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Running Through The Darkness

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He gazed at the beauty that was under him, still enchanted with those dark eyes and coy expression. He wanted nothing more than to pin the beautiful creature’s arms over his head, dominate and possess, to have the other writhing beneath him, calling his name. Reigning in his dominating instincts had been difficult, he pushed the limits every time they made love; a bite that was a little sharper, a thrust a little deeper, denying a little longer. He had made a promise to the boy and to himself that he would not cross that line, he would not violate that trust, but it was beginning to become more difficult with each time they fucked.

                “I love you, Uta” he whispered into the boy’s ear, licking down his neck. “You are so unbelievably sexy.” Acchan murmured as he slid down the boy’s small body, licking and nibbling at a tiny pert nub, drawing a small moan out of Uta’s harried breath. “Acc…han…” Uta mewled, clutching at his lover’s sides, bucking his hips up to receive his lover’s thrusts. “Uta…” Acchan moaned, he wanted so much to pin Uta’s hands over his head…he envisioned a helpless lover, begging to be touched, but being denied. He nuzzled Uta’s neck, breathing in the boy’s scent and he growled, mumbling ‘mine’, over and over. Uta felt nothing but the buzzing sensation in his groin, the pooling of heat in his gut as he edged towards the final fall. “Acchan… now!” he moaned. Acchan thrust faster and harder, as he watched his tiny lover’s face, as he pushed Uta into orgasm, the utter blissfulness of the boy, had sent Acchan into his own convulsive climax.

                Acchan lie next to Uta, both men breathing rapidly, coming down from the orgasmic high that they had reached together, his arm around Uta’s waist, pulling the boy into a warm embrace. “Let’s get cleaned up, ne?” Acchan released his grip on Uta, getting up to get a warm wet cloth to wipe up their sexy mess, as Uta lay with his arm thrown over his eyes. Acchan cleaned his lover up, but noticed that Uta had not moved, had not spoken after they had finished their love making, and even after a kiss, Uta remained in the same position. Returning from the bathroom, Acchan slid into bed next to Uta, nuzzling the boy’s neck, but still no response. “Uta, my love?” he whispered into the boy’s ear. “Hmm?” Still arm thrown across his eyes. “Is there something wrong?” Acchan was stepping carefully. “No, I’m just tired…” Uta lied, he turned towards his lover, and snuggled against the man, never really making eye contact, which puzzled Acchan. They lay quietly, Acchan unsure if he should say anything more, he knew there was something left unsaid by Uta. “I love you, Acchan” the young lover murmured, as he nuzzled into Acchan’s neck, letting his lover’s long hair cascade over his face. “I love you, Uta.”

                The next morning, all seemed well with Uta, he was cheerful, playfully smacking Acchan’s ass as he walked into the kitchen for his morning tea.  “Well good morning to you as well!” Acchan smiled as he handed Uta his tea. “Do you have plans for the day?” Acchan knew the boy had to work later that afternoon, a closing shift at the HBG. “Nothing before work, no. What did you have in mind?” Uta wiggled his eyebrows, causing Acchan to throw his head back in mock angst. “Again? Last night wasn’t enough?” Uta pouted, “It’s never enough, Acchan. You should know that by now.” It was true, the oddly paired lovers were more than compatible in the bedroom, but Uta worried about other issues, not related to the bedroom, but was hesitant to speak up.

                Since the night that Acchan, with Kyo, Taka, Koichi and Tatsu, had rescued Uta from Natsu, at the Fetish Club, Acchan and he had not spent a night apart. Uta was not complaining, he loved the older man, deeply. What he was worried about, was Acchan growing tired of him, and the fact that he did not have his own flat to escape to, if they decided to break up. Uta didn’t like talking about getting a flat of his own, as Acchan would become testy, telling Uta he had no reason to need his own flat, as he now lived with him as a lover, not a submissive. As a result, he avoided the topic completely, but secretly had been looking for a place on his own, near the HBG. He was not yet working full time, but Uta knew that asking Taka for more hours would not be a problem.

                Uta and Acchan spent the day lazing around the house, with Acchan having to leave before Uta. “Rehearsal for some small lives for the Fish Tank” (The Fish Tank is Buck Tick’s fan club, with members privileged to small concerts.) Acchan kissed his lover goodbye, promising to pick him up after work at the HBG.  Uta spent the rest of his afternoon arguing with himself over actually taking a flat, and moving out of Acchan’s house. Worried that the man would then break up with Uta, or become angry were the main points against the idea, but on the flip side, if they were to argue and then break up, Uta would have his own place to retreat to. “FUCK!” he whined and flopped over on the couch. He wasn’t sure what to do, and had no one to ask for an opinion.

                Checking the time, Uta left the house, taking the train to the HBG, secretly hoping that he would get to work with Mao, and not Tora and Aki. He was happy for the couple, extremely happy, but it was a little too cute and syrupy working with the two together. As luck would have it, Uta was closing with Mao, with Taka was staying late to complete end of month inventory. It was a weekend night, leaving the crew to be busy the entire night, Mao voicing the fact that they could really use another crew member for the summer.

                “Taka, you NEED to hire one more person! I’m running ragged, the patio is being ignored, and well…I’m tired!” whined Mao. Uta was standing behind Mao, nodding and giggling. Taka glared at Mao. “You truly believe we need another crew member…for the summer? Koichi isn’t enough? Five people, isn’t enough?” Taka had his arms folded. “Only if you’re going to work some shifts, then we wouldn’t need another person, but you’re always stuck back here in the office.” Mao was acting brave, standing up to his boss. “Friday and Saturday nights are always busy; two people are not enough to keep the counters running smoothly and the patio area clean. We need three people for Friday and Saturday nights. Not only that, you know DCR always has at least two or three events per year at the HBG.”

                Taka was paying attention to Mao, thinking to himself that the man did had valid concerns. “I will talk to the owner, and see what he says. I will agree if it’s in our budget, but because you were the one to bring it up, you’ll be in charge of training whomever I choose.” Mao’s mouth dropped open. “I what?” Taka smirked, “You presented a good argument for me to hire one more crew member, thusly, you’re going to be in charge in the training of said person.” “Bet you wished you wouldn’t have whined so much now, right Mao?” Uta laughed. Mao got a determined look, “Okay, fine. I’ll train whomever you hire, at least I know they’ll be trained correctly!” Mao turned and walked away, leaving Taka and Uta falling all over, laughing.

~

                Just as Uta was closing the counter covers down, Sakurai walked up, “Almost ready?” His smile for Uta always left the younger man with wobbly legs, and a burn in his groin. “Yep, few more minutes.” Uta hurried through the rest of his closing duties, made sure Mao was nearly done before they locked up the HBG for the night.  As Uta rounded the corner with Mao, they met with Sakurai, Mao turning red in front of the superstar. “Hello, Mao. Hope you’re doing well?” Acchan bowed slightly, smiling at the younger man. “Ye…yes! I’m great, thanks. Glad to have Uta back to work as well. I’ll see you later!” Mao waved and turned to leave. Sakurai took the opportunity to smother Uta in a heated blistering kiss, leaving his lover more than a little breathless. “I missed you today…” he said, breaking the kiss. Uta looked up at Sakurai… no, his Acchan. “Mmm, I want to go home…” Uta whimpered. Acchan didn’t hesitate more than a half second, before he grabbed Uta’s hand and dragged him willingly to his car. Once inside, Acchan leaned over and kissed Uta again, winking at him. “I have something special planned for tonight.” Uta squirmed in his seat in anticipation. “Wha…what is it?” he murmured, “A surprise…that’s all you get to know for now.”

                As they reached the front door, Acchan unlocked the door, but asked Uta to close his eyes. He walked Uta towards the dining table, standing in front of it, he told Uta to open his eyes. Uta gasped. Acchan had gone all out on a romantic dinner, with flowers, candles and wine chilling. He ushered his young lover to the table and pulled out his chair. “Sit please, I’ll be right back.” Acchan ran to the kitchen, and came back with a large serving tray ladened with food. “Why? What’s all this about?” Uta had tears welling in his eyes, begging to be released. “It’s been three months since we started dating, and I just wanted to have a special dinner with you.” Uta stood up so fast, he knocked his chair back, and threw his arms around Acchan. “I love you!” the boy cried against his boyfriend’s chest.

                “Oh, baby don’t cry! Please…” begged Acchan. “It’s all good…really! I love you, too! Come now, let’s wipe your eyes and eat. I don’t want the food to go cold.” The couple sat down and enjoyed a sumptuous late-night dinner, relaxing a bit with a good bottle of wine and going over their day’s events. Uta couldn’t contain his laughter when he told Acchan about Mao’s little tirade and what it got him in the end. “He stepped right into it, Taka and I couldn’t help laughing at him.” Nothing pleased Acchan more than to see Uta’s brightly lit eyes, and his bubbly laughter.

                “What’s for dessert tonight?” Uta had his eyes down, his cheeks flushed with heat, “Do you really need to ask that? Unless you’d like something else, I assume you know what is for dessert.” Acchan grinned. Uta shook his head, “No, I’d like the usual dessert please” he purred. “Let me clean this up a bit, shall I meet you there?” Uta nodded, but before he could get up, Acchan was there, cupping Uta’s chin, and running his tongue over the boy’s lower lip. “I’ll be there in a moment,” kissing Uta on the nose.

                Butterflies dancing a polka choked Uta’s brain, what should he do first? Undress? Shower? Sit on the edge of the bed and wait? This felt different, but in a good way, he thought. “Why am I so nervous?” Uta decided on changing into pajama pants, and lying in bed. He sat up on his elbow as Acchan strolled into the room, then kneeled at the side of the bed. “Baby, I want to talk to you first, because I want no surprises, and I don’t want any fear as well.” Uta swallowed, ut oh. Acchan saw the fear creeping into Uta’s face, he got on the bed, and pulled the boy into his arms. “It’s nothing bad, baby. But I need to tell you this.” Uta didn’t say a word, he just nodded carefully.

                “The other night when we made love, I had to restrain myself, I…I almost pinned you down! I wanted to pin your arms over your head, I wanted to make you beg for me to touch you and I would deny your pleas. I wanted to mark you, to show the world that you are mine.” He searched Uta’s face, his eyes, looking for fear or revulsion. “I wanted to tie you to the bed, edge you over and over, I wanted to blindfold you, leave you helpless for mere moments… I had all this running through my mind.” He stopped, looking down at the floor, he shook his head. “I know we discussed this in the beginning days of our relationship, and I assured you that it wouldn’t be a problem. Now? God, Uta all I want to do is make you MINE! At the same time, I do not want to collar or contract you! I never want that from you, ever.”

                Uta was shaking, hearing Acchan’s words, his groin starting to burn, his cock twitching at every description of what his lover wanted. “Um, I want that too, it’s just…well Natsu started out saying the same things, almost exactly. We all know how that ended. Before you say anything else, I know you would never do what Natsu did to me. There’s that part of me, that wants you to pin me down, to mark me, make me yours, there is just a …thing. I can’t even explain what it is, fear maybe?”

                “What do we do about this? I will never lie to you, Uta, but I can not deny my feelings. I thought I could bury them completely, now I’m not so sure.” Acchan hung his head, hair falling forward hiding his expression. Uta cupped the man’s chin and raised his head, “I don’t want you to deny it, any more than I can deny that it’s what I want. We need to find a starting point, and a definite ending point, a place that we will never visit together. Can we do that, start slow?” Uta’s eyes were pleading. Acchan grabbed Uta in a bear hug, squeeze the smaller man tightly, enough to make him squeak. “Oh, heh. Sorry. Yes, we can do exactly that! I’m so sorry…I don’t want you to ever think of Natsu when I’m making love to you, ever. I want everything we have to be gentle, wildly sexy, and perfect, and I think I know what we can start with, that’s very tame.” Acchan remembered something Kyo had once said about his sexual activity, with Uta. Getting up, Acchan went to his dresser and removed a long dark blue scarf, and approached the bed. “Are you willing to try being blind folded?” he asked Uta, careful not to reveal where he gained the knowledge of Uta’s willingness to do so. “Yes, I don’t mind blind folding, it doesn’t hurt…well it makes my cock hurt” he giggled. That giggle went straight to Acchan’s groin.

                “I want you to lie back on the bed, and I’m going to put this on.” Acchan wrapped the scarf, covering the boy’s eyes. “Don’t move, don’t touch, remain still” Uta shivered, Acchan’s voice was deeper, commanding. Uta could hear Acchan move away from the bed, into the bathroom, and he held his breath, waiting for the first touch, the first contact.

Hot breath…ghosting over his nipples, Uta mewled but remained still. “Uta…” his name whispered his ear, a quick nip at the lobe, Uta struggling not to reach out for his lover.  Then there was silence, a deafening roar of nothing, no breath no sound. “Acc…han?” Uta whimpered, he started to reach up to remove the blindfold, “Do not move” Acchan warned, Uta gulped and nodded, returning his hand to his side. A tongue swirled in his navel, hot hands teasing the waistband of his pajama pants, Uta bucks his hips, having no control over his body’s reaction to the burning fingertips of his lover. “Do not move” Uta was ordered again. “I…I can’t help it… Acchan…please!” Acchan slid his hands into Uta’s pajama’s, purposely ignoring Uta’s throbbing cock, and slipped the pajamas off. Acchan moaned softly, the sight of his lover’s alluring stiffening length leaving him mesmerized. “Uta…” he whispered as he gazed at the beautiful vision of his tiny lover’s body.

                Uta could not stop the small sounds escaping him, with Acchan’s every touch, the boy lost his mind a little more. “Please…” Uta whined, “I can’t take this anymore…please just…” Acchan took pity on his tiny boy, reaching up and removing the blindfold. “Just fuck me! No more playing, just fuck me!” Uta grabbed at the man’s arms, dragging Acchan up for a deep kiss. “I love you, Uta” he once again moaned in Uta’s ear, the boy writhing in a painful pleasure under him.

                It took nary a minute to prep the boy, the amorous nature of their relationship kept the boy in almost a constant state of arousal. As he applied liberal amounts of lube to both himself and Uta, Acchan lifted the boy’s tiny ass into his lap, placing his cock at the entrance of Uta’s hole. Leaning down, Acchan captured Uta’s mouth as he pushed into his boyfriend’s ass, Uta breaking the kiss when he threw his head back and moaned loudly. The sight of this lovely young man, in the throes of ecstasy, and with his cock sheathed in velvety heat of the boy, was more than Sakurai Atsushi could resist.

                Watching Uta jerking his cock roughly, Acchan thrust harder into the small body of his lover, he could feel the gripping sensation around his cock as Uta climbed towards the all-consuming climax. In a last frenzy of lust, Acchan reached down and wrapped his hand around Uta’s, the boy shivering as he came, and as the last of Uta’s seed left him, Acchan let loose, emptying his own seed into his young lover.

                Uta clung tightly to Acchan, not wanting to break the love spell. “I think I’m going to die…but it will be the most beautiful death anyone could ever want.” Uta whispered into the ear of his lover. “You’re too young to die, I’m the one that was supposedly going to be fucked to death. Can I join you in this beautiful death?”  Uta nodded, then pushed Acchan off and rolled him to the side. “Sorry, I just couldn’t breathe!” he giggled, as Acchan pouted. “One of us needs to get up and get a wet cloth, I’m not going to bed all sticky!” Uta teased. Acchan sighed, “And that would be me, of course.” “Of course.” Uta smirked.

                As they lie in bed, both on the edge of sleep, Acchan kissed Uta again, “Did you enjoy being blind folded, it did not frighten you?” Uta made a non-committal, albeit positive sound. “Hmm, mmm yes, it was wonderful, no I wasn’t scared, but damn it, you made me wait too long…telling me I couldn’t move or touch, that wasn’t fair. Next time, maybe I’ll blindfold YOU!” Uta popped up out of the covers, kissed his boyfriend then snuggled down further into the bed, resting his head on Acchan’s shoulder. “Next time…” Acchan whispered as he closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

“I hate your roommate…you know that, right?” Tora grumbled. “Hey, he’s a nice guy…but.” Aki was attempting to placate his boyfriend, as their make out session was once again, interrupted by Aki’s roomie. “Yah whatever, your ‘nice guy’ roommate is leaving me with blue balls and I don’t appreciate it at all, just letting you know!” Tora sat on the bed, his arms crossed. Aki tried to kiss Tora’s pissy-ness away, sliding his tongue seductively across his boyfriend’s lower lip, but Tora rejected Aki’s attempts. “Nope, sorry, not happening. I’m going home.” Aki frowned, this was becoming too routine for his liking. Tora kissed Aki, “I’ll see you tomorrow at work.”

                Aki couldn’t be mad at Tora, both were frustrated at the lack of privacy at both their flats.  They’d been dating almost three months and had yet to have sex, actual fucking type sex. There had been a lot of heavy petting, jerking each other off, quick blow jobs in the bathroom, but no fucking had occurred and Tora was beginning to be resentful of the entire situation.

                Tora had suggested a Love Hotel, but Aki balked at that, it was tacky and a bit gross. He didn’t want to make love to his boyfriend for the first time, in a room that had been shared by who knew how many hundreds of people. Tora understood, to a point, but his blue balls condition was becoming serious, and he was starting to wonder if Aki was genuine and sincere about their relationship. Tora wanted to confess, he had fallen in love with his co-worker during a period when everyone had been beyond tense.  Tora had to endure yet another night of either ignoring his needs, or jerking off, neither of which was an ideal ending to his day.

 

                “Hey Taka, what’s new?” Tora walked into the office of the HBG, clocking in and checking with Taka for any changes. “Wading through applications, wondering if Mao was just being whiney, or do we really need another person to work the weekend. How was your day off?” Tora snorted, “It wasn’t much, I can tell you that. Just the same shit.” Taka looked up at the man. “Um, something wrong? Did you and Aki have an argument?” Taka had noticed that in the last week or so, Tora had not been in his usual upbeat, cheerfully loud self, and Taka had started to worry about the young man.

Tora closed the office door and sat down, “Can I tell you something, in total confidence? If Aki knows I’ve said anything, he’s going to flip his shit.” Taka gave Tora his full attention, “I won’t say anything to anyone, you have my word.”  Tora was blushing, from the neck up, a lovely shade of crimson. “We’ve been dating a while, yah? But we haven’t um…uh, you know, consummated our relationship” he said, embarrassed as hell at revealing this. Taka sat back, this was not what he had expected to hear from Tora. “Are you sure this is something I should be hearing? I mean, that’s pretty damned personal…” Tora dropped his head in his hands. “I know, but shit Taka! Between my roommate and Aki’s roommate, we have zero privacy! I don’t know what to do. I asked him about a love ho …” Taka held up his hand, “Stop…I don’t need to know where that’s going.”  

“Taka, I’m in love with Aki, but I haven’t confessed yet…I wanted to tell him when we…you know.” Tora was looking at the floor, shaking his head slowly. “What do I do? I love the guy, but shit! I can only take so much…” Taka got up and patted the man on the shoulder, “I could tell you to be patient, but that seems a little too far gone at this point and I’m sure Aki feels the same way. I don’t have an answer for you Tora, I’m sorry. Let me think about it, maybe I can come up with something, advice or whatever, ne?” Tora stood up, smiled blandly and went out to start his shift.

Taka could sense the tension in the air later that afternoon, when Aki had arrived for work. The two lovers were barely speaking to each other, something that Taka knew from experience, was never a good thing, communication between partners was so important. Watching Aki and Tora, Taka wracked his brain for some simple solution to the couple’s problem. Unfortunately, business always got in the way of everyone’s personal life, and it wasn’t too long that Taka’s mind was consumed with the job of choosing applications and whom to interview. “I hate this part of my job…” he whined to no one in particular. Taking a chance, he called Tora and Aki into the office.

“I want both of you look over these three applications, discuss the weak and strong points between you, I’ll watch the counter.” Taka didn’t even wait, he just walked out of the office and shut the door. “Two birds with one stone…” he chuckled. It felt a little strange to stand behind the counter of the HBG, where so many years ago he fell in love…twice, saw so many good things, and not a few bad. Leaning his elbows on the counter, chin resting in his hand, Taka day dreamed about his past, smiling at the thought of Koichi and everything that went on between the two friends, and what their relationship is now. The hurt and anger he put everyone through when he left Sato, the fear that encased them all when Morrie was on the loose, and finally the struggles with Uta and Natsu. “We’re all okay now though,” he whispered to himself.

“What are we suppose to be looking at anyway?” Tora grumbled. “Hell if I know, I don’t want to be responsible for this.” Aki snapped. “What the hell is your problem right now Aki? You’ve been a real bitch all day, maybe you need to get laid.” Tora regretted saying that the second it left his mouth. “Uh, I um… I don’t mean that… I’m sorry” he stammered. “Get laid? Yah…that’s going to solve all of our problems, isn’t it? Whatever Tora!” Aki yanked the office door open and left the HBG, “I’ll check the patio” he yelled as he walked out the door. Taka peered around the corner, “What…” Tora sat in the office, hurt and confused. “I’m going to the patio, come watch the counter, Tora.” Taka said softly. The young man nodded, leaving the office.

Taka went to the patio and found Aki in the far corner, sitting next to the fountain, tears in his eyes. “Aki? Want to let me in on this? What’s going on between you and Tora? You don’t have to give me details, I’d prefer you not to, but this is affecting your job.” Taka sat across from Aki and waited. Aki looked up, “Everything is falling apart…and it’s my fault! He’s going to leave…and I can’t stop it, Taka”

Taka didn’t want to bring up the fact that he knew what the problem was, wanting instead to dance carefully around it. “Why is it your fault? Can’t there be two people at fault for the same thing? Usually that’s the case, one think’s the problem is entirely theirs alone, when in fact both parties share the same responsibility.”

“I think you and Tora need to spend some time together, away from your flats. It’s not easy to talk when you have roommates that might be listening.” Taka knew it was a redundant point, but Aki didn’t. Aki chuckled, “That’s part of the problem, we can’t seem to find a place to talk, or do anything else for that matter.” Taka watched as Aki struggled to come up with a solution, but the young man was too emotional to think clearly at that moment. “Let’s get back to work, you guys can cut out as soon as Uta and Mao get here, maybe go get a coffee or even a high ball…” Taka winked at his friend, patting him on the shoulder and walking back to the HBG.

“Hey, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.” Tora didn’t even let Aki get back into the building, before he grabbed his lover in a tight hug. Aki relaxed, “Well, to be honest, maybe we both need to get laid” Tora smirked. “Yah, we do…let’s try to figure something out, after work.” They exchanged a quick kiss and went back to the counters. “Thanks Taka” Tora smiled at his boss.

The remainder of Aki and Tora’s shift went quickly, with the playful banter between the two returning to normal, maybe with a little more silliness, as they both threw lemons at Taka’s back, “Hey, I can still fire both of you…” he warned. “Yah right Taka, then who’s left working the counters? YOU!” Aki laughed as he threw another used lemon.

Mao and Uta walked through the door, just as Taka ducked into the office, and both men were almost hit with flying lemons. “What the fuck?” Mao shouted, “Sorry Mao, that was meant for Taka!” Tora laughed. Mao just shook his head, “Kids…what can you do? They’re so unruly these days.” Mao was actually younger than both Tora and Aki, a point that he was reminded by, with a whisper from Uta. “Pfft, I’m still older than they are…more mature at the very least!” Mao pouted. Uta hugged Mao, “I love you!” Mao stiffened, “What did you just say?” Uta laughed, “I mean I love you, your personality, your feistiness, you’re super cute and funny, that’s what I meant.” Mao was struck speechless, which was quite an accomplishment. “Um, thanks Uta.”

                During the lulls in business, Mao and Uta passed the time talking about Uta’s relationship with Sakurai, and Mao’s dilemma with Die. “I don’t understand why he just doesn’t give up! I’ve told him at lease a dozen times I’m not interested…I know he’s nice, but he’s a musician!”  Uta shrugged, “I’m not sure what Die’s issue is, he’s persistent about it though.”

                “You know what happened at the DCR party, ne?” Mao asked. “No, did I miss something important?” Uta had been preoccupied with his own boyfriend. “I was on the patio, and Die was following me around. Finally, I just stopped and tried to convince him to leave me alone.  Kyo was standing with him, and even Kyo tried to tell him to stop harassing me. I put my arm around Kyo, just sort of for effect, then Kyo had his arm around me…not sure if Die thought that meant something, which it didn’t, but he stormed off all pissy.”

                “You put your arm around Kyo? Um…that seems a little weird, Mao.” Uta was totally confused. “Why is it odd? It got Die to pay attention and to accept my decisions.” “But what if … I mean, Kyo might think something else…he’s like that you know.” Mao laughed, “Kyo knows I don’t date musicians! He played along with me, and it worked…no more Die!” Uta wasn’t sure about Kyo’s playing along with Mao, worried that Kyo took it the wrong way, but he kept his mouth shut about that topic.

