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Red is the color of overwhelming love, of the roses that are planted in the heart, and of the river of passion that flows through the veins. Red is the color of the temporary blood-boiling anger, of the flushed face of shame, and the tiny speck of uncertain hatred.

 

“How would you describe Yamada Ryosuke?”

It was a question on a crosstalk that made Yuto stopped listening to gather his thoughts. Words flutter inside his head, tumbling on each other to create a sentence and quickly making sense. But every time he opens his mouth to speak, the words he thought of become weightless, too easy they become meaningless, unappealing, unintellectual, effortless.

Yuto glanced at Yamada who was also waiting for his answer. The interviewer was tapping his pen on his pad papers. Yuto’s thinking process was clouded by an enormous amount of vocabulary. Yamada caught his eyes. He puffed his cheeks and furrowed his eyebrows.

It was not like ‘There are no words to describe Yama-chan.’ In fact there are so many of them that one word will unfold another which will spawn another meaning until you’re forced to sum them up in a demandingly simple set of words and you’d end up with some that automatically mean Yamada Ryosuke, thought Yuto.

“Needless to say, Yama-chan is the ace of our group.” He cleared his throat and started with the most general description of Yamada. “He's a very talented person; his singing voice is unique and stylish, his dance movements are incredible, and his acting skills are astounding. He’s also very caring and encouraging. There's just something about Yama-chan that mesmerizes the eyes.” Yuto chuckled. “Oh, please don't forget to put a laughing emoji.”

 

It was a deafening silence that devoured Yuto. Yamada’s lips were moving angry, rapid words. He appeared to have his blood seeped from his every veins.

And it hit. Heavy. Sturdy. Stubborn. He knew, Yamada was upset. And he knew it was something he said.

“Stop shitting on me.” Yamada glared. “‘Oh, please don't forget to put a laughing emoji.’ Since when did I become a laughing stock? And who gave you the permission to rephrase my introduction in Viva 9’s Soul?”

A sudden snap of guilt allowed him to mouth a silent apology. But a single phone call told him it was not worth voicing out. He watched as every color burst in Yamada’s face as he greet the one name Yuto despised: Kamiki. Yuto internally curled into a ball; He felt less special. He felt less needed. He laughed weakly and said goodbye.

 

Orange is the color of the warm and beautiful rising sun, of the burning flame of courage, and of stimulating affection. Orange is the color of the gloomy setting of the sun, of the rage that burns within an unfulfilled dream, and of the crisp and brittle leaves of Fall breaking with your every step.

 

For several minutes, Keito was drumming his fingers on Yuto’s hair. It was cute, but the latter wasn’t really paying attention, and it wasn’t long before Keito got tired.

“Hey, what’s with the long face?” Keito also noted the raised and lonely hand and elbow supporting his heavy head.

Perhaps being ignored always make a person impatient because Yuto jumped when Keito startled him with a slap on the table.

“What’s with the long face?” Keito tried to remain calm but Yuto could tell from the angered nerve on his temple that he’s been waiting too long.

“I was just thinking of something.” he chuckled. “It’s not very important though.”

“But very upsetting.” Keito snapped his knuckles. “Right?”

“How are you to assume that I’m -”

“You think that way.”

The door opened and the room was filled with smiles as soon as Yamada stepped in. Yuto glanced, and he was sure that Yamada was looking at him. For a short moment they stared at each other, and looked away.

Maybe he was just checking who else are in this room. He shook his head.

He stood and walked pass Keito whose angered nerve won’t ease.

Yuto made it by the door when Chinen slumped on the couch beside Yamada. He slowed down to eavesdrop because he might hear something that will make this whole ordeal easier to deal with.

“So why did Kamiki call?” Chinen whisper-yelled, enough to reach Yuto’s hearing range.

“He asked me something.”

“Something about?”

Yamada hesitated. When the doorknob clicked close, he let loose a fat sigh. “Love, of course.”

 

Yuto cursed himself for staying tact behind the door, listening. He walked. He wasn't sure if he's going anywhere but he just want to be far enough to prevent the mechanical breaking of his fragile heart, and close enough to momentarily attain the indelible desire of his hopeful heart. He reached the end of the corridor and from the glass window, he stared down the passing cars and busy people down the street. He waited until Keito revealed his presence.

“So, what's with the long face?” Keito asked with deep concern this time.

“What good is it going to bring me if I tell you?”

