (as you know, 'subtle' is not a huge feature in either of his lovers' sexual vocabularies).

Fullface caught his breath, looked momentarily guilty, and then, when Satty didn't wake up, allowed his hand to travel up and smooth over his friend's silver earrings, fingertip brushing the shell of Satty's pretty ear for the briefest fraction of a second; the younger man gave a little shiver, catching his hand back like he'd gone too far already. Seriously, Ryo-kun, this is not the kind of thing you do if your feelings are purely platonic friendship.

But it wasn't enough; Fullface almost never gets chances like this, and he didn't seem to be able to stop himself making the most of it (mind you, 'most' for him isn't that much...). Carefully, tentatively, he leant a little closer to his sleeping friend, his vivid, unstyled hair forming a curtain behind his face and highlighting his soft jawline and cattish profile perfectly. Giga could see his expression even better like this: the guitarist looked enraptured, like he could gaze at Satty all night long and not get tired of it.

His mouth tightened in a moment of self-directed disapproval, metal gleaming in his bottom lip. Then one hand shifted warily to cup Satty's lovely face: again, Giga didn't think it actually made contact, just framed his features worshipfully. Fullface looked around once more (Giga closed his eyes for a moment and feigned sleep); slowly, silently, he bend his head towards Satty's.

Giga peered at them. It was harder to tell what was going on now; the guitarists' shapes had flowed together in the dark, and it was tricky distinguishing where one ended and the other began. But he could just about see: Fullface, to his lack of surprise, wasn't actually kissing Satty; for one, he was probably afraid that his piercings would wake the other man up; and for another, Giga just didn't think he'd dare. I know Sakito and Hitsu kiss; not like the rest of us kiss, admittedly, but enough that it's become a natural part of their routine. But for Fullface, I get the feeling that it would be a step with the same personal significance as that of the first moon landing.

Instead, he had his feline nose pressed lightly to Satty's smooth cheek, and seemed to be breathing him in. Which Giga could totally get behind: Sakito had been shopping at Lush the day before, and now, after his bath, Satty smelled like pure unadulterated heaven; the drummer could catch his scent even halfway across the room. Fullface let a tiny, yearning sound escape him, more like a sigh than anything else. Then Satty was moving in his sleep, nudging his face comfortably against the younger man's.

The result was, predictably, electric: Fullface practically jumped off him, threw himself out of bed, and shuffled hurriedly out the door, his footsteps receding in the direction of the bathroom. Giga saw Satty open his eyes, looking drowsy and puzzled; the guitarist fumbled around for his glasses blearily, then gave up and rolled over, facing his temporary bed partner's futon and nuzzling closer to the warmth left by his body. Then he went straight back to sleep.

Okay, Ryo-kun, you may think big whoop, so what, Hitsu and Sakito get up to this kind of thing all the time. And it's true that Hitsu can have Sakito embrace him and not bat an eyelid, can be kissed and not get all flustered. But it's only the behaviour that's different; the feelings underneath are the same. Hitsu can act calm because their relationship has been steady for years, and he's totally secure about having Sakito's love. He doesn't have everything he wants (that's what I've been telling you), but he feels safe.

Fullface and Satty's relationship status, on the other hand, is still up in the air, and I don't think either of them really knows exactly how the other feels. Oh, plus the fact that Fullface has to put up with all the semi-sexual flirting, because Satty knows he can get a cute reaction out of him; whereas Sakito is under the impression that Hitsu is totally uninterested and oblivious to such things, so it doesn't even occur to him to bother.

But yeah. The feeling underneath all the embarrassment and the cuddling and the asexual crap remains constant: total, blind, emotional and physical adoration. Giga saw it that night, and in Fullface's shame-faced, delighted blush the next morning, when he was sitting opposite Satty over breakfast and could barely look at him for the memory of how good those brief touches had felt.

One day, Giga thought, someone ought to do something about it, before our youngest member expired from having no-one to talk to and from sheer unrequited desire. And, seeing as he was the only one to have noticed, he supposed it should be him. But poor Giga has enough on his plate as it is, and in any case is rather shy of butting into other people's business. So I told him I'd do something about it. And here I am.”

 

 

“Here you are what?” I demand as Ruka lapses into silence, nursing his tea in a self-satisfied manner. He glances back up, surprised.

“Here I am. Doing something.” He frowns. “Well, this is gossip, isn't it? One day it's bound to filter back to them. And then maybe they'll deal with it.” He glares at my dubious eyebrows. “What, have you got a better idea?”

“Er, no.”

“Didn't think so.” Ruka leans forward, giving me an engaging stare. “It's simple, really. Sakito needs to be made aware of what Satty is up to behind his back, with all that sexy clumsy flirting; there's got to be more to it than just embarrassing Fullface. And Hitsu's got to let himself react more honestly, like Fullface does, like he can't help doing. One day,” he says, with a breathtaking lack of irony, “those two are going to have to integrate all their personalities. And when they do,” he intimates, nodding, “sparks are gonna fly.”

“Well. I'll certainly look forward to that,” I say flatly. Ruka sniffs.

“Look, I'm just giving you facts. If it wasn't what you wanted to hear, why did you ask?” he snaps bad-temperedly.

“Sorry.”

“Fuck's sake!” he huffs, reaching across the table to smash the camera's 'stop' button with one finger. “Who out of the rest of you is a bigger authority on guy-guy desire than me? Honestly, I don't know why I bother!” He calls to a passing waitress for a beer, and turns back to give me his best scowl. “That's the last you're getting out of me.”

 

All in all, I don't know if this last statement is a good thing or a bad thing. Or just how truthful Ruka is when it comes to stuff like this (I've always had the feeling that he'd make an excellent liar if he put his mind to it); it's true he has the experience – a hundred percent more experience that me, anyway – but how good are his evaluative powers?

The last thing I want is for Saki – who is, after all, my guitarist and my prime concern – to hear about any of this from someone else and get hurt. His relationship with Hitsu is too important to him, and, via a kind of chain effect, to everyone else.

I think this is another occasion where I should go looking for an outside opinion.

 


 

 

December 23 rd , 2009

 

 

“Sex?!” yells Shou over the din, looking bemused but up for the challenge. “Here? Now?!”

I explain again, or try to, by yelling in his ear at the top of my voice; but making myself heard is nigh on impossible over the sound of the other members of Alice Nine, plus Vivid, plus some of the Gazette and other assorted musicians, plus staff, plus friends, plus unsuspecting members of the public who happened to wander past and were suctioned into the maelstrom of festive cheer, all of whom are singing along to Exile's cover of 'Last Christmas', incredibly happily and incredibly off-key. Ahh, the PSC Christmas party. I wonder who's going to get paralytic and end up naked in Ginza this year...

“Hitsugi?!” Shou bellows at me in amazement, as he finally grasps what I'm asking. “And Saki-san?” He shakes his head vehemently, sending rainbow-coloured splashes of some scary-looking cocktail flying. “Are you mad?” I hasten to add that this is Ruka's opinion, not necessarily mine. “No, no, no,” declaims the vocalist, flicking a peace sign at some staggering roadies. He shuffles closer so I'll hear better.

“No?”

“Hell no!” Shou takes a long swig, stares at his drink as if it's the Holy Grail, then remembers what he's talking about. “Look,” he shouts, “me and Hitsu, we go drinking all the time, yeah?”

“Okay...”

“And man, does Hitsu love to drink!” The singer displays his own enthusiasm for the hobby by draining his glass. “And when he gets drunk,” he continues, “he gets really talkta...” He stares at the empty glass mournfully. “...Talkative.”

“Is this going somewhere?” I ask loudly, grabbing a safer drink for myself from a passing tray. Shou screws his face up in fierce concentration, in an effort to make me understand.

“I mean he talks about everything,” he says emphatically. “Trust me. There's no way in the world he'd be able to keep something that juicy bottled up! Actually,” he muses, wonderingly, “I've never seen him with any girl. Or with any guy. And Saki-san would be such a fuckin' catch; who'd be able to resist spilling the beans?!”

“I concur,” comes a deep voice from behind me. I turn to see Uruha, who is standing and listening with great solemnity to the conversation. I look him up and down: he's drunk, the very quiet, comically serious kind of drunk. He gazes at us both with wide, earnest eyes, looking hilariously silly and handsome.

“About what?” I ask. Shou cocks his head at his senpai, and tries to copy his air of gravitas, with less than spectacular results.

“Saki,” Uruha informs us, tossing his luxuriant blonde hair and and taking an elegant sip of white wine. “Hottest thing with a dick this side of Bangkok. If he was a chick, I sure as hell wouldn't keep quiet about wanting to bang him.” I stare at him with my mouth hanging open.

“Well, that's just...lovely, thanks for that,” I manage. Elegant my arse; appearances are so misleading. Shou is sputtering with laughter next to me. “So, let me clarify,” I sum up, raising my voice as another seasonal favourite comes on the sound system. “Saki and Hitsu-kun! A no-go??”

“No chance in hell!” screams Shou confidently.

Agreed!” booms Uruha. “Saki's got his T&A on demand, Hitsu's got his little doggies and his drinking buddies. That's the natural order of things! That's the way it's meant to be!!”

And they both get distracted by jello shots and a rousing chorus of 'Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer', and that's the end of that.

 

Okay, I admit, these guys aren't necessarily the sober, reliable experts I was planning on getting testimony from. But everyone else I ask has said, basically, the same thing (though not all of them put it as charmingly as the Gazette's guitarist): Hitsu and Saki, no way it's happening, no way they want it to happen.

I'm confused now. Do I put my faith in Ruka's theory, or should I roll with the majority vote of the PSC frat boys? I think I'll just stick both pieces of film in for now, and await developments.

Chapter Text

January 6 th , 2010

 

 

It's coming up on Naito's tenth anniversary. Can you believe it? Ten years and no tabloid scandals, only two staff nervous breakdowns, and a mere few hundred trysts in potentially career-destroying locations. My boys themselves seem pretty nonchalant about it all, despite the special live they're doing in a few days and the official industry party planned for the week after.

“Aren't any of you bringing your girlfriends?” begs Tamura-san, who is the only person to appear remotely stressed or worried about Naito's public image (not that this party is public as such – there won't even be any photographers – but he seems to think the execs upstairs will be soothed by some demonstrative evidence that their artists are halfway normal).

I am,” Ni~ya assures him, earning a disdainful sniff from Ruka (after all, her mere existence precludes the drummer from getting fifty percent of his scheduled nookie). Tamura-san nods gratefully.

“What's this one called?”

“Yurie,” Ni~ya says, inhaling smoke calmly. An assistant makes a note.

“Anyone else?” their manager asks encouragingly.

“If he counts as a girlfriend,” drawls Ruka, reaching out to pinch Yomi's ear, “then yes.”

“Fuck off!” The singer (who, to be fair, is probably shorter than any woman Ni~ya has ever been out with) gives Ruka the finger at this slight to his masculinity and prods him fondly in the side.

“No-one?” pleads Tamura-san, ignoring this exchange. A resounding silence: Saki has one arm resting subtly on Hitsu's back, while Ruka and Yomi are engaged in a mute argument made up of private sign language and grimaces.

“It'll be fine,” Ni~ya reassures the unfortunate man. “It's just a party. You'll see.”

 


 

 

January 15 th , 2010

 

 

It seems Ni~ya was right: the anniversary party is a private affair (well, if 'private' consists of assorted staff members, company executives, acquaintances from other bands, senpai, kouhai, venue representatives and romantic partners), and, other than a few boring speeches that make the band's eyes glaze over (and one from Yomi that is only saved from its inevitable descent into filth by a well-placed kick from Sakito), goes very smoothly.

Ni~ya plus date are being displayed prominently for the benefit of anyone who cares, and the others have been distributed around the room so everyone can get some face time with them and bring them drinks, which is risky, but hey, it's been ten years. By the time they're allowed to leave off networking and just hang out, everyone is thoroughly 'relaxed' (read: hammered).

Saki has been joined by the Gazette's two guitarists, creating a triangle of tall, leggy good looks, at the centre of which is Hitsugi, looking shorter than ever and quite like a punk teddy bear. They all seem deeply engaged in some technical conversation, and I'm tempted to join them so I can avoid making polite small talk with people I don't know (it has nothing to do with the fact that Aoi is somehow in possession of the largest bottle of nihon-shu I have ever seen and is doling it out liberally to everyone within reach – Hitsu is already pink in the face and giggling).

Before I can do so, however, Ruka wanders up beside me, wearing the usual glum frown he displays when he's been stuck in a distastefully social situation too long. He doesn't speak, but I feel I should babysit him until one of the others takes him off my hands, just in case he gets the sulks in front of an important or influential person.

Right about then I spot someone giving me a quick wave from across the room. I wave back automatically, then recognise Ruki, who is, right now, a brunette bombshell (it's hard enough keeping up with my own bands' haircuts). I suppose his guitarists dragged him here. He spots Ruka looming behind me, gives a little start, and looks away, only to catch sight of Saki and co. getting progressively drunker on his other side. He pulls a face, managing to look both freaked out and intrigued, and grabs the hand of the attractive woman next to him, tugging on it lightly to lead her the hell out of the debauched web of partner-swapping that is presumably how he still views Naito. She deigns to follow him (Ruki's current girlfriend is a model, I remember, and at least six inches taller than him in heels).

“Look at that,” Ruka sighs, sotto voce, staring after the petite singer. “What a waste.”

“Huh?” I say, lowering my highball glass as I realise he's talking to me. “What is?”

That. Hello legs, lips and hips.” The drummer makes a wavy movement with both hands, following the line of Ruki's body. “All that lusciousness wasted on some skinny girl.”

“Bet she doesn't think so.” No wonder Ruki acts so suspicious of Naito, if Ruka's been giving him the lecherous, blatantly obvious stare he's got going right now.

“That ass,” continues Ruka appreciatively, still watching hopefully as if his gaze might develop the power to burn through Ruki's clothes, “is way too perfect for her to deal with. There must be a whole lot of mileage there that's not being tapped.” His long fingers flex involuntarily. I roll my eyes, mostly at his use of metaphor, but I'm basically unshockable by now.

“You're incorrigible.”

“I know,” Ruka says happily, not bothering to look at me. I see Ruki clap a protective hand over his curvy little behind (objectively speaking, I suppose it is rather nice); he stares around the room in a paranoid way, like he can sense Ruka's tongue hanging out, and huddles closer to his girlfriend. Poor bastard.

“Look,” I exclaim with relief, “there's Yomi now.” Ruka leaves off perving, looking only mildly guilty, as Yomi squeezes his way through the crush of people, panting slightly with effort and spilling drinks over members of Alice Nine.

“He misbehaving?” the little vocalist asks, grinning up at Ruka, who glares down at him but steps closer to give his left nipple a friendly twist (this is as good as a Hello to him). “Having a nice time?” Yomi presses, passing him a drink, only half empty.

“No.”

“Oh yes you are.” Yomi nudges him suggestively. “I saw you ogling.” He doesn't seem at all offended by his supposed boyfriend's leching; then again, I remind myself, he's a pervert too. “Hey,I don't mind sharing,” Yomi tells me, as if divining exactly what I'm thinking. He jerks a thumb at Ruka. “It's him who gets all wonky and possessive.”

“Pardon me for being conservative,” growls Ruka from his lordly height. We both give him a disbelieving look.

You,” says Yomi, after a few seconds of silence while we try to fit our heads around this concept.

“That's right.” Ruka has his stubborn face on. Yomi looks suddenly thoughtful, and gives a smile that, if it was coming from Chiba, would be very worrying.

“We'll just see about that...”

I don't know what this means, and Ruka ignores it. But no doubt all will become clear.

 


 

 

January 23 rd , 2010

 

 

“No!” I hear Ni~ya exclaim, about a week later. “Absolutely not!!” I prick up my ears as Yomi's wheedling voice (the one he only uses when he wants something and is trying to hit Ni~ya or Ruka's 'cute' button) wafts into the room.

“Why not??” the singer demands. Ni~ya makes a noise of immense frustration.

“Lay off it, Yomi. I'd expect this kind of thing from Chiba, but not you!” Gosh. What on earth could he be after, and from Ni~ya, of all people? I mean, we all know Yomi isn't exactly ordinary, but compared to Chiba (whose loftiest ambition is to have a five-man slip-n-slide orgy on a bouncy castle) it can't be anything that bad. Surely. Yomi's voice drops mischievously, and I can no longer hear what he's saying.

“Look,” says Ni~ya impatiently, moving around the room next door, evidently in an effort to distance himself from the whole conversation. “It's not that I'm not attached to you. But let me tell you now: the day I do that will be the day Hell freezes over.”

A moment later he flounces into the Dweeb Den and makes for his bass rack, shaking his head disbelievingly. I pretend to be immersed in mending one of Saki's guitar straps and totally uninterested in whatever morally/sexually/financially objectionable act Yomi wants him to commit.

Oh god. Who am I kidding? I have officially turned into a gossip addict; and I want to know.

 


 

 

February 16 th , 2010

 

 

Dude,” hisses – Sakito? Satty? – Satty, conspiratorially, grabbing me by the sleeve and dragging me off-balance into the Like An Edison staff cafeteria. I drop into the nearest seat, thrown by the sudden change (he was still Sakito just thirty minutes ago); Satty slides in opposite me, trailed by Fullface (I think it's him), who sits down reluctantly at an excited gesture from his friend, allowing Satty's slim hand to linger on his forearm. “Guess what,” the older guitarist says breathlessly, pushing the thick frames of his glasses up his nose. “Guess what Ni~ya let Yomi do!!” He and Fullface both stare at me expectantly, and I see Fullface is blushing already.