                “Are you getting your own flat or will you stay with Sakurai? I couldn’t imagine leaving his side… he’s so yummy!” giggled Mao. “I don’t know, I’m not sure what I should do. Sometimes I can’t even imagine living on my own again, but at the same time I worry. What if we break up? I don’t have anywhere to go…I have literally nothing to my name other than my clothes.” Mao patted Uta on the shoulder, “Acchan loves you…you won’t break up, you have no reason to, right? You love him, he loves you, fairy tale ending!” Uta didn’t say it, but he wished it was only that easy.

~

                “You want to what?” Sato was not sure he heard Taka correctly. “I want to set up a date night for Tora and Aki, here at our house, what’s so hard to understand?” Sato was baffled, “And why are you wanting to do this? They have their own flats, so why our house?” Taka rolled his eyes and explained the situation between Tora and Aki. “Hmm, then where will we be? Not like we can stay here” Taka had thought the plan out thoroughly. “I think that Koichi and Tatsu, you and I, we need a fun filled six hour long double date!”

“SIX HOURS? What the hell will we do for six hours?” Sato joked. “I’m not sure I want to be around Tatsu for six hours.”

“Too damned bad! This is a better idea than letting them go to a love hotel, right? That’s just creepy and gross. Just let me set this up for them please? You have no idea how tense it can be at the HBG, when those two are not talking. They started throwing lemons at me!” complained Taka. “If I agree, you’re setting the entire date, and I’m not saying I agree. I’ll wait to see what Tatsu says about it.”

“I’ll call Kou and Tatsu and figure out a day that works for all of us. You don’t have anything Mucc related right now, no rehearsal and no recording. Let’s just have a nice long double date, and forget what those two boys will be doing in our guest room.” Taka had a cheeky grin on his face, but Sato groaned, “Thanks for putting that image in my brain, Tora and Aki fucking…”

~

                “Are you sure they will agree to it? It’s a bit unorthodox to have sex for the first time in your bosses’ house, Taka” Koichi liked the idea, but had some reservations. “Where are we going, that will take up six hours?

                “I say we do Ojisan’s for dinner, hopefully with no beer limit. We could go to the movies, there’s that new Kurosawa film, or Leisure Land is always fun. We can stop at the bookstore and have coffee and dessert.” Taka had thought this through fairly well. “Do you have any suggestions?”

                “Shopping of course, Harajuku or Shinjuku mall? Pachinko parlor? I like the bookstore and dessert idea, I can always go for a piece of that chocolate cheesecake they have.” Kou suggested.

                “Now the big problem, how to approach Tora and Aki with the idea. I think I’d rather approach Tora, since he came to me with the problem. Any suggestions on that?” Taka had an idea, but wanted Koichi’s opinion first.

                “Hmm, you could just tell Tora what you had in mind, but that’s not romantic. I think Tora would want to do something big for Aki.”

                “We could tell Tora, have him do everything before, and then tell Aki he has a surprise and drive him over…that was my idea.” It was simple and to the point.

                “Hmm, that sounds like a solid plan, I’d go with that. Need any help setting everything up?”

                “Nope, I think I have it covered, thanks Kou. Talk to Tatsu, just tell him we’re doing this, don’t even bother asking, then he can’t refuse.” Taka laughed.  He knew that Tatsu wouldn’t refuse Koichi, the man seldom did, just as Sato would rarely if ever, refuse Taka. Now he just had to talk to Tora and plan a date, maybe schedule the two to close the HBG the following day, so they’d have time to recover from their special date.

Chapter Text

 

                Taka had until the end of his shift, to make a decision between the three applications that sat in front of him on his desk. The checks and balances weighed evenly with the candidates, the work history was solid, it looked so easy just to pick one. “Fuck…I hate this part of my job” Taka once again complained. In the back of his mind he had considered calling both Kanon and Miku and asking them if they’d like to work just weekends, but he knew they were already employed elsewhere.

                Tora walked through the door of the HBG, wanting to talk to Taka, but saw that he was bent over his desk, apparently busy.  Heaving a sigh, he went about the opening duties for the day, hoping that Taka wasn’t going to be tied up all day in the office. He knew that Koichi was opening with him, which made for an escape from Aki, that situation wasn’t going anywhere quick. Taka had seen Tora looking in the door, he knew the young man wanted to talk, “Hi Tora, did you and Aki get to talk the other day?” Taka had his fingers crossed, behind his back, “Yep, didn’t solve a damn thing. We both ended up pissed off at each other, he went home and I went to a bar.”        

Taka pulled back in shock, “A bar Tora? What the hell were you doing at a bar?”  Tora shrugged, “Getting drunk, what else to you do in a bar?” the young man snapped, turning away from his boss. Taka sighed, “Not a good choice, Tora…but you’re too old to lecture.” The younger man looked over his shoulder, “I’m done Taka. I’m done with Aki and all the bullshit that’s been going on between us. He’s not making any attempt to remedy our situation, I’ve had enough. Excuse me, I need to open the counters.”

Taka followed Tora to the counters, “You don’t really mean that, you’re not giving up on Aki because you guys can’t…you know. That’s a pretty fucking lame excuse to break up with someone, Tora. Pretty cowardly as well, but it’s your business, I’m out of it.” Taka was disappointed that he couldn’t put his plan in action, it seemed that Tora had made his choice. “Just one more question, does Aki know you’re done with him? I need to know for scheduling purposes. If you two have been arguing or have broken up, I’m not going to schedule you together.”

“Yah, don’t schedule me with him anymore, maybe he’ll get the fucking hint.” Tora once more turned his back on Taka, who threw up his hands and walked into the office. “Kou better get her soon, before he says anything to Tora.” Taka decided to make the schedule changes right then, and would be calling Aki later, also having to call in the prospective new hire for an interview. “Hey Taka.” Koichi peeked his head into the office door.

“Kou! Get in here and close the door!” hissed Taka. Koichi frowned, “What’s wrong now?” his shoulders slumping a bit. “Aki and Tora…don’t say anything about what we had planned, it’s a no go as of right now.” Taka quickly explained what Tora had said earlier, “Damn, that fell apart quickly. Look I’d better go before Tora figures out what we’re doing.” Koichi walked up front, chatting about random things with Tora, decidedly not talking about Aki. Tora seemed his cheerfully loud self, but underneath he was a different soul, scared and hurt by Aki’s non-actions. The HBG generally wasn’t terribly busy during the early hours of the afternoon, so there was a lot of down time, which worked for and against Tora, as he went back and forth with himself over Aki’s inactivity or inability to understand Tora’s frustration. He kept himself busy by doing back stocking, cleaning the patio area and only being inside when there were customers to be served.

Looking at the applications again, Taka finally had enough and ripped them up, “None of these people are going to work…shit” he was fully fed up with the idea of hiring another person for the weekend shift. “Mao is just going to have to suck it up,” he muttered. Looking at the schedule, and what was currently going on between Aki and Tora, Taka finally decided he’d just have to rotate a third person on the weekends, “Can’t justify hiring another person, it isn’t happening.” Pushing away from his desk, he walked up to talk to Tora and Koichi.

“I’m not going to hire another person just for the weekends.” Taka waited for the blow back. “Um, okay?” Koichi was confused. “Why not Taka?” Tora worried that he’d still be stuck working with Aki every shift. “I haven’t found one application that I’m satisfied with, so instead I’m going to rotate you all for weekend shifts. Nobody works every weekend, and we split Friday and Saturday nights. This way everyone gets a few more hours and we don’t have to worry about training anyone new.” This was the best he could do for the moment, it would work or it would bomb, Taka just hoped that there would be no causalities, specifically Tora and Aki.

 

                “That’s a shame, do you think they’ll break up or is this just a small tiff?” Tatsu didn’t mind not having the six-hour date, but the reason the date was canceled was unfortunate. “I don’t know, maybe…Tora’s pretty upset with Aki. He says Aki isn’t doing anything to fix their problem,” Tatsu could see Tora’s point, but it seemed fairly juvenile to break up because they couldn’t have sex. “I sort of understand, but wouldn’t you work that much harder to remedy the problem? There’s always someplace to fuck…” Koichi reaction was so quick Tatsu didn’t have time to duck as Koichi threw a pillow and hit Tatsu square in the face. “Fuck? Really? There’s always someplace to fuck? God, sometimes I wonder about you…you used to be semi-romantic, now you’re just a barbarian. I may have to file for divorce… AGAIN!” Koichi got up off the couch and stomped off to the bedroom, slamming the door. “What the fuck was that?” Tatsu was stunned.

~

                Tora wasn’t answering Aki’s texts, either the man was ignoring them, or he had his phone turned off, Aki suspected it was the former. The night that they had last spoken was rough, with Tora accusing him of not caring enough about their relationship to do something about the current situation. Aki had gone home, and spent the night in his room, lying on his bed and staring at the ceiling. His roommate had tried to speak to him, but Aki ignored the man’s words, walking straight to his room. “I guess we’re done then, just another one to dump me.” Rolling over onto his side, Aki let the tears slide quietly, he pulled the blanket over his head to shut out the world.

                Tora re-read the twenty-three texts Aki had sent him over the last day, each one of them sticking a knife in further, twisting it in Tora’s gut, he wasn’t sure what he should do…call Aki or ignore him? He had no one to confide in, nobody to call and ask for an opinion, which didn’t really make him feel any better about himself. “Fuck…I’m a loser” he snarked to himself as he rummaged around the kitchen for something to eat. “Oh ho? What’s this?” Reaching in the back of a cabinet, Tora finds a nearly full bottle of Suntory Vodka. “Guess what’s for dinner boys?” Grabbing a can of citrus soda, and a bag of chips, Tora saunters into his room, and starts to pull up videos on his computer, taking the first shot of Vodka and cheering an X Japan video.

                Four videos into his evening, Tora’s already starting to feel warm and fuzzy, “This is so much better than texting Aki!” He went through is favorite X Japan videos, then started watching Buck Tick, which led him to wonder what it would be like to be fucked by Sakurai. “I should ask Uta!”

                By the end of the night, and the end of the bottle, Tora was shitfaced unhappy, every video he watched, he was reminded of Aki. “Fucker…s’not want’s me…s’hole!” He stumbled as he tried to get up, falling on his ass hard. He sat on the floor, head bowed down almost to his knees, and started to cry, muttering Aki’s name. “S’fuck! Msmm phone!” he crawled to the bed, where he had thrown his phone earlier in the evening. Not bothering to look at his missed text messages, he dialed Aki.

                “Tora? Hey, I’ve been…”

“Shussstt sfucck up…asssshole!” Tora again tried to stand, making it only to his knees.

“What? Tora what’s wrong? You…you don’t…” Aki couldn’t understand his boyfriend.

“YOU’RE swhat’s wrong! I love you!” the tears started to fall again, “but you don’t care”

“Tora…what did you say? You what...” He wasn’t sure he heard it correctly.

“Stupid ass I fucking love you!” Tora shouted into the phone, then he rocked back on his heels, falling over on his side. “You’re such an asshole, I love you and you don’t care.”

                There was silence on the other end. Tora knew that Aki had hung up, that what he said had been a waste of time. He closed his phone, and curled into a ball, rocking slowly and crying. He stayed like that for what seemed like hours, the alcohol draining from his body, via his tears.

                “Tora? Hey baby…Tora?” He could hear something, and he was shaking…the noise wouldn’t go away, it was buzzing in his ear. “Tora…baby wake up…” His eyes felt like they were sealed shut with mud, he struggled to open them and when he did, he peered up at Aki. “Ak…Aki? Why are you here?” His head hurt…his tongue felt like dirt…his brain wasn’t able to wrap around what his eyes were seeing. “Hey, don’t you remember? You called me…” Aki was smiling, “I didn’t call you… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Tora grumbled, he did remember calling Aki, but he wasn’t about to admit it.

                “Tora, you totally drunk dialed me…and you also told me something important.” Aki had sat down on the floor, drawing Tora’s head into his lap, carding through the man’s wildly unkempt hair. “You don’t remember what you said? You said it at least twice…” Aki teased. “Three times actually.” Tora muttered under his breath.

                “See, you do remember calling me…you called me asshole too, which I probably deserve.” Tora turned his face and buried it in Aki’s lap. “You did deserve it…you’re an asshole.” Aki sighed, “Yep, I am, and yes I do deserve it. What I want to know is if you meant what you said to me…three times.” Aki gently cupped Tora’s chin, wresting it away from his lap, turning so he could look into Tora’s eyes. “Did you mean it?”

                “No, I take it back…I didn’t mean it.” Tora’s cheeks were reddening. Aki could tell Tora was lying, his cheeks always turned red when he did.

                “I’m sorry, but there are no take-backs or do-overs with confessions. If you’ve said it, that means it’s true and you can’t take it back.” Aki grinned. “I love you, Tora.” Aki bent down and kissed Tora’s forehead, it was the only thing he could reach.

                “I don’t believe you. If you loved me, you would help me find a way where we can be together, and not just blow it off all the time. You’re just saying it to…I don’t know, but you’re lying.” Tora couldn’t, wouldn’t let himself believe Aki truly loved him.

                “Fuck, you’re such a dumb ass sometimes Tora.”

                “Aki?” whispered Tora.

                “Hmm?” Aki was still carding Tora’s hair.

                “I love you,”

                “Mmm, I know. I love you too.” He smiled.

                Aki helped Tora up off the floor, made him go and brush is teeth, gave him some aspirin and a glass of water. “Let’s go to bed.”

                “But…what about…him?” Tora stuttered. “I don’t care anymore, Tora. I love you, you love me, to hell with him and if he hears something, then guess what? He knows we’re fucking…I think we both need to stop thinking of other people and start thinking about ourselves. I almost lost you because I was worried about someone hearing us, I’m not willing to do that anymore. I don’t give a shit. Hell, I’ll go out and tell him…” Aki started for the door, opening it and before Tora could do anything, Aki was shouting out the door. “Hey Shou…guess what? Tora and I are going to have sex… so if you don’t want to hear anything, I suggest you leave or put some headphones on…it’s going to be loud!”

                Aki shut the door and turned to look at his boyfriend, who’s face was white with shock. “AKI! YOU JUST…oh my god…you just told my roommate that we’re going to fuck... I can’t believe you did that” Aki stood in front of Tora, cupping Tora’s face with both hands. “We need to do something more permanent about this… I say we think about, and talk about moving in together…in the morning. Right now? I just want to get my hot little hands on your hot little body!” Aki kissed Tora, leading him towards the bed.  “I love you Tora…” Those were the last soft words heard for the remainder of the night, and Tora’s roommate Shou? He didn’t get much sleep that night, but he had a smile on his face. “Good for you, Tora”

Chapter Text

Uta was having a silent meltdown, straining to keep himself quiet and unnoticed by his lover.  Trying to talk to the man again, about Uta getting his own flat, had been a disaster. “You don’t need your own flat, Uta. Why do you insist that you do?” Acchan was shaking in side, if Uta left, what would that mean? He didn’t want to find out, thusly they were having the same argument that they always had.

                “Think about it from my perspective, Acchan. What if, for some bizarre reason we break up, where would I go? I’d be homeless.” With his arms crossed, Uta was sitting on the couch, legs crossed and a foot bouncing, trying not to scream at his lover.

                “Why would we break up? That’s the part I still don’t understand! Are you anticipating us breaking up? Is there something I should know that you’re not telling me?” the older man was on the edge of a panic attack, as he paced in front of the large windows in his living room.

                “No, I’m not anticipating anything, I love you and you know that, there is no question. But…and I know it’s a huge but…how would I live if we did? Do you want to see me homeless? Would you rather I said nothing, and go back to Kyo?” Uta regretted those words the second he said them, his breath catching in his throat.

                Acchan stopped pacing, turning slowly he looked at Uta. “Is he the first person you’d run to, if we broke up? You still have feelings for him, don’t you? You’re staying with me out of gratitude, because I saved you from Natsu…” Acchan’s voice was low and deadly, Uta had never heard this voice.

                Uta sat up straight on the couch, his face paled and his pulse quickened. “You believe that? You really think I’m that shallow, I’m that insincere? FINE!” Uta stood up and walked back to the bedroom. Grabbing a back pack, he stuffed a few items of clothes, some toiletries and walked to the front door. “When you regain your sanity, you can fucking call me. I’m not staying here any longer until you get a fucking clue!” Uta walked out the door and slammed it, leaving a stunned Sakurai Atsushi with a terrified look on his face.

~

                “Hi, can you come to the HBG? I need to talk to you please. Okay.”

               

                “Of course you can spend the night, but why? What happened between you and Sakurai?” Taka had met Uta on the patio of the HBG.  Uta nodded, tearfully explaining what Sakurai had said to his lover. Taka groaned, “Acchan really?” He stood up and motioned for Uta to follow him back to his car. “You can stay tonight, but I want you to talk to Acchan as soon as possible. Do not let this linger, it will do neither of you any good.” 

 

                “Hi Uta, um…” Sato looked to Taka, as he and Uta walked into the house. “Uta’s spending the night.” Taka gave Sato a ‘I’ll tell you later’ look, “Sure, no worries.” Sato turned back to what he was doing, as Taka was leading Uta to the guest room towards the back of the house. “Will Sato be upset with you Taka? I don’t want to cause any problems” “Sato doesn’t mind, he knows that if you’re here, there’s a damned good reason. I’ll let you rest for a bit, dinner is around 6:00.” Uta thanked Taka.

 

                “Want to tell my why an unhappy Uta is in our guest room?” Sato knew mostly likely, it was a Sakurai problem, and not an Uta problem. “Acchan’s being an asshole,” Taka sat down on the couch, then fell over, his head in Sato’s lap. “Acchan gets all panicky when Uta tries to talk about having his own flat. Then for some reason, Uta put Kyo’s name into the mix.”

                “Well that was freaking stupid of him. Now I can see why Sakurai would panic, is Uta getting his own flat? I’m a little lost that part.”

                “Sakurai believes that if Uta moves out, he’ll leave him.” Taka pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don’t understand why Sakurai is so insecure, he’s the most confident person I’ve ever met…well besides you of course.” Taka tilted his head back, requesting a kiss from his husband, a request that was granted immediately.

                “Sometimes it’s the ones that appear ultra-confident, that are the most insecure, it’s usually a front, and I’m guessing that Sakurai isn’t happy about that.” Sato knew the feeling well, remembering how it was when he and Taka were separated.

                “I’m going to call Sakurai and have him over to talk to Uta…our house is neutral territory, but I’m going to let him stew over night,  I think he needs a damned wake-up call.”

~

                He ignored the twelve texts he’d gotten in the less than two hours since he walked out of Acchan’s house. He was too damned mad at his lover…not showing me much love right now. Mentioning Kyo had been a huge mistake, he regretted it the second it left his lips, but Acchan was creating a huge mess with his insecurities. He knows I love him, I tell him all the time, why can’t he see I’m protecting myself? Another text notification;

Please baby, just tell me where you are…that you’re safe, please Uta!’

Uta felt a little guilty at not answering any of the texts, but not guilty enough. Maybe Acchan needed to worry about where he was, if he had his own flat, he would know exactly where Uta was. A knock on the door, dragged Uta’s attention back to the present, “Uta? Hey would you like dinner? Sato made his famous pasta…probably not as good as Acchan’s cooking, but don’t tell him I said that” Taka snickered. “TOO LATE TAKA, I HEARD YOU!” came from the kitchen.

“Shit! Busted!” Uta giggled. “Sounds good…thanks Taka.” Uta joined the couple in the kitchen. “Uta, don’t listen to Taka, my pasta is at least as good as Sakurai’s, maybe better!” Sato was giving Taka the evil eye. “Don’t put me between your spats please…I have enough of that at…” Uta almost said home, but then he stopped. “Excuse me.” Pushing back from the table, Uta walked back to the guest room, shutting the door quietly.

“Woops…sorry” Sato murmured.  Taka waved it off. “It’s not your fault, babe. Uta needs to figure out what he wants to do. I can advise him, but I can’t give him the solution.” Taka and Sato finished their dinner, and cleaned up. Dishing up a bowl of pasta, Taka knocked on the guest room door. “Uta? Would you like some pasta? Sato’s sorry he upset you…he didn’t mean anything buy it.” Uta smiled sadly at Taka, “It wasn’t Sato, or you. It’s me being a pain in everyone’s ass…again.”

“You’re hardly a pain in my ass Uta, you’re my friend and I hate seeing you unhappy, I want to help you, you deserve happiness.” Taka put his arm around Uta’s small shoulders, hugging the young man. “We’ll get Acchan to pull his head out of his ass, I’m sure he’s flooded your phone with texts, ne?”

“Yah…he has. Look…” Uta held his phone up, “thirty-three texts? Holy shit Uta, Acchan is having a damned melt down! Shouldn’t you answer him, at least let him know you’re here?” Uta shrugged. “I’m not sure I want him to know where I am. All he’ll do is want to come and take me back to his house, and we’ll make up, have sex and be right back where we started. Him freaking out every time I mention having my own flat.”

“Why do you think it’s necessary to have your own flat? I understand you’re worried about being homeless if you and Acchan break up, but do you really think that will happen soon, if at all?” Taka wanted to draw out the truth behind all of the tension between the two men.

“I don’t know Taka, it’s like I’m in this relationship with Sakurai Atsushi, yes I know he’s Acchan to me, but to everyone else he’s Sakurai, he’s surrounded by beautiful, intelligent people all the time.  He’s going to get tired of me eventually, that’s the norm for me, except for Natsu of course. I feel like I’m freeloading, not contributing to anything in our relationship, at least nothing monetary. I get that he loves me…right now.” Taka listened to his young friend list his fears. “Has he ever said anything about leaving you? Given any clues that he thinks you’re not paying your way?” Taka already knew the answer.  “No, he hasn’t, but…”

“This is just a suggestion; I want you to text Acchan, tell him where you are and that you’re safe, or I can if you don’t want to talk to him. Get a good night’s sleep and in the morning, we can have Acchan come over and we can talk. I will referee if you want, or Sato and I can leave the house, it’s up to you.” Giving Uta options was the best approach, he wouldn’t feel pressured to leave with Sakurai if he didn’t want to.

“If we…if he’s still acting like an asshole, can I stay here until I talk to someone else about maybe sharing a flat, please? I’m sorry to ask this of you, Taka.” Uta asked in a tiny voice. Taka knew what the boy meant, “If you need to stay here for a bit until you get back on your feet, you’re more than welcome. Sato doesn’t mind, and too bad if he does…I run the house, he just brings me the money!”

“I HEARD THAT TOO, TAKA!” Uta and Taka looked at each other, then fell over on the bed laughing. “He has supersonic hearing…sneaky man!” Taka had started to feel more and more like a marriage counselor; Koichi and Tatsu, Aki and Tora, and now Uta and Sakurai, all had come to him for some sort of advice, which Taka felt weird about…in a good way. He couldn’t understand why people wanted his advice, when he had screwed up his own life, not once but twice!

“Would you like me to text Acchan for you?” Taka asked. “If you would, please. I just don’t want to get into a long text conversation right now, can you tell him that for me please?” Uta held his breath as Taka took out his phone, Taka patted him on the knee, “It will be fine”

Acchan…Uta is at my house, he’s safe, he wants you to let him have tonight to decompress.”

“TAKA! Thank you! Are you sure he’s okay? He scared me to death when he left.” Sakurai was shaking as he texted.

“I’m sure. I want you to come over tomorrow late morning, so you two can talk.”

“Yes! Would 11am be a good time for him?”

“Yes, 11am is perfect. Please don’t text him anymore, he’s a bit stressed out. He needs some time for himself.”

“Taka, would you tell Uta that I love him, and I want him home with me, please?”

“Sure, we will see you tomorrow.”

“He said to tell you that he loves you and want’s you home with him.” Taka reached over and hugged Uta. “I’m sure you guys can work through this, he’s not a bad guy, he just has some control issues I think.”

~

                They sat at opposite sides of Taka’s kitchen table, neither one looking at the other, Uta nervously shifting in his seat. Uta had asked Taka if he would stay while he and Sakurai talked, Sato excused himself to his office, hoping there would be no need for any physical back up.

                “Who wants to start the conversation? I’m not here to judge…just to referee.” Taka didn’t want to side with either one of the men, but he was leaning towards Uta’s side of the problem.

                “I’m sorry I brought Kyo into the conversation, I didn’t mean it but you weren’t listening to me, I used his name as shock value.” Uta was looking at his hands, afraid of Acchan’s reaction, which at the moment was silence. Uta continued, “I want my own flat for several reasons; I don’t feel like I contribute anything to our relationship, at least monetarily. Wouldn’t you be happier knowing where I was if we had an argument and I went home, instead of having to ask Taka for a place to stay?”

                Acchan looked at Uta, his heart breaking, because he was the one that had made his beautiful lover unhappy. “Using Kyo’s name hurt, beyond what I can explain. No, I don’t understand why you want your own flat. I don’t ever want to lose you, I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if you weren’t there anymore. You contribute to our relationship with your love, your thoughtfulness, your humor and a few other things, I don’t need the money Uta.”

                “Why don’t you want me to have my own flat? What are you afraid of? I love you, I have no reason to quit our relationship, don’t you get that?” Uta pleaded with his lover to explain his reasons.