“I don't know.” Keito scratched the back of his head. “But maybe we can talk about it.”

“I don't know either.” Yuto laughed.

“Why did you leave them there?”

“They're not as troubling as you are.”

“What an insult!” He laughed a lonely one. He contemplated and hesitated.

“Sometimes you just need to unload.”

“Yeah, right?” He sighed. “Do you ever regret some words you've said? Yamada got mad at me for rephrasing his introduction in Viva 9’s Soul. He was mad because it'll be in a magazine.” He intentionally left the emoji part to prevent himself from being judged even more and he had no plan at all of letting anyone know about his unsure hatred towards Kamiki.

“W-what's the question anyway?” Keito asked half-laughing although he knew.

“How would you describe Yamada Ryosuke?”

Keito burst into fits of laughter and snickers. He didn't stop until he caught the irritated look from Yuto's eyes.“Sorry, sorry. I just couldn't stop.”

“I don't even know why it burdens me.”

“Maybe Yamada wasn't expecting that answer from you. That guy, he knows you. He's just a little astonished. That guy, he knows you ever since you we were little; you're kind of his senpai. That guy, he loves you.”

Yuto's eyes widened, he threw his fists mid-air. His emotions erupted multiple folds.

“As a friend, of course. As a friend.” Keito backed a little.“Maybe you guys interpreted the question differently. You took it as it is. Yamada took it as ‘What does Yamada Ryosuke mean to Nakajima Yuto?’”

 

Yellow is the color of the grown and mature sunflower, of the never-ending possibilities of happiness, and of the luminous star that holds your wish. Yellow is the color of the lightning electrifying the heart, of the cheese coating the delightful words of lies, and of the falling star that withdrew your wish.

 

It’s probably Yuto’s hobby but he’s been spacing out after that silly conversation with Keito. Everyone yelled gratitudes and grunted exhaustion from the day’s work. He grabbed his keys and a water bottle. He gobbled the drink and rushed out the room.

A voice called him from his back. Jolly, energetic and full of life. He turned around and saw the blinding light.“Let’s walk home together.” It said. It was a freezing Winter night but the cold vanished from where the light touched him.They were halfway a bridge when the light stopped and then it appeared to somehow have a human form. A shooting star fell down; the light lifted its hands together and prayed.

“What’s your wish?” Yuto jabbered.

“I wished NYC would have a project together again.”

Then it was dark again.

Yuto woke with labored breathing and cold sweat trickling at the back of his neck. Another day of work. Another unnecessary interactions. He did not need to be dreaming of a bad one, his every day is bad enough already.

Yuto greeted everyone perfunctorily. He went straight the music room where he spotted Yabu and Hikaru making out. No, they were just kissing because Hikaru apparently disapproved of Yabu’s date plan. Yuto started pounding randomly on his drums. The couple pushed each other and, scared to death, looked at Yuto.

“Did someone steal your candy?” Yabu shouted.

Yuto pretended not to hear. He doesn’t want them to start breaking his wall brick by brick. He flashed his eyes at the glass window and saw Yamada staring at him. He froze and stared back; drumsticks choked on his grip. The other two members in the music room curiously look at the window and spotted the same Yamada. They looked back at Yuto and when they look back at the window, Yamada vanished.

Was it just my imagination? Yuto started hammering again. That stupid dream made me crave for Yamada’s attention.

“I saw Yamada gazing at you.” Hikaru grabbed one of the sticks out of Yuto’s hand.

“Not that I care.” He tried to retrieve the stick.

“Nice catch.” Hikaru called out at Yabu’s wink.

“Did you look out your window last night? There was a shooting star.” Yabu walked to them. “Your wish might’ve come true.”

“That’s crap.” Yuto whispered. “I don’t get the point of people wishing on a shooting star. It’s just so ridiculous.” “

Yeah, historically, people wish on a shooting star because it rarely falls. Primitive people thought that wishing on something peculiar is lucky, thus making your wish come true.” Hikaru started.

“Shooting star is caused by a gravitational force.” Yuto argued quietly.

The couple look at each other. They weren’t sure if Hikaru translated his thoughts rightfully.

“D-don’t try to outsmart me with science.” Hikaru defended.

“Stars get tired, too. They’re tired of holding wishes. They try their best not to disappoint their dreamers, but they reach their limits and give in. The moment a star falls, it actually wants us to know that ‘Hey, I carried you but I can’t do this anymore. It’s just so heavy. So allow me to show you a visibly magnificent downfall.’”