Looks like Satan will be skating to work.

“How could I possibly guess?” I ask, digging into my bag for the camera equipment, because they're obviously going to tell me. “What could he possibly do?”

Satty giggles, rearranges his MST3K tshirt over his flat stomach (Saki has been letting his geek flag fly today), and leans over to whisper briefly in Fullface's ear. The shorter man goes even redder, but closes his eyes for a moment as Satty's lips brush his hair, deliberate and clumsy (okay...I think I'm starting to see what Ruka meant. Maybe I can kill two birds with one stone here...).

Satty beams at me, lifts his hand and wiggles three slender fingers meaningfully in the direction of the camera. I frown; what's that supposed to mean? Looks like the boy scout salute. It... Oh.

“Huh? Huh?” prompts the guitarist, nodding at his fingers. Fullface looks like he wishes he were anywhere else in the world right now, though an embarrassed, indulgent little smile is tugging the corner of his mouth up at the sight of Satty's enjoyment.

“You're kidding me,” I say flatly. Fullface takes a look at me, snorts adorably, and whispers back at Satty, who sniggers: I suppose my face looks amusing enough to overcome the humiliation lying in wait for the younger guitarist, at least for the moment. I fold my arms; are they gonna get on with it or what? They're acting like a couple of schoolgirls.

“Word of honour,” Satty assures me, giving his friend a flirtatious little push as Fullface continues to make him laugh. “All three of 'em. All together. All night.”

“How in the hell did Yomi get Ni~ya to agree to that?”

“In the end,” says Satty confidentially, “it wasn't even Ni~ya who was the problem. It was Ruka.”

“...Is this 'cos of his 'I'm conservative' thing?” I ponder, once I've slightly got over my amazement; I still can't believe Ni~ya, who needs a fabulous amount of buttering up for even Ruka to get into his pants, let himself be persuaded to engage in a three-way. Well, not with two guys, anyway.

“Maybe,” shrugs Satty, favouring a passing interviewer with one of Sakito's smiles as the enraptured woman hands him a fresh bottle of juice out of sheer wobbly-kneed admiration. “But then again, you know how Ruka hates being dictated to; it might have been that. And he was pretty much presented with a fait accompli.”

“Are you gonna tell me how all this happened, or what?” I demand with one eye on the clock. I think I ought to know: the stories I've heard from my boys so far, while fascinating, have all been kind of like a history project. But this, this is current affairs, and if I'm lucky I'll be able to get live footage of events as they unfold (no, not the actual event, you bunch of perverts!).

Satty tugs a skinny knee up to his chest and perches there comfortably, one hand reaching out to brush absently (well, almost) back and forth along the sleeve of Fullface's hoodie. The younger man retracts his hands and head into the garment like some sort of tortoise, his expressive, metal-filled mouth hidden shyly behind the black fabric. He shoots Satty a 'get on with it' sort of look. Satty glances across to see what reaction he's getting, smiles toothily at us both, and obliges.



“This all started at that party,” Satty says, flicking his gaze to Fullface for confirmation. “You know, with the whole ogling Ruki thing. And then Yomi teasing Ruka about it. But actually...in the end it turned out not to be about sexual conservativeness. Or even Yomi making a point about monogamy. No, in the end it came down to what it's always about between those three: control.

That's the reason Ruka's always been wary of having too many partners on the go, or of anything that doesn't involve him holding the reins: he can't bear to lose control, and he'll go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the possibility. And, to be honest, I think that's what got Ni~ya interested in Yomi's proposition in the first place. Well. That and a bottle of vodka.

It had taken Yomi a couple of weeks to put his plan into action (insofar as 'plan' meant 'getting Ni~ya really drunk'), mostly because he'd had to wait to catch the bassist between girlfriends. This didn't take too long, though, since Ni~ya tends to go for cheerful women of a fairly free-and-easy disposition and can run the course of a relationship in a matter of days. So, once Yomi had established that Yurie was a thing of the past, he persuaded Ni~ya to go drinking. Which, let's face it, isn't exactly a difficult task.

“...Are we really gonna talk about this again?” demanded Ni~ya tipsily, brandishing his glass for a refill as Yomi astutely (or not) turned the conversation round to the prospect of their giving Ruka a surprise 'present'.

“Why not?” Yomi asked, slurring his words slightly. “Could be fun!” Sighing, Ni~ya downed his drink and reached for the bottle.

“'Cos Ruka doesn't deserve that much fun.” He thought. “Also, no offence, but I'm not exactly dying to leap into bed with you.”

“Bah,” said Yomi, flapping his hand exaggeratedly to show the insignificance of that statement. “This isn't about you and me. This is about us and him.” Ni~ya frowned, trying to follow the logic of this. “Haven't you always thought,” the little singer continued, “how nice it would be to take Ruka down a peg or two?” He bounced his shoulder against Ni~ya's comfortably.

“'Course,” answered Ni~ya, who was constantly trying to think of ways to do just that (he'd never forgotten how Ruka had taken advantage of him the first time). He took another swig of vodka and tonic. “But I don't see how letting him get his hands on both of us is gonna do anything but fuel his ego.” Yomi elbowed him enthusiastically.

“Safety in numbers, I thought!” He gestured at himself. “Not really a lot I can do when it's just him and me: I'm too small, and that's that. And he's too rough. But you,” he said, eyes glinting, “with you in tow, we might have the chance to show him who's boss!”

“So basically you want me to be, like, hired muscle,” stated Ni~ya, throwing out an arm and knocking over Yomi's drink. “How flattering!”

“No no no no no,” chanted the singer. “You have to be there, if Ruka's gonna learn any kind of lesson!”

“...What's this actually about?” enquired Ni~ya, who was fairly sure that Yomi did not in fact mind being bossed around by their drummer or putting up with a certain level of pain to make him happy. From his point of view, Yomi's proposition was actually kind of attractive, and got more so with each glass he poured; but he was curious about the real reason.

“Oh,” said Yomi, unabashed, “the other week Ruka told me that he's sexually conservative.” Ni~ya couldn't help letting out a yelp of laughter. “Exactly,” carried on the singer. “So I want to prove to him that he's not.”

Ni~ya considered this, still giggling ridiculously. He wondered by what bizarre standard Ruka was judging himself; maybe, if you compared yourself to Chiba, anything you did would be considered conservative.

“Go on, then,” he heard himself say. He paused, and peered down in surprise at his mouth, which had apparently taken off on its own without any input from his brain.

“Yay!” beamed Yomi, holding out his miniature hand. Ni~ya shook it in bewilderment. Damn alcohol, he thought, taking another drink; it got him into the most interesting situations...

“But let's make one thing clear,” he said solemnly, wagging a finger in Yomi's grinning face. “This is about Ruka. So you and me, there's an invisible wall between us, 'k?”

“Fine.”

“I do not wanna look up and find your hand down my pants.”

“What kind of pervert d'you think I am?” demanded Yomi, sounding astonished.

“Just the usual kind.” Ni~ya leaned his head in his hand and planted his elbow in his friend's spilled drink. “Eww. So,” he said, shaking his sleeve off, “exactly what makes you think Ruka is gonna go for this?” Yomi's grin widened; he was, thought Ni~ya, ever so strange-looking sometimes. The singer winked at him (at least, he tried: he was having a little trouble with the complex manoeuvre of closing one eye at a time).

“What makes you think he'll have a choice?”

 


 

 

An hour later, Ruka opened his door with a grumpy yawn, and came face to face with his bassist and his singer (well, face to face with Ni~ya, and face to air with Yomi, who was bouncing up and down on his toes trying to get in his eye-line).

“What the hell do you two want?” demanded Ruka, looking unnerved. Yomi and Ni~ya beamed at him with twin inebriated smiles.

“We want in.”

“...Bugger off!” the drummer told them, alarmed at this unannounced midnight visit, and attempted to shut the door in their faces. Ni~ya, with surprising presence of mind, jammed one foot in the doorway before it could close. He and Yomi both leaned their weight against the door, and Ruka, who had been dozing on the sofa and was still rather woozy, slid slowly backwards until it had opened enough to let them squeeze inside.

“Evening!” said Yomi casually, advancing on his drummer and stretching up as far as he could reach to be kissed. Ruka stared from one man to the other, and slowly, cautiously backed away.

“Whatever it is,” he warned them, “I'm not interested.”

“That's what he said,” countered Yomi, jerking a thumb at Ni~ya, who was watching the entertaining spectacle of a freaked-out Ruka with enjoyment. “And yet here he is!”

“Yeah, but for what?” asked the taller man suspiciously, as Ni~ya followed his singer's lead and began to close in. “...And you're banned!” he reminded Yomi, pointing an accusing finger at him.

“Details!” said Yomi happily, and beckoned over his shoulder to Ni~ya. “Get him.”

Ni~ya, wondering if he should feel offended at being sic'd on Ruka like a police dog, obliged, grabbing his lanky bandmate around the waist and propelling him straight through to the bedroom. Ruka, who was momentarily so astonished at his friends' audacity that he couldn't seem to move, fell flat on his backside on the carpet and had to be bodily lifted onto the bed, so that by the time they got there Ni~ya was panting and energised and sweating (Yomi had helped as best he could, but he wasn't exactly a heavyweight).

Ruka blinked at them both, mouth hanging open in his most gormless expression to date; Ni~ya was about to ask if he'd banged his head and whether he needed medical attention when the drummer's eyebrows drew down in a thunderous scowl. Uh-oh, thought Ni~ya: Ruka had obviously figured out just what the hell was going on (not hard, since he was being pinned to a bed by both his lovers, with Yomi's little hand already searching for a way under his shirt), and was not looking happy about it at all.

No,” said Ruka flatly, rocking up against the two of them to see how much energy it was going to require to throw them off. “I don't do stuff like this.” Niya thought he knew why, too: dealing with two guys at a time and remaining in complete command would be nigh-on impossible, and Ruka liked total control. Well, he'd just have to fight for it.

“Live a little,” he told the drummer, who gave him a poisonous glare before returning to the problem of Yomi's wandering hands. “You can't have it your way all the time.”

“Oh can't I!” snarled Ruka, and began to struggle in earnest. Too late, Ni~ya started to realise just how strong the older man was when he was seriously displeased, and after a minute or two of tangled limbs, crafty punches and swearing, the bassist glumly found himself trapped beneath him, with Yomi similarly caught on his other side. Ruka blew his fringe out of his face, took a firmer hold on Niya's wrists and increased the pressure of his knee, making the pale man wince and stop moving.

“...Bloody hell!” exclaimed Yomi from his horizontal position, gazing up at their drummer with what Ni~ya could only describe as submissive horniness, small fingers prying at Ruka's wrist to no avail. “Where did that come from?!”

“From you two being total pricks,” snapped Ruka angrily. He paused, chest heaving, and appeared to consider his position. A pleased, dark expression spread slowly across his features. He was transparent, thought Ni~ya: as soon as the power balance was back where he liked it, all Ruka's vanilla sensibilities disappeared. “I told you,” he continued, “we're not doing this.” Well, at least he was making an effort to pretend he didn't like it, Ni~ya supposed.

“Not even if we're good?” Yomi asked in a cajoling voice, with a soft, resigned expression on his little face that seemed to really flick Ruka's bic. Ni~ya allowed himself a quick smile: the singer clearly knew exactly how to press the taller man's buttons.

He doesn't know how to be good,” said Ruka, nodding grouchily at the bassist. Ni~ya pulled a face at him. Yomi stroked his fingers slowly up the inside of Ruka's restraining arm.

“You'll just have to teach him, then, won't you...”

Ruka gave him a look that said he knew exactly what he was up to, but smiled unwillingly all the same. Then he gazed down at Ni~ya, who put on a defiant face (he was secretly determined that he wouldn't be taught any lessons by Ruka, and that he'd make a bid for freedom as soon as possible) and writhed a bit beneath him. He heard the drummer give a quiet, predatory growl, and then Ruka was bending to speak into his ear.

“You want me to teach you?” Ruka rumbled, in his impossibly low, caressing voice. Ni~ya gulped: he was weak to that tone, it sent goose-bumps all along his body and made him catch his breath; he felt Ruka grin against his ear, and the next thing he knew he was being kissed, Ruka's hand tightening carelessly on his wrists. He closed his eyes; god, it felt good, even with the taller man's knee planted somewhere in his abdomen and with Yomi no doubt watching avidly next to them. But this wasn't getting him anywhere, Ni~ya thought, and certainly wasn't the point of the exercise; with difficulty he prepared to go back into fight mode.

Before he had summoned the energy, however, he heard a triumphant cackle of laughter, and opened his eyes to see Yomi pry himself away from Ruka's lax grip. Ruka clicked his tongue in annoyance, shooting Ni~ya a resentful look; Ni~ya himself was rather flattered at being attractive enough to distract their drummer and allow Yomi to escape, though it did mean his own plans were scuppered as Ruka leaned on him harder.

“Need a hand?” he enquired, eyebrows raised.

“No!” Ruka slapped at Yomi with his free hand, but the singer ducked easily and latched on to his shoulders. Ni~ya lay there quietly and waited for his friend to get distracted again. He didn't think it would take long: Yomi was clinging to Ruka, kissing him enthusiastically behind the ear, and defying all attempts by his drummer to get a firm hold by wriggling determinedly and trying to climb up him like a monkey.

“You sure you don't want some help?” asked Ni~ya, watching smugly from his prone position. “He's gonna switch if you're not careful!”

Ruka grimaced. It was true, Yomi was beginning to giggle in a very worrying way (all the Naito members' paranoid senses have been trained to recognise the Chiba frequency in a matter of seconds), and was suddenly eyeing the taller men like they were dinner. Looking sincerely regretful that he didn't have more arms, the drummer sighed and removed his weight from Ni~ya, who bounced up in satisfaction, gave him a quick kiss as a reward, and grabbed Yomi helpfully by the scruff of the neck.

Better,” said Ruka thankfully, looking mildly surprised as Yomi winced and stopped laughing. Ni~ya tossed his head.

“As if you're the only one with a bossy side.” He and Ruka looked at one another, and grinned in a sudden moment of perfect accord. After all, he thought, why waste all that energy fighting each other when there was someone so much easier to gang up on? Ni~ya was delighted: this wasn't exactly what he'd had planned, but for once he might be able to get through the night without having to knuckle under to the taller man. And, he thought tipsily, and he could get his own back on Yomi, who was now staring from one bandmate to the other with a comically anxious expression. “Hey, this was your idea,” Ni~ya reminded him, lip curling in his devilish little grin. “You can't complain now!”

And without further ado he threw his singer down on the bed. He could see Ruka nodding away next to him like a martial arts teacher watching an advanced student do their stuff, and only just had the presence of mind to pin Yomi down with one hand as their drummer grabbed him and pulled him into a fierce, approving kiss. Ni~ya fought back a moan as Ruka's talented tongue brushed his, and leaned harder on Yomi, who was taking advantage of his distraction to try and squirm away.

“I don't think so,” said Ruka gleefully, breaking the kiss to add his own hand to his tiny friend's chest. “Just stay put and wait your turn.”

“Don't wanna,” complained Yomi, making a noise halfway between amusement and annoyance as Ni~ya leaned in deliberately and set his lips to Ruka's again, winding his spare arm around the older man's neck. It took quite a lot of concentration, he was finding, to keep Yomi in one place and give Ruka's kiss the attention it deserved, especially when the drummer began biting lightly at his bottom lip and growling his name appreciatively. Still, it was worth it to hear the impatient, left-out little noises Yomi was making; Ruka was right, teasing their singer was fun.

“All right,” murmured Ruka, trailing his mouth downwards to attack Ni~ya's pale neck, until the bass player's pulse began racing beneath his tongue. “Strip him.”

Ni~ya ignored this for a minute, pushing himself happily against the older man, then broke away and pounced on Yomi as if it had been his idea in the first place. Yomi beamed at him, looking irritatingly unintimidated. Ni~ya dragged up the hem of his shirt, pulled it off and began to tickle him.

“Ni~ya...Ni~ya...stop it...!” shrieked Yomi, instantly incapacitated by the bassist's teasing fingers. And then, “wh...what happened to the invisible wall?!”

“I broke it.” Ni~ya smirked and carried on, aiming for the sensitive skin of his ribs, enjoying the sight of the smaller man squeaking helplessly underneath him. He couldn't exactly say he was attracted to Yomi the same way he was attracted to Ruka, but it was pretty funny.

Ruka made a quizzical sound beside him. Ni~ya gave him a glance: the drummer looked fascinated, as if he hadn't realised tormenting someone in bed could involve so much laughing. Ni~ya gave him an encouraging smile, popping the button on Yomi's jeans before attacking him under his arms.

“Go on,” he urged Ruka, nudging him with an elbow. “It's okay to laugh once in a while.” Ruka tilted his head thoughtfully, then shuffled down the bed to kneel at Yomi's feet. With practised ease he tugged the singer's jeans roughly off (despite Yomi's thrashing around) and threw them across the room. “That's not exactly what I meant,” Ni~ya told him, sighing, as Ruka smoothed his hands along Yomi's short legs.

“This better?” asked Ruka, flashing a brief, sadistic grin and setting his long fingers lightly to the soles of Yomi's diminutive feet.