                “You’ll start pulling away from me, you’ll meet new people at work and soon enough, I’ll not be enough for you. If you stay with me I can keep you safe, I can protect you from all the assholes out there that would love nothing better than to …” Acchan couldn’t finish. 

                 “Uta, do you still have your own room at Acchan’s?” Taka started fishing.

                “Yes, but I sleep with Acchan, it would feel weird to sleep alone if I’m living there.” Uta murmured. “I don’t think that’s the issue, Taka. I don’t have my own space, other than that bedroom. I don’t have anywhere that I can just…” Uta’s thoughts trailed off.

                Sitting in silence, it appeared that no one was willing to make the effort to resolve the problem. “Uta, do you want to go home with Acchan today?” Taka wanted to give Uta an out, so he didn’t feel pressured to leave with the man.

                “Not really…” Uta whispered. Acchan’s breath caught, his head snapping up. “Why not baby? Why won’t you come home with me?” Uta finally looked up at Acchan. “Because you refuse to listen to my needs, you refuse to look at my point of view. Going home with you solves nothing. I love you, but you need to accept the fact that I may want to live on my own, without breaking up with you.” Uta got up and left the table, walking down to the guest room and quietly closing the door.

                “Uta…” Acchan reached his hand out to the young man. “Acchan, don’t. Just let him go for now.” Taka pushed Sakurai’s arm down. “You’ll not solve anything by forcing him to leave with you, and I won’t let you do that.” Taka said firmly. “Taka, what can I do now?” the older man whimpered.

                “Why are you so insecure about all of this, what is the issue really?” Taka knew there was something else going on, other than Sakurai’s inability to understand Uta’s needs. “Acchan…is this because Uta’s not collared?” Taka was taking a shot in the dark, which hit the target dead center, as Sakurai’s head snapped up.  “Ta…Taka!” His face went pale, realizing the answer.  “Can you go get Uta please?” the older man was shaken.

                  Taka went down the hall to the bedroom, knocking lightly, “Uta, could you please come back out again? I think we may have solved the problem.” Uta had been crying, eyes red and a little puffy. He followed Taka back to the kitchen. “Uta, I think I know why I’m being an asshole!” Acchan tried to sound cheerful, but it came across creepy. “Um, okay…” Uta hesitated.

                “Except for my very first serious relationship, all my other lovers were collared and contracted by me. I had control over virtually every aspect of their lives, some including where they lived and what they were and were not allowed to do. I have no control over you, and obviously I have a problem with that. It may be connected to our other um…activities, me being a natural dominant, you know I’m having problems controlling that part of my whole being. I do not want you to have your own flat, because I can not control the situation, I have no power over that!” Acchan was almost gleeful in his explanation.

                “But you said you wouldn’t collar or contract me, that you wanted for us to be lovers, boyfriends, not Master and Submissive!” Uta was confused by Acchan’s sudden declaration. “But what does that mean? How is going to change things?”

                “I don’t know” the man said in a low voice. Acchan slumped back in his chair, raking his hands through his hair in frustration. “What do you want me to do, Uta? I’m frightened that if you move out, something will happen, to cause you to leave me, and that is absolutely the last thing in the world I want to happen. You know I love you, but ultimately the choice is yours to make. I will make my last statement; I love you and want you to stay with me, I trust you…I don’t trust anyone else around you.”

                Acchan got up, moving around the table, he hugs Uta tightly, kisses the boy briefly, and turns to Taka. “Please Taka-kun, watch over Uta for me, keep him safe until he decides. Uta baby, I’ll wait for you to call me, and I will accept any decision you make. I love you.” Sakurai turned away from the table and left Taka’s house, leaving both Uta and Taka in stunned silence.

Chapter Text

              Uta was in shock, Acchan had just walked out on him. Turning to Taka, he didn’t know how to react to what his lover had said, “Taka? What just happened?” Taka got up and looked out his front window, Sakurai was sitting in his car. “SATO!”  Hearing his named yelled, Sato pushed back from his desk so quickly, the chair fell over. “What’s wrong?” Taka pointed out the window. “Go get Sakurai please.” Sato sighed, “What the hell did he do now?” Opening the door, Sato went down the walk and tapped on Sakurai’s window. “Get your ass back in the house…quit being immature!”

                “Why? Uta doesn’t want to speak to me at the moment, I intend on giving him time to decide.” Sato opened Sakurai’s car door, grabbed the man by the arm and dragged him out. “Taka told me to bring your dumb ass back in the house and I always do what my husband tells me to.”  Sato pulled the man into the house, shoved him towards the kitchen table and stood behind him with his arms crossed.

                “You’re a dumbass Acchan, you know that? Why the hell am I having to reprimand a man that’s ten years older than I am, about the immature way he’s handling his relationship? Tell me Acchan, how fair is it for you to walk out on Uta, leaving everything unsaid and in his lap, how is that going solve your problem? You’re being a selfish bastard right now, I’m to the point of telling Uta to break up with you.”

                That statement caught Acchan’s attention. Uta’s tears were running down his cheeks, he was staring at his hands, not able to look at Acchan. “Sakurai look at Uta. Is this how you want to see your lover…crying because you can’t accept something that he wants to do, that in no way would jeopardize your relationship? Uta’s past gives him good reason to want to have his own flat, YOU need to understand that.” Sato frowned.

                “Uta, why did you bring up Kyo? Did you say it to hurt Acchan?” snapped Taka. “Sort of, I just needed him to hear me, and he wasn’t listening!” Uta’s voice was shaking, something that hit Acchan straight in the heart. “Do you have any reason to want to end your relationship with Acchan?” Uta whimpered, “No! I keep trying to tell him that,” Uta gazed at Acchan. “I love you…I never want to be alone again!” Uta took a breath, “I…I’m scared.”

                “Scared? Of what Uta?” Acchan leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on the table.  “All of it…you, us…them, everything.” Taka and Sato exchanged side glances, while Sakurai was concerned. “Them? Who are you speaking about, Uta?” Uta shook his head, not willing to answer. Acchan looked to Taka and Sato, both of whom had no idea what Uta was referring to.

                “Uta, come with me…” Taka held out his hand and led Uta away from the table, back into the guest room. “You need to tell me, what you’re scared of Uta, or this will never end. I don’t need details, just generalize it for me, please.”

                The story that Uta told Taka, was one of abuse, abandonment, violence and neglect, all at the hands of people who claimed to have loved the young man. Taka was truly horrified at what he heard, and he now understood part of the reason that Uta had stayed with Natsu, and why he was scared that Acchan would leave him.

                “Does he know any of this? Have you told him how it was growing up?” Taka asked gently. “No, none of it, except for Natsu of course. I’m scared he’s going to leave me when he finds out, that’s why I need to have my own flat Taka, I don’t want to be homeless again, ever.” It was easy to understand the reasoning behind Uta’s desire. “Did you ever tell Kyo any of this, your past?” “No, never” he whispered.

 

                “There has to be a good reason Sakurai, I doubt it’s what you think it may be.” Sato and Acchan were waiting in the kitchen, hoping for Taka and Uta to return, Sato trying to explain Uta’s recent life. “You know how badly injured he was when Morrie attacked him, do you know the specifics?”  Acchan had known about the attacks of course, but he wasn’t privy to any of the injuries that anyone sustained.

                “Uta was raped, he had a skull fracture, a broken leg and pelvis, and a collapsed lung, on top of multiple cuts that needed to be stitched, he almost died, Acchan.” Sato had tears forming, just remembering those difficult frightening days, with the violent outcomes. “That could have part of why Uta didn’t try to get away from Natsu sooner, someone was paying attention to him, that promised him a good life…we all know how that turned out.”

                Sakurai was horrified with the details of Uta’s injuries, he had tears forming in his eyes, at the thought of his beautiful lover, almost being destroyed. “I had no idea that his injuries were that significant, some of this makes sense now.” Acchan got up and walked to the guest bedroom, knocking softly. “May I come in please?” Taka glanced at Uta, who nodded, “Gently Acchan, gently.” Taka closed the door quietly behind him.

                Acchan pulled a chair close to the bed, but not so close as to crowd his lover. “I love you, but you know that already. But I don’ think I know you, at least not as well as I thought. I don’t know anything about your life, prior to meeting me. Nothing about your family, or school, or what you were like as a child. I’ve never asked about previous lovers, Natsu doesn’t count, although Kyo does. I knew that you had been one of the victims of that asshole Morrie, but I didn’t know who you were, you were just ‘Uta, from the HBG’.”

                “I can say the same about you…all I know of you really is that you’re Sakurai Atsushi, I know nothing of your past either, which is much longer than mine.” A tiny smiled graced Uta’s lips. “You love me, you’re a great cook, your friends all adore you and you’re loved by millions of people. I do know about your dark side, which I’m assuming that not many people outside the scene know, much less understand. You’ve never told me about your lovers, Taka doesn’t count. I don’t want details, but it would be nice to understand some things that you do and why.” Uta had stopped crying, had a feeling of resolve within him, the resolve to both understand Acchan’s view, and for Acchan to understand his.

                “We may have jumped into things a little too quickly, ne?” the older man smiled. “Well, maybe not the sex part, but everything else for sure.” Sakurai stood up, and walked to the bed, kneeling in front of Uta. “Would you like to spend some time talking? I’m going to guess that Taka and Sato wouldn’t mind us staying here, I don’t want to take you home with me until you feel comfortable.” Uta nodded. “I’ll be right back, don’t move”

                “Sato, Taka-kun, I’d like to ask a favor, if I may. Would you care much, if I stayed here with Uta for the remainder of the day, and possibly tonight? We have a lot of catching up to do, two life time’s worth actually. I promise not to defile your guest room or your hospitality.” Sakurai bowed. Taka looked over at Sato, “Hmm, I’m not sure I can agree to that… what about you babe?” Sakurai looked alarmed, was he asking too much? “I’m good with all of it, except the defiling…that guest room pretty much begs to be defiled, by someone other than us of course!” A wide grin laid itself open across Sakurai’s face, “Thank you both. The defiling might have to wait until we go home, as I’m sure you don’t really want to hear anything…well, you know.”

                Sakurai returned to the guest room, armed with a pair of Sato’s sweat pants, for a comfortable evening of just talking. “We have been invited to stay for the night if we so desire. Sato has also promised to make dinner again, as a replacement for lasts nights meal.” Now it was Uta’s turn, “I’ll be right back, don’t move” Uta ran out to the living room, where Sato and Taka had just sat down for some afternoon TV. Uta ran behind the couch, reaching over and hugging his friends. “Thank you” he said softly, then ran back down the hall to the guest room.

                “Hmm, seems like we both said something that made sense?” Sato had told Taka what he had said to Acchan. “He’s going to be in for a surprise when Uta starts his story, it’s pretty awful and fucking heart breaking, but it also opened my eyes to just what misery some people go through, and how easy they can hide it” Sato drew Taka closer, putting his arm around his husband’s slim shoulders. “You should do marriage counseling…you seem to be a natural.” Taka looked at Sato, “Pfft! Uh, no. I’m really not in any position to offer anyone advice on how to deal with relationships, especially when I screwed up not once, but twice in my own life. Nope, I’ll stick to running the HBG, much easier dealing with Ruki Rampages, than marriage counseling.”

                Uta and Acchan talked for the rest of the day, and late into the night. They surprised each other with some shared experiences, and were both distraught over others. Uta explained what had happened with the attack by Morrie, describing his injuries brought Acchan to tears, sobbing into Uta’s chest. Acchan was teased mercilessly about the early days of Buck Tick, with Sato pulling up old videos of Acchan in his youth. “Acchan? The hair…really? Blonde and I don’t even know how to explain the style” Taka teased, leaving Uta laughing and falling over on the couch, Acchan pouting claiming it was the style of that time. Dinner was amazing, Sakurai praising Sato for his pasta dish, “Taka, it is as good as what I make” Sato stuck out his tongue at his husband, which earned him a thrown oven mitt to the head.

                Late into the night, the two lovers talked, until there was nothing left to be said, except for the original issue of Uta having his own flat. “I understand, and if that’s what you need to feel safe, then that’s what you should have. If you need it just as a security measure, or any other reason, you should do what’s best for you. I know you love me, I know you won’t just randomly leave me for no reason, just as I wouldn’t never leave you. Please my love, we shall look into finding you an appropriate flat when ever you’d like.” The lovers did not defile the guest room as Taka and Sato had suggested, instead they fell asleep in each other’s arms, satisfied that they now knew more about each other, and that all the issues between them, had been resolved.

 

                Sato was up early as his usual routine called for, the routine’s names being Eddy, Fozzie and Muzzie, who by 6am thought they were starving to death and knew that Sato was the one to pester, that would get up and feed them. “Oh god…really you guys? It hasn’t even been twelve hours since you last ate! Eddy you’re so damned fat…Muzz, Fozz…stop!” Sato stopped in the middle of the kitchen, holding three bowls of cat food, his head thrown back in frustration.

                “A magnificent site to behold, the wild cat wrangler, feeding the hordes of ravenous feline terrors.” Sato looked over at Acchan, standing next to the table, “If you’re not going to help, then shut up! I have to do this every day…and Muzzie and Fozzie are Taka’s babies, Eddy’s mine. Why are you up so early, Sakurai…you and Uta were up late talking”?”

                “True, but my normal hour is 6am at home, I’m usually in they gym by now. I didn’t want to wake Uta, by shroveling around in the bed. Shall I make the coffee or tea?” Sato gave Acchan the go-ahead to make the morning’s coffee, while he finished his chores with the cats. Checking on Uta, who was still buried in the blankets, he could hear the young man softly snoring, Acchan sat with Sato. “I’m assuming everything is good between you and Uta? You were both up past midnight, not that we were listening.” Sato chuckled. “Yes, parts of it were difficult, Uta’s past is unpleasant to say the least, and I have an enormous amount of guilt, that I had played a part in it. He also told me about the attack by Morrie, the abuse by Nastu, and how that has shaped his entire being at this point, he is wary of everyone he meets, including myself.”

                “He has reason to be apprehensive about people, from what Taka’s told me, the boy has had a rough life, and you’re the first soft spot he’s landed, then with the whole issue of him getting a flat, I’m sure he saw that as something he needed to have in order to protect himself for the next disappointment. You really can’t blame him, Acchan.” Sato had experience in dealing with loved ones with poor self-esteem, too much experience for his liking.

                “I had to go through that with Taka, as you know. In the beginning of our relationship, Taka had some problems, more related to Koichi, and not to me…but the outcome was the same. Low self-esteem, the thought of being thrown away again, and in Taka’s case, alcohol abuse. But you know all of this, you were there, and before you say anything…it’s in the past, Acchan. I’ve forgiven you long ago, you were not the cause for Taka’s breakdown, just another added part.”

                Acchan bowed his head, “It took me awhile to understand my actions at that time, reprehensible actions, but I have changed, and thanks to you and Taka, I now see where I was so wrong in what I believed was right for Uta. Sometimes it takes a sledge hammer to get through my thick skull.”  The two men talked more about their lovers, which seemed so strange to Sato. Here he was, in his pajama’s, drinking coffee at 6am, in his own house with a man who almost took Taka away from him. He smirked and shook his head, Acchan smiling, understanding how odd and at the same time, right, this morning was.

                At almost the same time, Taka and Uta sleepily walked into the kitchen, one with his blanket still wrapped around him, the other his hair in his face, hiding his eyes. Both young men sat on the couch, slumped against each other. “Uta…coffee, tea” “Mmm coffee” Were the only words spoken, and both men had hot mugs of coffee handed to them on the couch. “Sleep well, Taka-kun? We didn’t keep you up, did we?” teased Acchan. “I didn’t hear a thing, until 6, when Sato started yelling at the cats.” Sato chimed in, “Did you get enough sleep Uta? You were pretty noisy last night…” Uta sat up quickly, almost spilling his coffee, “We…We weren’t noisy! We didn’t do anything but talk!” Taka patted Uta on the leg, “He’s fucking with you, Uta. He thinks it’s funny to do that, when you’re not quite awake, ignore him.”

                “Gee, I love you too, Taka.” Sato snarked. “Uta, should we gather our things and let this loving couple have their house back?  I think it’s time for us to go home.” Acchan helped Uta off the couch, wandering down the hall to the guest room. Sato leaned over the back of the couch and kissed Taka on the head, “You can go back to bed if you want…” Taka leaned back, “Only if you’ll come with me…” wiggling his eye brows.

                Taka and Sato watched their friends leave, closing the door Sato grabbed Taka and kissed him hard and hot. “Let’s go back to bed, I’m suddenly very tired, I think we should nap until at least noon.” Taka thought that was a very good idea.

 

                Acchan looked over and smiled, Uta had fallen asleep on the short drive home. Not wanting to wake the boy as he pulled into his garage, Acchan gently picked Uta up, and carried him to their bedroom. “Are we home?” murmured Uta. “Yes baby, we’re home. I’m going to change and we can go back to sleep for a little longer, it’s still very early.” Uta made a small sound, then snuggled further down into the bed. Acchan gazed at his tiny lover, berating himself for being such an asshole. “You deserve better…and I will give you the best I can.” He slipped into a pair of sleep pants and slid into bed, spooning Uta, wrapping an arm around the boy’s waist and pulling him close. “I love you, my beautiful boy.”

Chapter Text

Mao and Uta were working a closing shift together, passing the time with light banter between them. Uta had noticed a subtle change in Mao, lately the man had seemed a bit more closed in on himself. Uta wanted to ask, but got the sense he shouldn’t and instead, he just kept quiet. The upcoming weekend would be the first with the new schedule of three people on shift. Uta felt that it was a safe enough topic. “Are you scheduled to work this weekend, Mao?” Uta was wiping counters, while Mao cut lemons.

                “Yes, both nights, I have nothing better to do, not like I have a boyfriend or a social life.” The emphasis on the word boyfriend, caught Uta’s attention, and he was uncomfortable with responding to that. “I have to work the opening shift on Saturday, guess that’s not as bad.” Mao didn’t say anything, just kept cutting lemons.  “I bet we all do great on tips…” Uta tried to start a conversation. “Well, I hope I do, not like you really need the money.” Mao said stiffly. Uta shrank back a bit with that comment, not understanding where the hostility was coming from. The men worked in almost complete silence, Uta feeling uncomfortable talking to Mao, and Mao just being pissy.

                A line of customers soon formed, as it was the evening rush of people, who after work needed to decompress and the HBG was a popular spot for locals and tourists. Taka had been in the office, and had not heard the conversation between Mao and Uta, but he had noticed that lately, Mao was in a more somber mood, his usual bubbly personality missing. Leaving the office and walking to the counters, the line of customers had dwindled down, and Taka sent Uta on the patio to clean up, and to start his break.

                Uta had just finished checking the patio for cleanliness, when he heard someone clear their throat, “Uta…hi.” Standing behind Uta was Kyo. “Hi! Just in time, I’m starting my break now, do you have time to sit with me? I haven’t seen you in a while.” Kyo smiled, “Sure…I can do that.” They moved to a quiet table, away from the other customers. “You look well, better than last time I saw you.” Kyo had last seen Uta when he visited the boy at Sakurai’s, the day after he was taken from Natsu.

                “Thanks, I feel great actually. I’ve put on weight, I’m getting fat!” Uta giggled, rubbing his stomach. “I would hardly call you fat, Uta. How long have you been back at work?” The two men chatted about mundane things, safe topics, but Kyo had to ask “Are you happy…with Sakurai? He’s treating you well?” Uta looked down at his hands. “Yes, I’m happy. He treats me like I’m special. He loves me.” Kyo had a sad little smile for Uta. “Good, you are special, you deserve to be loved and more. I’m happy for you, really.” Uta looked at his ex-boyfriend, the man didn’t look happy.

                “I’m sorry, Kyo” he whispered. “There’s nothing to be sorry about, Uta. I told you about my issues with rescuing ex-lovers, rescuing friends, it’s what I do.” And I always end up alone. Kyo leaned over and picked up Uta’s hands, “I’m happy for you, that’s all I’ve ever wanted for you, is to be happy and loved, and I contributed to that, by helping get you away from Natsu.”

                “I…I have to go back to work.” Uta murmured. “Sure, I should really be going” Kyo stood up to walk away, and then Uta was in his arms. “I’m sorry, Kyo. Really.” Kyo hugged Uta, breathing in the scent of the boy. Uta broke out of the hug, and walked with Kyo to the entrance of the patio. Once again, Uta hugged Kyo, promising to see him soon. Uta turned to walk back to the HBG, waving at Kyo before the man disappeared.

                 “Taka, Mao can…” As Uta walked towards the counter, Mao stopped in front of him. “What the fuck was that, Uta? Sakurai’s not enough for you? You have to string Kyo along as well? Really? You supposedly love Sakurai, and yet you’re hugging Kyo? You make me fucking sick!”

                “Woah, woah! Mao, that’s totally uncalled for!” Taka had heard Mao attacking Uta. “No Taka, it’s totally called for! Uta’s out there hugging Kyo like they’re fucking lovers! I’m sure your precious Acchan would love to see what just happened.” Mao snarled. “MAO! Go out to the patio…NOW!” Taka snapped and pointed towards the door. Mao shoved past both of the men and stormed out of the HBG.

                Uta was pale and shaking, he was confused on what Mao was talking about. “Uta? What’s going on? Kyo was here?” Taka asked. “I was cleaning, and just as I was going to sit down for break, Kyo walked up. All we did is talk, and I hugged him twice…I feel bad that I hurt him. But Taka, we didn’t do anything wrong! It’s not like I kissed him or anything, he knows I love Acchan…why is Mao so mad?”

                Taka shrugged, “No idea…Mao’s been acting a little strangely lately, but this is totally out of character for him. Watch the counters, I’ll be right back.” Taka sighed, when would the drama ever stop at the HBG? If it wasn’t crazed stalkers, it was relationship dramas. “Mao, what the fuck was all that back there with Uta?” Taka had walked up behind the younger man who was furiously wiping down tables. “He’s leading Kyo on! He was hugging on him, and god knows what else! He has Sakurai, why the hell does he need Kyo as well?” Turning to face Taka, Mao continued on his rant.

                “Uta broke Kyo’s heart! He used Kyo…he, he… he hurt Kyo so badly that the man…” Hot tears were starting to roll down Mao’s face, as the man stuttered trying to collect his thoughts. “Mao, that’s not what happened and you know that as well as I do. That’s unfair for you to blame Uta for any of this. So why are you attacking him? You and Uta are friends Mao…please explain this so I can understand. I can’t have you working together if you’re going to verbally attack the boy.” Taka was trying to pull the boss card on his employee, without alienating his friend.

                Mao sat down in a chair. “You wouldn’t understand, Taka. I won’t talk to Uta anymore, I promise.” Taka pulled up a chair and sat next to Mao. “I don’t want that, you’re co-workers and friends. What’s really the problem Mao? You’ve been in such a pissy mood these last few days, what the hell is going on?” Mao sat up straight, “Nothing. I’m fine. I’m going back to work.” With that statement, Mao got up and walked back into the HBG, leaving Taka behind to stew.

                “I’m sorry I yelled at you, Uta.” Mao said as he walked by. “Um, okay…” Uta whispered. The rest of the evening, was tense and unproductive, with Taka finally sending Mao home thirty minutes early. “I’m sorry that happened, Uta. I have no idea what the hell is going on with him.” Uta shrugged, and continued with closing the HBG, with Acchan showing up just after they closed. “Hi baby, ready to go?” Acchan hugged Uta, then pushed the boy back, holding him by his shoulders, “What’s wrong? Why are you upset? TAKA!” Sakurai growled, “Why is Uta upset, what happened tonight…TELL ME TAKA!”

                Taka was taken aback by the viciousness of Sakurai’s question. “Settle down, Acchan. Uta’s fine, there was just a little misunderstanding between him and Mao.” Taka watched Uta’s eyes plead not to say anything about Kyo. “Oh…are you okay baby?” Sakurai looked at his tiny lover. “Yes, it was just a minor thing…really Acchan, you get worked up so easy!” Uta giggled, trying to calm his overly excited boyfriend. “Well, I can tell when somethings wrong…are you ready to go home?” Uta nodded, thanked Taka and left with Sakurai.

                Walking back into the office of the HBG, Taka picked up his phone.

                “What happened between you and Uta tonight? Whatever it was, it pissed Mao off, what gives Kyo?

                Silence on the other end, then a click. Closing his phone, Taka had a dreadful feeling that this would be something more than a simple act of jealousy.

 

 

                “Mmm… you’re home…how was work?” Sato rolled over in bed, to hug his husband who tried to slip in quietly. Taka moaned, “I don’t want to talk about it now… can it wait til morning please?” Sato slid his arm around Taka and pulled him against his chest. “That bad? I’m sorry, we’ll talk tomorrow, I love you.” He kissed his husband and they both drifted off.