“You mean, shooting stars are obligatory apology?” Yabu gritted his teeth.

“Nope. Why do stars need to apologize? I’m sure stars are there to remind you that dreams come true when you work for it.”

“Sometimes you just have to believe in something superstitious to clear your mind of doubts.” Hikaru smiled. “Because this idiot right here confessed to me during our concert tour at a hotel balcony when we happen to witness a star falling down.”

“Then I just sang You First Believed. It was the first time that I ever saw Hikaru shedding happy tears.”

Yuto regretted not asking the light what the N for NYC stands for. Maybe he could gain a chance to right things when he knew what N means. Maybe, just maybe.

 

Green is the color of hope in the newly born leaves of Spring, of the luck in a four-leaf clover, and of the friendship that lasts forever. Green is the color of the sickly vision of greed, of the lust that cradles an envy heart, and of the disgusting separation of two lovers.

What does Yama-chan mean to me? It came back like a boomerang aimed at his heart. He walked out the music room and the outer room was filled with people of smiles. It was suffocating. He scanned the room for an empty seat but met Yamada’s eyes instead. He internally grabbed a gun and pointed it at those piercing eyes; he pulled the trigger but instead of a lethal bullet, flowers burst at the tip of the barrel. He could not bring himself to harm the person who hurt him the most.

He sat far from the rest of the group. But it wasn’t long before he was approached by the other members again. This time, it was Takaki and Daiki just trying to put their presence subtly and casually. But Yuto noticed the sudden invasion of space.

“Go away.” he murmured.

“Is there an upcoming commotion between the two of you?” Daiki asked as if this happens all the time.

“I’m afraid that I’m not aware of a war.” Yuto glanced at Takaki who was frowning as deep as the sea can get.

If anyone is alive enough to understand both Yuto and Yamada it is Takaki. Takaki is probably dead inside once just like how Yuto is now, but Daiki revived him. Yuto stands in Takaki’s shoes every time he is at this edge, but he doesn’t know if fate prepared a Daiki-like person who is there to grab his hand before he jumped off the bridge.

“We sense danger.” Daiki looked at Takaki for an approval. The latter chuckled. “Your destructive radar is exposed.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“No, it’s just that you’re spacing out too much and we don’t know how to patch things up anymore.” Takaki stared at the ceiling.

“What Yamada needs now is you.” Daiki patted his shoulder. “He needs your knowledge and acting skills to pull off his role in Cain and Abel. This kind of genre is your forte.” Takaki gave him a whack. He grabbed Daiki and started pacing away from Yuto. It happened once in Tantei Gakuen Q, he knew how unhealthy this kind of topic is for Yuto.

“So you think I’m acting like I don’t care?” Yuto watched as they marched away. He expected Daiki to recognize that the pain is much more than playing a role. Takaki whispered at Daiki to leave this issue to him. He walked back and sat closer to Yuto.

“You know that there’s a great difference between acting and pretending.”

“Some things I probably need to be reminded of.”

“What’s really bothering you?”

“Just remind me of what the difference is and I might somehow figure out what to do.”

“I want to help. But if you don’t want to share even a tiny bit of your trouble to me then you should remember that acting is placing yourself inside someone else’s shoes. Like portraying a role; just like how you act in your films.”

“And?”

“And pretending is avoiding your emotions. It is you, portraying a different you because you’re afraid to feel the pain. But pain doesn’t pretend, Yuto. It’s simply an apparent pain that you’re trying your hardest to deny. The pain in you and the pain that is you.”

“Perhaps pain is attractive.” Yuto smiled.

“It is also toxic. If you don’t push that pain away, you’re going to hurt the ones that you care for.”

Maybe they weren’t trying to break his wall. Maybe they were climbing the wall to tell him that there is nothing to be afraid of anymore.

 

Blue is the color of the calmness of the sea, of the belongingness to the empty sky, and of the loyalty to mind-over-matter. Blue is the color of weakness over emotions, of the loneliness in every rain drop, and of the overpowering tsunami of a broken heart.

 

It was like the rippling water distorting your reflection. Yuto looked back at Yamada and sure enough, Yamada was staring at him.

“I need some time to think.” he left Takaki and got back to the music room.

“Yo!” Yabu and Hikaru were still there and he was astonished to the addition of Inoo playing an unfamiliar song on the keyboard. He sat near Inoo. Was he seeking help from the other members now?