Nooooo!” whimpered Yomi desperately as Ruka began to tickle him with an experimental air.

“Yeah, that's the way!” said Ni~ya, watching with amusement as Yomi lost control of his limbs. Ruka dodged a flailing leg, gave him an answering smile, and leaned forward to kiss him. Ni~ya slid a hand around the back of his neck, sitting on Yomi to keep him still enough for the drummer to carry on tickling him, and dragged him close. Ruka sighed into his mouth as Ni~ya's spare fingers brushed across his nipple beneath the fabric of his tshirt.

“You...guys...!” came Yomi's tremulous voice from somewhere below them, “this is...torture!!”

“Amazing,” said Ruka softly, one hand gliding up Yomi's thigh and the other tugging at Ni~ya's belt.

“Life is a learning process,” Ni~ya informed him primly, clambering off Yomi and dropping a friendly caress over his dirty-blonde hair. He raised his eyebrows as Ruka took advantage of Yomi's momentary stillness to remove his underwear, but had a good look anyway (not that he'd never seen him naked before; but it certainly hadn't been in circumstances like these). Really, he looked even dinkier without any clothes on, and actually kind of cute. That must be the drink talking.

“Not bad, eh?” muttered Ruka, whose cheeks were beginning to flush in a familiar way at the sight of his singer naked beneath him. Ni~ya, who knew that look very well (since it was often directed at him), shrugged non-committally.

“Hey!” exclaimed Yomi indignantly, panting for breath, “don't just shrug!”

“Yeah, yeah, you're very hot,” Ni~ya assured him. But Yomi had stopped listening, as Ruka's hands grabbed him by the hips, yanking him close and allowing the taller man to rain hungry kisses down on his body from his throat to his stomach. Ni~ya sighed; this was going to involve a lot of compromise and waiting about, something the spoiled bassist was not really accustomed to. Then again, the night had started off weird, and he supposed he shouldn't be surprised by anything that followed.

Yomi was practically purring with pleasure beneath Ruka's lips, a string of soft little noises Ni~ya had never heard from him before; it was really quite interesting to see him like this, breathless and unfocused and flushed with arousal.

“I kind of see what you mean,” he told Ruka thoughtfully, leaning across to kiss him on the bent nape of his neck, feeling a brief shiver of surprise and approval ripple across the warm skin beneath his mouth. Ruka let out a low chuckle into Yomi's chest, and groped behind himself for Ni~ya's hands, tugging them around his waist to feel the pale man pressed against him. Ni~ya leaned heavily on him (Ruka was strong, it wouldn't bother him, and even if it did it wouldn't hurt Yomi to get a bit squashed), pushing one hand beneath the front of his tshirt and the other into his pants. Ruka gave a quiet groan beneath him as the bassist's long fingers made contact, then grimaced under Yomi's questing hands, which had escaped from their prison and were now pulling at his dark hair.

“Don't stop now...!” exclaimed Yomi in dismay, as Ruka wrenched his head away to lean into Ni~ya's touch.

“Keep still and be quiet,” Ruka told him bluntly, “or I'll get all your playthings out of the cupboard and we'll see how you like that.” Yomi coloured, shaking his head swiftly. Ni~ya decided he was curious but not that curious, so refrained from comment. “Well then. Ni~ya-chan,” continued the drummer affectionately, running a hand into his friend's gleaming black hair, “will you take your clothes off?”

“Hmm,” said Ni~ya, giving him a narrow look.

“I'm asking nicely,” Ruka whispered, shifting back to press his hip against Ni~ya's cock, which was apparently feeling quite frisky. “I'm not gonna do anything dodgy. I just want to look at you.”

Ni~ya didn't bother voicing his current thought, which was that anything Ruka did using that voice would pretty much become dodgy by default: he could make a laundry list sound X-rated. But Ruka's hands were already working the buttons of his shirt, brushing the white skin beneath it, and Ni~ya just wasn't going to bother arguing over something that was inevitable anyway. With his assistance it took all of ten seconds before he was as naked as Yomi, and just as hard (and since the comparison was quite complimentary to himself, Ni~ya wasn't about to complain). Ruka slid a possessive arm around his waist, fingers electric on the base of his spine.

“You are just fucking beautiful,” he breathed, his other hand splayed wide over Yomi's little stomach. “Both of you...” He pivoted Ni~ya until he could lower him down on the covers beside the singer and observe them both side by side. Ni~ya decided he would give him one minute of gloating before he went back on the attack, and lay there doing his best to look doe-eyed and submissive (he wasn't very good at it, but the thought was there).

“You are pretty,” Yomi said from beside him, sounding resigned but cheerful, his gaze sweeping the length of Ni~ya's tall, slender white frame.

“Like you didn't know that already,” Ni~ya murmured complacently, giving the smaller man's hair a friendly tug.

“Modest, too.” Ni~ya sniffed at this and looked back up at Ruka, who was following their exchange vaguely and staring from one to the other like he didn't know where to start. Ni~ya could see he was aroused as both himself and Yomi, so took pity on him and grabbed the back of his collar, pulling him down to kiss him. He arched up against the older man's body and felt his erection pressing hopefully into his thigh; Ruka returned the kiss ravenously, and with admirable multi-tasking skills reached out for Yomi, drawing him in closer and reaching round to pinch his ass sharply.

“Ow!” The singer squeaked and flattened himself against Ruka's side in an attempt to get away from his painful fingers, clinging to the taller man's back and pressing a line of kisses from his jaw to the edge of his collar. Ni~ya felt the drummer break away from his lips, and took the opportunity to breathe while Ruka turned to give Yomi's mouth the same attention. He could feel Yomi's skin warm and smooth against his own, which was not unpleasant; but Ruka was still far too clothed, so he squirmed out from underneath him and set to work on his tshirt.

“Arms up!” he commanded, pulling Ruka away from Yomi just long enough to drag the garment over his head, leaving his dark hair dishevelled and looking rather sexy. Ruka's idea of thanks for this undressing service was to grab Ni~ya's ass and squeeze indulgently, while his other hand was attacking Yomi's nipples (as usual), forcing a series of ambiguous mewls from his singer's lips.

That left only the sweat-pants; but before he could do anything about that Ruka was nudging him in the direction of the bedside cabinet. Ni~ya decided to carry on being helpful, since it was such a novel sensation, and pulled open the drawer, extracting the lube (same brand as Ruka used with him, when he was given the chance – which was seldom).

“All right,” said Ruka delightedly, once Ni~ya passed it to him, “who's it gonna be?” Ni~ya just looked stubborn: it required a very special set of circumstances for him to allow Ruka to fuck him, and while these probably did count as 'special', there was no way he was going to cave in on the first round.

“...Janken?” ventured Yomi with difficulty, what with Ruka's hand still grabbing at him.

“I don't think so.”

“Suits me,” muttered Ruka, with a fairly evil smile, as he and Ni~ya observed their trembling, flushed little vocalist. He turned to his pale friend. “You gonna watch?” Ni~ya shrugged, somewhat intrigued as to how Ruka could actually manage with someone as small as Yomi.

“Sure.”

“Hold him down, then,” the drummer instructed, gesturing to Yomi's arms. Ni~ya raised an eyebrow. “He likes it tied up,” Ruka explained, gazing at the bass player wistfully.

“I'm sure he does,” said Ni~ya, ignoring the implication in Ruka's tone and moving to grab Yomi's wrists, tugging his arms up above his head and holding them there so his compact body stretched into one fluid line. Yomi gave him an unabashed, tremulous smile, which vanished in a gasp as Ruka's fingers delved between his thighs.

“Isn't he too rough on you?” asked Ni~ya in mild concern, as Ruka pushed two lubed fingers inside his singer without a pause. Yomi bit down on a moan, tearing his gaze away from Ruka's with difficulty.

“'S okay,” he whispered, pulse rapid beneath Ni~ya's fingers. “...He knows just how I like...ahhh!” Ruka had grabbed his thigh with one hand, spreading his short legs wider while the other went to work opening him up. Yomi turned to press his hot forehead against Ni~ya's knee, short nails biting into the palms of his hands.

“Doesn't it hurt?” said Ni~ya, who always dictated his own pace and put up huge complaint if Ruka tried to go any faster than was comfortable. He found himself stroking Yomi's little neck soothingly.

“...It...ahh...It's not that it hurts,” Yomi explained, though he was having trouble stringing a sentence together as Ruka added a third finger, moving deftly in and out of him. “It's just...overwhelming.”

“That's 'cos I'm so good,” Ruka told him smugly, withdrawing his hand and patting Yomi's knee lovingly. He reached out for Ni~ya, drawing him in for a brief kiss; the bassist had never seen him this excited before, despite his matter-of-fact tone, and supposed Yomi was in for a wonderful time and a lot of not-sitting-down the next day. “Condom,” said Ruka, letting Ni~ya go and pointing again at the cabinet while he clumsily shucked himself of his trousers.

“Yes sir,” said Ni~ya sarcastically, distracted for a moment by the cheesy and possibly illegal doctor-patient-nurse fantasies that had just invaded his brain for some reason. Ruka gestured imperially at himself, and Ni~ya rolled his dark eyes and slid the condom over his erection; Ruka's cock was hot and hard beneath his fingers, and the bassist found himself getting terribly turned on, which was a shame since there was very little probability of anyone doing anything about it right now.

“Turn over,” Ruka was saying, nudging Yomi onto his front and dragging him up on his knees. Before he had taken more than one aroused breath the drummer was entering him, chest pressed tight against Yomi's tense back, muttering encouragingly in his ear. He heard Yomi groan through clenched teeth, head hanging limply as the sensations hammered him. Ni~ya had to give him his due, he was pretty hardcore: Ruka's size was a minor challenge even for himself, and the older man was a lot less careful with Yomi, pushing steadily forward until he was completely inside him.

“He's okay,” Ruka told him in an aside, trailing his fingernails teasingly down Yomi's spine. “Anyway, he deserves it rough... Serves him right for trying to get the jump on me...!” He thrust lightly against the vocalist, and grinned dizzily at his whimper. He held out his other arm to Ni~ya invitingly. “C'mere.” Ni~ya did as he was told, though with the air of granting Ruka a great favour. Ruka stopped moving to kiss him untidily, passionately, then turned his attention back to Yomi.

“...What's he like?” asked Ni~ya breathlessly, one arm hooked around Ruka's neck, lips against his ear.

Tight,” managed Ruka, spare hand sliding between the bassist's legs to grasp his cock, face locked in a frown of concentration as he set the two separate rhythms in motion (but hey, he's a drummer, and what else are drummers for?).

Ni~ya knelt there, pressed against Ruka, and watched his drummer fuck his singer in a haze of odd arousal: Yomi did make an excellent bottom, moving beneath Ruka without complaint even as he sped up and dug his fingers hard into the smaller man's hip to gain more leverage; Yomi just dragged in a harsh breath and cried out pleasurably, skin flushed and slick with sweat. Ni~ya turned his attention to Ruka, who was still moving his hand expertly over his bassist's hard-on; the drummer was staring down at Yomi, another dopey expression plastered across his features, as if nothing else in the world could feel so good. Ni~ya was fond of this expression, and rubbed his hand ardently down Ruka's back, pushing tighter against him and dropping a heated kiss to the corner of his mouth.

Ni~ya-chan,” murmured Ruka ecstatically, turning blindly at the contact to capture his pale friend's lips. “You...still enjoying yourself?”

“...You'd know about it if I wasn't,” Ni~ya assured him, letting out a low moan as Ruka's nimble fingers worked their way down the base of his cock to brush teasingly over his balls. Ruka chuckled once, then leaned forward to push harder into Yomi, who let out a shocked cry beneath them.

“You know...” said Ruka hoarsely, “he doesn't need to be that loud...that's why I...banned him in the first place.” He reached forward and twisted his hand in the singer's hair, yanking his head up and drawing his back into a pleasing arc. Yomi whimpered. “You want a go?” Ruka asked, whispering against Ni~ya's neck and sending shivers all the way down it. “He's quite good...” Ni~ya felt a pang of morally dubious arousal shoot through him at the thought; Ruka's thumb smoothed encouragingly over the head of his cock.

“...Depends what he thinks about it,” he heard himself say, caught up in the moment and the heat of the drummer's lips and his magnificently talented hand. Ruka gave Yomi's fair hair another tug.

“Complaints?” he demanded brusquely, not stopping the movement of his hips. Yomi shook his head dazedly. Ruka gave Ni~ya a quick slap on his lovely ass. “Help yourself, then.”

“If you say so...” Ni~ya peeled himself away from the older man with reluctance, and crawled forward to kneel in front of Yomi, who looked up at him, eyes two shining slivers of sensory overload in his pink face. He gazed down at his little bandmate, and once again couldn't help but be impressed: he knew there was no way he would allow such a liberty, especially not without prior discussion or even a 'please'. He grasped Yomi's jaw carefully. “Is this all right with you?” he asked; the blood was singing through his body with excitement, from Ruka's caresses and the sight of his singer's pretty lips, which parted with an effort to smile at him.

“Bring it...on...” Yomi managed, the breath ragged in his throat.

“That's his answer to everything,” grunted Ruka approvingly, darting his left hand down beneath Yomi's body to give him a reward. Yomi moaned gratuitously – he really was quite loud – and Ni~ya shrugged, prying the smaller man's mouth open gently and sliding his erection past his lips.

Yomi inhaled nervously through his nose, taking Ni~ya deeper immediately as he was pushed forward by Ruka's movement. Ni~ya bit back a moan of his own at the sudden heat and the delicious wetness of his mouth, which closed around him in a well-practised way; he found himself clutching at Yomi's hair involuntarily. Yomi made a pained, vaguely grumbling sound, both his bandmates now pulling his blonde locks in different directions, but didn't stop the wonderful suction that he was treating Ni~ya to, just closed his eyes and put up with being manipulated like a doll by his large and overenthusiastic friends.

“Oh,” gasped Ni~ya, as Yomi rocked forward and swallowed him up even further, “you were so right...!”

“Told you,” Ruka said absently. Ni~ya leaned forward and tugged his head closer until he was within kissing distance, crashing their lips together thoughtlessly; the kiss ended up with a lot more teeth than was strictly comfortable, but he didn't care, not when he was this close to what promised to be a spine-chillingly good orgasm. Yomi wasn't as phenomenally brilliant at giving head as Ruka, true, but the situation itself made up for that, as did the sight of Yomi beneath him and Ruka above, both of them looking weak-kneed with pleasure; Ni~ya felt the the familiar, pleasantly superior sensation that came whenever he got his own way, and grinned into the kiss, his hand tight on the back of Yomi's head.

“Hold on...” he whispered desperately, at whoever was listening, “I'm gonna...!” He felt himself screw up his face, heard Ruka's grunt of recognition, and then he was coming, Yomi's lyrical tongue stabbing into the vein on the underside of his cock. Ruka took hold of the singer's narrow hips, pulling him back until Ni~ya slipped from his mouth.

“...He doesn't really do swallowing,” Ruka explained between harsh gulps of air. “Not unless he's been seriously misbehaving...”

“...Whatever...!” breathed Ni~ya, who personally didn't give a damn where he came so long as he did; Yomi's smooth skin was as good a place as any. He dropped back on his heels in satiated exhaustion and tried to get his breath back, pushing Yomi's damp hair out of his eyes and observing his pink, shining lips with amazement; ohh, Ruka was a good teacher.

A good teacher who still wasn't done, evidently: Ruka gave Yomi approximately five seconds to pull himself together before he started moving again, faster than before, in a deep rhythm that had the smaller man crying out with every stroke. The drummer came as he always did, with a low snarl, hand clawing down Yomi's back and the singer shuddering beneath him. Ni~ya liked that sound, he really did, though he was feeling too sated and lazy right now to do anything more than give Ruka some mental applause and smile at him blissfully.

Ruka glowered back at him (but that was perfectly normal, he always looked dangerous when he came) and wrapped his arms around Yomi's waist, holding onto him tight until he was completely finished. Then he pulled out of him, causing a choked, sensitised moan, and slumped back against the covers to sort himself out.

Meanwhile, Yomi, without anything left to support him, looked about ready to fall flat on his face. Ni~ya caught him thoughtfully and flipped him over onto his back. His singer cracked an eye open and gave him a pleading glance, looking thoroughly debauched; Ni~ya leaned down to kiss his neck, since he did look adorable and the bassist was grateful. Yomi tasted interesting, partly unique and partly like Ruka, as if the drummer's scent had permeated his skin.

“Is he always like this with you?” he whispered in Yomi's ear, trailing a hand down his chest to circle one hard little nipple. Yomi arched into his fingers.

“...Pretty much,” he panted happily. Ruka gave a confirmatory smirk, flopping forward to cover Yomi's legs heavily with his torso. He set his long fingers to Yomi's erection, and the singer gasped frantically, his small hand covering Ruka's adoringly and moving with him. Ruka gave him an affectionate bite on the hip, nodding in satisfaction at the teasing movement of Ni~ya's hands on their friend's body, then returned to coaxing an orgasm out of him with all the skill at his disposal.

Ruka...!” cried the vocalist, not two minutes later, his whole body stiffening as he came into the drummer's hand, his fingers and toes scrabbling convulsively at the sheets. So that was what people looked like when Ruka got them off, thought Ni~ya wryly: like complete helpless idiots. It was worth it, though, for the amount of bliss the man could generate when he felt like it.