~            

                “That sounds a bit out of character for Mao, right?” Sato was standing in the kitchen, making breakfast and listening to Taka explain about the nights events. “It is, he’s been sort of off the last few days, but I have no idea what’s bugging him, then this comes out of nowhere.” Taka was still having a hard time understanding what had happened between Mao and Uta. “I called Kyo last night, to ask him what had happened… he hung up on me.”

                “Wow, now that’s really weird. Are you going to try to call him again today?” Sato dished up scrambled eggs and rice, and put a plate in front of Taka. “No, I don’t think so. Koichi and Uta open this afternoon, with Tora, Aki and Mao closing…tonight is the first night of the new shift schedule, so I have the entire day off”

                “Maybe you should talk to Shinya, about Kyo. He’d be the one to ask. Diru’s in the studio right now, getting ready for some lives, and we’ve got practice, want to go with me? We could do Ojisan’s for dinner.” Sato just wanted to spend the day with his husband, even if it meant dragging Taka around to the studio. “That sounds perfect! I need to call Koichi real quick. I’ll be ready to go in like an hour.”

                Taka scarfed down his breakfast and headed back to the bedroom, grabbing his phone and sitting on the bed, he dialed Koichi.

                “Hey Kou, can I ask a favor of you? I know… I’m always asking, but you never turn me down, do you? Here’s the deal, there was a little bit of verbal altercation last night at work, between Uta and Mao, regarding Kyo. Yah, well Mao was the problem this time, not Kyo. Well, I’ll let you ask Uta. Can you see if you can squeak any more information out of Uta? Maybe what he and Kyo talked about? I just need to have a reference point for the next time I see Mao. Okay, I’m going to the studio to day with Sato, no, just to hang out. Okay, call me later. Ja ne.”

~

                “Uta, tell me what happened please. I let it go last night because you were tired, but now I want to know what happened.” Acchan had wanted to hear about his lover’s issue with Mao, but the boy was tired and Acchan didn’t want to push the issue, but now he needed to know. “It’s weird, Mao has been in a strange mood lately, sort of pissy all the time. I went out to clean the patio, and take my break, and Kyo walks up.” Acchan’s gut tightens, “What did Kyo want?” Acchan was forcing himself not to sound accusatory, “He was there getting a drink, and saw me on the patio, we just sat and talked. He asked how I was doing, and how things were here, I told him that everything was wonderful and that you loved me and were taking care of me” Uta made sure to tell his lover everything, no hidden surprises.

                “He looked sad, I apologized for what happened between us, he was okay about it. Then I had to go back, but before that I hugged him. He walked me back to the office and I hugged him again, and went back to work. I didn’t do anything wrong! But Mao verbally attacked me, accusing me of stringing Kyo along, and trying to tempt him or something, then he accused me of being lovers with Kyo.”

                Uta was struggling with tears, fighting for control. He didn’t want Acchan to think he was weak. “Mao said something about how much you would like to know what I was doing with Kyo…which was nothing! I hugged him as a friend, nothing more! We both went back to work, but Taka ended up sending Mao home early.” Uta looked up at his boyfriend, “I swear, we did nothing wrong! I hugged him because he looked upset and sad, but that’s it!” Uta snapped.

                “I believe you baby.” Acchan caressed Uta’s cheek. “Mao seems to have a problem with you and Kyo, but why? You broke up with Kyo quite a while ago, and then there was the whole Natsu thing. Did Taka shed any light about the problem? Did he talk with Mao?” Acchan was rubbing Uta’s back, as the boy laid face down on the bed. “They talked, but I have no idea about what, Mao just came back in and apologized to me, but we pretty much avoided each other after that.”

                “Who do you work with today? Not Mao I hope,” Now Acchan was worried about Mao’s reaction and being a possible threat to Uta. “No, Koichi and I are opening. Will you come pick me up, can we go out to eat tonight please?” Uta turned over on the bed and gave Acchan his best seductive smile. “Can I have a little snack before you leave for work…just to hold me over until dessert” Acchan purred. Uta whispered the menu, and Acchan started to devour his meal.

 

~

                “Oh my, that’s odd. I wouldn’t expect that out of Mao, although I don’t know the boy well.” Taka was able to talk to Shinya during a break in their rehearsal, telling the older man what had happened last night. “What about Kyo?” Shinya looked over his shoulder, “I can’t talk about that here, are you and Sato free for dinner?” Taka told Shinya about Ojisan’s, and it was decided that the couples would meet there, he also texted Koichi, and had he and Tatsu join the dinner part as well.  Taka spent the remainder of the afternoon, chatting with members of different bands, watching Diru rehearse for their upcoming live, and chatting with some of the office people at DCR.

                 Walking out of the rehearsal room, Sato looked down the hall way for Taka, seeing him exiting another rehearsal room, “Ready to go? I already told Shinya that we were leaving, they were just wrapping up for the day and will not be too far behind us.” Sato hugged his boy, “Hopefully we can get this mess straightened out.” Taka rested his head on his husband’s shoulder, “I hope so”

 

                “Irasshaimasu gentlemen, it’s been awhile.” Ojisan was standing behind the counter with a wide grin on his face, he had a special place in his heart for this group of people who he had come to care for. “We’re waiting on Miya and Shinya, Ojisan, but could we start out with a beer please?” Taka loved the small ramen hut, it held a lot of memories, some good, some horrible. “Irasshaimasu…” Miya and Shinya walked into the restaurant and sat down at the counter, “Two beers and our usual Ojisan, thank you”

                They at some of their ramen, had another beer, then the discussion about Kyo began. Taka told everyone about the incident between Mao, Uta and Kyo. “I called Kyo, he hung up on me, so I only have Uta’s part of the story. Although…when Sakurai came to pick Uta up, he immediately knew something was wrong, that there had been some sort of disagreement.”

                “Shinya, what’s been going on with Kyo lately? I haven’t really spoken with him since we rescued Uta, but I get the feeling he’s not doing well?” Taka was reaching for anything, that could explain what had been happening. “He has been unusually quite these last few weeks, I think he’s lonely. He’s lost two lovers in the last six months, although truthfully, he knew he was just keeping Koichi safe, that their relationship was temporary until Tatsu pulled his head out of his ass.”

                “Shinya!” Miya tried to look shocked at Shinya’s choice of words. “Babe, that’s what Kyo said, not me…I’m just the messenger” As the evening progressed, Shinya was a little disconnected from the group, he was trying to remember something about Kyo. The group talked about Uta and his relationship with Sakurai, that they both seemed happy, except for the housing issue, with some agreeing, others not so much. As Shinya was lifting his beer to his lips, he suddenly slammed it down on the counter, almost knocking Miya’s ramen bowl on the floor

                “OH MY GOD DUH!” Everyone stopped at once, Miya panic hitting his face. “Shin! What’s wrong!” Shinya sighed, not quite laughing. “Mao…it’s Mao!” Taka leaned over the bar, looking down to where Shinya was sitting. “What do you mean, it’s Mao?” Shinya looked at his husband, “Remember the DCR party? Don’t you remember what happened and what I said?”

                “Uh…not really babe, sorry.” Miya shrugged. Shinya huffed, “When Die confronted Mao, for the 100th time, trying to get the boy to go out with him, Kyo was standing with them. Mao was trying to be polite, nice even…he slipped his arm around Kyo for ‘moral support’, or so that’s what Kyo told me.” Miya’s eyes brightened, “Then Kyo slipped his arm around Mao’s waist.” Nobody said anything, still not understanding the point of Shinya’s comment. “When I asked Kyo about it, he looked a little dazed, didn’t say much, said Mao was cute, and would find someone eventually.”

                “You think…no… that would… Kyo and Mao? Really?” Koichi couldn’t even think of that pairing. Taka was silent, thinking about what had been said by Mao when he verbally attacked Uta. “Has Kyo said anything lately about Mao, or Uta for that matter?” Taka was trying to connect the three. “No, he’s been going through another one of his depressive moods, he’s been like this for a few weeks.” Shinya was the closest to Kyo, both men were very understated, but expressive when pressed or when it was necessary.

                “Are you saying you think Mao is, I don’t know…jealous of Uta? Even though Uta’s with Sakurai? That’s kind of what I’m hearing.” Taka asked. “I’m not sure if that’s the real issue, especially on Mao’s part, but the fact that Kyo has been depressed since he broke up with Kou-kun, and it’s likely that he’s upset that Uta stayed with Sakurai, may be his problem. Mao? I can’t say, I don’t know the boy that well.”

                “This has to be part of this ‘rescue’ issue.” Koichi added, “He rescued Uta from Morrie, in a round about way, he rescued me from Tatsu, and again, he rescued Uta from Natsu. He has no one to rescue now…he’s been the loser in these events. Maybe Mao can see that…that’s why he accused Uta of stringing Kyo along…Mao thinks Kyo’s going to get hurt again.”

                Taka had to speak up, “When I asked Mao why he attacked Uta, he mentioned the fact that Uta hurt Kyo so badly, that Uta used Kyo and then threw him away. But I called him on that, telling him he knows that’s not how it was, but Mao wouldn’t say anything else, telling me I wouldn’t understand, then he walked away from me.”

                “But Mao doesn’t date musicians…he’s been single minded about that since I’ve known him, so why does he care about Kyo, at least in a romantic way? Kyo’s just another musician” Sato argued. Taka was trying to connect the dots, “But Kyo is not a ‘musician’ per se, Kyo’s a vocalist. Yes, I know it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, but Mao could be justifying it that way.” Koichi rationalized.

                “But wouldn’t Kyo be rescuing Mao…from being alone?” Sato jumped into the discussion.

                “Maybe, but Mao doesn’t have anyone waiting for him, like I did with Tatsu. He knew that Uta wouldn’t go back with him, the moment Uta went home with Sakurai. Kyo knew from the start, deep down, that he was only keeping me safe, until Tatsu returned, Mao doesn’t have the same background, he doesn’t really need to be rescued” Koichi replied.

                “The bigger question, is what do we do about both of them? How to we find out if Mao has feelings for Kyo, and vice versa? We can’t just say ‘Hey Kyo, wanna bone Mao?’” Sato got smacked in the back of the head for that snide remark.

                “I can pry a little, or…we could have Kyo come and meet one of us for lunch, when Mao is working. Umm… ask Aki or Tora to help? I don’t want to bring Uta into this at all. He’s got enough guilt to swallow an elephant right now, Kyo’s state of mind doesn’t need to be dragged into his life.” Offered Koichi.

                “Gentlemen, if I may?” Ojisan had been listening, but had not said anything. “Is there a way you could possibly bring these two men together, here? A small deception perhaps?” They all stared at Ojisan, “Maybe…Taka? Think we can come up with something?” Koichi was apprehensive.

 “I’d worry about it backfiring on us, Ojisan. It could drive a bigger wedge between Kyo and Mao, and their friends.” Shinya wasn’t 100% on board with this. “It’s worth a try babe. Kyo’s miserable and you know that if you don’t pull him out of it soon… well it gets ugly.” Miya had his hand on Shinya’s thigh, giving it a squeeze. “This may sound insane, but…what about bringing Die into the mix somehow?” Everyone turned and stared at Sato, as if he was growing another head. “Okay… never mind.”

“How about this? I think, I need to move the schedule around a bit. I have all 4 of us, off on the same night. Kou, you could invite Kyo, and I’ll get Mao, and we can meet here, force them together and make them talk to each other. Then Ojisan can work his magic!” Taka had the only reasonable plan at the moment, one in which everyone thought was the best option.  

Chapter Text

“Why do you want to take me out to dinner, Taka? What’s the catch?” Mao asked cautiously. “I’ve started something new, recommended of course by the boss. I’m now going to do yearly reviews for each employee, the catch is I get to choose where I do the reviews. I’d rather take you out to dinner, and talk to you about your performance, blah blah, in a comfortable setting, instead of sitting in a chair in the office.” Taka was bullshitting his way through this with ease.

                “I just meet you at a restaurant, and we talk? Doesn’t sound like any employment review I’ve ever had…” Mao was still distrustful. “Is working at the HBG, like any other job you’ve had? Where you constantly are coming in contact with music celebrities?” Taka grinned. “Uh, no. You do have a point. Where are we going to eat, and is it free?” Mao teased. “Yes, it’s free, and it’s a simple ramen hut that a lot of us have been going to for years, Ojisan’s. You’re off tomorrow night, so I’ll text you directions, and about 6pm.”

                “I got him to go, told him I’m doing an off property employee review. I told him to meet me at Ojisan’s tomorrow night at 6pm, I think you and Kyo should show up a little later. How are you going to get Kyo to go with you? No, not really. Could you use Uta as an excuse? What about something to do with Shinya, I’m not sure. Okay, ja ne.”

                “Taka has Mao going, now I just have to figure out how to get Kyo to Ojisan’s tomorrow night,” Koichi was lying on the floor, on his back staring at the ceiling, with Teo and Gordy playing around him. “What if you tell him that you just want to have dinner? Or do you think he’d blow it off because he’s in one of his moods?” Tatsu was lying on the couch, his long frame stretched out. “This may be stretching things to the point of breaking…what if I tell him I want to talk about writing a poem? That may get him interested enough to show up at least”

                Tatsu rolled onto his side, looking down at Kou, “That may work, even if he thinks it’s just a way to spend some time with you.” Koichi reached up and grabbed Tatsu by the shirt front, pulling him down next to him on the floor. “If I write something, will you at least look at it to make sure it’s not totally horrendous? I want it to look at least passable.” Tatsu kissed Koichi’s nose, “Yes, I will and I promise not to brutally shred it. I won’t even give you an opinion, I will just tell you whether or not it’s passable.”

               

                “Hi, do you have a minute to talk? I’m good, but I have a fave to ask you.” Koichi starts to speak in a low voice. “Do you have time to meet me tomorrow night? I want your opinion on a poem I’m writing for Tatsu, and I don’t want him to know. Great! Can you meet me at Ojisan’s at around 6:30? Thanks, Kyo, I’ll see you tomorrow night, ja ne

~

                Taka had gone into Ojisan’s, and told the man about their plan, returning to stand outside to wait for Mao. Going over what he wanted to say to the man, that was more difficult. “Hi, Taka.” Mao waved as he walked up to the ramen hut. “Hey, thanks for coming. Let’s get started.”

                “Irasshimase gentlemen, what can I get you this evening?” Ojisan bowed. “Ojisan, this is Mao, a friend of mine that also works at the HGB. I’d like my usual…Mao I can highly recommend his ramen and pork cutlet.” Taka started the fake review while waiting for their food, with Ojisan listening carefully, and watching the clock for Taka. Just before 6:30, Ojisan dropped a glass, the sound of it shattering was the signal. “Ojisan, everything okay? That’s unlike you to break a glass” Taka laughed.

                “Irasshimase,” Koichi walked in “Hello, Ojisan…Taka? This is weird.” Taka and Mao turned to see Koichi, and then a few second behind him, Kyo. “Kyo? Are you an Koichi on a date or something?” Taka teased. “No, he was going to help me with something I have planned for Tatsu. What are you guys up to?” Koichi sat down next to Mao, with Kyo next to him. Mao smiled at Kyo.

                “Ojisan, a beer please, and a ramen as well.” Koichi snuck a glance at Kyo, who didn’t appear angry, just sort of a neutral look on his face. “Employee reviews…yours is next week, be prepared!” Koichi turned back to Kyo, taking a piece of paper out of his pocket, not quite ignoring Taka and Mao, but playing the part.

                Kyo and Koichi spoke quietly about the ‘poem’, while Taka and Mao talked about the HBG, and what if any improvements Mao could make in his performance. “I don’t have anything bad to say, Mao.” Leaning in, Taka pretended he didn’t want Kyo to hear what he was going to say. “Just the Uta/Kyo thing, keep that in control, and everything will be fine.” Sitting back up, Taka ordered a beer for both of them. “Drinking on the job, Taka? Shame on you!” Mao giggled.

                Koichi was looking at the paper in his hand, but when Mao giggled, he heard Kyo’s breath catch softly. He glanced up at Kyo, who was looking over his shoulder at Mao, a slight blush on his cheeks. “Are you buying me dinner, for my review Taka?” Koichi chuckled. “Oh, hell no, you’re married to a musician that makes great money…I should know! You buy your own dinner…but it will be here. Ojisan’s is the official non-official HBG Review site.”  

                Taka and Koichi went back and forth, with Ojisan making comments here and there, but also observing Kyo and Mao, both stealing glances at each other. “Hey Mao, hear from Die lately?” Kyo teased. “Thankfully, no. I think that night… um…” Mao stuttered, and started to blush. “Maybe he got the hint…maybe when I um… you know.” Kyo felt like he was a dorky teenager again, not knowing what to say to the cute boy.

                “Koichi, can I talk to you for a minute please?” Taka nodded towards the door. “Sure, give me one second. Kyo, can you keep this for me, and let me know what you think? I don’t want to forget to give it to you.” Koichi slid the paper with the ‘poem’ towards Kyo, turning to step outside with Taka.   

                “Have you been working a lot? I’m sorry I didn’t see you the other night when I was talking to Uta, I would have said hello.” Kyo had turned in his seat, now he was facing Mao. “Um, yah…that’s too bad, I um… that would have been nice, maybe next time?”

                “How’s Uta? I mean, is he doing okay back to work? The other night was the first time I’d seen him since we took him from Natsu. He said he’s getting fat, which I find hard to believe.” Mao turned red, he didn’t want to mention to Kyo that he had an argument with Uta that night. “He’s good, Sakurai makes him happy I guess, it’s hard to believe though.” Kyo got up and moved to a chair next to Mao. “Why? Is there something he said? You don’t think Sakurai’s abusing him, do you?”

                Mao glared at Kyo, “Why do you care so much? Uta hurt you, he totally dumped you and…fuck, you’re so blind!” Kyo was taken aback by the viciousness in Mao’s voice when the boy talked about Uta. “How am I blind? What am I missing?” Kyo had no clue what Mao meant. 

                “Gentlemen, it’s much easier to convey messages, if you open your eyes and your mouth equally. Leaving one or the other closed, will get you nowhere.” Ojisan stood in front of Mao and Kyo. “Young man, stop dancing and stand still, you can not see it clearly if you are moving.” Ojisan looked over at Kyo, “Stop dwelling in your loneliness, it’s making you physically ill, you put up your own roadblocks, your own barriers and letting no one assist you, even those that care deeply.”

                Ojisan turned and went back to his small kitchen, leaving the bewildered men sitting at the counter. “Sorry guys, we had a bit of trouble,” Koichi and Taka walked back into the restaurant. They looked at each other, “Um, I think I’m finished for the night, Kou? Want a ride home?” Mao and Kyo didn’t even look at the other men. “Sure. Thank you Ojisan, the meal was wonderful as usual.” Koichi and Taka paid their bill and walked out.

                “Why does it upset you when I talk about Uta? I’m confused…” Kyo asked Mao. “You act like you’re jealous”

                “Jealous? Of what? That’s funny…” Mao rolled his eyes in a very unconvincing way, “where do you get that from? Why would I care about how you feel about Uta? He dumped you… he hurt you and you think I’m jealous of that?” Mao’s voice was shaking, and tears were starting to form, just inches from spilling over.

                “I don’t know, I’m confused right now, whether or not you hate me or like me, it’s hard to tell. I know you don’t like Die, that’s fairly obvious. How you feel about Uta…that’s the confusing part, and even more confusing is how you feel about me.” Kyo stared at Mao.

                Ojisan placed a glass of water in front of Mao. “Drink first, it makes it much easier.” Mao drank half the glass, and set it down. “I…I think I like you…” This set Kyo back on his heels.

                “But, you don’t date musicians, I’m a musician, so why me? Wait…don’t answer that yet. Ojisan, thank you for everything,” Kyo got up, grabbed Mao by the hand and led him outside. “Where…where are we going?” Kyo said nothing, just pulled Mao along. “Kyo! Stop…where are you taking me!” They walked for ten minutes, down a series of paths, finally ending up in a park, near a small pond.

                “Can I sit down please?” Mao was panting. “Why did you drag me out here?” Kyo sat down on the bench, turned to face Mao. “You like me? Why? I’m a musician, I’m not trustworthy according to you” Mao’s face burned in embarrassment. “I said most…not all.” He muttered.

                “Why do you care so much about how Uta treated me? You seem to think I was brutalized by his breaking up with me…I wasn’t by the way.” Mao wouldn’t look at Kyo. “Let me ask you this…that night at the DCR party…when Die was harassing you again, why did you put your arm around my waist?” Mao’s head snapped up. “I um…just for the effect…” whispered Mao, looking down again.

                “What effect was that? Did you want Die to think you were dating me instead? If you were going for that, it didn’t work. Die knows better.” Kyo thought Mao was talking in circles, and he had to stop the wheel

                “Well… why did YOU put your arm around ME?” Mao threw it back at Kyo. “Your arm felt good, I liked it. So, I decided to put my arm around you…to see if you liked it, then you leaned into me. That’s not usually done for an effect on someone else.” Kyo went slowly, making sure he was being clear. “You don’t date musicians…you told Die that every time he asked, but now you say you like me? Do I have to remind you, I’m a musician. So how does it go, that you like me, but not Die, based on that?”

                “Technically Kyo, you’re not a musician, you’re a vocalist, that’s different.” Mao pouted. “Technically? Are there criteria that have to be met in order to validate this?” Kyo chuckled. “I’m kidding. Okay, so I’m not a musician, I’m a vocalist…that still doesn’t answer my original question, why me? I know what my problem is, when I am in a relationship, I’m a rescuer, I rescue people, friends and lovers.”

                “You do what? What the hell is a rescuer?” Mao thought Kyo was making shit up as he went along. “I rescue people. I rescued Uta…not from anyone but I brought him back to normal almost, after his attack by Morrie. I helped him become whole, emotionally and sexually. I rescued Koichi, when Tatsu left him, I was there to catch him. The difference between Uta and Koichi is I knew that I couldn’t keep Kou, he truly only wanted to be with Tatsu, I just kept him safe until Tatsu came to his senses. Uta I saved again, or at least I helped, from Natsu. But I knew that Uta didn’t want to live with me, he just wanted to be a friend. He was upset that he hurt me, just as much as I hurt him.”

                “How did you hurt Uta? You did nothing wrong” Mao didn’t know the complete story. “Ask Uta, he’ll tell you how the minute I knew Koichi and Tatsu were having problems, I pulled away from him. I’m not the one that was hurt, I hurt him…badly. I blame myself for his attachment to Natsu, that was my fault, not entirely his.”

                “Why don’t you date musicians? You never gave Die a straight answer, but I’m not going to let you off that easy. Explain to me what’s so wrong about dating someone in the music industry.” Kyo really needed a valid argument.

                “Past experience…bad breakups, poorly treated, infidelity, you name it…it’s happened to me each and every time I get involved with a damned guitarist!” Mao snapped. “When Die approached me last year, I knew exactly who he was, his reputation and I wanted nothing to do with him, unfortunately it took him a long time to figure that out.”

                “What’s your explanation on liking me? I have a far worse reputation than Die and Ruki put together. Don’t give me that lame ass excuse that I’m a vocalist, you know that’s bullshit Mao, and I’m calling you on it right now.” Kyo wasn’t expecting anything truthful.

                “I don’t have one” Mao mumbled. “What? You have to have a reason you like me…what is it?” Kyo shook his head. “I DON’T KNOW WHY! OKAY!” Mao yelled. “Just leave me alone.” The young man got up and started to walk away, stopping after about 50 ft, “How do I get back to the train station?”

                Kyo chuckled “I’ll take you.” Kyo led Mao back to the train station, neither one saying a word between them. Mao got on the train, seated near a window. Kyo watched the younger man, who stared back at him. Kyo walked up to the window, and put his hand on the glass. Just as the doors were closing, Mao put his hand up on the glass, looking at Kyo. The train started to move, and Kyo smiled at Mao, watching until the train had left the station.

                “What the hell were the last three hours of my life?” Kyo had no idea what any of it meant. Did he like Mao? Did Mao confess or … or what? “Damn it Koichi! Taka I’m going to kick your ass!” Kyo pulled out his phone,

                “Nice try! You sneaky brat! I’m going to tell Tatsu he needs to spank your ass…and not in a nice way either…I love you though… thanks.”

                “The next time I see you, I’m going to bust your ass… then I’ll probably hug and kiss you. Don’t tell Sato, this is just our little secret.”

                “Not a musician… because I’m a vocalist?” Kyo laughed. “Guess that puts me at the top of the list.”

Chapter Text

 

                The early morning sun was trying to push through the bedroom curtains, to invade the sound slumber of Tora and Aki. “Aki…turn the light off, I want to sleep…” Tora mumbled into his pillow. “Baby…it’s almost 8:30… in the morning, get your ass out of bed.” Aki shoved Tora towards the side of the bed, hoping to push the man out of bed. Tora rolled over quickly, grabbing Aki around the waist and rolling back over, dropping Aki onto the floor. “What the fuck? I’m not the one that needs to get up now!” Aki grabbed the blanket and the battle was on.

                “AKI! IT’S FUCKING COLD…STOP IT!”

                “YOU DUMPED ME ON THE DAMNED FLOOR…IT’S FUCKING COLD HERE TOO!”