“So have you thought of the proper answers?” Inoo pointed his lips at the magazine at the side table. “Yamada was pretty mad, huh?”

“I’m feeling so attacked right now.” Yuto banged his head on his palms. “I thought you’re going to shut up and let me think even for a moment.”

“Your way of thinking is a little bit unique.”

“Who are you to talk? Are we playing Truth or Dare? I’m not enjoying it.”

True enough it was like they were in a game of Truth or Dare. Yuto chose dare because the truth is pretty much obvious. They had dared him to touch a recently burned kettle. He knew it’s going to scald his finger but he reached to it anyway and the pain registered directly in his brain. But this pain of the truth registered directly in his heart. He’s now convinced that the hot kettle inflicted lesser damage.

“Sometimes you just have to replace the how to why.” Inoo laughed.“Why would you describe Yamada Ryosuke?”

Yuto gaped at him, lost.

“Are you feeling empty?” Inoo asked. “I ordered pizza.”

The pizza was delivered at the outer room’s table and it came with individual member’s refreshment. Yuto looked puzzled at Inoo and asked, “Are you serious?”

“Philosophically.”

Yuto rolled his eyes and slumped at the couch. He munched at the pizza while thinking of things to say to Yamada. A phone beside him rang. He peeked at it and the caller’s name exploded in his eyes. He knew whose phone it was. And all his attempts to stitch the pieces together stretched largely apart.

“Kamiki Ryunosuke is calling.” he called out. “It might be important.”

Yamada picked his phone without looking at Yuto. Yuto looked at Yamada without realizing the latter’s cheeks were burning of embarrassment.

Yuto sipped the hot coffee Inoo ordered for him. Maybe loving Yamada was like drinking a cup of hot coffee after eating two slices of Hawaiian pizza. They don’t taste good together -- Yuto might actually get a stomachache later -- but it satisfies hunger, even momentarily.

“Are you feeling empty?” Inoo whispered as he pass by the couch to take another slice of pizza.

“No.” Yuto lied. But now I understand where emptiness resides. It is in the place where Yamada left, in the vague warmth of his body in the hollow space of this couch, and in the paper cup that held my coffee. Emptiness found me and swallowed me whole.

As they were finishing their lunch, their manager appeared to announce a very timely turn of event for everyone. Johnny’s Journey will be back and the fans demanded Yuto and Yamada to have the first come back for that segment.

“Where are we going?” Yamada asked.

“Well, you’re assigned to visit every state in the United States of America through public transportation.” the manager read the information from the text message Johnny-san sent him. “Your starting point is in New York City.”

It is the very first time that Nakajima Yuto ever felt ferociously fucked up in his entire existence.

 

Indigo is the color of deep sincerity, of the tenacious balance between love and hate, and of the clear devotion to selflessness. Indigo is the color of the hunger to discover life quickly, of the narrow-mindedness in a helpless situation, and of the prolonged guilt that lives in the past.

 

“Drinking alone, are you?” A small hand patted his broad shoulder.

“Why not?” He retorted. “How'd you know I'm here?”

“I didn’t. I just happen to pass by.” He sat beside Yuto. “Mind if I join you?”

“Your treat.”

“Hmm. That's unusual.”

“Then, leave me alone.”

“You're cold.”

I'm not Ryosuke. He almost slipped that one out, but he was wiser. “Sometimes it's nice to be alone.”

“But not always.”

“I'm still not buying you a drink.”

“Yeah, sometimes I drink alone, too. Y'know, things become suffocating and you think that you're only way out is to chug some whiskey to drive your head dead.”

“Not things, Chinen, circumstances.”

“That's deep.” He laughed. “I'm trying to be shallow here.”

“Go away.”

“Right.” He tapped the counter and signaled two. The bartender seemed to understand because he came back with two glasses.

“Jack Daniel's, fires up any conversation.”

“I've never been grateful.” Chinen sipped. “No cola?”

“You're not a child, no more.” He winked and vanished from sight.

“For you.” He flashed Yuto a big smile and shoved the other glass to his face.

“Thank you for being persistent.” He smiled.

“Nope, not at all. I just, uh, I like to lash money out on special occasions.”

“But I'm sorry there's nothing to talk about.” Yuto took the glass and gave Chinen an air toast.

“Oh, but I'm sure there's a lot.” He gave him a cunning smile.