“There,” said Ruka exhaustedly, when Yomi was finally done. “Let that be a lesson to you!” He shuffled his long body across so he could lie half over Yomi and rest his head on Ni~ya's stomach.

“...It was meant to be a lesson to you,” Ni~ya reminded him, smiling philosophically. He ran his fingers through Ruka's hair, heard the drummer purr.

“I'll admit,” croaked Yomi tiredly, once he had got some breath back, “...it didn't turn out quite as I'd meant it to. Though I think I made my point...kind of.”

“Not sure I did.” Ni~ya shrugged, reaching over to the table for Ruka's cigarettes, mopping sweat off his forehead with the back of his wrist. “I suppose I can't complain, though.” He lit up, inhaled, and placed the cigarette in Ruka's mouth. Yomi twisted so he could look up at them.

“'S no problem,” he said lazily. “It's only 2am. We can always get it right the second time.” Ni~ya coughed out a cloud of smoke, waved it away from his streaming eyes, and gaped at him.

“That is bloody incredible.” Ruka nodded, one arm stealing around their singer and squeezing him for all he was worth.

“And that's why I love him.””

 

 

“...And so it just goes on like that,” Satty says, waving his juice bottle in a spiral to signify his friends' long night of escalating depravity. “You wanna hear more?”

“Better not,” I tell him carefully, glancing over at Fullface; Satty's hand, at some point during the story, had migrated under the table and is now fiddling with Fullface's knee (hope it's his knee, anyway; doesn't bear thinking about if not!), and the younger man looks like he's about to have either an orgasm or a heart attack if his friend carries on talking. “I think I get the gist of it!”

“So long as I managed to get the point across,” says Satty, like he's worried he's insufficient to the task of providing smut.

“Pretty sure you did. Ruka: thinks he's straight-edge, but when he's calling the shots he's a total sleaze.”

“That's about the size of it!” Satty pushes his glasses up his nose again (they're a little steamed up, though compared to Fullface's all-over blush he still looks fresh as a daisy). “We just thought you should know, in case you ever want to blackmail Ni~ya.”

You thought he needed to know,” mumbles Fullface. “I have no idea why I'm even here!”

“It's more fun.” The slender guitarist giggles; Fullface gives him an embarrassed mock punch in the arm. Then, as I watch, their eyes meet briefly and Satty blushes, actually blushes, though whether it's from an appropriate sense of shame at the tale of filth he just narrated or from something else is hard to tell.

But that's okay: I have it all on video.

 


 

 

February 23 rd , 2010

 

 

“Yeah,” drawls Ruka casually, “we did it. Not that it's anyone's business. And I had it under control the entire time.”

“Good for you!” I say. I've found it helps, after each increasingly unlikely story fed me by one member or other, to actually confirm with one of the parties in question that it's not a complete fairy tale. And according to Ruka, yes, it happened, and yes, he was incredibly awesome and cool all the way through it (I swear, sometimes it really is like talking to Giga).

“I've got them pretty well licked into shape now.” Ni~ya's tech Masa, who is actually using the room for essential, legitimate work instead of unofficial documentary making, flinches at the word 'lick' and tries to hide behind a fret-board. “But aren't you tired of this yet?” continues Ruka bluntly (he's still pissed off at my failure to take his opinion about Hitsu and Saki as gospel). “I mean...frankly, I don't think you're gonna get a more titillating story than this. It's time you got down to the serious work.”

“And what's that?” I ask, doubtfully.

“Editing,” states Ruka. “When we finally watch this masterpiece I don't want my viewing experience interrupted by shots of Hitsu-kun talking about what he's having for dinner or Sakito blithering on about Vivienne Westwood. So you'd better make it look slick!”

I shrug. “Well, that's fine, I suppose I could do-”

Wait a minute, what??

Chapter Text

March 4 th , 2010

 

 

“Of course we're going to watch it,” says Sakito, with the serene air of a man who has nothing to hide but an endless series of trysts with beautiful women. “You think I did all that world-class narration just for your benefit, Ryo-kun?”

“Frankly, yes.”

“Now really.” Saki flicks a lock of smooth hair behind his ear. “That's hardly fair. I want to hear what everyone else has said about me!” Ruka and Yomi shrug in agreement, then look each other up and down and grin warily.

I stare up at my band from my stool in the Dweeb Den, where they cornered me not five minutes ago. I'm guessing Ruka passed on my horrified reaction to his demand for access to my documentary after all (I imagine several minutes of 'what the hell!'s and open-mouthed gaping probably got my reluctance across). Now the three of them are looking stubbornly down at me, while Ni~ya and Hitsugi are giving each other doubtful grimaces behind the others' backs: they've obviously been weighing the likelihood of overwhelming personal embarrassment against the chance for free entertainment, and so far it looks like embarrassment is winning.

Personally I hands-down agree with them, and not only because my editing skills aren't exactly at a Kurosawa level. I can pretty much guarantee that someone or other is going to get stroppy over his own on-screen portrayal and throw a hissy fit, not to mention the airing of opinions about people that said people might prefer to be kept quiet (I glance up at Hitsu and see only mild apprehension at the prospect of graphic tales of his friends' sexual exploits; but he doesn't know what Ruka's been saying about him, now does he).

But majority rules, especially when it includes Ruka and Sakito, the official and de facto band leaders and the bossiest pair of bastards, in their own distinct ways, I have ever met.

“All right,” I agree humbly, after I've been browbeaten for several minutes by the many cast-iron reasons why I ought to share my film-making efforts with the world. I know when I'm trumped. “I'll keep editing.”

“But not too much,” Ruka warns me privately, once Hitsu and Ni~ya have wandered away grumbling and the other two have shoved off to get cigarettes. “There's important stuff in there that may be of great interest to certain parties; I'd hate to see anything happen to it.” He leans heavily on my shoulder; feels like he ought to have a couple of thugs and a Doberman or two behind him to complete the image as he gives me a protection-racket glare. I nod hurriedly. Ruka claps me manfully on the back. “Er, feel free to get rid of any of the Chiba footage, though,” he adds as an afterthought. Then he slinks off.

Well. Looks like we'll be having a film première after all. Oh my.

 


 

March 27 th , 2010

 

 

It's late. My colleagues have all gone home, and the practice studio is dim and quiet. Well, apart from the glowing light from my laptop and the strident tones of five men bickering over how to set up a projector properly.

Yes. Tonight is the night. My film is cleaned, polished up and as edited as it's ever gonna get, and now it's sitting inside my DVD drive like a ticking time-bomb of trouble just waiting to happen. All five members have agreed that the studio is more neutral territory than any of their apartments, and I'm not going to traumatise my neighbours by the sounds of uncensored smut filtering through the walls (never mind the inevitable shouting of the aftermath). So here we are.

Ruka, Akihabara nerd, eventually commandeers the cables and remote, and the white wall is soon glowing gently with my chocobo screensaver. I arrange five comfortable chairs in a line; Ni~ya, Ruka and Yomi immediately drag theirs backward to create a second row, leaving Hitsu and Saki sitting at the front like the good kids in class while the other three slouch behind them with cans of Asahi and junk food. I slope off into a corner, as far into the darkness as my computer's cables will allow.

“Is it ready?” demands Ruka, kicking impatiently at the back of Hitsu's chair.

“...It's ready,” I tell him, my finger hovering over the button in trepidation.

I see all five members brace themselves. Yomi gestures with his popcorn.

“All right. Roll it.”

I press Play.

 


 


It's a long, long film. But my guys sit there and give it the same fascinated attention they'd give The Godfather. There's the occasional whisper in the darkness, and every now and then an unflattering comment by an interviewee invites a barrage of popcorn from the back row. Someone (I suspect Ni~ya) gets bored while poor Tamura-san is talking and starts making shadow animals in front of the projector, and for several minutes we're treated to such classics as Miscellaneous Bird and Deformed Rabbit, before Sakito's story about Chiba begins and knocks everyone into incredulous, horrified silence.

And silent it continues until the end, and by that time my stomach is in knots. For myself...well, I think it's a major achievement in non-fiction cinema, sexuality studies and maybe zoology, but I doubt very much if anyone else is going to see it that way.

At last the screen fades smoothly to black (thank you, Windows) and the speakers fall quiet. I take a long breath, then slap the light switch on. For several moments my boys stare straight at the wall in considering, contemplative silence. Then they erupt.

When I say 'they', of course, I mean Ruka and Ni~ya. Well, who didn't see that coming? It starts as low hisses, then bad-tempered elbows to the ribs while everyone else cranes to hear what this first argument is about. Suddenly the two of them are on their feet and probably the people in the next street can hear what it's about.

“Oh, so you think you're getting married, do you?” Ruka demands, pointing an accusatory finger at his bassist, who squares up to him without the least self-consciousness.

“Er, yes!”

“All right, who is she?!”

“...I don't know yet!!”

Ah, the 'I'm not gay' speech is the problem, is it? I roll my eyes from my corner. Ruka, whose self-interest is genuinely spectacular, has obviously glossed over the whole issue of Ni~ya's ostensible straightness and has moved on to what matters, the possibility that some day he may not be allowed to get off with him in the Accounting office.

“You selfish son of a bitch!” spits Ruka. Ni~ya opens his mouth incredulously.

Me? At least I make a point of sleeping with people one at a fucking time!! ...Mostly!” I spot Yomi grinning at this.

“Prude.”

“Tramp!”

The rest of us keep our seats and watch this free show with interest; it's nothing we haven't heard a hundred times before from Naito's rhythm section, and I know from bitter experience that once they've yelled themselves hoarse they'll get over it and go make out loudly in a cupboard somewhere.

This continues for some while, and by the sounds of it could keep going ad infinitum. And, amusing though it is, there are bigger things to worry about in this room. You know what I'm talking about, don't you?

I turn my attention to my two guitarists, who have remained silent throughout (not that they could get a word in if they tried right now). Sakito has reached down and is clasping Hitsu's hand tight, eyes fixed on the now-blank screen.

“Is it true?” he asks quietly, just audible beneath the din of Ruka and Ni~ya going at it. “...What Ruka said: is it true?”

Hitsu doesn't answer, doesn't even look at his partner to gauge a reaction from his face. He just stares down at their intertwined fingers, dark eyes very wide and white teeth biting into the flesh and metal of his lip. There's silence (well, relatively speaking) for a long time.

“...Oh,” says Saki. He makes no move to disentangle himself from the younger man, but I see Hitsu wince; the temperature in the room seems to drop by several degrees. I think now would be a great time for everyone to get the hell out of here.

I edge my way between Ruka and Ni~ya (and Yomi, who is putting in the occasional comment, apparently to see how many different insults Ruka can throw before he starts repeating himself).

“...And you!” growls Ruka as I approach, turning from the bassist and rounding on his singer like a duellist after fresh blood. “You can quit your laughing!” He begins to count off on his fingers. “You never shut up, you're always late, you can't keep a room tidy for more than five minutes... In fact, all the character traits I can't fucking stand: you've got every single one!”

Yomi's eyes gleam at these insults (which he hears on about a once-a-week basis, so they've rather lost their sting), and he opens his mouth enthusiastically.

“All right, break it up!” I interject, feeling like Jerry Springer. “You've all got what you wanted, so be on your way!” The three of them wind down gradually.

“That,” pants Ruka, “was extremely educational viewing.” He glowers with mixed irritation and interest at Ni~ya, who seems to get even more handsome when he's angry and is now glowing darkly in his direction. Yomi just grins at the pair of them.

“Maybe we should go,” Ruka concedes, looking like he'd be perfectly happy to jump Ni~ya right here and now. “We've obviously got a lot to talk about.” They begin to gather their various belongings, and I see Ruka glance over at his guitarists, who clearly aren't listening and are showing no signs of movement. Ruka's lips thin for a moment, and he tilts his head appraisingly. “Leave them,” he tells me quietly on his way out, a satisfied little smirk flitting across his features. It vanishes as Ni~ya's shoulder brushes his. “It's out there now; they'll sort it out for themselves.”

I take one quick look back at Saki and Hitsu, then follow. I wish I had Ruka's confidence that everything will be okay, because the way they're looking now is, frankly, worrying, and I'm thinking it would have been better all round if they hadn't watched this movie, if Ruka had never told that story at all. But I've been saying that all along, and did anybody listen? Of course not.

It's done now, anyway. There's nothing any of us can do but wait and see.

 


 


April 9 th , 2010

 

 

I should have known there would be fallout from our cinema session. What am I saying, I did know it. But it's always nice to be proved right.

 

Admittedly, most of it has been no big deal: Ni~ya, as if to prove his totally-not-gay credentials, went straight out and found a new girlfriend, and two days later caught a particularly disgusting cold while on a date with her, much to Ruka's amusement. At first the drummer seemed rather fascinated with the spectre of Ni~ya in a face mask, which shows only his coal-black eyes and a sliver of flushed cheek, and looks quite mysterious and exotic (well, if you're into that kind of thing, presumably). But the growing mountain of used tissues and irritable coughing have scared Ruka off for the time being, and Ni~ya is now being looked after by Hitsu in a sudden fit of domesticity.

And, indirectly, this has led to Ruka devoting all his considerable energies to Yomi. Ruka had smirked his way through the portion of the documentary narrated by Giga, as if the telling of the story somehow made his ownership of Yomi official, and these days is wandering around in a haze of smugness that makes Tamura-san shake his head hopelessly. The singer doesn't seem inclined to argue; and this, in turn, has its own repercussions.

 


 

April 13 th , 2010

 

 

I don't think Yomi and Ruka ever intended to 'come out' (well, not any further than flirting and assorted gropage on camera entails). Not formally, anyway. So when it eventually does happen, it's accidental. And, given the two of them, amazingly subtle.

I'm not talking about an announcement on a national level here or anything. No, it's private, and unspectacular, and probably no surprise to anyone but the audience in question.

It's the first date of Naito's Gianizm tour, at Tokyo Uni's Aurora Hall (classy). It's most likely this classiness that prompted some of the members to invite their parents along for the live, since it's their tenth year and they probably feel due some congratulations. It's the morning of the show and we've all been there several hours already (except Ruka, who was last as usual, the sly git). I'm just finishing my tea break when I'm fielded by Tamura-san, who I see has parents in tow, no doubt here to say hi to their sons before they're rendered unrecognisable by makeup and hairspray. As they get closer I see it's Yomi and Ruka's fathers.

“The girls are out shopping,” says Yomi Senior, once we've all said hello. “So we thought we'd escape and come see the kids for a bit.”

“Right this way,” I beckon them, catching Tamura-san's stressed expression of terminal busyness. I guide them behind the stage, manoeuvring them round equipment and scurrying staff. As ever they seem perplexed and fascinated by the hive of activity, all these people and millions of yens' worth of technology working for the benefit of their darling offspring.

Now, where are the little buggers? I peer through windows as we pass along the corridors: Ni~ya is sneezing and practising bass in one room, Hitsu and Sakito reading silently in another. Ah. Found them.

“Here they are!” I say cheerfully, and the dads trot up behind me. I'm already reaching for the door handle when I realise what I'm actually looking at, and which...oh, too late, they've seen it too. No, it's nothing scandalous. Well, not by Naito's standards, anyway. “Er. Let's just...” I begin, and by that point the parents have stopped in their tracks and are peering through the green room window like they're watching a rare exhibit at the zoo. I give up and join them.

My drummer and singer are sitting at the big table, armed with coffee and looking completely relaxed about the impending concert. I can't hear what they're saying, but it looks like a very mundane conversation, probably about lunch or something; other than the fact that Yomi has appropriated Ruka's fingers and is absently playing with them as they talk. For a while Ruka allows it like he's not even aware of it; then he smiles, a quick, sweet smile that you never see in public because it's so rare and so intimate, and folds his hand around Yomi's. Yomi looks down at their twined fingers, grins his own flashing grin, then returns to the conversation.

That's it. But it speaks volumes.

“...So. My child,” says Ruka's dad, after several seconds of busy silence in which I want to disappear into the floor.

“Yes.”

“And yours.”

“Well,” they say. “Hm.”

They give one another an awkward glance, Ruka's father looking rather perturbed (though it's hard to tell whether this is due to discomfort at the thought of his kid getting it on with another man or the prospect of having Chiba as an erstwhile son-in-law). And, as far as I know, that's it. No hysterics, no delighted congratulations (I'm not sure which one of these is more likely, but I'm quite glad their mothers aren't here right now).

I decide not to tell them about Ni~ya...

 


 

April 19 th , 2010

 

 

“You seen Saki?” I ask the room at large, poking my head around the door. The 'at large' turns out to be kind of redundant, since it contains only Yomi, scoffing the remains of his bandmates' bento and reading Playboy on the sly. Yomi jumps guiltily at my voice, then realises it's just me and retrieves the magazine from its hiding place under the table.

“They're in Room C,” he informs me, and he doesn't need to tell me who he means. “Being weird.” I slip into the room, lean Sakito's black ESP against the wall, and prop myself up next to it, closing the door quietly. Think it's time I talked to someone, and since Ni~ya is unintelligible right now thanks to his bunged-up nose and face mask (and I really don't want to have this conversation with Ruka), Yomi is realistically the only option.

“Have they spoken to you?” I ask, and he makes an odd face.

“I don't think either of them has spoken to anybody. 'Specially not each other...Unless guitar duets count as talking.” We both sit for a minute in uncharacteristic silence.

“Mad, isn't it,” is all I can up with, at last.

“Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather!” says Yomi, sounding like my grandma. He shakes his head in mystification and wipes soy sauce off his cheek with the back of his hand. “I thought there was no way... But now? How weird they're both acting? Gotta be something to it.”

“If people just observed,” cuts in Ruka (who has just barged into the room) from atop his high horse, pushing past his singer with a brief yank at his hair, “we wouldn't be having all this confusion in the first place.”

“Yeah, thanks for that, Sherlock!” Yomi calls after him, before returning to his amazed musing. He looks worried, a rare expression on that little face, which was pretty much designed to be grinning like a monkey at anything and everything.

Hell, everyone looks worried; the only one who doesn't is Ruka, and where he gets his confidence from is anyone's guess, because things between our two guitarists have not got any better since the night of the screening. If anything, they're worse.

I don't know what happened that night after we all went home. What I do know is that Sakito and Hitsugi haven't been within three feet of each other for weeks, never mind close enough to hold hands. It's not like they're fighting – the whole concept of that is so alien I can't even imagine it – they're not even avoiding each other; but they're not really talking, beyond what you need to be in a band together and get any work done at all.

There's plenty of looking going on, though, during all that silence. Only now it's Hitsu, who has spent the last decade with a loving eye on Sakito, turning away, while the older guitarist stares at him, just stares and stares and doesn't talk. For anyone who cares to while away their free time watching one man watch another (and right now that's pretty much all of us), this is quite a fascinating process: Hitsu busying himself incessantly with his DS and guitars in a concerted effort to keep his eyes occupied as Saki gazes in his direction, expressions flowing over his beautiful face like an emotional river. So far I've counted amazement, anger, curiosity, disbelief, pity, resignation, even an odd kind of disappointment. No wonder Hitsu wants to turn his eyes elsewhere.

You wouldn't think this gentle, unspectacular cold war could go on so long; but then, I'm used to Ruka and Ni~ya's fiery explosions of temper, which burn embarrassingly hot and are over in a matter of days at the outside. Well, it does go on. And on. I know Hitsu won't crack: he's had over ten years' self-induced silence, and, as we've all seen, when he's hurt he just gets quieter and more withdrawn. No, this is all gonna come down to Sakito, just like I knew it would.

So we settle down to wait.

 




April 21st, 2010

 

 

I'm in the break room, following another rehearsal. These are very odd nowadays, what with the staring ring going on and everyone trying to pretend they're not hanging on their guitarists' every word to figure out what's happening between them while trying to actually play their instruments. It's not affecting their proficiency as such; but, in some indefinable way, their balance is all screwed up. I feel bad for the other techs, and poor Tamura-san, who have only the faintest idea what's going on. Mostly, though, I feel bad for me, because I know damn well what's going on and sincerely wish it wasn't.

I slurp my noodles thoughtfully, spraying soup absently over the table, and wonder what I can do about all this. As I'm sitting there, feeling vaguely guilty and depressed, a slender shadow falls over my bowl and I look up to see Sakito standing above me, tired and beautiful and fidgety.

“If you're looking for the SS-500,” I say with my mouth full, “I put it back in the Dweeb Den.” Sakito looks at me as if I'm speaking Martian for a moment, then opens his mouth.

“...I need some advice,” he says quietly, squirming in elegant embarrassment.

“From me??” I ask point-blank, without bothering to find out what this is about (isn't it painfully obvious?); he winces.

“Who else is there?”

“Who do you usually ask?” It's not that I don't want to do everything I can to help. But I'm hardly qualified, and besides, it's a bit of a shock to have it sprung on me so suddenly; I don't want to end up telling him to do something stupid thanks to my panicked incompetence. Sakito exhales through his nose in a pained fashion.

Hitsu,” he says pointedly.

“Oh.”

“Exactly.” Saki plonks himself down opposite me, pushing my ramen out of the way so he can have my full attention. I set my chopsticks down and brace myself. “I just need someone to talk to,” he mutters, giving me a swift, earnest look that I just can't resist. “Or at least to shut up and listen.”

“Think I can manage that,” I tell him awkwardly. “But why now?”

“Things can't go on this way.” He sounds calm and reasonable. “As band leader, I have a responsibility to sort out my...fucking ridiculous love life before it starts affecting our work.”

Is it going to?” Sakito just purses his lips and exhales through his nose.

“Has something happened?” I demand. What is wrong with me?! Even now, I can't curb my nosiness! But there must be a reason for him suddenly accosting me like this. He just glowers at me (he's been taking lessons from Ruka); guess the gossip god won't be giving out any details this time.

“I'm finding this...very difficult,” he admits grudgingly. “I've always known what to do. I've always known what I want. And now I don't know anything.”

“These are exceptional circumstances,” I reassure him, eyeing my lunch covertly (I think this could take a while). Sakito gives me a wry look, as if to say no shit, and fiddles with the bracelet adorning his slim wrist. I wait for him to begin; well, I'm gonna need some input before I try to give any sage advice (ahaha).

“When you showed us your movie,” he says eventually “...I never thought it'd be anything like that. Neither of us did.”

“So you have talked to Hitsu-kun?” I blurt out before I can stop myself. Sakito gives me a beautiful, bitter glance. Ah. Guess not.

“And what should I say? To my best friend? Sorry I never noticed you wanted to fuck me, wanna talk it out?” He sticks his elbows on the table, slender frame hunched over and miserable. “And what should he say? Sorry I've been hiding from you for god knows how long? Sorry our drummer's a meddling bastard who finally decided to open his mouth just to give you the worst shock of your life?! I mean...I don't know where to start. And, gotta be honest...I don't even know if I want to.”

“And then what?” This is pretty much the worst-case scenario I'd been envisioning, all right, not that I'm about to open my big mouth and say so. Poor Hitsu. Poor Saki. But his fine eyebrows draw down in a different kind of frown and he looks up at me, pressing his delicate lips together.

“It doesn't matter.” I must look as blank as I feel because he jerks his head impatiently and explains. “Doesn't matter if I want to deal with this or not. I have to do something.” He glares fiercely down at his wrists. “'Cos Hitsu is the best man, the best person I've ever met, and I want to see him happy. Simple as that.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I say, making what is hopefully a non-confrontational, encouraging noise.

“But what do I do?” he asks me. “That's kind of what I'm hoping you'll help me out with, Ryo-kun. Seriously, just...talk at me till you come up with something that's even slightly feasible!”

“Er...!” I gulp, suddenly tongue-tied. “I don't think I'm really qualif-”

“Come on, throw me a freaking bone here!”

“Um. Well for starters...you could stop giving out mixed signals?” I say, and wish I hadn't as he gives a quick, offended huff of breath.

“What's that supposed to mean?”

“What Ruka said.” I brace myself for a diatribe against the drummer, but it doesn't come. Saki is staring at me, lovely eyes narrowed, apparently hanging on my every word, which is quite a sensation, let me tell you. “It's true: Hitsu might be 'just' a friend to you, but that's sure as heck not the way Satty acts.”

“As in?”

“As in the flirting,” I admit. “And the touching, and the giggling. Poor guy doesn't know if he's coming or going!”

“No way,” Sakito says dismissively. “He does not. I'd know about it!”

“Evidently not.” Another long moment of silence, in which I surreptitiously drag my noodles back over and resume eating.

“Does Satty really do that?” demands Sakito eventually, worriedly. “Do I?!”

“Well, I-”

“Oh my god, he does, doesn't he!” he exclaims in a moment of awful clarity, looking aghast, puffing out his perfect cheeks in an exaggerated sigh of dismay. “Why didn't somebody tell me?”

“...I suppose nobody thought it was a big deal,” I find myself saying mildly, with my mouth full. “What with Giga and Chen-chen getting it on in the bathroom and Ruka doing Yomi every which way, a little bit of flirting doesn't really register.”

“But I didn't mean for him to.” Sakito tips his head back on his elegant neck and gives a frustrated little groan.

“You sure about that?” I ask him carefully. The head snaps upright so he can give me a disbelieving, guilty stare. “It has to mean something.”

“I love Hitsu,” says Sakito miserably, deflating, “so much... I can't stand the thought of making him unhappy. I want us to spend our lives together.” He twists his pretty hands in his lap. “The thing is, I'm not actually gay.”

“Yeah, well,” I say encouragingly, “Ni~ya says he's not gay, but that doesn't stop him banging Ruka in every confined space they happen to come across!” I speak with the experience of two years' concentrated observation. “I really don't think pigeonholing yourself like that is gonna help you.” Sakito nods and sinks down to rest his chin on his folded arms.

“But. But, I've never done anything like that with a guy.” He sighs. “I've never even wanted to.”

I make a neutral sound; I really have to do something about this, since I'm largely responsible for the current situation in the first place (well, and Ruka; but this needs a delicate touch, and Ruka, while admirably well versed in the field of guy-on-guy desire, is likely to dole out his advice with all the tact of a sledgehammer). But if I say the wrong thing, I'll just end up making it worse; and is it really sensible, is it right, to try and turn every single member of my band on to the delights of man-love? (again, I know what Ruka would have to say about that, but his is hardly an unbiased opinion.)

“You never have,” I confirm, shoving my doubts aside along with my empty bowl while Sakito chews despondently on his bracelet. “But does that mean you couldn't?”

“...I don't know.” He looks unconvinced, and vaguely horrified.

“It is hard to think about,” I agree (like I actually know anything about it). “But before you make up your mind about it, try looking at him again. Try looking with outside eyes.” Does that even make sense?

“Outside...” Sakito mutters, looking confused.

“You're too close to each other. Like you say, you're in love, you've obviously been lovers for years, and you're used to seeing him a certain way.” I wave my hands around. “So...take a step back and look at him again. Not like he's a stranger, but not like you've already been married ten years.”

“I don't really know how to do that,” he says quietly, but it looks like he's at least thinking about it.

“Me neither.”

“Well...” Sakito frowns beautifully. “...I'll try.” He scrubs his hands through his hair. “God knows Hitsu deserves that. After everything he's...” I wince as his forehead bangs against the tabletop. “But... Shit.”

“You never know,” I tell him, though I'm not sure if it's a platitude or a warning, “he might not even want to, when it comes down to it.” Saki gives me a look, rather reminiscent of Ni~ya, expressing wonder at the suggestion that anyone might not want to with him, and at any other time I'd find it funny. But not now. If the two of them don't sort this out one way or the other I'm gonna feel bad for the rest of my life.

 

Guess I'll just have to keep sticking my nose in until someone does something about it!

 

Chapter Text

May 1 st , 2010

 

 

“Ryo-kun,” says Tamura-san severely, his besuited figure hovering in a paranoid state just inside the Dweeb Den, “as your co-worker, I feel I have to know: what are you trying to do to my guitarists?”

I wind a string carefully around its machine-head, and consider. There are many answers to this, some of which will no doubt pacify Naito's manager more than others; but it's been a long, long few weeks, and I can't think of any beyond the most obvious. I give him a sigh and a world-weary stare.

“Trying to help them decide if they want to fuck or not. And hopefully save someone a nervous breakdown.”

“You mean they're not?” bursts out Tamura-san, then blanches and clutches at the door-frame as the image hits him. He's slow on the uptake today. Then, “But why?!”

“Why are they not? Or why am I trying to make them?” Tamura-san hyperventilates for a minute, then sinks down weakly on a stool and wipes his glasses neurotically on his tie.

“Either. Both...”

“...I don't know.” I lay Sakito's guitar across my lap, and give the poor sod my undivided attention. “I mean it, I really don't. But if something doesn't happen soon, you're gonna be left with a great big nothing where there should be beautiful music.” Tamura-san looks like he's about to swoon. “Those two are the foundations of everything we've got here,” I continue, “and you know it.” It's not that I don't feel sorry for the guy, but I have to be severe; 'cos if anyone rubs Saki up the wrong way right now it could end in a bloody catastrophe.

“So...” says the manager, faintly.

“So give them some leeway. Don't badger them about what's wrong; if you have to harass someone, I'm sure Yomi will be happy to take one for the team. At least for a couple of weeks.”

“What happens then?”

“...By then they'll have decided,” I tell him heavily. “One way or the other.” None of us will stand the strain of it much longer than that: Sakito and Hitsu are not Ruka and Ni~ya, we can't just hope it'll all blow over and go back to normal. “They'll decide,” I repeat. “They'll have to.”

 


 



May 3rd, 2010

 

 

I know I said what I said to Tamura-san, but the strain of waiting is starting to get to me, and Keisuke and Masa, and everyone else involved with Naito in a direct capacity. It's very tiring, being the proverbial nosy neighbour, especially when the guys you're sharing the house of cards with could collapse it at any moment. Argh. Metaphors. Need to rest my brain.

It was for the purpose of doing just that that I went to bed early tonight. And suddenly I'm awake again, staring around in the darkness; feels like my head only touched the pillow a bare second ago. So why am I-?

Oh! Doorbell. There it goes again; if I just lie here, what are the odds that the bastard on the other end will go away? Another chime. Maybe the building's on fire; is it worth going out to look? Reluctantly I decide yes, and heave myself out of bed. I shuffle into the hall. The clock says it's 4:35am. Preposterous!

Stumbling down into the genkan, I apply my eye to the peephole in my door.

Oh hell.

On my doorstep, yawning hugely and jiggling from foot to foot like a toy monkey on speed, is Yomi. At this time of night...! I recall only too clearly the last time I had him over to my place. Well, I didn't have a lot of choice, he was basically paralytic and Ruka and Ni~ya flatly refused to take him home with them. It was not an experience I care to repeat, what with the underpants-throwing and all.

Slowly, quietly, I remove my eye and begin to back away.

“I hear you, Ryo-kun!” bawls Yomi through the door. Fuck, fuck. “Let me in!”

“Go home!” I tell him in more civilised tones. “You live ten minutes away!”

“You want to let me in,” comes his muffled voice.

“I really don't.” I hear him curse lightly under his breath. Then comes his little wheedle, which seems to do such a bang-up job of persuading Ruka and Ni~ya to do things for him.

“Just for a minute~? Just to get a drink of water...”

“Oh, for god's sake.” I unlock the door and swing it open, incidentally bashing Yomi in the side. “Get in and then get out.”

“As the cheerleader said to the Pope!” Yomi slips in like a flash, kicking off his sneakers and advancing past me. I don't think he's drunk at all! I fumble more lights on and he begins to look around, heading straight into the bomb-site that is my living room like a foxhound on the trail.

“Er... Can I help you with something?” I demand, following him.

“Camera!” says Yomi indistinctly, rooting around behind my sofa.

“What?” My antennae are already up suspiciously. “No! Why?!”

“I've got an appendix to your movie!” he announces, giving up for the moment and bouncing down onto a beanbag. “A special feature, if you will.”

“I will not.”

“C'mon!” he whines impatiently (guess that's what all the fidgeting was about). “Make like Coppola and film me!”

“Ohh no,” I tell him firmly, doing my best to get him up and usher him back towards the door. “My directorial days are over! You know what happened last time!”

“Dammit!” exclaims Yomi, almost panting with indignant determination and trying to stamp on my foot as I manhandle him, “I wanna tell a sexy story, Ryo-kun, it's my turn! And this is the biggest story you're ever gonna get!”

“I don't give a crap if it's – Wait a minute,” I say, shoving him back down on the beanbag, “what do you mean?!” Yomi, who looks like he's about to burst, breaks into the dirtiest, happiest grin I've ever seen in my life.

“You know what I mean!”

“Not-”

“Yes!”

“They didn't-”

Yes!”

“No! But how...how did it happen?”

“That's just what I've been up all night finding out!” Yomi says, jiggling in his seat.

“Well for god's sake tell me all about it!” He gives me a look.

“What d'you think I've been trying to do?” I must look exactly how I feel, which is like giving him a smack upside the head. “All right, all right!” he says quickly. “Get your camera out. And I'll tell you.”

Needless to say, I speedily comply. Yomi looks into the eye of the camera, and heaves a tremendous sigh, as if the weight of keeping this to himself for five minutes straight was about to make him expire.

“You have no idea,” he tells me gratefully, “how bloody happy I am.” He closes his eyes and just beams at the lens for a few moments. I shake my fist at him pointedly, which doesn't do any good since he can't see me. After a minute, during which I want to rip his socks off and make him eat them (I'm a tad bit frustrated at this point!), Yomi composes himself. “Okay. Are you ready?”

“Are you ready for a kick in the teeth?” I mutter, off-camera.

“Then listen good,” he says. “And get ready to go 'aww'.”

 

 

“It was pure circumstance that I found out about it first,” begins Yomi, repressing a yawn. “And I didn't even get the full story till half an hour ago. But I'll try and tell it in order.

So. You know how all this started. Your film. I don't blame you, Ryo-kun, we forced you into showing us. I blame Ruka, the big tactless sod. And you know what's been happening since then; but I don't think you know what it's been like from the inside, watching your best friends try and keep band stuff running smoothly, for us, while they tiptoed around each other like they'd never touched before, like one brush of skin could cause an electric shock. How all of us were waiting – the two of them as well – to see which of them would bring it up first, and what would happen when they did. I mean, we're not stupid, not even Ruka; we all knew what could happen if one of them said the wrong thing, or said nothing, or said too much. Talk about a fucking tightrope walk.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, one of them piped up. I didn't know it at the time, they're not like the three of us: they can have a bloody life-changing discussion without deafening everyone within a fifty yard radius. It was after practice one day. Now that I recall, things had been pretty good: everyone was as calm as could be expected and we even got some new stuff down, and they seemed to be getting on okay. Maybe that's why the two of them stayed late, like they used to, you know? Apparently Sakito had some sheet music that Hitsu needed, and while he was looking for it he ended up unearthing a bunch of files from like ten years ago, doodles and bits of lyrics from before Ultimate Circus, even.