                “SHIT…AKI! STOP, I’M GOING TO ….MFFUUFFT!” Tora gets a pillow to the face. Aki jumps on Tora, wrestling the blanket away, trying to wrap himself up.

                “Um…guys? Really? HELLLOOO!” Shou is standing at the door of Tora’s bedroom, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

                Aki and Tora stop mid struggle, “Hi Shou!” Aki smiles. Shou waves, then walks back to his bedroom, muttering, “I can’t wait to move out…this is insane.”

                “Think he’s mad at us?” Aki peer down at Tora, who was on the floor. “Maybe, we did this yesterday too, didn’t we?” Tora couldn’t stop from smiling, even if he was laying on the floor. Aki was his…finally.

                “If you wouldn’t steal the blankets, this wouldn’t happen every day.” Aki frowned. “Maybe I shouldn’t live with you… you’re a blanket hog!” Aki stuck out his tongue and got up. “Coffee or tea?”

                “Coffee please.” The truth was, Tora and Aki couldn’t have been happier since Aki moved in.

                The morning after the drink dial confessions and the consummation of their relationship, the couple sat down and discussed seriously, about living together, with only two problems; Shou and Saga, the displaced roommates. Tora had suggested that Shou meet with Aki’s roommate Saga, to see if they would agree just to trade flats. The rent was comparable, the distance between jobs/school as well. Shou had met with Saga, and they were agreed that they would shift flats. Shou was moving out at the end of the week, and Aki had already moved in with Tora.

                The remaining nights, left poor Shou with little to no sleep as the honeymoon sex had started, and it was only ramping up, instead of slowing down. Tora and Aki had tried to be considerate, but when one’s new lover, is walking around in boxer shorts in front of you, it’s a little hard to worry about any consideration for others. At least they weren’t fucking in the kitchen… or at least not when Shou was still home, but there had been a few close calls… with pants being pulled up quickly and running for the bedroom.

                Shou was thankful that he and Saga were somewhat compatible, at least enough to live together, as both were relieved that they wouldn’t be tortured with the constant fucking going on in each other’s flats. “I’ll be able to get up in the middle of the night for a snack, and not have to worry about finding Tora and Aki on the floor in the living room, or in the bathroom, or in the genkan.” Saga had to laugh and commiserate with Shou, “Try finding them on that small tiny terrace we have… yep, great visual for the middle of the night.”

                The next issue that the couple had to deal with, was the HGB. “We need to talk to Taka, and let him know…hopefully he’ll understand and it won’t be a problem.” Aki and Tora had seriously discussed the issue, and had come to an agreement, and the next shift for them at the HBG, they confronted Taka.

                “Can we talk to you for a second, Taka? We have a problem we’d like your help with.” Aki and Tora both stood in the doorway of the office, Taka waving them in. “What can I do for you guys?” Taka was a tiny bit worried that it was something serious.  “Aki and are living together now…and we want you to stop scheduling us together. It’s going to cause problems if we’re together 24/7, so if we could have opposite shifts, or something, maybe same days off would be nice once in a while, whatever you can work out would be great.”

                This was not what Taka had expected, “So you don’t want to work together? Uh, that won’t be a problem for me, not in any way. Thanks for asking though, at least you know better than I do.” Taka told them that the next schedule he posted would have the changes, and he thanked them for coming to him before it became a problem, since Taka had enough problems in his lap, mainly the Mao/Kyo problem.

                “We need to decide who’s doing what as far as cooking and chores…do you cook?” Tora kept his fingers crossed, he sucked at cooking. “Yes, I can cook. Are you any good with laundry?” Aki could see the relief in his lover’s eyes.  The two went back and forth, dividing up the domestic duties, “God, we’re like so corny!” Tora laughed. Aki stood in front of Tora, hooking his thumbs in Tora’s beltloops, pulling his lover towards him. “We’re not corny, we love each other and want to make things work, and run smoothly. We’re going through this to make sure we stay even on everything. Except that you’ll always top. Unless I’m like really drunk…and you beg me, then maybe I’ll top.” Aki had a gleam in his eye, Tora leaned in to kiss him, whispering, “Wanna get drunk tonight?”

~

                Taka was watching Mao on the sly, observing the interaction with Uta. Mao had been strangely quiet, after his evening with Kyo at Ojisan’s. Taka was curious about what had happened, but he wouldn’t pry, just waiting to see if Mao would open up to him. Mao’s interaction with Uta had improved, much to Uta’s joy. Uta had come to Taka, worried about working with the man, after the verbal assault from Mao. “I don’t think that will be an issue anymore, Uta. I can’t really discuss it, but I’m going to guess things will be back to normal here.”

                Taka had asked Koichi if he had heard from Kyo since that night, “I haven’t heard from him, nor have I heard from Shinya, I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I’m not going to touch it though, in case it didn’t go well. Maybe we should ask Ojisan…give us an excuse to go to lunch together?” Planning the lunch date for the following weekend, it left Taka with four more days of work, with everyone involved working at least one shift.

                Koichi came in to work a closing shift with Mao and Uta, leaving Koichi a tad anxious, hoping he wouldn’t have to step between the two men if an argument broke out, but Taka assured him, that Mao and Uta were on friendly terms again. But as things progressed through the night, it wasn’t the bad blood between Uta and Mao that had surfaced, but the weirdness between Mao and Kyo, when Kyo showed up unannounced late in the evening, asking to speak to Mao.

                “Can I take my break, Koichi?” Mao seemed a little shaken by Kyo’s appearance. “Sure, are you okay though? To go talk to him?” Mao smiled, “Yah, it’s fine. I promise” Koichi patted Mao on the shoulder, and sent him off on this break, watching the two carefully from the counters. “Are you sure this is okay, Kou? I mean… considering what happened last week?”  Koichi calmed Uta’s nerves, “Just watch”

                “Do you care that I’m here? I can leave if you don’t want to speak with me.” Kyo was standing near the fountain, scuffing his shoe on the concrete. “Uh, no, I don’t want you to leave, but why are you here?”  Both men were nervous, not knowing how to act or what to say. “About the other night…we never really figured anything out, like, why me? You never explained that part.” Kyo was leaning against a wall, hands shoved deep into his pockets, elbows locked, still not looking at Mao.

                “Um…I don’t know. You confuse me, there’s no reason. It’s just… shit… it’s just you, okay?” Mao was not quite yelling, but getting close. “What do we do about it?” Kyo was blushing. “I’m older than you, and regardless of what you say, I am a musician.” Mao was whiny, tilting his head back and slumping his shoulders, “Age doesn’t have anything to do with this at all.”

                “Then what are we doing?” Mao stopped and looked at Kyo. “I’m scared, okay? You scare me, I don’t have a reason why it’s you…it just is! I can’t do this right now!” Mao turned and started to walk away, “Mao! Please… just one more question.” Mao turned, “What Kyo?”

                “Will you… can I… Shit…get my number from Koichi…” Kyo shoved his hands in his pocket and walked out towards the street. Mao watched Kyo walk away, wondering what the hell he should do. “Everything okay Mao?” Koichi stopped the younger man before he returned to the counters. “I don’t know Koichi, nothing makes sense right now. Kyo told me to get his phone number from you, but I don’t know what he wants…”   Koichi walked into the office and wrote down Kyo’s number. “Here, what you do this is totally up to you, call him or text him, doesn’t matter. But I think you two need to talk.”

                Mao spent the rest of his shift, doing mindless back work, getting the HBG ready for the next day’s shift. He avoided talking to Koichi or Uta, just wanting to be left alone to figure out just what the hell was going on, and why did it have to involve Kyo.

~

                Kyo walked with his head down, letting his mind wander. Mao had him completely undone, strung out with anxiety, and mostly just freaking him out. “Lame ass excuse ‘it just is’, not like its mind control, so what the fuck?” Mumbling to himself as he walked, people were glaring at him, men moved their wives and children away from the short, tattooed man. When Kyo stopped and finally looked up, he was at a train station. Looking at the board, there was only one choice on where he could go from there, and without another word or thought, Kyo got on the train.

                Sitting away from other passengers, Kyo had stopped mumbling, but the aura he gave off was one of intense anxiety. Listening to the train station stops, his finally came up, getting off he resumed his walk, hunched over, staring at the ground, until he stopped in front of a group of flats. Looking up, he saw the light on, in the flat that he had chosen.

                “Kyo? What the hell are you doing here? What’s wrong?” It was late, but musicians kept late hours, so it was no surprise at the time of Kyo’s visit. “Miya, I’m sorry. Can I talk to Shin please?” Kyo had a look of confusion and even some pain, when he stepped into Miya and Shinya’s flat that night. “Sure, come on in, can I get you anything, tea?” Kyo waved it off. “No thank you, I just need to talk to Shin, I won’t keep you guys long.” Hearing Kyo’s voice, Shinya was alarmed. “Kyo…what’s happened? You don’t show up unannounced…ever.” Shinya sat next to his friend on the couch, his hand on Kyo’s knee.

                “It’s just me, no one else is in trouble.” Kyo looked up at his best friend, “I don’t know what to do, I’m confused. It’s Mao…” Shinya breathed easier, and shared a ‘I told you so’ moment with Miya. “What confuses you about Mao? He’s a nice boy…so what’s the problem?” Kyo leaned back on the couch, “He says he likes me, but doesn’t give me a reason, he just says ‘it just is’. If I push him on the issue of me being a musician, someone who he’d never date, he tells me I’m a vocalist, not a musician.” A snort from Miya was heard in the kitchen.

                Kyo spent the next forty-five minutes explaining the night before, the events at Ojisan’s, and what Mao said earlier in the evening. “He thinks the rescuer thing is stupid, he doesn’t get it at all. He believes that Uta hurt me…not the other way around. That’s why they had that argument at the HBG the other night, Mao thought Uta and I were lovers. We fixed that little mistake, but now…I don’t know Shin, I don’t have a toe-hold on any of mine or his emotions…we’re shooting flares at each other, but what type of flares…I don’t know.”

                “Do you like the boy, Kyo? Is he someone you’d be interested in dating? As a lover?” Shinya carefully pried. “Not sure really, we can’t get past this initial stuff to know anything about each other, except what we’ve seen. He’s seen me with Uta, and Koichi and he has certain opinions about that. I’ve never seen him with anyone, so I have nothing to judge him against. And he’s young, Shin…” Shinya chuckled softly. “Age has never been an issue with you before Kyo, Uta’s about the same age, Kou-kun a little older, so why is Mao too young? Or are you looking for a cop-out?”

                “Cop-out? Why would I be looking for that?” Kyo looked up at the other man. “You can’t rescue Mao…he’s not in trouble, no one has hurt him, so there’s nothing to gain from him, at least in the way you usually deal with these issues. So, you’re looking for some cop-out to throw at Mao so you have an excuse not to date the boy…Kyo just ask Mao out, but please, don’t jump in heart first like you always do…I’m tired of picking up the shattered pieces of my friends lives.”

                “You are probably the wisest man I’ve ever known…and I love you.” Kyo reached over and dragged Shinya into a huge bear hug. “I just want everyone happy… and you deserve it most.” Shinya was genuine in his love for his best friend. Kyo left in a better mood than what he had arrived in, figuring he had nothing to lose in at least going on one date with Mao. “Damn… I don’t have his number!”

                Sitting on the train home, Kyo thought about texting Koichi, but had second thoughts. “No, I don’t need to have anyone in on this…just me” he muttered. Shit…I have to ask him out…on a date? What the hell are we going to do? I can’t just wander around. Double date first? With who? Guess we could go to the restaurant, that’s always safe. Might have to hit Tatsu or Sato up for ideas. Have dinner at my place? Nope… Shinya said, don’t jump in heart first.

                Opening the door to his flat, his phone buzzes in his pocket. He toes off his shoes, walking over and flopping down on his couch. Kyo hesitated for a second to open his phone,

                “Hi, Koichi gave me your number so I’m texting you. Thanks for coming to see me tonight. Text me if you want to.”

                “Hey. Do you want to go out to dinner with me? Or would you be more comfortable on a double date?” Kyo cringed at the word double date…sounded so high-school.

                “Are you in high school? Double date, really? Oh Kyo” there was a giggle emoji at the end of that.

                Kyo could hear that giggle… he could picture Mao with his hand in front of his mouth, his shoulders shaking.  “Okay, so no double date. Would you still go out with me, for dinner?”

                It was at least fifteen minutes of Kyo holding his breath, waiting for a response.

                “A real date? Not just us arguing about whether or not you’re a musician or my reasons that it’s you.” Mao wasn’t sold on the idea of a real date.

                “Yes… a real date. I don’t want to argue. I want to get to know you. I’m sure you’ll run screaming from the restaurant once you realize what I’m really like, but yes. I’m asking you out on a real date.” Kyo went back to holding his breath…

                What do I do? Do I say yes? SHIT! Why does it have to be him? Of anyone I could have met… it’s Kyo from Dir En Grey that I’m attracted to. “Fine. Yes, I will go out to dinner with you. I’m off on Saturday night if that works for you. I’ll text you my address.”

                Kyo felt a weird lightness in his chest when he read Mao’s last text.  But it wasn’t too long before that lightness felt heavy, panicky, anxious. Kyo doesn’t remember the last time, if ever, he went on a real date, with someone not in the industry or connected to it. He had 3 days to either calm down, or back out, no…not back out…Cop Out.

Chapter Text

               

                Hunched over his desk, Uta stared at the computer screen, looking but not seeing, a list of potential flats scribbled on a pad. “Not sure I can find one, this shit sucks. Might have to have a roommate instead.” The pricing for a single unit flat, was considerably more than he was able to afford, had Uta’s stomach in knots. “What the hell am I going to do?” With his elbows on his desk, Uta had his head in his hands, envisioning his past, the fears that he had about being homeless again resurfacing.

                “Uta?” Acchan was walking by the office, stopping when he saw Uta hunched over, his face in his hands. “Uta…what’s wrong?” Walking towards the young man, Acchan called out his name for the third time, “Uta?” Acchan reached out and placed his hand on Uta’s shoulder, causing the boy to jump.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you…is everything okay?” Uta’s face answered Acchan’s question even before Uta said a word.

                “Just having a hard time finding a flat, that’s affordable, I may end up having to share with someone. The flats I can afford are either in a bad neighborhood, or run down and kind of scary” Acchan leaned against Uta’s desk, “Baby, find the flat you like, don’t worry about how much the rent is, I’ll cover the cost.”

                “No! That defeats the entire purpose of me having my own place! If we were to break up, you wouldn’t be paying my rent. No, I will find my own flat and pay for it myself.” Uta turned back to the computer with a renewed sense of urgency. “Uta…” Acchan started to speak but was cut off immediately. “What part of my background didn’t you understand? What part of me being homeless, thrown out by my parents, me living on the damned streets, didn’t you understand? I bared my soul to you that night…and now you’re throwing your insecurities right back at me! Damn it Atsushi! We agreed that I would have my own place, without any fear of us breaking up, YOU agreed. Now it’s back to the same old ‘I have the money, blah blah, we won’t break up ever, blah blah’ bullshit!”

                Acchan stood up, he looked at Uta for a moment then left the room, Uta not stopping him. Walking down the hall and out the front door, Acchan got into his car and drove away, with no particular destination in mind, just the need to be away from Uta.

                Uta heard Acchan leave the house, the slamming of the door, and the revving of the sports car. He didn’t have time to worry about what Acchan’s issue was, he needed to find a suitable place to live, soon. Uta had the nagging feeling that his relationship with the older man was already coming to an end, thus the urgency in which to find a flat was bearing down on the younger man. He wondered if he would see his lover before he had to leave for work…and if not, what was the message Acchan was trying to send.

 

                Driving faster than he should, Acchan drove down one of the long highways that bordered the coastline. Pulling off the highway into a parking lot, Acchan stepped out of his car. Leaning against the hood of his car, he breathes deeply, taking in the ocean air.

                What am I doing…hurting the boy I love? Driving him away, that’s definite. How do I keep him with me… do I let him go? He won’t let me do anything to help, because then he’s obligated. Ask to collar him? If he says no…where do I go from there?

 

                Why doesn’t he believe me? I don’t want to break up, I don’t want to be alone anymore, but what if he breaks up with me because I move…then I’m screwed, again. Might as well get it over with, it’s coming.

~

                “Why are you being such an asshole to that boy, Acchan? You’re going to drive him away with your constant clinginess, you know, that don’t you?” Yutaka had his hands on his hip, scolding his friend, a grown ass man that was now pouting. Acchan had somehow ended up driving to the studio.  “What are you REALLY afraid of, Acchan? This isn’t about Uta moving out, it’s something more. What’s the problem?” Yutaka was the one member in Buck Tick that Acchan could never hide his feelings from, nor bullshit an answer.

                “I don’t even know Yu. I panic when he’s not right there with me, or when he’s at work. Even though I know where he is… I always have a panic attack, until I have my eyes on him, and my arms around him.” Acchan leaned forward and put his head in his hands, raking them through his hair. “I know and understand his reasons for wanting his own space, a place that is safe for him, but why can’t I be that place?”

                Looking at the time, Acchan knew Uta would be leaving for work, a closing shift with Aki and Taka. “Acchan, what are you going to do? Think carefully my friend, because your next move could be the last with Uta. Quit thinking about yourself, and start thinking about the two of you as a couple, supporting Uta is the right thing to do. If it happens that you break up with the boy, then it was never meant to be.” Yutaka patted his friend on the knee, and then walked away, leaving a bewildered man to stew over the words.

                “I can’t think here…” Acchan rose and left the studio. Getting in his car, he did not immediately start it, leaning his head back, all he could hear were Uta’s words. “Okay, I’m done with this for now.” Starting his car, Acchan headed to the one place, where he felt absolutely in control, and no one would question him about his intentions.

~

                “I thought he was okay with you getting a flat?” Taka was stunned when Uta informed him that he and Acchan had had another argument about the same topic as before. “He was when we left your house. Earlier today, I was online looking at flats, and I think I’m going to have to have a roommate, everything’s so expensive. When I told Acchan that, he said he’d pay the rent! That doesn’t help me at all!” Uta was as mad as Taka had ever seen the young man.

                “Hey, what’s going on?” Aki was closing the HBG with Uta that night. “Uh, is everything okay?” Uta was pissed, which surprised Aki, “No, everything isn’t okay, my boyfriend is acting like an asshole.” Uta explained to Aki what had gone on that afternoon.  “Guys, try to have a good night, Uta if you need me, you can call.” Taka waved and left the HBG for the evening. 

Uta and Aki spent the evening trying hard not to think about Acchan. Aki filled the hours with stories about his and Tora’s new living arrangements, and how much easier it was now that they didn’t have a room mate to bother them. “Your flat has 2 bedrooms? Nice…if you don’t mind me asking, what’s the rent?” Aki told him, and Uta just sighed, “That’s the problem I’m running into, the cost of a single room flat, the prices are too high. Acchan said he’d pay for the flat, but that’s not doing me any good if we break up”

                “What’s his reasoning behind all this? Does he even have a good reason?” Aki couldn’t understand Sakurai’s hesitation. “He claims that he’s never been in a relationship, that isn’t contracted. With his submissives, he almost always had them living with him. But he doesn’t’ want to contract me, so I don’t know what his fucking deal is!” Uta turned and walked out of the office area, and out on to the patio, walking around checking tables, Uta finally collapsed into one of the chairs. “I can’t let him do this to me! Damn it!”

~

                “Sakurai-san? What do we owe this pleasure to?” Sakurai topped the stairs of the Fetish Club, greeted by the tuxedoed doorman. “Just here to spend some quiet time, thank you.” Sakurai made his way to his private room, a place where he was in control of everything. Ordering a drink, Sakurai can hear the beat of the music, the dull sound of conversation, the soft sounds of discipline in another room. The waitress delivers his drink, “Sakurai-sama, there are those that wish to know if you’d like company this evening?” Sakurai had seen the two in question, he hesitated before agreeing.

                “Sakurai-san, it’s most unusual to see you here, alone.” Madame F strolled into the private room, her tall pet ordered to wait outside. “You look worn, Acchan…” the woman knew when and where she could use Acchan’s name. “How is your lovely young boy? Uta…is he faring well after that fiasco with the maggot?” Acchan explained that Uta was mentally and physically healed…but. “You’re not telling me everything Acchan, not that you must of course, I’d never assume to pressure you for information.”

                There was a light tap on the door, “Sakurai-san, Madame F.”  Davina, as Madame F did, left her beefy pet outside the room. “Is there a problem? Where is that beautiful little boy of yours…Uta?” Madame F explained the situation, at least of what she knew. “Sakurai-san, are you implying that you no longer have Uta with you? If that is the case… there are quite a number of people that would be interested in him, I personally would offer him a place with me.”

                “Davina, Uta is not collared by me or anyone. I told him I would never agree to that, he has experienced too much of the cruel underbelly of our little community.” Acchan sighed. “I’m having other problems with him…with myself.” He briefly told the two women his problem, knowing that they would not pass judgement on him, as this problem was seen often with uncontracted and contracted submissives, the will and need to live on their own, away from their dominant.

                “Excuse me for a moment, Sakurai-san.” Davina excused herself and stepped out the door. “I need you to go find Kyo-san, bring him to me.” Davina’s pet bowed, and moved away. Re-entering the room, Madame F was speaking about Natsu, “I have not heard anything about the maggot, from any of my contacts, Davina, have you?” Acchan looked at the other woman, “No, nothing from my friends and acquaintances, and I have a number of them in Europe and America. Either the maggot has gone to ground, or perhaps he’s even further down than that.            

                A small knock on the door and Davina rose and left the room again. “Davina, what’s this about? Why did you send your pet for me?” Davina bowed her head. “Kyo-san, I need you to talk to Sakurai.” Kyo narrowed his eyes… “Sakurai? He’s here? Why…what has he done to Uta?” Kyo instantly bristled at the thought of Sakurai somehow harming Uta. “He’s done nothing…physical, the little boy is in perfect health. Acchan loves him dearly, but he is making a huge mistake right now, that may cost him the love of that precious boy.”

                Davina gave Kyo the story on Uta and Acchan’s problem, with Kyo bowing his head and covering his eyes, “That idiot, doesn’t he know Uta’s past? There’s a reason that boy needs his own flat… a very good reason!” Kyo spent a few more moments with Davina, then they both returned to the room.

                “Kyo? Why are you at the Fetish?” Sakurai asked in a very accusatory tone. Kyo peaked an eyebrow, “You have no say on why I’m here, Sakurai, more to the point, why are you here? Does Uta know where you are?” The two men glared at each other, until Sakurai looked down. “No, Uta doesn’t know I’m here. I don’t even know why I’m here.”

                “Sounds to me like you’re behaving very childish, and you’re threatening your relationship with Uta, if you don’t pull your head out of your ass.” Kyo leaned against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. “Ladies, if you will please…” Sakurai motioned towards the door. Madame F and Davina both gave Sakurai a kiss on the cheek, but before Madame F walked out, she cautioned Sakurai.

                “Acchan, I’m telling you this as a friend, if you do not reconcile with your boy…with Uta, there are dozens of people that would love nothing better to accept him as their pet. They are lined up, waiting to strike. Please consider this.” She bowed and closed the door.

                Sakurai sighed, then motioned for Kyo to sit. “How much do you know about Uta’s past? His childhood, lovers… any of it” Kyo leaned back, “Not terribly much, and what I do know, is not pretty. Why do you ask?” Sakurai leaned forward, his elbows on his thighs, gazing intently at Kyo.

                “He has this overwhelming desire to have his own flat, his own space. He tells me that it’s a safety net, in case we break off our relationship. We talked about it, and I know everything about his past, and I understand his need for security. It is I, who has a problem with it. It terrifies me to even think of letting the boy out of my sight, Kyo. I love Uta…he’s everything to me, I can’t…” Sakurai stopped.

                “Do you remember when Tatsu was in the hospital, after the Masa incident, when you shook him? What did you tell him to do?” Kyo remembered quiet clearly.

Sakurai closed his eyes, trying to picture the scene in the hospital; Tatsuro lying in a hospital bed, not caring if he lived or died, Masa had destroyed his love for Koichi, and nobody seemed to be able to get through to him. Sakurai had walked to the hospital bed, sat on the side and grabbed Tatsu forcefully by the shoulders, shaking and screaming at the man; TATSURO! DAMN IT MAN! STOP BENG A CHILD! You’re better than this, you little shit!

                With a sigh, Sakurai looked up at Kyo.  “I remember Kyo. Thank you. I must heed my own advice, seems to me that I’ve been a royal brat, now haven’t I?” A small smile played on Sakurai’s lips. “No, you’ve actually been a real asshole. Your insecurities, your inability to control Uta, it’s playing all against you, and if you’re not careful, you’re going to drive Uta away…and guess who will be waiting for him? Not only myself, but there are many people here that would love nothing more than to care for Uta.”