It was really hard to open up to someone who is always with the person you love. Harder because you feel a tremendous amount of jealousy to him as well. Yuto set his empty glass on the table and started at his next.

“Of course Yamada told you everything. There’s no need for you to actually hear it from me.”

“Actually, Ryosuke is also frustrated.” Chinen moved a little bit closer. “He’s scared you’re spacing out because of that magazine interview.”

“Was I?” Yuto laughed hysterically.

“You weren’t.” Chinen said firmly. “You were scared because of Kamiki calling every so often.”

“So he knew.” he laughed weakly. “Ah, I’m dying for a little love.”

“He’s unbelievably dense.” Chinen whispered. Yuto wasn’t able to hear this.

“I sometimes catch myself asking why it wasn’t you.” Yuto quaffed the whiskey nonstop. “It’s very easy to fall in love with you, Chinen.” He was sure Chinen blushed.

“But it’s not very easy to unlove Ryosuke.” Chinen did the same to his drink. “Anyway, I’m going to tip you of something. Kamiki consulted Ryosuke about how he can release to the press that he’s dating Shida. It’s a hard task; Ryosuke has no idea because he’s tied up with Johnny’s Entertainment. So our dear Ryosuke became the date planner because Kamiki has zero romantic skills. And because Ryosuke signed up for it.”

“And one more thing. There was a shooting star last night and Ryosuke stopped just to stare and make a wish. He wanted to do a drama with me and you again. Just like Scrap Teacher and Sensei wa Erai but he wanted it to be in your forte.” But this actually didn’t happen. It was just Chinen injecting his beliefs in Yuto.

The only thing ugly that happened tonight was that Yuto ended up paying Chinen’s bill.

 

Violet is the color of trust and innocence, of the vivid imagination of high ideals, and of the vulnerability of lavender. Violet is the color of a fresh and furious bruise, of the instability of the galaxy, and of the arrogance in defeat.

 

They were scheduled to leave for NYC today. Yuto promised to fetch Yamada up and go straight to the airport. He was 30 minutes early and when he knocked at Yamada’s door, Yamada greeted him with his untidy bed hair and a sleepy face. Yuto barged in and threw Yamada to the shower. He sat at the edge of his bed to wait.

15 minutes later Yamada emerged hastily.

“We are going to be late!” he screamed and scrambled to get dressed. “Fuck, I haven’t packed!” He stopped to look at Yuto staring at him. Beside Yuto was his luggage sealed neatly. Yuto’s look turned nasty.

Here is my middle finger. It’s so beautifully manufactured. Kindly look at it.” he raised his finger clear for Yamada’s sight. The latter laughed and Yuto was lifted from the ground.

Oh God, thank you for this beauty. Thank you for letting him exist. Thank you for paving a path for us. God, I swear I’d die to protect that smile.

Suddenly he felt Yamada's grip on his hand.

“W-what the hell are you doing?” he managed to say despite the tenacity of his pounding heart. Yamada bit Yuto’s finger.

“Ouch! Fucking damn it!” Yuto yanked his finger out. He examined it and the red hollows of Yamada's teeth carved on it.

“It’s no longer beautifully manufactured.” he laughed. “Is it?”

Shut up.” Yuto turned his back. “I’ll be in the car. Hurry or we’re not going to that trip!” He slammed the door when he left. His heart was still beating fast. He lifted his finger again and kissed the mark of Yamada’s teeth.

 

An hour before they land, Yuto opened the window and was overwhelmed of the darkness. He stared; a heavy and lonely metal sat on his heart. He gripped Yamada’s hand for a small assurance of happiness and to make sure that he wasn’t dreaming.

He wanted to just shut the dark side away from him and rest his head on Yamada’s, when slowly, very carefully, a sliver of violet ray sliced the stratosphere in two. In a split second, a ray of a violent indigo appeared to lay on top of violet. A blue strip harmonized the icky image of the other two colors and almost instantly a green layer added a meaning to them. A yellow ribbon bellowed brightly and awakened a lively orange rope. A red chain groaned at his siblings and binded them together. A stubborn and lazy rainbow broke in the horizon.

Yamada stirred and gaze at it. He stretched his free arm and reached for Yuto’s head. Yamada kissed Yuto's lips.

Just like how the multiple colors' father kissed their mother good night as the sun devoured the darkness and embraced the rainbow and the moon in his warm embrace.

Yuto realized that they didn’t need words of affection or attention to be in love