“God,” said Sakito, dropping gracefully into a chair, bits of paper strewn across his lap. “Weren't we young?” Hitsu, drawn in by his friend's nostalgic expression and the slightly more natural tone of voice than they'd been using for each other lately, scooted his stool over beside him and peered at the pages.

“I dunno. We've changed a bit,” he allowed, “but not that much.” Sakito looked at him fondly, then remembered he wasn't supposed to be anything but calm and collected, and flicked his gaze away. “You haven't,” said Hitsu quietly. The older guitarist exhaled worriedly. “...You don't have to be like that now.” Hitsu gave him a reassuring glance. “It's just memories. We can enjoy them, right?”

“I think the one who's changed the most,” said Sakito, encouraged by his bandmate's candour and (for once) confiding mood, “is you.”

“I haven't.” Sakito lifted his hand without thinking about it – touching Hitsu at quiet moments like this had been part of his routine for as long as he could remember – then lowered it again, unsure.

“You're more confident,” he said. “And you stand up to people better than when we were kids. You've changed plenty.”

“Not in the important ways.” Hitsu ducked his head down, eyes back on the paper as he spoke. “Maybe...things have made you look at me differently.” Sakito sighed again; the conversation felt like it wanted to go in a potentially embarrassing direction, and he wasn't at all sure he was ready for it. Statements like that from his – partner? Friend? Colleague? Whatever he was now – weren't helping.

“Oh, we all look at things differently now,” he mused, feeling like someone's granddad. “Stuff seems so simple when you're younger, doesn't it? Like you have some idea where your life is actually going.” He caught Hitsu's little grin, and allowed himself a smile of his own. “We were pretty dumb kids, all of us. But it was fun, yeah?”

“That's true,” Hitsu said wistfully. “Remember when we all used to live together?” Sakito nodded, giving him a reminiscing smile. “...And Yomi would go stay at his kouhai's place and Ruka and Ni~ya would both sleep in the van.”

“It wasn't exactly the Ritz, was it.”

“Yeah. Well...I used to imagine sometimes, when we were alone...what if this was our life? You and me, together.” Hitsu sighed as Sakito reached out and twisted a lock of pink and black hair around his pretty fingers, unable to help it this time when every muscle habit was telling him it was natural. “And I admit it: sometimes I slipped up.”

“Slipped up?” prompted Sakito, lulled despite himself by the younger man's quiet voice and the smooth hair beneath his hand.

“I couldn't help it. You were so gorgeous...you are. I couldn't help imagining what it would be like if we...you know...”

“So you thought I was pretty and you wanted to fuck me.” Sakito shrugged drily, letting go. So, the conversation was going this way whether he wanted it to or not, was it? Fine, then. “That's not exactly unusual, you know.” He felt a brief pang of hurt, the same as he'd had as he watched the movie and listened to Ruka speak: a strange sensation of resentment, both at his own beauty and at Hitsu himself, for getting hung up on it like everyone else. He knew Hitsu loved him; he just hadn't thought it was for that.

No. You're missing the point...!” The younger man shook his head vehemently, clearly determined to have his say, however embarrassing he was finding it personally.

“What is the point?” demanded Sakito, torn, once again, between feeling flattered and oddly disappointed.

“Your body,” said Hitsugi angrily, miserably, “is beautiful. I never saw anything more beautiful in my life. But it doesn't mean that was what I wanted. Not really.” He sighed guiltily, fine eyebrows furrowed. “I wanted your heart. All of it, just for me...”

“You-” began Sakito, but his friend wasn't done.

“So yeah, I thought about you like that.” Hitsu sighed through his nose, and Sakito was amazed that he was trying to keep his cool even now. “But the point is that I tried not to. Because you're better than that, you deserve more respect... You see what I'm trying to tell you?” he asked, not sounding very hopeful.

“Erm...”

“...I mean,” said Hitsu, a kind of last-ditch desperation creeping into his voice, “that even if you weren't pretty, and that's the understatement of the decade, by the way – even if you weren't, I'd still love you every bit as much as I do...because the outside of you is, like, the smallest fraction of what makes you the most stunning person I've ever met. Don't laugh,” he continued in a mumble, “I know it sounds cheesy.”

“...I wasn't laughing.”

“That's something, at least,” said Hitsu sadly.

“How long?” asked Sakito, in hushed tones, trying to sort through the conflicting mess of emotions his friend's words were weaving around them. “How long has it been like...this?”

“That all depends,” said the shorter guitarist, “on what you mean by 'this'. I've known I was in love with you since I was sixteen years old.”

“Sixteen-!” Sakito exclaimed, slightly flabbergasted that Hitsu, of all people, could have fooled him for so long.

“But it wasn't like now.” Hitsu chewed on his lip ring for a moment, analytically. “I thought, then... Well, I was a kid, and you were older and everyone wanted you, I thought it was just a first crush. Like you and Hoshino Aya.”

“Oh yeah...” murmured Sakito, nostalgia sweeping over him at the name (for one and a half glorious months back when he was still one hundred percent nerd, Aya had been the first girl to take a peep under the glasses and decide he was worth asking out. Guitar practice had taken care of that romance after a while, but while it lasted he had been stupidly grateful).

“I thought,” Hitsu continued, clearly not ready to stop now that the flood gates had opened, “I thought I could just ride it out, that it wasn't worth bothering you with because it wouldn't last; the feeling, I mean. Just wait and get over it, I thought there'd be other people for me. And by the time I realised there wouldn't, that this was it, it was way too late.”

“How come?” Sakito demanded, wide-eyed. Hitsu gestured at him, a brief sweep of his hand from the older man's head to his toes.

“Because by then you were the most beautiful thing that had ever come out of Sendai, and you'd already had two dozen girlfriends! I was an idiot for you, but I wasn't blind, I could see which way the wind was blowing. You wanted me in your life, we were best friends, we were going to be rock stars and spend every single day together, right? That should be enough for anyone. Okay, sometimes maybe I wished I'd said something to you before every girl we met started wanting to get you into bed.” He shook his head, lips a tight, determined line. “But now I think I did the right thing. No, I'm sure of it.”

“How does that work?” wondered Sakito.

“We are best friends, aren't we?” Hitsu retorted quietly. “We've been partners for years now, too, and that's more than I ever hoped for. Seriously, Saki, I've been the luckiest guy in the world for so long. And now-”

“Now,” said the older man, heavily.

“...Exactly. Now look at us. One mention of sex, and suddenly that's all this is about.” Hitsu sighed dismally, shuffling the paper in his lap. “And it shouldn't be.”

“Kind of hard to forget, now it's out there,” said Sakito, who had spent the last few weeks furtively analysing every look, every touch from his friend that he could remember and wondering what they had meant.

Yes,” answered the younger guitarist, sounding bitter. “And that's why I never said.”

“I still love you,” Sakito reassured him, trying to catch his eye and failing; he slid his fingers beneath Hitsu's chin and drew his head round. Hitsu looked stubbornly down at the other man's hand, eyes veiled by his dark lashes; Sakito exhaled sharply in frustration and tightened his grip, leaning down to press his lips against his friend's.

Dammit, thought Sakito, Hitsu was right: for the first second the kiss was as familiar and comforting as ever, the same as the hundreds of times they had done this before; but then he found himself cataloguing every sensation, the feel of Hitsu's lips, the warmth of his skin, and comparing them silently to the women he had been with in the past. He couldn't, he realised to his dismay, lose himself in the caress as he used to: he was too conscious now of what else the younger man might be feeling and what he, Sakito, might be doing to him with this simple touch.

Before he could finish reasoning it out, Hitsu had jerked away as if Sakito were red hot.

“I can't,” he said shakily.

“But-”

“I can't.” Hitsu jumped to his feet, putting several feet of distance between them. “Not now. Not like this...”

“You don't have to be afraid of me,” Sakito exclaimed, guilt-stricken. “It's just...it's just me.”

“I'm sorry...!” the younger man muttered, edging in the direction of the door. “But that's the whole problem... There's no 'just' when it comes to you, and now you know it...” And he was gone before Sakito could think up something helpful to say.

The beautiful guitarist sat and stared at the door. He felt almost shocked at how much it hurt to have Hitsu reject his gesture of affection, and wondered if it was this feeling that his friend had been afraid of, this that had kept him silent for so many years. He bit his lip; it was highly disagreeable. But what was he supposed to do about it?




 

As you probably know, Ryo-kun, if you're keeping your dates straight, Sakito spent the next week in an escalating state of confusion. He was lost and he didn't know what to do, what he even felt, and really, who was he supposed to talk to? And, big surprise, Hitsu wasn't a lot better. Actually, he seemed to retreat into his shell even further, and for at least a couple of days he wasn't doing any verbal communication with Sakito at all. Don't ask me how they managed that one; just goes to show how they operate together like clockwork, even while their heads are dithering about trying to work out what their instincts are telling them.

I guess everyone noticed this new cold front. We had varying opinions on it, obviously: I was still bamboozled by the whole 'Hitsu has a sex drive' thing, if you want the truth, so maybe my opinion at that point doesn't count for much. Ni~ya was still too disease-ridden to express a coherent thought on the subject. Ruka, sensitive bugger that he is, of course found Hitsu's response to Sakito's confusion perfectly acceptable, and probably got quite a laugh out of the whole affair.

Hitsu was sitting by himself in the break room, entertaining himself by posting gooey comments on online galleries of people's adorable kittens. Hitsu can be quite maudlin; he'd be singing enka songs next, if Ruka and Ni~ya hadn't decided to wander in and throw themselves down on the much-loved sofa, flanking him on either side and peering at him with extreme interest.

“Where's Sakito?” demanded Ruka. “I need his PSP.”

“Dunno,” muttered Hitsu.

That's new.” Ruka looked him up and down. “What happened?” Hitsu was silent. “Are you, perhaps, ignoring him?” the drummer continued, intrigued. Hitsu continued to prove that, if there was any ignoring to be done, he was the man to do it.

“Ah. I see you're trying the old 'treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen' tactic,” said Ruka approvingly. “Classic.” Hitsu folded his arms tensely, because Ruka clearly wasn't going to go away.

“I don't really want to talk about it.”

“Why else would you go all chilly on him all of a sudden?”

“...Why the hell do you think?” the guitarist mumbled. “Thanks to you, I-” He broke off. “Look, I'm not going to have this conversation with you.”

Ruka and Ni~ya gave him a pair of long, considering looks. In the ensuing silence came the sound of Sakito in the next room, playing a magnificently melancholy Spanish guitar. Hitsu dragged one knee up to his chest and propped his chin on it dolefully.

“...Oh, I get it,” said Ruka eventually. Ni~ya gave him a quizzical cough and blew his nose. “He's got some kind of Beauty and the Beast complex,” Ruka explained over their bandmate's head; Hitsu shot him a furious look. “Which is so dumb,” the drummer continued; he took hold of Hitsu's chin and pulled his head round. The guitarist batted his hand away crossly. “You have a perfectly pretty face. Plus you're bright and talented and you're not a total bitch. Sakito should count himself lucky.” Ni~ya gave a sneeze of agreement into his mask.

“You have no idea what you're talking about,” said Hitsu hotly, attempting to squeeze out from between his two tall friends. Ruka tugged him back onto the sofa.

“I know that whatever you're doing, whyever you're doing it, it's having an effect.” The younger man snorted bitterly. “So when Sakito comes for you,” Ruka told him, “don't run. Just lie back and let him work his magic.” The drummer's expression turned dreamy as he contemplated the idea (you try it, Ryo-kun, it'd even get you going, I bet); Ni~ya gave him a languid punch in the arm and he shook his head dozily.

“You're being a git,” Hitsu snapped (which was pretty confrontational for him), turning away from Ruka and giving Ni~ya a hard nudge (having judged, correctly, that the bassist would be all weak and wobbly from his man-flu); Ni~ya slouched out of the way lazily, and Hitsu sprang to his feet and stomped off.

Ruka glanced across at his lover, who was giving him a tolerant, disapproving look.

“What?” he demanded. “You imagine it. Go on, imagine it and then tell me I shouldn't give Hitsu-kun a helping hand to get some!”

Ni~ya narrowed his eyes, opened his mouth behind his mask, then paused as some erotic image of Sakito (which I'll leave you to picture for yourself) scrolled across his brain.

“See?!” said Ruka.

“...I do,” admitted the bass player. “But have you ever heard the phrase 'that's way too much car for you to handle'?”

“Nope.”

“I bet Hitsu has.” Ni~ya shook out his shining black hair. “I just hope Saki will go gentle on him.”

 

 


 

I expect you're wondering, Ryo-kun, how we got from this awkward state of affairs to the current one, which Ruka, in his sudden turn for the psychic, has managed to insist on all along. Believe me, it was as much a shock to me as it is to you! Several more days went by, and none of us could see a way out of this deadlock, with each of them wanting different things and both of them too scared to come out and say it or have the decency to have a good, refreshing fight about it.

Something must have happened. And whatever it was, it happened to Sakito. Someone must have drummed some sense into that beautiful goddam head of his before it was too late. Because it was Sakito who made the crucial move.”

 

 

( “I knew it!” I say, unable to keep my mouth shut and let him get on with it. “I knew it would be Saki who started it!” Yomi pauses with great difficulty – I can see he's aching to get on to the good stuff – and regards me with surprise.

“Did you have something to do with this?”

“I so did!” I exclaim. He stretches out one leg and nudges me affectionately with his toe.

“You deserve the fucking Nobel peace prize, then.” I flap my hands at him.

“Ignore me! Carry on.” )



 

“So yeah.” Yomi rubs his eyes and dives manfully back into the narrative. “Someone said something to somebody, and I guess you know best what it was. And since I gather it wasn't today you had this little chat, Sakito must have spent a whole lot of time wrestling with his feelings afterwards, 'cos it was only tonight (tonight, Ryo-kun!) that he chose. And you know he chose right.

Sakito wasn't sure, when he turned up on Hitsu's doorstep this evening, that he had chosen right, or even if he'd chosen at all. It felt like so long since he'd been there, and just seeing the front door kicked all his old habits and feelings into overdrive, while his new, enlightened and exciting thoughts regarding his best friend took a back seat. So when Hitsu finally opened the door, looking somewhere between amazed and aghast at the sight of him, Sakito found he had no idea what to say.

“Hi. Er. I think you have my blue sweater here,” was the best he could come up with (as if he didn't have at least thirty assorted jumpers at home). Hitsu gave him a blank, slightly panicked look, and stood back to let him in.

As soon as he clapped eyes on his favourite armchair, Sakito felt a wave of nostalgia and longing, so intense it was almost painful. So he sat down in it. Hitsu hovered, watching him anxiously, twiddling a lock of vivid hair and apparently trying to work out if he should still be giving him the silent treatment. Looking at him, at his sweet, pale face, things started to come back to Sakito: what he came here for, what he wanted to say, what he wanted to do about all this.

“Will you stop fidgeting and come over here?” he asked, as gently as possible. “I need to talk to you.”

“Okay.” Hitsu hesitated for a long moment, then moved warily up to perch on the broad arm of the chair. “I've been thinking too. But you go first.” Sakito nodded, then found he was fiddling with his sleeves and nervy and totally unable to begin. The younger man gazed at him searchingly, and he'd never found it harder to make eye contact with someone than with Hitsu at that moment.

“I...” Sakito cleared his throat and tried again, Hitsu watching him silently all the while. “I need to talk about us.” Hitsu's jaw tightened, but he nodded. “I care about you,” said Sakito, wondering how trite this was going to sound, and whether he should have rehearsed some sort of speech before he came. “More than anyone else. I always have, Hitsu, for years, and that's never going to change. And I've been thinking about it, the feeling. And...well, the thing is...” He pulled at a loose thread in the hem of his cardigan. Who knew this could be so hard to say?! The words weren't complicated, after all, and he should at least have enough courage to throw them out there.

“I know what you're trying to say,” Hitsu told him, infinitely patient. “There's no need. You love me. But you don't love me.”

“Actually, I-”

“I think it would be better,” continued Hitsu, voice carefully level, “if we went back to being friends. Less complicated, yes?” Sakito stopped picking at his cardigan sleeve and gave the younger man a sharp stare.

“I don't want to be 'just friends'!” he exclaimed, noting Hitsu's lips tighten and turn pale for a moment before he schooled himself back into calm. “I want to be your partner, like I always did! I want us to keep being lovers. That's what I'm trying to say.”

“But what the hell does that mean?” sighed the shorter guitarist. He closed his eyes briefly as Sakito's fingers brushed his hand entreatingly. “...It's all got so damn messy...”

“Whatever it means,” Sakito stated determinedly, “whatever it can mean...I want it. All of it.” He almost surprised himself with this declaration, it was so unexpected; but not half as much as he did Hitsu, who turned to gaze at him with an expression of pure dismay.

“That's not what you mean,” he whispered.

“...Don't tell me what I mean and what I don't!” said Sakito, who was never much one for being corrected, and even less so at such a critical moment; without taking more than a second to pause and reflect he narrowed his beautiful eyes and reached out, sliding a hand behind his friend's neck and tugging him forward to kiss him full on the mouth.