                Sakurai stood, as did Kyo. “Thank you for making me realize what a child I’ve been for the last week, I will go home and support Uta’s search for a flat, and I will not put any roadblocks, or demands on him. I love him, Kyo. I want you to know that, I truly love the boy… he has made my life wonderful.” The men shook hands, and Sakurai left the Fetish, running to his car. “He’s still at work, hang on baby, I’ll be there in a minute!”

               

                “Almost time Uta, let’s shut down the counters, can you do one more check of the patio please?” Aki went towards the front of the HBG to pull the covers down on the counter, while Uta went and double checked the patio area. He was just about to turn around and go back, when he was caught in a bear hug from behind. He froze, and started to shake, “Uta…I love you” was whispered in his ear. “Acchan…” his body instantly relaxed. “Why are you here?” he asked his lover, turning around and resuming the hug. “To pick you up and bring you home with me. And tomorrow, I will help you find a flat that you can afford, or a roommate if needed. So, get your sexy ass back to work, so we can go home.”

                As they walked to the car, Uta wondered how Acchan had gone from leaving the house in a huff, to agreeing to help Uta look for a flat. “How was your day?” Uta tread lightly with this question. “Full of smacks upside my thick skull, insights from friends and a realization that I love you and I want to make you happy. I want to keep you forever…even if you never sleep one more night at my house again, I know you’re safe in your own flat, and I can always come and spend the night, can’t I?” Uta stopped next to the car, putting his arms around Acchan’s waist, “I’d like a few sleep overs, we could watch tv, make cookies…have wild sex all over the place, well, that is if I have my own flat, I don’t want to be like Tora and Aki, almost getting caught multiple times, by their roommates.” Acchan laughed, “You’ll have to tell me that story when we get home…I love you.” Uta slid his arms around Acchan’s neck, rubbing noses, and kissing his lover, “I love you too…forever.”

Chapter Text

 

                “If we go to the restaurant, we may run into Die and the others, and Ruki is always a problem, so I’m not sure that’s the best place to go.” Kyo had called Mao to talk about their dinner date, but Kyo didn’t have a clue to where he should take Mao on their dinner date.

                “We could just be safe and go to Ojisan’s, I’m not sure I’m ready to be seen with you at that restaurant.” Mao did not want a scene with Die or Ruki. “Gee, thanks…I appreciate your discretion.” Kyo muttered. “That’s not what I meant and you know it!” snapped Mao. “Let’s just go to Ojisan’s, it’s easier, you don’t have to drive…wait, do you drive?” Mao had no idea if Kyo owned a car.

                “I drive, I just don’t own a car. If I need one I usually just borrow Die’s. Would you like me to come and pick you up? Meet at the station? It’s your call.” Kyo didn’t want to crowd Mao, and if he was honest with himself, he didn’t want to push the man away either.  After a little debate they finally settled on Kyo meeting Mao at Ojisan’s, it was easier and frankly, Mao wasn’t sure he wanted Kyo to know where he lived…at least not yet.

 

                Kyo was standing outside of Ojisan’s, nervously watching for his date. “Date…I’m going on a date, like a damned teenager.” Kyo had been fighting internally with himself all day, not really wanting to do this, but Shinya’s words kept ringing in his ears, the word ‘cop-out’ being the loudest. He had been staring at his feet, when Mao walked up.

                “Hi…I hope you haven’t had to wait too long…” Mao was equally as nervous as Kyo, but hid it a little better, at least he could speak in full sentences. “Uh, no…I um…let’s go in.” Kyo held the door for Mao.  “Irasshai gentlemen…what can I start you with tonight?” Ojisan was beaming, seemingly more than usual. “I’d like a beer please,” Kyo normally didn’t drink, but tonight it seemed like a good idea, Mao needed a stiff drink, but beer was the only option. “I’ll have one as well, Ojisan, thank you.”

                Ojisan smiled at the couple, he could feel the tension between the two. “Gentlemen, may I recommend a bit of miso before you order…on the house tonight!” Mao and Kyo agreed, and were surprised at the taste, this was no ordinary miso, and they felt surprisingly relaxed after, ordering their dinner, the two men started to talk.

                “I’m guessing there’s still no reason yet, right?” Kyo just wouldn’t let the subject drop, it was as if he had to have a solid reason for Mao’s attraction. “No, there is still no real reason…just stop already. Would you rather I just ignore it? I can you know. I can say ‘thanks for dinner’ then leave and never see you again.” Mao was just so exasperated with the question.

                “I have no control over that, if you want this to be our single date, that’s fine. I just find it difficult to understand why someone like you, would want to be with me, that’s all.” Kyo shoved another mouthful of ramen in his mouth.

                “What the hell does that mean? Someone like me…what is that exactly?” Mao stopped mid slurp, to glare at his date.

                “You know, super cute, bubbly personality, has a ton of friends, can speak to anyone without stuttering, feels confident at parties…that type of person.” Kyo had none of these traits, he had no excuses.

 “That’s how you see me? That’s a joke! I’m not super cute…far from it, I’m a moody bitch which means I don’t have a ton of friends, and boyfriends never stick around, and I don’t do parties.” Mao genuinely had no idea how Kyo came to that conclusion. “Why wouldn’t I want to be with you? Is there something wrong with you? Are you hideously deformed under your clothes? Do you have like a third nipple or a weird shaped belly button?” Mao snorted, like there was anything wrong with Kyo, other than the obvious.

                “Now it’s my turn to sound outraged. No, I’m not hideously deformed, no, I don’t have a third nipple, and my belly button is quite cute actually.” Kyo didn’t want to bring up the real problems. “You do know I’m moody, depressive, at times almost schizoid, I’m a loner and I don’t like parties either.”

                They stared at each other for a moment. “What are we really doing then?” Kyo still needed an answer. “I don’t know…yet.” Mao didn’t know exactly what they were doing.

                “Gentlemen, if I may?” Ojisan turned and looked at Kyo. “This one needs no rescuing” nodding to Mao, “he’s not in an unhealthy situation, nor is he in danger. You do not know how to treat him, he has no motives and it confuses you.”

                Ojisan turned to Mao, “This one is not like the others” nodding to Kyo, “He is fragile and breakable, but resistant to sincerity. He looks at everyone as a threat, that will lie to him, or try to use him for their own gain.”

                Mao and Kyo glance at each other, then back at the proprietor of the ramen shop, Ojisan winked at the men, and walked back to the kitchen area.

                “He’s kind of creepy…isn’t he?” Mao whispered to Kyo. “A little, but he’s usually dead on, I’ve heard things from him, that there is no way he would have any prior knowledge of.”

                Kyo paid for the meal, thanking Ojisan, “Do you want to do something else? Or should I just walk you to the station?” Both men did not want the date to end, but neither had the courage to speak up. “Walk me to the station?” It was a fifteen-minute wait for the next train, yet neither man had much to say to the other. “Thanks for taking me to dinner, it was nice.” Mao was looking anywhere but at Kyo, who was himself, looking at the ground, scuffing his foot.

                “You’re welcome, I’m sorry it wasn’t a better date.” Taking a chance, Kyo looked up at Mao. “Maybe next time?”

                “Maybe…I’d like that.” Mao’s train pulled up before anything else could be said. Kyo walked Mao to the car, and repeated the gesture of putting his hand on the window, with Mao placing his as well. This time they both smiled as the train pulled away from the station.

~

                Mao rested his head against the window, as the train sped out of the station. What the hell am I doing? Kyo of all people…in all the world…it’s him. Why can’t it be Tora, or Aki or…someone normal! Maybe I should just tell him to leave me alone, that it just won’t work between us. Stepping off the train, Mao starts the ten-minute walk to his flat. Before he reaches his door, this phone buzzes in his pocket.

                “Hey, did you get home okay?” Kyo just wanted to know if the young man got home safe.

                “Just walking in now, are you home?” Mao knew Kyo lived by himself.

                “Yah, just got in, I just wanted to make sure you got home okay.” Kyo was sitting in his kitchen, smoking a cigarette.

                There was a few minutes delay between texts, as Mao made his way up to his room, making sure not to wake his sister. Changing into sleep pants, he sat on his bed, leaning against the headboard.

                “I’m fine…just got in bed.”

                “Do you think we should do this again? I mean another date?” Kyo took a deep breath before hitting SEND.

                Mao read the text…what should he say? Yes…and hope for something better to happen, or no…and just forget the whole thing, it was silly to think he could date someone like Kyo, he’s fucking Dir En Grey Kyo.

                “I don’t know…what do you think?” Mao played it safe, lay it all on Kyo to decide and then go with it.

                There was no reply for quite a while, long enough for Mao to slide under the covers and start to doze, startling awake when his phone buzzed again.

                “Do you work tomorrow? Can I come and see you at the HBG?” Neutral territory, no scene could be made.

                “Yes, tomorrow night with Aki. I’d like it if you came.” What the hell am I saying?

                “Okay, great. I’ll be around about 9pm, I’ll see you tomorrow, oyasumi Mao” Kyo closed his phone.

                “Oyasumi, Kyo.” Mao sighed and closed his phone, placing it on his night table. He stared at the phone as he drifted off, still wondering what the hell he was doing.

                Kyo smoked another cigarette, sitting in the dark of his flat, also wondering what the hell he was doing. “Guess I’ll find out tomorrow night.”

~

                Taka was unlocking the door for the early shift at the HBG, working with Koichi and Uta, hoping for a day with no drama…of course that rarely happened, it was just the nature of the business. “Hi Taka, do you need me to do anything before we open?” Uta had breezed in, happy and smiling, a much better look for the young man. “Nope, just the regular prep work…you seem like you’re in a good mood, anything special happening today?”

                “Later this afternoon, Acchan and I are going to go look at a few flats. Can I work overtime if I need to? Or pick up an extra shift on the weekend?” Uta was hoping to rent a single room flat, so he didn’t have to worry about being too loud with his boyfriend, and bothering a roommate. “Sure, just let me know when and what time, we always need more help in the summer months anyways, and that’s going to be here sooner than we know.” Taka was thrilled to see Uta happy and contented, if any of them deserved it, it was Uta.

                “Hey Taka…” Koichi shuffled in, hand over his mouth yawning. “Up late Kou?” Taka knew why his bestie was up late. “A little… but you know why…” chided Koichi. Mucc was getting ready for a short national tour, with only ten shows. All the boyfriends were spending as much time with their lovers as possible before the tour.

                “Happens at the beginning and end of every tour season… about as regular as DCR parties these days. Speaking of which, have you heard anything from management about any upcoming parties? I like to be a step ahead and have everything stocked.” Taka had the DCR parties prep down to a specific science, but things could always go wrong.

                “Nothing lately, maybe one closer towards the holidays, you’ll be the first to know after me.” Koichi leaned into the office and whispered, “How’s Uta seem? Did he and Sakurai patch things up?” Taka waved Kou into the office, “He told me that after work today, they were going out together to look at flats, guess that means that Sakurai finally got his head screwed on right.” Taka smirked.

 

                For a change, the day went smoothly for the three men, with no major problems, other than a few messy young people on the patio, which of course was normal. Koichi had fun teasing Uta about Sakurai, with Taka leaning out and scolding them both. “Hey, get to work!” Taka got a lemon thrown at him for that remark.

                The end of the afternoon shift came quickly, with Mao showing up first. Taka was still worried about the younger man, who was having a difficult time dealing with the possible relationship with Kyo, and Taka had warned the other crew members not to bring up Kyo, unless Mao did. “Hi Mao, ready for a busy night?”

                “I hope not too busy, I hate when we have to scramble so much. How was today’s shift?” Taka waited until Aki arrived and then did a very short meeting, explaining that with the summer coming, the HBG would be ramping up on sales. “Hopefully I don’t need three people on every shift, I don’t need you all passing out on me from working overtime.”

                “Hey, how’s the married life treating you?” Mao decided to tease Aki just a little, since he rarely saw one of the men without the other. “It’s great actually, it was smart for us to decide not to work together, although it means we sometimes only see each other for a few hours a day, but I’m sure it would have been much worse if we saw each other 24/7.”

                “Sounds like you guys are a good fit…I’m happy for you Aki, glad to see people in love.” Mao smiled at Aki, then wandered out to the patio. “What the hell was that about?” Aki watched Mao wander around, not really doing much. But the young man’s shoulders were slumped, his posture folded in on itself, like the man was carrying a great weight on his back.

                Mao returned and the counter got busy for a few hours, with a break finally coming around 8pm. “Aki, want to take your break first? I want to wait awhile for mine.” Aki was more than happy to take it early, as he could then call Tora and they could talk, seeing as by the time Aki got home that night, Tora would already be asleep.

                Mao watched the entrance to the HBG intently after Aki returned from his break, with Aki wondering who Mao was waiting for. “Expecting someone Mao?” Aki elbowed Mao gently in the ribs, “Yep…he might not show, he’s known to be a flake.” Aki was surprised, he couldn’t mean… “Are you waiting for Die? Oh god, Mao please say no! You don’t want to really go out with him, do you?” Aki groaned at the thought of Die being around the HBG all the time.

                “Aki, seriously? I’m not desperate enough to date Die…” Mao turned back to watch the front of the HBG. “Well, who ever it is, if he’s interested in you…he’s lucky.” Aki turned to do some back stocking of supplies. Looking at the clock it was 9:10, and still no Kyo, leaving Mao to believe that he had been blown off…again by another guy.

                “Aki…I don’t need to take a break… let’s get everything done early, so we can leave on time.” Mao moved towards the supply area, just knowing that anything with Kyo was a joke, they always were a joke when it came to him. As he walked towards the office, someone knocked on the back door. Aki looked through the peephole…it was Kyo. Aki was surprised as hell when he opened the door. “Kyo? Uh, what are you doing here? Is there something wrong? OH my god! It’s not Taka or Koichi is it!” Aki went into instant panic mode, Kyo grabbing him by the shoulder, “Aki…it’s nothing…nothing’s wrong.” Hearing voices, Mao walked to the back door, surprised to see Kyo standing there. “Sorry I’m late.”

                “I’m going to take my break Aki, thanks.” Mao walked out, with Kyo following him to a secluded spot on the patio, away from prying eyes. “Sorry…I didn’t mean to be late. Just had some issues with a song.” Kyo still wasn’t looking Mao in the eyes properly. “It’s okay, I really didn’t expect you to come at all.”

                “Why would you think that? If I say I’m going to be somewhere, I’m always there, unless it’s an act of mother nature or something, sometimes Kaoru getting mad at me is fairly close to an act of nature.” Kyo was surprised that Mao would think he would do that. “Sorry, I’m use to being dumped that way. I didn’t mean for it to sound like it was intentional… fuck, I don’t know what I mean…” whined Mao.

                “It’s okay…I get it. I guess I should have text you.” Kyo smiled a little, seeing Mao worked up a bit. “Can I ask you something…I want you to be truthful with me…no bullshitting.” Kyo had been turning this over in his head, how to ask the boy.

                “Sure, I’ll answer if I can.” Mao’s stomach was churning. “Since you can’t seem to give me an answer on why…can you answer me if I ask if … shit… if you see us like, having an um…relationship.” Kyo cringed, he didn’t want to come out and say ‘hey do you want to eventually fuck?’. “Uh…I um,” Mao was blushing a lovely shade of crimson, “I don’t know… I just…”

                Kyo put his hand up, “Okay, bad question. Moving on then…”

                “I didn’t say no, I’m scared Kyo… this whole thing scares me. You scare me…my feelings scare the fuck out of me!” Taking a chance, Kyo lifted his arms, and held them open…waiting to see if Mao would walk into the embrace he was offering.

                Mao hesitated for a half second, then slowly moved into Kyo’s arms. It felt weird, but not a bad weird…a good weird. “Is this okay?” Kyo whispered, “Mmm, yah.” Mao carefully put his arms around Kyo’s waist, and relaxed into the hug. They stood there for a while, not really moving. Kyo nuzzled Mao’s hair…breathing in the smell, “Your hair smells like strawberries,” Mao giggled. “Yours smells like…um, I’m not sure.”

                Mao started to lean into the hug a little more, accepting that this actually felt pretty damned good. “I like this… a lot, you sort of fit…you know?” Mao could have stood there for the rest of the night, but his break was over, he reluctantly pulled out of the hug. “I have to go back,” Kyo nodded.

                “Text me when you get home, I want to make sure you get there safe, okay?” Kyo just wanted an excuse to text more, it somehow felt easier than if Mao would call him.

                “I will, um, thanks for coming to see me.” Mao took a huge chance, and kissed Kyo on the cheek, then turning and walking quickly back into the HBG. Kyo reached up and touched his cheek…, shaking his head he made his way to the street and headed home, wondering if this relationship just took a new turn.

                “Kyo? Really Mao…I mean I think it’s great…but Kyo? And I thought you didn’t date musicians…shit! Don’t let Die find out…he’ll flip his shit!” Aki had snuck a few peeks at Kyo and Mao, seeing the two hugging, standing very close.

                “Aki, I can’t even explain it myself…it’s so fucking bizarre, and I don’t know what to do half the time! He took me out to dinner the other night, just to Ojisan’s. We argued a little, and of course Ojisan had to comment on it…that man is seriously creepy!” Aki laughed, “Ojisan is some sort of wise man, he’s like a spiritual guide or something. Do you really like Kyo? Or what?”

                Mao sighed, “Yah…strange as it is… I do like him, a lot. But I just don’t know how to handle this! Akiii, I shouldn’t be involved with freaking Kyo from Dir en Grey! It’s just fucking wrong!” Mao was almost stomping his feet as he whined. Another knock on the door startled both men. “What the fuck?”

                “Mao! It’s Kyo” Aki opened the door, “Kyo… wh…” Kyo reached in the door way and grabbed Mao by the hand, “Give me five-minutes Aki…that’s all I need I promise!” Aki nodded, and watched as Kyo dragged Mao to a quiet corner, close to the back door.

                “What’s going on Kyo? Why did you come back?” Mao was shaking… he wasn’t sure why, but the look in Kyo’s eyes, made him a little nervous. “I just want to ask you for one thing, and if it’s bad, we won’t pursue this relationship any further, then we’re just good friends, but if it’s good… then all bets are off and we’ll be more than just good friends…do you trust me, Mao?” Kyo had a wicked little smile playing on his lips. “Okay…” Mao said softly.

                Kyo pulled the younger man closer to him, and reached up and cupped Mao’s face in his hands, slowly leaning in, his lips brushed Mao’s, resting there softly. He pulled back, bumping his forehead against Mao’s, “More?” he asked… Mao nodded. Kyo captured Mao’s lips once again, this time it was clear…Mao wanted this as much as Kyo. A slightly bite of a lower lip, the tip of a tongue begging to be teased. The kiss was brief, but intense, and when Kyo pulled away, this time Mao whimpered softly.

                “I think that answers all of our questions, don’t you?” Kyo smiled, he still had his hands cupping Mao’s face. “Umm, yah it does…I’d better go back, I don’t want Aki…” Before Mao could finish, Kyo kissed him again, this time with a little more urgency, again making Mao moan. “I still want you to text me when you get home, promise?” Mao nodded, and turn to walk back to the HBG. Just as he was reaching to open the door, Kyo was there, kissing him again, “Bye” Kyo whispered against Mao’s lips.

                “Bye…” Mao closed the door behind him. He stood there for a moment, then turned to see Aki, grinning like he’d won the lottery. “Wow, that must have been some kiss…you look like you’re going to pass out, Mao.” The young man blushed hard. “Please Aki, don’t say anything to anyone, not just yet, okay? This is…I’m… shit, what the hell just fucking happened?” Mao sat down on a step stool, his head in his hands. The kisses, they were…perfect.

                “I think it’s great Mao, but don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone, not even Tora since he has a big mouth.” Aki couldn’t believe what he had seen, Kyo kissing Mao, the most unlikely love connection ever witnessed at the HGB, at least that he knew of. “Let’s get ready to close this place up Mao. I’m sure you’re going to be texting most of the night. And really Mao…I’m super happy for you.”

 

                “Hi, I just got home… you’re probably asleep already, so I’ll text you when I wake up.”

                Kyo had his phone in his hand, “No, I’m still awake, but I’m glad you’re home safe. Are you okay? I’m sorry I sprung this on you at work, but it felt like it was the right time. I see it this way, if you would have hated the kiss, or pulled away and spit…I would have said okay, we’ll just be friends, no harm no foul. But obviously you enjoyed it, unless that’s the way you don’t enjoy a kiss…”

                “It startled me at first…why though? Why did you come back?” It seemed to Mao that ‘why’ was a major concern in the budding relationship.

                “Well, you started it by kissing me on the cheek, I thought I’d finish it for us. I needed to know, Mao. I don’t like leaving things unfinished, it pisses me off. Now we have that out of the way, we can move on…if that’s what you want.” Kyo assumed that’s what the message behind the kisses meant

                Mao’s breathing was a little ragged, the memory of Kyo’s kiss was burning through his mind, “Yes, I do want it…but I’m still scared Kyo, please…this is so unlike me! I’m always careful, and I never rush things…”

                “When is your next day off? I think we need to spend an entire day, away from work, away from other distractions, do you trust me enough to spend the day with me?” Kyo had a few ideas in mind.

                “Of course, I trust you! Tuesday is my next day off, does that give you enough time to plan something?” Mao trusted Kyo enough to know that the man would never truly hurt him.

                “That’s fine, it gives me plenty of time to plan.  I’ll ask Die if I can borrow his car. It’s late, you need to sleep. Text me tomorrow if you’d like. Oyasumi Mao.”

                 “I will…Oyasumi Kyo.”  Mao closed his phone. Lying on his back, his eyes growing heavy, Mao couldn’t think of anything else but those kisses…and the man behind them.

 

                “Die, I need to borrow your car on Tuesday…Yah it’s important. I’ll tell you about it later. Thanks buddy.”

Chapter Text

                “Oh my god” Uta moaned, “This is a definite no! Look at the bathroom.” The first flat that Uta and Acchan were viewing, was an absolute disaster, and that description would be an understatement. “Uta, I hope you’re not considering this one…no matter what you say, I will not let you live in conditions such as these. The landlord and owner should be reported, this is disgusting.” Acchan was livid that Uta had chosen to view this flat. “But it looked so good online!”

                Acchan glared at the realtor who had shown the flat, as he led Uta by the hand to his car. “I’m sorry…the description made it sound good.” Uta slouched down in his seat, handing Acchan the address for the next flat. This entire trip was not going well, and had sucked from the start, with Acchan pouting and dragging his feet to even get in the car.

                “At least the outside looks okay,” sighed Uta as they pulled up to the flat. “Hmm, this is at least closer to our house…um, my house.” Acchan was in danger of loosing his tongue, if he bit it any harder. There was a note on the door from the landlord, indicating that the flat was open, and to let themselves in.

                “It does have an actual tiny genkan” Uta noted. Uta and Acchan split up, with Acchan checking out the kitchen, and Uta heading for the bathroom and the bedroom. “It has a bathtub!” Uta shouted to Acchan. “The kitchen sucks… he’ll starve” the man muttered. “What about the kitchen? Better than the last place?” Acchan put a very fake grin on his face, trying to sound upbeat. “Yes, it is better than the other location, but…” Uta pushed past his boyfriend, “It has a cute fridge, and a window too.”

                “For the asking price, I think you can do better, Uta, let’s leave this one on your list, and compare it to the next flat, ne?” Uta looked back at the flat as they walked out, it would have been perfect if it were not for…he looked at his lover walking down the stairs in front of him.

                The drive to the last of the flats they had on their list, took a little longer, as it was on the other side of where Tokyo Tower was, quite a bit further from Acchan’s house, which the man noticed immediately and was not happy about. Pulling up to the building, Uta let out a tiny squeal of delight “Oh! It’s so cute! Hurry and park…I want to see the inside!”

                Uta leapt out of the car almost before Acchan had it in park. “Uta…wait a minute!” Uta was already opening the door and had disappeared into the back portion of the flat, by the time Acchan walked in. “Uta? Where…” Acchan stepped into the genkan, and peered through the door into the living area. “Back here…in the bedroom!” Following Uta’s voice, Acchan found the boy laying on the tatami mats on the floor. “This is a huge bedroom, not as big as mine at your house, but still! I could fit a full-sized futon in here with room to spare!”

                “This is the flat! I need to call the owner and set up a time to sign the papers…I’ll do that tomorrow.” Uta slid into the passenger seat and sighed, “Thank god I found one that I could afford!” Acchan was oddly silent on the drive home much to the chagrin of his boyfriend, Uta just knew that Acchan was sulking. “What do you want to do for dinner tonight? I can cook us something, if you’d rather, or we could go out?” Acchan didn’t answer, which Uta took as being ignored, “Um… hello? Atsushi!” snapped Uta.

                “What?” Sakurai snarled. This shocked Uta beyond words, Acchan snapping at him for asking a simple question. Uta had had enough, as soon as they hit a stop light, Uta turned to his boyfriend. “When you stop being A FUCKING CHILDISH BRAT…CALL ME!”

                Uta opened the door, got out and slammed the door almost hard enough to break the glass. Acchan didn’t even look at the boy, he just pulled away when the light changed. “FUCK YOU!” Uta screamed at the car, flipping a middle finger.

                Sakurai was done…he didn’t care. Uta obviously didn’t love him enough to understand why he was upset. “Shit head kid!”

                “Where the fuck am I?” Uta looked around, and found himself not too far from Kyo’s flat. Taking a chance, he texted Kyo. “Um, I’m in a bit of a fix, are you home or could you meet me somewhere please?”

                Kyo opened his phone, startled to see a text from Uta. “Where are you exactly?”

                Uta looked around, “Near a Pacific Market, and a tiny coffee shop.”

                “Go to the coffee shop, I’ll meet you there in a bit.” Kyo had to make one text before he left. 

                “I want to tell you this up front, and before I leave. Uta texted me just now and said he’s in some sort of trouble. I’m meeting him at a coffee shop near my flat. I promise, this is just me helping a friend, nothing more. I’m not interested in being with Uta, he belongs to Sakurai, do you trust me?”

                “Yes…I trust you. Is he alright? Let me know what’s going on…if you need anything. Text me when you’re home again.” Mao sighed, this was a huge test, and knew that Kyo was being truthful, but he wasn’t sure he’d pass the test.

~

                Uta sat at a small table near the window, watching for Kyo. He had gotten a cup of tea, hoping it would help calm him down. Looking at his phone, still nothing from Atsushi. “Guess this was it.”

                “Hi, are you okay?” Uta looked up, Kyo was standing in front of him, wearing a worried frown. “Yah, physically I am.”

“Let me go get a cup of coffee, I’ll be right back.” Kyo walked towards the counter and ordered his drink.

                Uta was looking out the window, as Kyo approached. “So, what’s going on? Why are you down here…Acchan’s house is nowhere near here?” Kyo sat down.

                “Atsushi is acting like an asshole… AGAIN! He’s being a fucking prat, sulking and pouting.” Uta spat. “He was okay with me having my own flat three days ago! Now? He’s all pissy” Uta explained the scene in the car, and how he ended up where he was.

                “Has he called or texted you yet? It’s not even been an hour.” Kyo watched as Uta pulled out his phone. “Nope, not a word. Fuck him…I’m done! I love him, but he’s being ridiculous about this. This is exactly why I need my own flat! Why can’t he understand that?” Uta laid his head on the table.

                “I’m not sure why” Kyo wondered if he should tell Uta about the little incident at the Fetish club, but chose not to…might cause a larger argument than they were having now. “What are you going to do today? I can walk you to the station if you want…or,” Kyo left it hanging.

                “I’d ask you, but if Acchan ever found out…I might as well move out for good, maybe Aki and Tora would let me crash at their place tonight?” Uta pulled out his phone. “I hate to ask Taka again, and I really don’t want to drag Koichi into this mess.”

                Kyo decided to shoot a quick text to Mao… “Give me a second…I’ll be right back.” Kyo moved away from the table, leaving Uta puzzled.

                “I have a question…how would you feel if Uta knew we were um… dating, or what ever it is that we’re doing? I totally understand if he’s the last person you want to know, I’ll go with whatever you say.”

                “Sorry, just had to ask someone a quick question. Maybe you should text Aki or Tora, and if that doesn’t work, then I suggest you text Taka. My opinion is that Sakurai needs to be left hanging for a while, he’s being unreasonable right now.” Kyo’s phone buzzed.

                “If it’s necessary to help Uta, yes. If it’s just random…I don’t think so.” Kyo decided that was a no. “Call the HBG and see who’s there, I’ll go with you if you’d like.”  Uta smiled, “You’re always there for me…I don’t deserve you as a friend really.”

~

                “I’ll text Aki, but I’m sure it would be fine with him, I’m not letting you sleep on the street or anything remotely close to that,  Uta.” Kyo had gone with Uta to the HBG to speak with Tora, who was there with Mao. “Thanks Tora, I’m sure it will only be for tonight. I’m going to make other arrangements tomorrow.” While Uta and Tora waited to hear from Aki, Mao decided to take his break, since Kyo was already there.

                “What happened? Why does Uta need a place to spend the night?” This development was not what Mao needed to hear, Uta needing to be rescued…this was bad. “Sakurai flipped his shit on Uta, and the kid jumped out of the car. He knew he was near my place, so he texted me. I’m as stunned as you are.” Kyo led them to a quiet secluded spot, pulling Mao into a hug. “This is just an extra bonus, that I get to see you.”

                Mao shifted nervously, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do this. “What’s wrong?” Kyo let go of Mao. “It’s Uta…isn’t it?” Mao looked away, he didn’t’ want to admit that he has a problem with Uta. “He needs to be rescued…and that’s your specialty, isn’t it?” Mao regretted stating the obvious, but he knew it was just a matter of time, before Kyo would go back to Uta.

                “Now that Uta and Sakurai have broken up…you’ll want to go back with him, I understand. It’s fine. Thanks though…for at least trying.” Mao pulled back and walked away.

                “HEY! YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ME WHAT DO TO AND WHO TO LO…LIKE! THIS IS SUCH FUCKING BULLSHIT MAO!” Kyo was pissed. He ran up to Mao and grabbed him by the arm, roughly turning the young man to face him. “DAMN IT MAO!” He screamed.

                “WHAT? THAT’S WHAT YOU DO, ISN’T IT? YOU FUCKING RESCUE PEOPLE” Mao screamed back, “YOU TOLD ME YOURSELF, SO FUCKING GO RESCUE UTA! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO! LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!” Mao tore away from Kyo, trying to walk back to the HBG.

                Tora and Uta were looking out the back door, gaping at what they were witnessing, an epic meltdown between the two men.  There were a few customers starting to peer around the building, which Tora had to address. “Sorry folks, just a lover’s spat, nothing more.”

                “Did you know that they were dating or?” Uta asked Tora. “Nope, have no clue to what’s going on right now, it doesn’t look good though.”

                Kyo stood behind Mao, “What do you want of me? You tell me you like me…but you don’t know why…that you shouldn’t like me. The lame excuse of ‘just because’ …now this? And you wonder why I’m like I am? Remember what Ojisan said? The walls and the barriers… this is exactly why I have those in place, because of guys like you, that fuck with me, give me some hope that things will be different, then boom…you’re done. Guess I’ll keep those barriers in place.” Looking up at Mao, Kyo looked totally destroyed. “Uta, I’m going home…if you can’t find a place to stay, call Taka.”

                Looking again at Mao, Kyo had the last word, “Lose my phone number, it’s pretty obvious to me, that this meant nothing. Tora, sorry I made a scene.” Kyo turned and walked towards the entrance to the HBG and disappeared.

                Uta had gone to the front of the HBG, to work the counter, while Tora dealt with Mao. “What just happened here Mao? Were you and Kyo dating?” Mao nodded, “Just starting to…guess not anymore. I’ll be right back.” Mao left and went into the bathroom to wash his face.

                Tora’s phone buzzed in his pocket, “Yah, didn’t really need to ask, if Uta needs a place to stay, just bring him home with you…I love you.”

                “Uta, Aki wants me to bring you home, so no worries about tonight…we’ll deal with the other stuff later, do you want to text Sakurai to let him know where you are?” Uta snorted, “He obviously doesn’t give a shit since he hasn’t tried to text or call me. Thanks Tora, I’ll wait out here until it’s time.”

                “This is so fucked up…Uta and Sakurai…now Mao and Kyo? What the hell is fucking going on!” muttered Tora as they started to get ready to close up for the night.

                “Hey, I don’t need your car after all… thanks.” Kyo hadn’t even had a chance to tell Die why he needed to borrow his car…no worries now. He’d go home, turn off his phone and disappear for a time. Just another disappointment in his life, nothing new, just a repeat of every other relationship he’d been in. They never stayed, he never won. Just a big fat fuck you Kyo, yet again.

                Unlocking his front door, he toed his shoes off, throwing his phone in a basket on his kitchen counter. “Won’t be needing that tonight.” Kyo went into his bedroom, stripped down and put on sleep pants. Looking at himself in the mirror… he saw yet again, someone that wasn’t able to be loved, by anyone. “You’re a joke…right? Seriously, what’s to love?” he spoke to his reflection. “Not a damn thing…” he answered. Getting into bed, he pulled the covers over his head, blocking out the night, and hopefully the next day. He had no intentions on leaving his bed in the near future, life was just better when he was tucked away, hidden so no one could see or think about him.

 

                Mao came out of the bathroom, to find Tora and Uta standing at the counters. “It’s okay, I’m back. Uta, none of that was directed at you, per se. I’m sorry if it sounded that way. I’m not angry with you, just Kyo and his stupidity.”

                “Mao, I’m going to say something, and if you hate me for it, that’s fine, I’ll deal with it. You’re an asshole Mao, a total fucking asshole.” Uta heard Tora gasp and murmur his name. “No Torai, Mao needs to hear this…from me! What makes you so sure that I would want to get back with Kyo? Have you not been paying attention these last few months?”

                Mao’s mouth was hanging open. “What did you just call me?” Uta chuckled, “A total fucking asshole, do I need to repeat myself? YOU’RE A TOTAL FUCKING ASSHOLE MAO! There, was that loud enough for you? You just fucked over probably the best thing that could every come your way…because you have some misplaced insecurity with Kyo.”

                “Mispla…insecu…?” sputtered Mao. “Yes, MISPLACED INSECURITY! What part of that don’t you understand?” Mao was hot under the collar over Uta’s accusations. “I am not insecure! Kyo has a pattern, you know that as well as I do! I bet he calls you before the end of the night…whining about how much he fucking loves you! You’re the WHORE! You fuck Sakurai…then string Kyo along? BITCH!”

                Before he could move, Uta reached out and slapped Mao hard. “WOAHHHH, ENOUGH OF THAT! BOTH OF YOU!” roared Tora, stepping between the two young men. Mao was holding his cheek, Uta was panting…swearing under his breath. “You don’t deserve Kyo…you’re a vindictive malicious person, Mao. Kyo’s better off…stay away from him, all you’ll do is destroy him.” Uta hissed. “Tora, I’ll wait for you to be done out by the fountain.”

                “Mao, you need to go home right now, do not walk anywhere but out the front gate. You know I’m going to have to tell Taka about this, I’m sorry. Just go home Mao.” Tora was firm, but not unkind. “Fine, I’m leaving, you tell Taka whatever you want…I don’t care. I meant every fucking word I said to that bitch.” Mao grabbed his things and went out the back door, slamming it hard.

                “Fuck…this is fucking crazy.” Tora went to up front to the counters, looking out over the patio. Uta was sitting in a far corner, with his head laid down on his arms.

                “Hey, sorry to bug you, but this is important, can you call me in about an hour?”

Chapter Text

Taka had Uta and Mao sitting in front of him, in the office of the HBG, glaring at both men. Last night’s call from Tora had not gone over well with the manager of the HBG. Tora had sent Mao home, which was what Taka would have done, and Uta left with Tora, spending the night at his and Aki’s flat.

                Taka getting the message from Tora, called him back that night, and Taka just groaned when he heard about the situation. “Taka, it was surreal…they were screaming at each other, Mao called Uta a whore and a bitch, Kyo and Mao were screaming at each other…then Uta slapped the shit out of Mao.”

                “To say I’m angry is an understatement, I’m also disappointed in you both. What happened last night will never happen again, if it does…you’ll both be fired. I want to speak to both of you separately, Mao go watch the front counters please.” Mao nodded and left the office.

                “What the hell happened last night, that warranted you slapping Mao? Was it that bad?” Taka’s face softened a bit when he questioned Uta…it has hard to believe that someone that was so timid, would slap someone…let alone someone he knew and was friends with.

                “Yes, he deserved it, he called me a whore, he said that Kyo was probably going to call me, and tell me how much he loves me…and that I’m fucking Sakurai and chasing Kyo.” Uta was sitting up very straight, his chin up…looking very defiant. Uta then explained the lead up events, to the fight. Taka sighed, “Acchan, you dumb ass.” Uta had yet to hear from his boyfriend, waking several times in the middle of the night to check his phone for messages, but there were none.

                “I called the boss this morning, and he wants to take one shift away from both of you and  he agreed to give you a serious warning, and to never schedule you and Mao together. That may pose a problem with special events, but I think we can work it out. I highly suggest you avoid Mao at all costs, keep your private life at home and for now, I don’t want Sakurai coming to the counters to pick you up, he’ll have to meet you out front.” Taka sent Uta out to start work.

                “Mao…in my office please.” Taka knew this one would be a challenge. “What happened last night? You’ve had problems with Uta in the past, now what? And why is Kyo involved?” Mao wouldn’t make eye contact with Taka, looking instead to the floor. “Uta called me a total fucking asshole, because I fought with Kyo. I accused Uta of being a whore, because he’s fucking Sakurai, and now that Kyo and I aren’t… well I said that Kyo would probably be calling Uta…telling him he loved him and rescue him again, and I called Uta a bitch. Then he slapped me…hard.”

                “Why was Kyo here in the first place?” Taka didn’t understand that portion of the events. “Uta and Sakurai got into a fight, and I guess Uta jumped out of Sakurai’s car…somewhere near where Kyo lives. Uta called Kyo and asked for help, Kyo brought him to the HBG so he could talk to Tora about spending the night at their flat. Then I told Kyo to go ahead and rescue Uta, because that’s what he does.”

                “Here’s the deal, per the boss, you both will have one shift taken away from you, and you're both getting a serious warning. You still have a job, but Kyo is no longer welcomed here while you’re working. Sakurai is no longer welcomed here either. If Kyo wants to pick you up, it’s off property. I’m not scheduling you on days that Uta works to keep you apart, this may cause problems for special events, but I’ll deal with it. You can go home now.” Taka leaned back in his chair, as Uta walked out the door and left the building.  Uta watched Mao leave and the poked his head into the office. 

                “Taka? I don’t think we have to worry about Sakurai…I think it’s over between us. And yes, I’m fine with it.” Uta felt like there would be no reconciliation between them…Sakurai had made his point very clear. “That’s fine, Uta. But if he does show up, he’s not going to be allowed to talk with you, and if he presses the point, I will deal with him myself.” Taka chuckled to himself, he felt like a teacher, breaking up a school yard fight, trying to keep two children away from each other and giving them time outs. “Hope the bullies don’t show up, or there’s going to be trouble.”

 

~

                He thrashed around in bed, every position he tried was painful, his mind burning raw with the image of a young man, screaming at him, telling him to fuck off and flipping a middle finger as he drove away. Giving up, he got out of bed and went into his office. Sitting in front of his computer, he didn’t know what he as looking for…other than some sort of resolution to his problems. He knew for sure, that he would not be the one to call first.

 

~

                “Don’t worry about anything Uta, I’m sure Sakurai will call you in the morning, just get some sleep.” Tora closed the door to the guest bedroom, and went down the hall to the kitchen, where Aki sat waiting. “What the hell happened tonight? Sounds like you had your hands full.”  Tora gave Aki the rundown on the exciting events… Uta's bitch slap of Mao taking center stage. “Damn! But more importantly, why is Uta in our other bedroom?”

                “Sakurai flipped his shit again, guess he yelled at Uta, which made Uta jump out of the car at a traffic light, and Sakurai speeding away. That was actual catalyst for the fight…did you know Mao and Kyo were sort of dating?” This information caused Aki to lean back in this chair. “Nope, that’s an odd couple if there ever was one, and wait…Mao doesn’t date musicians, so how is he with Kyo?” Tora shrugged “No idea…none what so ever.”  The couple made their way to their bedroom, and settling in for the night.

 

~            

                Uta checked his phone for the nth time that day…still no word from Sakurai. A feeling of anxiety had started to build deep in Uta’s gut, he was staring at the fact of being homeless again. Thinking back to the first dumpy flat he and Sakurai looked at, he knew he could afford that with no problem, and right now that seemed like a good option. He didn’t want to impose on anyone, he’d done that too much lately. During his break, he made a phone call to the landlord and settled with the terms of renting the tiny crappy flat. He still had only one problem; retrieving his things from Sakurai’s.

                He still had his key to Sakurai’s house, but how to get into the house without having to deal with the man was the main sticking point, considering he had the clothes he was wearing when they had gone looking at flats, and that was all he had to his name. He estimated how long it would take him to bag up his belongings, and if he could carry them all himself, he wasn’t sure if he could do it.

                He needed key items; clothes along with his uniforms for work. What bedding he owned, which wasn’t much, toiletries, his lock box with his documents and the one photo book. During his break, he took a chance and called Kyo, although it went straight to voicemail. Leaving a short message, Uta decided that with or without help, he would go to Sakurai’s after work and retrieve what he could. He was determined not to speak to the man, he would not fall into that trap again.

                Leaving work, Uta walked to the train station, not paying attention to his surroundings, his mind bent on how he was going to deal with Sakura if he saw him at the house. Finding a seat on the train, he pulled out his phone and made a list of items he needed.

                Walking towards Sakurai’s house, Uta pauses in front. He watches for any activity in the house. Unlocking the door, he goes inside…shutting the door quietly. Quickly he moves through the house to his bedroom. Fishing around for a bag, he starts to grab what is immediately necessary, the tiny file box being crucial. As he walks towards the front door, he stops and drops the house key on the dining room table. Taking one more long look at the house where he had been so happy, safe and secure, he walks out the front door, and heads towards the train station.

                Sitting with his entire life in a bag between his knees, Uta checks his phone once again, not surprised to see nothing from Sakurai, but from Kyo.   “If you need me, just text me.” Too late now, Uta thought.

                Stopping at the landlords flat, Uta got the key to his new digs. Opening the door, Uta drags his bag in and puts it on the floor. Looking around, an overwhelming feeling of sadness and grief hit him. He was alone, on his own…having to rely on his survival skills. “Here I go again…at least I have a roof over my head this time”

                Placing his bag in the only room the flat had, he unpacked, folding his clothes and putting them in piles against a wall, there were no closets. He investigated the tiny kitchen, pleased to find some left over cleaning supplies from the previous tenant. Uta set about cleaning the stove and the tiny fridge, and doing the same cleaning in the tiny bathroom.

                Uta finished what cleaning he could do, looking around at his depressing living conditions, but happy he wasn’t on the streets, that life wasn' nearly as bad as living with Natsu. Just as he was going to sit down, his stomach rudely growled, reminding him that he hadn’t eaten any lunch and had nothing in the flat. “Konbini time” he muttered.

                The konbini was close, only 3 blocks and the weather was nice, it lifted Uta’s spirits enough to make him smile. Shopping at the konbini, Uta was able to get enough food to last him a week or so, if he was careful. The utilities were paid for at his flat, which made up somewhat for the condition of the building.

                Just as Uta unlocked the door, his phone buzzed in his pocket, the dread pooled in his gut, who was texting him? He put his food away, changed into track pants and sat against the wall. Opening his phone, there were three words;

                                                                                I love you

                “No, you don’t, you just want to control me.” Uta snapped his phone closed, shaking the tears that were forming, from his eyes. “I need to get things in order!” Jumping up, he started to make his ‘bed’, which was really just a pile of blankets and his pillows on the floor. Moving to the bathroom, he arranged his toiletries and hung up a towel. “Dinner time” Grabbing a bento, Uta sat on the floor and played a game on his phone, trying to distract himself from the loneliness he felt creeping up his spine.

~

                He sat on the bed for an hour, looking at the remaining items strewn across the floor, the items left in the bathroom cabinet, the stillness of the house. Picking up his phone, he texted the boy, but got no response, he wasn’t surprised. Leaving the bedroom, he closed the door. He didn’t need to be reminded of what was happening. He padded into the kitchen, he poured himself an overlarge glass of wine, taking it to the back patio, where he could hide in the stillness of the dark. Looking into the night sky, visions flashed; whip marks, blood, burns, bite marks bruises. The dead eyes of a young man who should have had eyes that sparkled with life and joy. He wondered if the boy’s eyes were dead once again…by his hand.

                Where was the boy? This is what genuinely frightened him…the boy on the street, homeless. He snorted at the irony; he had not wanted his lover to leave his house, as he was sure it would be followed by a break up. His boy’s argument of having a safe place to go, not wanting to be homeless, and wouldn’t his lover be happier knowing where he was?

                And here he sat alone in the darkness, with his guilty thoughts, deserving every ounce of pain that he felt. “Where are you Uta? Are you with Kyo? He will keep you safe, where I can’t keep you at all.”

Chapter Text

He was shaking, scared and cold. Tears just below the surface, pushing to be released. Uta wrapped as many blankets as he could around himself, trying to smother his fears. Being alone again, after so long, was terrifying. Even with Natsu, he was never alone, Kyo had always been there for him, then Sakurai... what had started out so perfect, and now it lay in ruins, a pile of shit in a dumpy disgusting cheap flat. The tears fell silently, Uta’s curse of weakness showing itself again, rising to the surface.

                His intentions were to become strong on his own again, to stand alone, face his fears and live his life as best as he could, but it was hard to stand when you were cold and alone, with no support from any one. Sure, he had Taka and Koichi, his friends at the HBG, and Kyo if he was desperate enough, but not the one who mattered the most. He was gone from Uta’s life now, just a soft pleasant memory.

                Uta wondered if Sakurai was worried about him? There were no calls…just one text claiming that Acchan loved him, but that was hard to believe after the day the relationship fell apart. A slam of a door, a squeal of tires and a shout of FUCK YOU, were the last memories Uta had of that day. Sakurai wasn’t looking for him…he knew that if the man had wanted to, he would have called Taka or even Kyo, to ask about where or who Uta was staying with. One or the other would have shown up at the HBG, asking for him, when did he work, who was sheltering him. Nothing.

                Uta sobbed wept into his pillow, miserable and hurt. He looked at his text messages, reading the love notes from Acchan. I Love You. The last communication. He wanted to hurt Sakurai…hurt him as badly as he had hurt Uta. But did he really hurt me? Or was it me being a dumbass? He was confused. He had no one to talk to, give him advice, tell him what to do.  He could ask Taka or maybe Koichi. He didn’t really want to ask Kyo…afraid of hurting the man more.  He picked up his phone again… opening it and typing the word ‘Why?’. He erased it before hitting send. Rolling over, he burrowed beneath the blankets and cried himself to sleep.

 

~

 

                “Acchan! You, dumbass! I warned you about this very thing and you just ignored my advice, now look where you sit… drunk and alone!” Yutaka was tearing into Sakurai Atsushi, which he rightly deserved. “I told you that if you continued to smother that boy you’d lose him…and guess what? I WAS RIGHT YOU ASSHOLE!” Sakurai leaned back away from his friend, startled by the fierceness of his attitude. Sakurai had left his home and had traveled to the studio, where he promptly opened another bottle of wine.

                “Shut up, ‘taka. I’m well aware of what I have done and what I am, leave me in peace” the man muttered. “Oh, hell no…I’ll be damned if I don’t speak my mind, you blew a lifetime of happiness for the price of a cheap flat. You are now without that sweet dear boy, who loves you…perhaps no longer, but you are alone, and I hope you suffer… a lot!” Hide had come up behind Yutaka and gently pulled the man away. “You’re not really helping” he whispered into his ear. “I don’t give a shit! I’m pissed off that our precious Acchan threw away a relationship with that beautiful boy!” Hide let go of Yutaka.

                “I’m sure where ever he is, Uta is alone, and crying…because you acted childishly and had to throw a damned tempter tantrum over the boy having his own place…real smart Sakurai!” Yutaka had enough, whipping around and stomping out of the room. “He’s right you know…Atsushi. You blew it big time with that boy. Shame really, I thought he might be the one for you, after all these years. Now I have more respect for Uta, he stood up to you and called you on your bullshit insecurities. Now you’re going to have to deal with the aftermath and the wreckage. Have a good evening.” Hide left the room.

                “You’re next Toll, go ahead.” Sakurai growled. “I have nothing to say, they both said it for me, and I agree with them. You’re a dumbass.” Toll grabbed his bag, and as the others did, left the man sitting alone. “Guess I’m lucky Imai wasn’t here…I could just hear him bitching me out.” Sakurai’s phone buzzed in his pocket. Opening the message, he snorted,

                “Just heard that you’re a big fucking dumbass and lost Uta…way to go Acchan. I’ll bet someone will snatch that pretty lil boy away now…you’ll never get him back. Yep, huge dumbass.”

                Looking at the screen on his phone, he was desperate for some word or even a fuck you leave me alone…from Uta. His fingers hovered over the keys…itching to type something, just a word…anything to get Uta to respond. He thought back to some of their days at the house, things that might make Uta laugh. 

                                                                “Bunny Slippers

                He hit SEND, before he could change his mind. Only Uta would know what those two words meant, and the day that the bunny slippers had come into existence. He put his phone away, deciding he was sober enough to drive.

                Sitting in his car, parked in the garage of his home, Sakurai looked at his phone…nothing. It was fairly late at night, perhaps Uta was sleeping, or at work. He had thought for a moment, to drive to the HBG, and maybe catch a glimpse of the boy, watch him from afar, but shook that thought out right away. Last thing he needs is to be caught spying on his lover. “Ex-lover” he reminded himself.