Hitsugi's lips met his, as they had a thousand times before, but with such longing that Sakito couldn't help feeling a sharp pain of answering emotion dart beneath his ribs. He set his slender fingers to Hitsu's pale cheek; the kiss was careful and chaste as it had ever been, so light it was almost apologetic. The younger man's skin shivered beneath his touch as Sakito increased the pressure, tilting his lovely head to nudge Hitsu's mouth open; he heard him make a petrified little sound of disbelief, felt him freeze, but Sakito wasn't going to stop. Not this time. He felt like an explorer, a whole world of fascination suddenly revealing itself to him as Hitsu bowed to his persistence and finally parted his lips.

“'S okay,” breathed Sakito, as the waves of discomfort emanating from his friend increased; Hitsu tasted of ume candy and the faint tang of metal, his skin smooth and warm and a sharp contrast to his piercings, which were brushing cold and hard against the older guitarist's bottom lip.

“It's not okay...” Sakito hitched in a breath at the misery in his friend's voice and the light scratch of steel as Hitsu's mouth moved against his. An arm slid around his neck, the feeling comfortingly familiar and yet tantalisingly new. “...You shouldn't have to do this.” Hitsu's voice was quiet, taut and sweet with desire; Sakito, urged on by the sound of it, kissed him again while he thought about what he had said, and this time Hitsu returned it hesitantly.

Have to?” murmured Sakito gently, wrapping his free arm comfortably around Hitsu's waist and tipping him back in his favourite Classical Hollywood pose; admittedly this was a bit more tricky than when he was with a girl, Hitsu being a cuddly little thing (I know, I know, like I can call anyone little...!) and Sakito himself so waifish, but it seemed to surprise his friend enough to throw him out of his self-accusing mood for a moment. Sakito gave him a fond, unexpectedly nervous smile. “I never do anything I don't have to,” he assured his partner. “And there's nothing I won't do with you...”

He felt himself blush at the way this came out, which was rare enough, but not as much as Hitsu, who had opened his eyes at Sakito's voice and was now staring at his left ear, completely frozen.

“I find myself coming round to your point of view,” Sakito explained in a whisper. Hitsu made a vague questioning noise, and Sakito wondered if he'd even registered the words. “I mean about us. You love me, right? Without reservations, without limits...” He bent to speak against the younger man's throat, felt the brief shudder as if he'd been stung. “So you love me like this too. Well, I...I think you're right. And I'm not going to limit myself any more...”

“If you mean that...” managed Hitsu, making an impressive stab at coherence, cheek pressed against Sakito's temple as if he would wither away without the contact, “...Saki...”

This time when Sakito kissed him it was an answer, and Hitsu responded, for once, as any normal human would, his arms tightening around his beautiful friend and mouth meeting his gratefully, feverishly. Sakito directed the kiss as best he could, being a master of the art, but it was difficult to concentrate on skill when such a giddying wash of mingled affection and arousal was rushing through him. Hitsu seemed overwhelmed enough to keep kissing him forever, and Sakito was more than happy to let him.

For a while, at least. It wasn't long, though – at least, it didn't feel like it – before the older man, fired and tingling with quiet pleasure, was ready to do some more exploring. But his first foray with one skilled hand over Hitsu's body was rewarded by the loss of his lips, and a nervous jerk backwards.

“Saki, I-”

“What's wrong?” Sakito demanded softly, mouth making good use of his opportunities and sliding down to taste the skin beneath Hitsu's jaw; he felt the quick pulse beneath his lips, and smiled.

“I don't know...” Hitsu swallowed as Sakito dragged him down into the chair beside him, sinking against him. “I don't know what I should be doing...!”

“Just sit there,” Sakito ordered gently, “and be quiet.” He rose lightly to his feet, leaving his partner prone in the chair beneath him, and began to unbutton the rich cashmere of his cardigan (sure, Saki's a geek, but damn is he a high maintenance one). He saw Hitsu turn white, and smiled. “It's nothing you haven't seen a hundred times,” he chided, letting a playful lilt slip into his low voice as he peeled off his cream cotton Blade Runner tshirt to reveal the equally creamy skin beneath.

“...!”

“Sorry, didn't quite catch that,” murmured Sakito, thumbs on the button of his loose, flowing trousers. But Hitsu was staring up at him with a kind of solemn awe, and didn't respond. “You need me to stop for a minute?” he asked kindly, Hitsu's anxious face helping dispel his own sense of nervousness. The younger guitarist just gazed raptly at the jewel sparkling in his navel, and shook his head dumbly. Sakito shrugged elegantly, popped the button, and let the rest of his clothing slide over the gentle curve of his hips and down to the floor.

Hitsu swallowed heavily, looking up at the vision standing before him with a dazed kind of expression, like a big slice of heaven had just landed on him and given him a minor concussion. Sakito resisted the urge to preen, but it turned out that rapturous admiration from his friend was just as gratifying as it ever had been from a woman; he settled for a toss of his shining hair and a small, angelic smile.

“You can touch me,” he said after a minute, when no more reaction seemed to be forthcoming; Hitsu's knuckles were white on the arms of his chair, with desire, Sakito assumed (well, he hoped so, anyway). Hitsu twitched at the sound of his voice, dark eyes flashing up in a way that made Sakito's breath catch in his throat. He took a step closer. Hitsu's hands left off their death-grip on the armchair and rose, trembling, to hover over Sakito's hips. The younger man gave him another wondering glance; then his hands met bare skin, and both of them gasped. Sakito wanted to laugh at the mountainous significance they were making of this elementary act, but found he couldn't. Hitsu's dark lashes lowered to veil his eyes; slowly, he leaned forward, until his lips met the diamond in Sakito's navel in a worshipful, silent kiss.

“Hitsu...” was all Sakito could think of to say, a shiver passing over him at the almost-contact, so very close to his skin and yet, suddenly, not close enough. His friend gave him no answer, just drew his head and hands back, the tip of his tongue sliding across his bottom lip in a nervous, amazed movement. But Sakito wasn't about to let him get away with just that, not after that single tantalising touch: as Hitsu moved backwards he shifted forward, slowly, seductively, following the other guitarist's retreat and planting one knee in the armchair beside Hitsu's leg and one hand beside his head. He looked down; they were closer now, so much closer, Sakito could reach out just like this and touch him, a gentle hand in the centre of his chest. He heard Hitsu take a shaky breath.

“Say you want more,” challenged Sakito softly.

“I want you,” Hitsu whispered, and was rewarded with Sakito's lips, and then, a moment later, the delicate brush of his tongue. Hearing his partner's incoherent sound of pleasure, Sakito pressed closer, his hand now tracing a feather-light, meandering pattern over the fabric of Hitsu's hooded sweatshirt, across his chest, down his stomach and, as he distracted the younger guitarist with a deeper kiss, even lower. Hitsu gasped into his mouth.

Sakito's lovely hand continued its generous activities for a moment. Then he paused, looked down, then up into his partner's face with a bemused, almost offended expression.

“You're not-” he began.

“I know,” interrupted Hitsu tightly, not meeting his eyes.

“But the way you were staring at me, I thought you were-”

“I'm too nervous!” said Hitsu, apparently too mortified even to blush – his face was pale as milk, jaw clenched under Sakito's worried scrutiny. “What if I can't do this? What if you can't?” Sakito opened his mouth, but the younger man wasn't finished. “What if we do and it's no good and afterwards we can't even look at each other, never mind go back to the way things were before? What if it starts affecting our work?” He let his head fall back. “Ugh. Saki, the pressure! How am I supposed to...you know...with all this stuff circling my brain every thirty seconds?!”

Sakito listened, chuckled sympathetically, and dropped his seductive pose, sinking down comfortably into Hitsu's lap and sliding a hand behind his neck. It didn't seem to help a lot at first (but then, a lapful of naked Saki can hardly be expected to have a calming influence on anyone).

“Try and stop thinking,” Sakito advised, feeling the tension thrumming through the other guitarist's body beneath his own. He slid his fingers into the soft hair at the nape of Hitsu's neck, rubbing slow, soothing circles against his skin. “You just need to relax a bit.”

Relax,” said Hitsu weakly, fingers gripping the arms of the chair as if he was terrified to move his hands any closer.

“Mm.” Sakito leaned down to give him a soft, reassuring peck on the lips, once, twice, until Hitsu finally exhaled and raised his head to meet his friend's mouth. “There,” said the older man, pleased. “We can go as slow as that, if you like. Let's just go to bed.” Hitsu gave him a swift, panicked glance. “I like being there,” explained Sakito, who hadn't been trying to sound lecherous but had evidently failed. “I always have. You, and your bed: there's nowhere else in the world I feel more comfortable...comfortable...”

 

 

( “...Wake the hell up!” I yell, as Yomi's eyes drop closed and he starts to slide sideways on his beanbag.

“Mmph?” He blinks, and I have to restrain myself very firmly from going over there and kicking him in the shins. “Sorry...been up all night...researching.”

“Very diligent of you,” I snap, my hands making greedy oscillating motions that will hopefully encourage him subconsciously to get the hell on with it. “Maybe someone'll give you tenure. Now don't you dare fucking stop!!”

“All right!” exclaims Yomi, shaking himself all over like a miniature dachshund and looking disgruntled. “I'm doing it!” )

 

 

“As soon as he landed on the bed, Sakito had another wash of that feeling. Like he was coming home. And when he beckoned Hitsu to join him, and the other man did, the sensation intensified. True enough, they'd shared this bed and this room for years. But now...now Hitsu's shame-faced, delightfully flushed expression and the tentative way he moved to hover above Sakito...that caused an entirely new feeling. And when Hitsu leaned down to kiss him, heated and reverent, he wanted to laugh with excitement.

“Now don't be nervous,” Sakito cautioned Hitsu, hands cradling his feline face to make sure he was paying attention. “If you don't know what you should do...I can always tell you.”

“I have been to bed with a woman,” Hitsu said suddenly. “A couple of times. I didn't like it.”

“...What about a man?” demanded Sakito, unsure why he suddenly felt so odd about the idea of his partner having been with anyone.

“I tried, once...” Hitsu dropped his eyes, running his tongue nervously over his piercings as though the memory disturbed him. “I didn't like it. I didn't try again.”

“What was wrong with them?”

Hitsu looked at him, finally, because this was clearly too important for blushing or bashfulness. Sakito's breath caught in his throat: Hitsu's eyes were earnest, almost recklessly honest.

“...They weren't you.” Sakito, melting at the admission, reflected briefly that this could put rather a lot of pressure on him personally.

“Well, how do you know you will like it with me?” He had no concerns about his performance as far as women were concerned, being both generous and well-practised enough to avoid the possibility of disappointing (and those fingers, Ryo-kun, have you seen how fast those fingers can move? He's not lead guitarist for nothing!); but Hitsu was a different world entirely.

“How could I not?” retorted Hitsu, as if it was a stupid question (which it was), and kissed him again. “The question is,” he continued, once they'd both lost their breath and he had to surface, “what can I do to make sure you like it with me?”

“Touch me,” Sakito said immediately, sliding an arm around the younger man's neck to draw him down, closer, their bodies almost touching. Hitsu inhaled swiftly, turning to bury his face in Sakito's fragrant hair, sharp waves of black shining on the pillow. His hands glided down the length of Sakito's arms, a millimetre from the skin, making the slender guitarist shiver in a way that had nothing to do with cold and press himself closer. Hitsu made a pleased sound, now directing his attention to his friend's long neck, lips brushing lightly over the twin moles in the hollow of his throat, again and again, logging away the textures. He always did have good attention for detail, Sakito thought hazily, hissing in a breath as a lip piercing met his collarbone sharply.

“Did I hurt you?” murmured Hitsu; then his hands closed around Sakito's back, and both of them stopped worrying.

“No...” Sakito managed, and let physical sensation take control. Hitsu was so full of metal, such a dizzying mixture of soft curves and sharp, cold points, that if he closed his eyes it felt rather like getting into bed with a cyborg (then again, Hitsu is a sci-fi nut, so Sakito didn't think he'd mind the comparison).

The bed-covers rustled as Hitsu made his quiet way down Sakito's torso, too immersed in the perfection of the body below him to be embarrassed or worry about what his own was doing. The zip of his sweater was a cold line against Sakito's flat stomach, clicking gently as it came into contact with his navel piercing. Sakito was disjointedly pondering his heightened awareness of all these tiny sounds, every brush of Hitsu's lips, and was in no condition to really think about where his friend was aiming next.

“...God!!” he exclaimed in an amazed whimper, fingers clutching desperately at Hitsu's hair as he felt a ball of metal roll across his nipple, the sensation electric against his sensitised flesh. He had forgotten about the tongue piercing in the soft string of kisses that had preceded this, and it made him jerk up sharply against Hitsu's mouth, his slender body arching off the bed with gratified shock. The other guitarist gave him a surprised, baffled glance, then repeated the movement, pink tongue flicking across Sakito's overheated skin.

Oh,” murmured Hitsu, evidently intrigued by the sounds he was eliciting from his partner's lovely mouth, and kept going, shifting the angle, the pressure, alternating with his teeth and his lips until Sakito was shuddering helplessly beneath him. Even then he didn't stop, just switched across to the other side of the guitarist's body and began again; and Sakito, who (along with most of the population) had never been quite sure what the male nipple was for, wriggled deeper into the covers and allowed himself to be enlightened.

By the time Hitsu had finished his experiment Sakito had lost all sense of time and was flushed and panting, his nipples two buds of deep pink blooming on the creamy skin of his chest, so sensitive that even Hitsu's soft breath was enough to make him shiver. He took a few deep breaths and tried to collect himself, but the younger man was already moving on down his body, hands covetous on his tiny waist and lips working once more towards the jewel in his navel. A brief tug with his teeth and he was past it, down and down until Sakito felt his toes start to curl in anticipation of where this was going.

Then Hitsu abandoned his delightful southward path and returned to Sakito's stomach, meticulously covering every inch before dropping slowly to press kisses along his white thighs. Sakito sighed, a deep, laboured sigh of pleasure: accustomed as he was to lavishing attention upon his partners, he had never had someone explore him in such detail or spend so long working out just what kind of touch made him miss a breath.

It did hurt, whenever Hitsu got a little too enthusiastic, too lost in the smooth planes of Sakito's flesh to notice how hard his lips were pressing down and at what angle. Sakito wasn't particularly used to pain, and at first the sharp prick of the spikes caused short, soft whines of discomfort and made him clench his fists in the pillows above his head; after a while, though, it all blended seamlessly into one, the stings and the pleasure and the slowly building heat that had him hard and crying out in quite a different way as the younger man continued his inch-by-inch exploration.

“...What's wrong?” asked Hitsu anxiously, raising his head from Sakito's thigh at his partner's whimper of frustration. Sakito gasped gently.

“I've just never...had sex like this before!” he managed.

“We're having sex right now...?” demanded Hitsu, sounding positively startled as his head shot up. “But we're not even-”

“It counts,” Sakito assured him, arching up plaintively in a vain effort to get the younger man moving again. But Hitsu was gazing down at him worriedly, pale face flushed with pleasure and the warmth of Sakito's body. “The way you're touching me...it counts.”

“...So what's the matter?”

Nothing,” the beautiful guitarist murmured, immediately picking up on Hitsu's insecurity at the implied criticism. He twined his fingers into his pink and black hair and gave a playful little pout. “It's just so slow...for so long...!”

“And?” prompted Hitsu, fingers gliding softly over Sakito's waist.

“...And it's driving me fucking crazy!” Sakito raised his head with an effort and pressed his mouth hard against Hitsu's, heedless of the stab of metal. Hitsu's lips parted and he gave a delighted moan of protest.

“Don't rush me...” he whispered, once he could tear himself away. “Please... I still can't believe this is happening...! And you're so... Well. I just want to learn every single bit of you...”

“All right,” Sakito relented, pushing Hitsu's head back down gently. “Just don't stop!”

Obedient as usual, Hitsu didn't. But neither did he speed up, and before long (it could have been twenty seconds or twenty minutes, he could no longer tell) Sakito was squirming again, wonderfully hard and with no prospect of a finish anywhere in sight.

“...All right!” he managed, collecting himself enough to lift his head, just as Hitsu seemed about to try to turn him over and start all over again on his back. He grabbed Hitsu's wrists. “You've...had your turn! Now it's mine.” And with that he marshalled his strength and sat up, using the power of suggestion rather than any physical advantage to persuade Hitsu down onto the covers. The younger guitarist looked up at the aroused, determined figure above him and made no complaint as Sakito reached down to unzip his hoodie and slip it off, though he did baulk at the tshirt until Sakito sank down to straddle his hips, resting supine over his body and raising the fabric slowly, his pretty nails grazing the soft skin as his fingers drew the tshirt upwards and over his head before he knew what was happening.

Deciding that discretion was the better part of getting laid, Sakito made no attempt at any more undressing until he had let Hitsu get used to the shocking feeling of skin on skin, narrow chest brushing the younger man's and eager hands travelling fondly over his tattoo.

“You are lovely,” Sakito reassured him, engaging him in another languid kiss. Hitsu made a sceptical sound but couldn't very well contradict him, not when Sakito's clever tongue was entwined with his own, the sweet scent of vanilla and whatever it was that made Sakito smell like Sakito filling his lungs like a drug. That did the trick, and before he knew it Hitsu was naked and Sakito was gazing smugly down at him and looking for all the world like an incubus. Once again, Hitsu was too tongue-tied to protest, and once Sakito's fingers were between his legs and touching him both of them knew he never would.

Sakito was as fascinated with Hitsu's body as his friend had seemed with his. It wasn't as though he'd never seen it before; so why was it so different? Because now he knew he could make it sing? He didn't know, just had the inexplicable urge to do as Hitsu had done and work his way over every inch, recording every texture, every taste. And, again and again, back to his lips, until Sakito's mouth was bruised with kissing and his skin was sore and tingling from the prick of metal.

“...This is weird,” murmured Hitsu feverishly between kisses, in a rare lucid moment; “doesn't this look weird? ...Like we're the wrong way round...”

“...Because?” whispered Sakito, transferring his attentions to the beauty mark on the younger man's flushed cheek.

Ohh...” Hitsu slid a hand helplessly into Sakito's rich hair, the feeling entirely familiar and yet making him shiver with pleasure. “Because you're so beautiful, I suppose...you're so slim and graceful and perfect and...”

“You mean I look like a girl, don't you,” said Sakito, amused. “So I should get on the bottom.”

“No, I...” Whatever reason Hitsu had, Sakito never heard it, cutting his partner off with a hard kiss instead; he winced a little as a spike bit into his delicate underlip, but it wasn't unpleasant enough to stop.

“Think you need a little update on twenty-first-century gender roles,” he continued, once they had been forced to come up for air. The shorter man just gave him a glazed, delighted look. “But I suppose it can wait,” Sakito conceded, as Hitsu's arms tightened around him. “...And once you've had a bit more practice,” he said, forcing back a moan at the sensation of white teeth biting lightly into the curve of his ear, “we can...mm...we can change round.”

“...I don't care,” whispered Hitsu passionately, inhaling the scent of Sakito's hair with breathless concentration as his partner's hand moved assuredly over his cock. “I'll do anything you want.”

“...Will you...will you let me fuck you?” Sakito asked, wanting to get as close to the younger man as it was humanly possible to be; even he was amazed at his own daring as he said it, and was quite ready for a petrified rebuttal. But Hitsu just clung to him and nodded, warm and trusting, his lips parting in a silent, nervous smile against his neck. Sakito pushed his head back against the pillow and kissed him again. He could hardly believe that they had come to this point so fast, and was suddenly so grateful that he didn't know how he'd ever be able to express it.

Keeping Hitsu's mouth locked on his, Sakito trailed his hand lower, along Hitsu's erection and down, listening carefully to each muffled moan. Hitsu gasped abruptly against his lips, and Sakito raised his head, looking apprehensive; he might be leading the whole situation, but it didn't mean he was any expert in this particular field.

“Am I hurting you?” he asked, withdrawing his fingers from between his partner's legs.

“...No,” said Hitsu, unconvincingly. Sakito gazed at him worriedly.

“If you still want us to do this...” Hitsu nodded quickly. “Okay. Then we have to make it as easy as possible. So it feels good for you, see?” Another nod. “Er...What are the chances of you having lube around the house?” asked Sakito, and was rewarded with a deep blush. “Of course you don't.”

“Don't you?”

“Well, I...I have it,” Sakito admitted, “but I don't usually need it for...well. Anyway, it's not like I carry it around with me, I'm not Ruka!” He settled himself more comfortably over Hitsu's body, and sighed, stroking the other man's hair distractedly.

“...I could go out and get some?” Hitsu offered, looking embarrassed at the mere thought.

“Oh no you don't,” said Sakito repressively. “You're not leaving this bed now I've got you in it!”

“Then what can we-”

Ah,” said Sakito, who had had a sudden brainwave. “I think I know.” He pulled himself up and slipped elegantly off the bed, looking so at ease with his own nakedness that you'd think clothes were a complete waste of time (you know what, Ryo-kun? Saki should do a nude shoot. I'd totally buy it! I'm gonna suggest it...). Hurrying into the living room he located his phone on the floor, where it had ended up during his impromptu strip show, and scrolled through his contacts.

“What are you doing?” came Hitsu's anxious voice. Sakito glided back into the bedroom, phone clapped to his ear.

“If we can't go out to get it,” he said reasonably, “then the lube will damn well come to us!”

“Who are-” Hitsu began, and was silenced by a quick hand signal.

“Oi, pervert!” Sakito said into his phone, grinning at the response on the other end of the line. Hitsu's pretty eyes widened and he shook his head frantically, pushing himself up on his elbows and making a grab for the keitai. Sakito pushed him back down fondly.

Please, NO,” mouthed the younger guitarist, squirming with embarrassment.

“I don't care what he's going to do to you!” exclaimed Sakito urgently, ignoring his partner. “Get your ass and your lube over here now. This is an emergency!”

If you're wondering who said pervert was, incidentally...well, it was me. Charming, I know. But far be it from to ignore a summons from my illustrious unofficial leader, especially when it sounded so juicy. Anyway, by the time my ass and I had managed to escape from Ruka and taxi over to Hitsu's place (and believe me, I was practically gagging with curiosity the whole way), Sakito was straining at the leash (metaphorically speaking) with impatience, and Hitsu had retreated under the duvet and was hiding.

“Finally!” snapped Sakito, yanking open the door before I had a chance to knock. I tried to peer round him and get a glimpse of what I imagined would be the fascinating scene inside, but he stuck out his sheet-clad arm and stopped me, looking for all the world like one of those classical statues you see in the museums.

“What's going on??” I demanded nosily. “Are you and-”

“Hand it over!” he ordered, doing his best imperious Roman emperor impression (what with the sheet and all), flushed and bright-eyed and so beautiful that I felt positively envious of Hitsu, whatever it was they were trying. I dug the lube out of my bag and passed it to him with bad grace.

“But what-” I began.

“I'll call you. Later.” And he slammed the door in my face.

Back in the bedroom, Hitsu looked appalled as Sakito tossed the tube onto the bed (and condoms, since I am the fucking fairy godmother of getting my friends laid), and not about to put it to any use whatsoever.

“Was that really the best idea you could come up with?”

“Can you think of anyone more likely to have lube to hand and be willing to taxi around town in the middle of the night?” Sakito climbed back onto the bed and began a mild tug of war with Hitsu over the duvet. “Unless you'd have preferred Ruka coming out here.” Hitsu blanched and let go, and Sakito pounced on him triumphantly.

“Anyway,” he said reasonably, pressing his body against Hitsu's to feel its delicious heat spread through his own, “he was bound to find out sooner or later. And we've got what we wanted, so...”

“So...” murmured Hitsu, trailing his hand in a long, loving sweep down Sakito's smooth back. Sakito grinned, and kissed him.

“So if you still want to...let's make it worth his trouble.”

Yes,” was all Hitsu said, and then, as Sakito nudged his legs apart, “I love you.”

Sakito gave him an incandescent smile and went to work, replaying the words over and over greedily as he prepared them both. For a long time the younger man felt tense and fragile beneath him, and Sakito was sure it hurt. Eventually, though, he seemed to relax beneath his lover's careful movements and the distracting magic of Sakito's slender body above him. At last he began to respond with pleasure, pale cheeks flushed, arching up gently into Sakito's touch, eyes half-closed and fixed on the taller guitarist's face.

“...Ready?” asked Sakito, voice low and hungry in his ear. Hitsu nodded mutely. “You're sure.”

“I'm sure.”

Sakito didn't need any more encouragement, and gently pushed his partner's legs wider, hand brushing the inked skin of the tattoo that curled up his calf. Then, with the same grace with which he did everything else, he was inside him.

Hitsu seemed to have stopped breathing, one arm wound tight around Sakito's back and face buried in his neck. The older man, listening for any sound of discomfort or fear, kept silent as well, through the feeling was incredible, having Hitsu so pliant and soft and hot beneath him, legs curled around his hips and mouth burning against his throat. When no noise of protest was forthcoming he braced himself on one slender arm and began to move, as slow and controlled as his muscles would allow, and felt Hitsu speak silently in the vibration of lips on his neck. He tried to pause and find out what he had said, but Hitsu wouldn't let him, the soft pressure of the arms around him spurring him on.

Sakito closed his eyes, drew in a shaking breath, nothing left in his mind but Hitsu, senses filled with him, the shorter body beneath him unsure and tentative but moving with him in a gentle rhythm that increased in speed proportional to Sakito's excitement. He tangled a hand in Hitsu's pink hair, pressing his lips together to hold in an abandoned sound of delight, and at the same moment heard a quiet, bitten-off whine in his ear. He paused with some difficulty and felt Hitsu still beneath him guiltily.

“If it hurts,” gasped Sakito, drawing back just far enough to cradle Hitsu's head in one hand and look him in the eye, “you have to tell me...!” Hitsu didn't answer, just leaned up to kiss him clumsily, breath coming in short, irregular bursts. “I...mm...I mean it!” the older man scolded in a muffled voice, letting Hitsu's tongue brush his own. “If you keep quiet, how will I know when I'm...doing something wrong...?”

“You couldn't possibly,” managed Hitsu disjointedly, a white smile breaking out for a moment before he dragged Sakito back down. Sakito chuckled softly, and began to move again, slower this time – he realised he wouldn't be able to rely on his partner for any kind of verbal feedback, since Hitsu was so bent on making him happy that he'd probably say anything felt good right now. And Hitsu's body was so different to a woman's... He was almost out of his depth here, he knew, and yet nothing had ever felt so good.

He kept a careful eye on Hitsu's face as the rhythm between them evened out into something smooth and wonderful, the familiar features bright and adoring; Hitsu's lips were parted with something approaching pleasure, one hand light and encouraging in the small of Sakito's back, and when Sakito kissed him he felt the smile beneath his lips.

It didn't feel like long before Sakito found himself close to the edge, an edge he'd never been to before, something new and strange and intense. But he didn't want to reach it alone. He took a deep, harsh breath and pushed the feeling away, sinking his head down against Hitsu's shoulder and reaching blindly for his erection, somehow managing to keep his movements steady as he wrapped his fingers around its hard length. Hitsu let out an approving groan into his hair, his breathing rapid and light, hands running the length of Sakito's lovely body with no intent or focus, just desperate for as much contact as possible.

Love you,” Sakito whispered giddily, and for Hitsu that was the killer phrase: with an incredulous, joyful little sound he came, tightening all his limbs around his partner and looking like he was having some divine revelation. Upon seeing that amazing expression Sakito let go of his hold on himself, moving quicker, and that strange edge rushed up again to meet him. This time he didn't fight it, just crushed his lips against Hitsu's and let it take him, climax washing through him like a tide of bright phosphorescence. Hitsu held him tightly as he stilled, laughing silently, in amazement.

“Holy...hell...!” gasped Sakito, limbs a-tremble. He sank down beside Hitsu, who nodded, fighting for breath but still laughing. They lay there silently after that. Sakito didn't know what his lover was thinking; he seemed incapable of any kind of rational thought himself, outside the blinding revelation that this was love, this was Hitsu had meant, and what Sakito had thought he'd felt all these years had been a pale spectre of it in comparison.. But it didn't matter. At last their breathing eased, and he let out a deep, slow sigh.

“Well. How was it...?”

“It was so...easy, in the end,” murmured Hitsu, sounding almost perplexed. Sakito rolled over to rest his arms on the other man's chest, feeling the beat of his heart.

“Of course it was,” he said. “You and me, Hitsu. We've been moving in sync for a decade.”

“Mmph.” Hitsu ran a hand happily into Sakito's dishevelled hair.

“That's why we're the best damn guitar team in the business!” The older man grinned tiredly and trailed his nails across Hitsu's tattooed shoulder. “Tonight we played different instruments...but the rhythm doesn't change. And that's why this is going to work.”

“Mm,” sighed Hitsu, lazily. “Too much metaphor!”

“But you get what I mean, right?”

“I do.” He tugged lightly on Sakito's dark locks and drew him up for a kiss. “I love you.”

“You love me,” crowed Sakito gently, against his lips. “And I hope I proved just how much I love you.”

“Amply, thank you,” said Hitsu, breaking out in a shy grin and shifting his hips experimentally. Sakito kissed his forehead, brushing back the shock of vivid hair.

“So long as we're clear. Now try and sleep for a bit.” Hitsu shot him a questioning look. “I'm not going anywhere,” Sakito assured him. “But I owe someone an explanatory phone call...Oh, don't make that face, Hitsu, he'll be on our backs until one of us tells him all about it! Unless you'd care to do it?”

“Um, I don't think so!” Hitsu shuddered at the thought. Sakito started to get up, but the younger man took a firmer hold on him and pulled him close. “Just a bit longer, first...”

“All right,” said Sakito eagerly, nestling his head beneath Hitsu's chin. Ten minutes later, wrapped up in each other, they were both asleep.”

 

 

“Obviously,” says Yomi, in a hoarse, talked-out voice, “Saki did wake up at some point and call me. Think it was about 2:30 by then. Well, it was lucky he waited, 'cos I was kind of tied up with Ruka till then. Okay, not kind of, literally. For running out on him earlier in the evening. So then I had to tell Ruka all about it, and listen to him gloat, and then I had to call Ni~ya and get his take on the lead-up events. But eventually I got it all straightened out. And then I came round here, and I hope you're bloody grateful!” He gives a massive yawn.

“You have no idea,” I tell him, and I mean it. I never thought I'd be so thrilled to have Yomi tell me a sex story. But I'm happy, not just for the both of them but for my own selfish reasons, too. What a weight off my conscience! (I'd imagine the same of Ruka, but I don't think he has one.)

“Can I just sleep here now?” asks Yomi, nestling into the beanbag, puppy-like. “We've gotta go to that Fool's Mate shoot in the morning, and I don't want to look like I'm the one who's been up all night screwing.”

“I suppose you're owed some reward.” I switch the camera off. This is going in my movie. A happy ever after ending, that's all I ever wanted. “You want me to get the lilo out?”

A snore. I look round: Yomi is asleep, his little frame curled comfortably around itself on the beanbag. What an intrepid reporter. I tiptoe off to get a blanket, and cover him up so he'll be comfortable for the...two hours of sleep we have left before we've got to get up again.

But a sleepless night has never been more worth it.

 




May 4th, 2010

 

 

We all turn up at work looking like death warmed over from lack of sleep, except Ni~ya, who is finally over his cold and has abandoned his mask, and is being tremendously smug over the fact as he has his hair styled in the makeup room.

“See?” says Ruka, yawning past me to demand coffee of some staff member. “I'm always right. People should listen to me more often.”

“You're so amiable about it all, too.” Ruka smirks and wanders off, perching himself behind Ni~ya to watch him in the mirror and generally get in the way. Yomi is asleep in the chair beside him, which is quite convenient for the makeup artist working on him since it means he's not looking down her top every five seconds while she does his eyeliner. Ruka trails a hand briefly into his hair, nails light on the back of his neck, before he returns his attention to Ni~ya's well-rested features.

And what of the couple of the moment? They're late, which is unprecedented, so late that Ruka and Ni~ya have had time to disappear somewhere in the depths of the building and Tamura-san is looking frantic.

“I'm sure it's fine,” I tell him, since I doubt anyone's bothered informing him of last night's life-altering events. I'm about to give him the abridged version for over-sensitive managers when a FM staff member swoops in, Saki and Hitsu in tow. She deposits them at the makeup station.

“Where have you been?” exclaims Tamura-san, nails bitten down to the quick.

“We-” begins Saki.

“Never mind, you're here now.” The manager pats them both on the shoulder as if to reassure himself he's not imagining them, and whisks himself off. I raise my eyebrows at them, biting back an idiot grin. The two of them have no such qualms, beaming back at me in the mirror as their artists get to work. They both look exhausted, truth be told, and poor Hitsu is moving rather carefully in his seat, which is as much testament to Yomi's story as anything. To me, though, they've never looked better. But even Saki, who is glowing with unconstrained happiness, dims into the background before Hitsugi's blinding beauty, all of which is shining from a core of pure, wondering joy at his centre. Everyone who comes into the room is staring at him; that's how radiant he looks, and I wonder how he can possibly be improved by makeup.

“Well,” says Saki, relaxing bonelessly in his chair, “I suppose we should all stop staring at each other and do some work.” That's our leader. “Where're the other two?”

“I'll go look,” I say quickly, as Hitsu's hand slips subtly into his.

I find them, unsurprisingly, in the second cupboard I come to.

“For god's sake!” I exclaim, shielding my eyes from the charming sight of Ruka on his knees at Ni~ya's feet among reams of photocopier paper. “Give me a break, it's barely ten o'clock!”

“Deliver your message or get the hell out,” says Ruka, tossing his perfectly groomed head. “We're busy.”

“Saki wants you,” I tell them.

“They've dragged themselves out of bed, then.” Ruka and Ni~ya give twin filthy grins. “All right. We're coming. Five minutes.”

I back out and slam the door obligingly, and return to the makeup room. Someone has woken Yomi up, and he and Tamura-san are sitting there companionably, watching Saki and Hitsu like they're an art exhibit.

“Amazing,” says Tamura-san, looking only mildly dismayed as Saki leans over to plant a sly kiss on his lover's ear, just to see him blush. He glances up at me. “What's going on?”

“They'll be here in a minute,” I inform him. Saki and Hitsu look round and smile at me in tandem. I feel a blossoming sense of contentment at the sight, the feeling that everything is falling back into place. “It'll be all right. Everything's going to be all right.”