 

 

~

                He heard something, but it wasn’t clear…a knock at the door? No…sounded mechanical. He roused himself just enough to figure out what the noise was. Uta looked next to his pillow and the light was flashing on his phone. He looked at it for a few minutes, trying to decide whether or not he should read the text…if it was from him. Uta picked the phone up…flipped it open. Stared at the name for a good two-minutes, then he hit the button;

                                                                “Bunny Slippers

                Uta surprised himself by giggling at the two words, flashing back to the day he’d bought the bunny slippers. Uta and Acchan had a day out, shopping for Uta when he first arrived at Acchan’s house, he had clothes, but no shoes. He had seen a pair of bunny slippers on a table, and without Acchan noticing, he quickly bought the slippers. After arriving home from the shopping trip, Acchan had retired to the bathroom to take a shower. Waiting until the bathroom was steamed up, Uta crawled in on his hands and knees, placing the slippers just outside the shower door.

                Racing out to the kitchen, Uta busied himself with making tea. Uta heard the soft scuffing of Acchan walking down the hall, he waited for some sort of reaction to the slippers, but what he got instead was Acchan sitting nonchalantly in a chair, drinking his tea, with his legs crossed, bouncing one foot with a bunny slipper dangling. Neither man made a comment, but from then on Acchan always wore his bunny slippers around the house.

                A good memory…but why now? What was Sakurai trying to prove? Uta frowned, not really understanding the point behind the text, other than a reminder of their previous life, which he was now not a part of. Still, just the words made Uta smile, happy enough to be able to relax and go back to sleep.  

 

~

                The heat didn’t work very well in Uta’s new flat…nothing worked that well. The water pressure was low, the heat was almost non-existent, and the windows were loose in the walls, leaving for a rattling noise that had given Uta many a restless night. Showering quickly was the only way to stay warm, five-minute max before the hot water ran out, standing in front of the tiny wall heater, Uta shivered, as he dressed quickly.

                Once he was dressed, he went to the fridge and grabbed another bento, hoping that it would be enough of a meal to get him through work. Looking at his reflection as he did a last check before leaving for work, and Uta wasn’t happy at what looked back at him. Sallow skin, flat dull hair, and a dead look in his eyes. “Not much better then when I was with Natsu. Thanks Acchan.” Grabbing his bag, he headed out to the train station.

 

                It had been a long two weeks for Uta. No contact from Sakurai had left his spirit damaged, the harsh living conditions of the cheap flat, just added to his general feeling of hopelessness. He had gone to Taka and asked for additional shifts, or working double shifts, so he could at least keep himself housed and fed. But the reality of it, showed on his face, his eyes were lifeless, and dark circles had appeared, and add to that, he was losing weight.

                Taka had become concerned with Uta’s appearance, at one point confronting the young man, “Uta, you look like shit, and I say that because I’m worried. You look almost like you did when you were with Natsu. What gives?”

                “I’m fine, it’s just been a little hard living on my own. I promise…I won’t work any doubles this week unless you really need me to…okay?” Uta couldn’t really afford not to work the double shifts but being able to sleep a little more would perk him up. “I still don’t like this, Uta. I think you should contact Sak…” Uta stopped Taka before he could finish. “It’s not up to me to contact him, he made his choice when he decided that what he wanted for me was more important than what I wanted. Just drop it, Taka. I was obviously just a damned toy to him… something that he could play with and throw away when he was bored with me.”  Taka nodded, “Would you even speak to him if he did contact you? Or is that just a done deal?” Uta just shrugged and walked away.

                Uta left the office and went out to the patio, he didn’t want Taka to see him cry. Uta cried a lot these days, laughing at himself for being so pathetic. “He lied to me…over and over again, he fucking lied.”  Uta still couldn’t believe he had been that gullible, he was the one with the street smarts, being able to see through people. The fact that he had fucked up not once, but twice was unforgiveable, never again.

 

                The days ran into each other, with nothing special to differentiate one from another. Mao and Uta still did not work together, rarely seeing each other but in passing. Mao looked equally as miserable, and from what Aki had told Uta, Kyo was no longer in the picture, there had been no contact between Mao and the spikey man. Uta was tempted to call Kyo, but, he didn’t need to add to the tension in his life, any more than was necessary.

                The oppressive atmosphere at the HBG those days, made for shitty working conditions, leaving Aki, Tora, Koichi and Taka to suffer as well. “You know something is wrong, when I don’t want to go to work anymore.” Koichi told Tatsu one night as they lounged on the couch watching a movie. “That bad? It’s just Mao and Uta that are bringing everyone down, right? Has anyone tried talking to them?” Tatsu was concerned, he didn’t want Koichi to be dragged down with the two unhappy men. “Talk to them?” Koichi snorted. “Have Mao tell us nothing is wrong, and Uta telling us to mind our own business because Sakurai is a non-topic.”

                “That sucks…has anyone talked to Sakurai, on the sly or in private?” Tatsu turned his attention fully to Koichi, “No. I’m not sure what would happen if we said something to Sakurai. Shit if Uta found out one of us had said something? We might as well write ourselves out of his life, he’d probably move and leave the city.”

                “I’m guessing that the situation is similar with Mao and Kyo? Has anyone spoken to Kyo lately?” Koichi had put his feet in Tatsu’s lap to rub. “Same almost exactly. Mao doesn’t say a word about Kyo, and Kyo hasn’t been seen nor heard of, by any of us. Maybe I should call Shinya and see if he knows what’s going on with Kyo.”

 

                “The fight, that’s what bothers me the most, the fact that Uta slapped Mao because of Mao’s verbal attack? That was way out of line, for both of them.” Taka and Sato were futzing around in the kitchen making dinner, Taka explaining about the tension at work. “The fact that Uta screamed at Mao…I don’t think I’ve ever heard that boy raise his voice, for anything.” Sato shook his head, the HBG’s days were fraught with anxiety, which made for bad working conditions.

                “Has anyone talked to Kyo or Sakurai…do they have any idea what’s going on now?” Taka held a spoon to Sato’s mouth, offering a taste. “Obviously Kyo knows, but nobody’s seen him since the incident. Uta doesn’t want Sakurai’s name brought up.” Sato kissed Taka with saucy lips. “The sad part is Uta’s starting to look a lot like he did when he was with Natsu…he’s losing weight, his eyes…they’re sort of dead looking. He’s working every possible minute he can, running himself into the ground. I don’t know what to do about either of them.”

                Sato treaded ever so lightly…last time he tried to say something, he almost lost Taka. “Is there anyone you can go to, someone not directly involved…you know um…” Sato searched for the word, “intermediary?” Taka had thought about this very idea but had come up with no one. “Unless you can suggest someone, I don’t have anyone in mind.” Taka sat down to eat, no more ahead than when he had started.

 

                “We need to get Kyo and Mao together somehow…that might change Uta’s mind about Sakurai! But Kyo and Sakurai aren’t allowed at the HBG, well not allowed to visit Mao or Uta.” Aki was bent over the computer, searching for Uta’s name, in hopes of coming up with an address. “Babe, you can’t just waltz over to Uta’s and knock on his door. He doesn’t want anyone to know where he lives for a reason! Please, let it go for now.”

                “I can’t just sit around and watch my friends hurt either, Tora! Damn it…I have to do something to help them, Uta looks like hell and Mao is just so angry and unhappy. What would you have me do? Ignore them…just let them suffer? Really?” Aki looked up from the computer, “They are my friends, Tora, I’ve known Uta and Mao both, for years. I can’t just sit by and let them be miserable.” Aki returned to searching for Uta’s address.

~

                Kyo showed up for rehearsal as he always did, regardless of how he felt mentally or physically, he had to be there. Lately though, the small man with the large presence was carrying a heavy weight around, not only on his neck but his whole body. Shinya was the first to notice that Kyo had slipped deeper into his usual depression, to where it was no longer his norm. “Kyo, talk to me. You’re not all here these days, where are you?” Shinya liked to give Kyo an easy out, before he would get more serious with his friend. Kyo couldn’t bullshit Shinya like he could Die or Toshiya, Shinya saw through all of it, leaving Kyo bare in the process.

                “I’m fine Shin, just tired is all.” That was Kyo’s first response, and Shinya let it go, but watched the man through rehearsal. The second time, Kyo had screwed up on some lyrics, shocking Kaoru. Kyo was a man of perfections, not half-asses, Kyo didn’t make stupid mistakes on lyrics. Kaoru looked over at Shinya, who then gave Kaoru the ‘I know’ nod. Toshiya and Die were screwing around, so they didn’t notice it the first time.

                Kyo hid the fact that he screwed up, at least he thought he did, until the second time, then everyone stopped and stared at the man. “What?” Kyo growled. “I’m fucking tired, so excuse me if I fucked up once.” Kyo dropped his mic and walked out of the room. Shinya got up from his drum kit and followed the man into the hallway.

                “Would you like to tell me what’s bothering you? This isn’t you being tired, this is you being distracted, angry, hurt…did I miss anything?” Shinya knew Kyo was in pain, immense pain. “Why haven’t you called him?”

                “Now why the fuck would I call him, Shin? He basically told me to fuck off, that I should go after Uta. So why would I create more pain in my life, by calling him? What should I say when I do? Oh hey, yah I still want to date you, even though you told me to fuck off. Not happening Shin” Kyo wouldn’t look Shinya in the face, he looked everywhere else. He knew that if he looked up at Shinya…he may start to fall apart, and that was not something Kyo wanted anyone to ever see.   “I’m going home. Tell Kaoru I’ll call him later.” Kyo turned and walked away.

                Shinya approached Kaoru, “He’s gone. I’ll try to talk to him more, but I’m not sure what I can do. He said he’d call you later.” Shinya moved to pack up his gear, when Die stopped him. “What’s going on with Kyo?  Shinya shook his head, “You need to ask him, I’m not at liberty to tell you.” Shinya pushed past Die and walked out. “This blows…what the hell is wrong with every one lately?” Die grumbled.

Chapter Text

                Taka watched as Aki and Koichi came in for their opening shift at the HBG, and the ideas that he had after speaking with Sato about the problems with Mao and Uta, and their respective boyfriends…or ex-boyfriends as it stood, had begun to take form. Taka had gotten little sleep over the last few days, the worries for his friends were a constant drag on his mind, Uta looking worse every day, his health starting to suffer again from working too many shifts, and a great deal of sadness.  Mao always on edge, a powder keg of anger on the verge of exploding at any given time. The tension was wearing on all of the crew, leaving Taka to come up with a drastic set of plans to remedy the situations.

                “Kou, can I see you in my office please?” Taka leaned out of the office, waving his friend over. “Come in, close the door, please.” Taka’s tone worried Koichi immediately. “Um, what’s going on? You’re sounding a bit formal, am I in trouble?” Koichi’s always went straight to the point, even if it was a bit misconstrued “No, nothing like that, you dork.” Taka chuckled. “I need your input on an idea and if you think it’s a good one then I’ll bring in the others.”

                This piqued Koichi’s interest, “An idea…about what?” Taka looked at his friend seriously, “I want to get Uta and Sakurai back together, at the very least talking, at the most… living together again, but I need your help” Koichi sat down, “I’m listening…”

                I don’t know how yet, and Sato’s already told me to mind my own business, but he didn’t come right out and say I couldn’t. Not like he can, we’ve both already gone through that shit.” The last time Sato had told Taka not to get involved, it almost cost him his marriage. “I’m in…you don’t even have to ask. Uta looks like hell, he’s not happy regardless of what he tells us. I don’t give a shit what Tatsu thinks about it…I’m going to help if I can, he can go suck a rock.”

                “Suck a rock? What the hell does that even mean?” Taka laughed, “Anyways, I have another idea to throw at you, about Mao and Kyo. They need to resolve their shit as well, but I don’t think we should be the one’s handling that, I’m thinking Tora and Aki would be better suited. I’m sure with the history you have with Kyo, that Mao might take it the wrong way. Any thoughts?”

                “Hmm,” Koichi leaned back in his chair. “Are we talking, helping both men at the same time? I don’t know how we could get things arranged…if Aki and Tora help Mao, that leaves me and Uta working, and vice versa. Can we even schedule around that? And how much time are we talking? Do we jump in feet first and just shove them together, or do we take our time and make sure whatever we do, stays in place…we have to cover our asses, you know what I mean?”

                Taka nodded, “Yah, I’d hate to get them both together, then it just blows up in our faces in a few weeks. We need to be super careful on how we approach this. Let me look at the schedule, I’d like for us to be able to talk together, but that leaves Mao and Uta working together and I’m not sure that’s safe yet.”

                “I think we need to be able to sit down with Aki and Tora and talk about it with them before we attempt anything. I can send Aki back to talk to you, or would you rather wait and talk to him and Tora together?” Koichi had visions of Uta and Mao attacking each other. “Yah, send him back here. I’ll see what he says, then if he agrees that it may work, we’ll move on from there.” Taka looked at his friend carefully. “I just hope this works, or we may lose one or both of them.”

                Taka and Aki spent about a half hour together, talking about what they may be able to do if Tora agreed. Once Aki was done with Taka, he came back out to the counters, looking at Koichi, he had a grim look on his face. “I think Tora will go along with this, but we need to be able to sit down together and discuss this. The only way we can do it is either after work or have Mao and Uta work together on a closing shift…I’m not sure that would go over very well with either one.”

                “We could all meet here before we open on Sunday…that might work.” Koichi had agreed, Mao and Uta together in the same room, would be a poisonous combination. “Let me go ask Taka.” Koichi poked his head into the office, “Hey, what about Sunday before we open. I’m scheduled to open with Tora, if we have Aki come in with him, we could talk then.”  Taka smiled, “Perfect, that way we avoid an Uta versus Mao re-match.”

 

~

                “How are we going to do that? Mao’s going to know something’s up, you can’t repeat what you did last time at Ojisan’s” Aki had brought up a great point. The meeting between the four men was hitting a small roadblock; how to get Mao to agree to meet with Aki and Tora, and it not look contrived or obvious. “If it was maybe one of us… probably Aki, he might go along with meeting for dinner, but I don’t think it should be Ojisan’s.” Tora was on board for the mission, “We could do something like Mos Burger, or that sushi place that you like Taka.”

                “Genki? True that it’s laid back, but can we get Mao to agree to go anywhere? He’s in such a pissy mood all the time. You guys are going to have to come up with something on your own I think, or we wait and get Uta and Sakurai together, then work on Mao and Kyo?”

                “What about asking Shinya?” Koichi threw out another path for a plan. “If we can get Shinya involved, we’re more likely to succeed.”

                “I don’t think I’ve ever spoken more than two words to Shinya though. Am I supposed to call him and say ‘hi, it’s Aki, wanna go to dinner?’” Aki wasn’t sure he could just randomly meet with the man. “Uh, what if we just get Kyo here, and force him to talk to Mao? Not sure how that’s going to work, since Taka basically banned both Kyo and Sakurai”

                “I can lift that ban, not like it was anything formal.” Taka noted. “I still think Shinya might be the answer, but how do we throw Shinya together with Mao?” Tora chuckled. “This may be a stretch, but could we involve Die in this?” This raised a few eyebrows. “Go on…” Taka said, leaning forward in his chair. “Just a rough idea; if we could get Die here, with Shinya, and have Die hit on Mao again…Shinya could call Kyo…and … I don’t know what else.” Tora sighed.

                “Hmm, Die hitting on Mao again? If Die knew about Mao and Kyo, and knew that they had broken up, Die could come and talk to Mao. Maybe that would force Mao to call Kyo!” Aki saw where Tora was going with the idea. “What we need is for Shinya to talk to Mao…about Kyo. If Die and Shinya were to show up, and Die hit on Mao, with Shinya reprimanding him…” For the next ten minutes, the four men ran through different scenarios on how to get Shinya talking with Mao.

                “Either Kou or I will talk to Shinya first. Probably you Kou, you have a stronger bond with Shinya than I do.” Taka really wanted to move on to the more important issue of Uta and Sakurai. “This is going to be much harder, getting Uta and Sakurai back together. I can call Sakurai…but if Sato found out, I’m not sure what he’d do.” Taka furrowed his brow. “Any ideas Kou?”

                “Not right this second, no” Koichi shook his head. “I wish Tatsu wasn’t so paranoid, he could call Sakurai with no problems.” Aki cleared his throat. “Um, I may have found Uta’s address.” Tora gasped, “You did? When?” Aki nodded, “That day when you yelled at me, and told me to mind my own business. I told you I could find it, and I did.” This brought things to a new level.

                “Where is it approximately, Aki?” Aki gave Taka the address, looking it up Taka groaned. “Shit, I know that neighborhood, it’s run down and pretty scary. Why is he living there?” Taka pointed out the area, a known rough part of town. “Should we then just go straight to Sakurai? He’s going to want to just drag Uta out of there, you know that.” Koichi didn’t want to go that route, it would not end well.

                “No, we can’t do that.” Taka agreed. It was almost time to open the HBG, and yet the four men were really no closer to solving their problems. “Let’s just keep in contact, see where we can go with what we talked about today.”

                “Before we do anything, let me call Shinya.” Koichi needed to be certain that they were doing the right thing for both Mao and Kyo.

~

                “Mao-kun, come eat with us please?” Mao’s sister was becoming more worried with each passing day. Mao rarely came out of his room, did not want to eat dinner with his sister and her husband, becoming almost hermit like. “I’m not hungry, nee-chan” was now Mao’s standard reply to almost every attempt. “Mao-kun please talk to me, you’re starting to really scare me” Mao opened the door to his room, smiling at his sister. “There’s nothing you can do, it’s just what has to be for me. I’m fine, really.” He hugged his sister then closed the door. “This is just the way I’m going to have to live, alone”

~

                Stepping out of the shower, Uta quickly dried off as well as he could, slipping into sleep pants and a hoodie. Uta had his showers down to a science, due to the irregular supply of hot water. He could shower in about 4 minutes if he didn’t wash his hair. He often just got it wet, not having the time to wash it properly. Padding into his living space, Uta sat down on his ‘bed’ and dried his hair with a towel. The boy had gone to a local recycle shop and had bought a very used futon, and some extra blankets. The flat was always cold, the heat was sporadic and much like the hot water, didn’t last for more than a few minutes at a time. It was much easier to wear sleep pants and a hoodie and snuggle down into layers of blankets. On his days off Uta tended to sleep more, not wanting to get up except to eat a bento. It was easier just to sleep then to deal with what his life had become. He was cold and lonely, hungry most times, he was just existing. His dreams were often of Sakurai, the love and warmth of living and being loved by the man. The dreams were usually followed by a sob session, then Uta beating himself up for his weakness. “Just get over it Uta, you meant nothing to him, he’s not coming back.”

~

                Surrounded by people, Sakurai Atsushi never felt so alone, as he had recently taken to visiting the Fetish Club more frequently, sitting alone in his private room, as it was slightly better than sitting at home. Madame F and Davina would speak with him, but never asking about Uta, it seemed that topic was forbidden. The two women spoke amongst themselves, “He looks miserable, our Acchan is heartbroken apparently. I wish I understood the reasons that he no longer has that beautiful boy with him.” Madame F was concerned for her dear friend, Acchan. “I would also like to know what happened to the boy…I would have loved to have the boy myself, but Uta belongs with Acchan, and no one else” mused Davina

                “I don’t think that contracting that boy is the right way for him to go, that maggot Natsu has ruined any chance for Uta to be collared by anyone, unless he agreed that it would be with Acchan.” Madame F wasn’t sure that would ever happen, judging it by the mood of Sakurai.

 

                Sakurai’s bandmates were equally as upset, the loss of Uta had taken a toll on Acchan, yet he would do nothing to remedy the situation, always glaring at anyone who brought it up. “Acchan, for fucks sake man! Go find the boy, you’re doing no one any good by sitting around and moping angrily.” Imai was a bit more diplomatic than Yutaka, who stopped speaking to his friend. “He’s acting like a complete fucking ass…I’m done with him until he changes. I’ll work with him, but that’s all he’s getting from me.” Imai, Toll and Hide were shocked at Yutaka, but could honestly not blame the man. “We should look for Uta ourselves. He could come and live with us, couldn’t he” Yutaka looked at his lover, Hide. “Yes, he could, if we could find him, but I think we need to stay out of it for now.”

~

                “Shinya? Hi…do you have some time to meet with me today? Ah, didn’t know that…um, could I stop by the studio? I just need a few minutes. Sure…I’ll see you in about thirty minutes. Thanks!”

                “I need to go run to the DCR offices, I’ll be back in an hour or so.” Koichi kissed Tatsu and headed out the door.

 

~

                “What can I do for you, Kou-kun?” Shinya hugged the young man. Koichi and Shinya had shared a special relationship with each other almost from the moment they met. Shinya loved the younger man deeply, cared about him a great deal and always wanted to help if he could.

                “Taka, Aki, Tora and I want to see if we can get Mao and Kyo back to seeing each other. Mao is miserable, angry and just a generally unhappy person. Problem lies in that if Sato and Tatsu find out we’re doing this, both will be upset and accuse us of meddling. I don’t see it as meddling, I see it as trying to bring two people together, that are stubborn. But we’re going to need your help.”

                Shinya’s eyes lit up. “Oh my! Just the other day I had a little talk with our pissy warumono, he blew it off as he usually does. He feels that Mao just used him, like every other person he’s tried to have a relationship with. What did you have in mind?” Koichi explained what he and the others wanted to do, “We need to come up with a plan to get Mao and Kyo talking, if we can do that…I think everything will naturally fall into place.” Shinya clapped his hands and was almost giddy with the promise of getting Kyo and Mao back together.

                “I’d like it if you could talk to Aki and Tora. They didn’t want to contact you themselves, since they don’t know you as well as I do. Speak with them, and then let me know what if anything you’ve come up with. Taka and I are going to see if we can’t get Uta and Sakurai together as well, Uta’s not in a great place, physically and emotionally. We also found out that he’s living in a real bad part of town, in a dumpy flat. We don’t want to involve Kyo, since he has that whole rescue thing going on, and it would probably cause problems with the Mao situation.”

                Koichi gave Shinya Tora and Aki’s contact information, “I’ll call them this evening after rehearsal. Kou-kun, thank you for caring so much about Kyo. He’ll always love you, but he’ll never admit how deep.” Shinya hugged his young friend and went back to the studio. “What was that all about?” Kyo growled. “Just something that Kou-kun wanted to run by me, something about a special present for a friend.” Shinya sat behind his drum kit, with a smug smile on his face and hope in his heart.

~

                Shinya watched the two young men as they described Mao’s present condition, which was disturbing. “Aki-kun…Do you think Mao misses Kyo? Is that the feeling you’re getting?” Shinya leaned in to the conversation, “I do, yes. I think we all do. He’s miserable Shinya-san…an” Shinya stopped Aki for a moment. “Please Aki-kun, just call me Shinya. We’re friends by default, you can continue.” Aki blushed, “Mao is unhappy, and the only reason we can all agree on, is that it’s because of Kyo.”

                “He never mentions Kyo’s name though. It’s like their relationship never happened.” Tora was just getting over his nervousness speaking to Shinya, he still saw the man as ‘Shinya, Drummer for Dir En Grey.’ “What we need is a plan to get Kyo and Mao speaking again, we’re just sure which direction to take, but we had thought of using Die in some way.”

                This struck Shinya as slightly less than devious, “I’m not sure Die knows about Kyo and Mao, I would have to tell him before we did anything. I’d hate for all of this to backfire on us, and then Die and Kyo are on the outs with each other.”

                Ojisan was towards the back of the small hut, cooking. He listened carefully to the conversation. “Excuse me gentlemen, if I may?” Ojisan approached the counter, he was holding a large mixing spoon, “Jealousy may be the key ingredient in the plan you are cooking up, or it may be that someone needs to be saved from the fires of jealousy.” He winked at Shinya and turned back to his cooking. +Tora and Aki were dumbstruck, they turned to look at Shinya. “Ojisan, thank you. I think you’ve given me an idea for the perfect recipe.”

Chapter Text

Koichi and Taka were meeting on the sly, away from both of their husbands, in order to discuss how they would be able to reunite Uta and Sakurai with both men being pigheaded stubborn, refusing to call each other, and with Uta’s physical health steadily deteriorating, they could no longer could afford to have a wait and see attitude.

                “Do you even have any plans in mind? Who can we talk to who would be able to help us?” Koichi had wracked his brain for the last several days, searching for an answer. Slouching back in his seat at the coffee shop, Taka closed his eyes, and groaned, “Fuck…I don’t know!”

                “Sakurai needs to see how Uta is living…maybe that will kick his dumb ass into gear. But he can’t see it himself, I think if he did, he’d just go in there and pull his stupid dominant card and grab Uta. We need someone that can tell him about Uta’s condition, he needs to hear about it first, then see it.” Koichi was writing on a napkin.

                “The HBG is out of the question, they would both figure it out what we were trying to do.” Taka sat up, “We need to figure out how to get someone that Sakurai trusts, to see how Uta is living, or at the very least see his condition.”

                “I wonder… do you think if one of the other members of Buck Tick saw Uta, that they’d say something to Sakurai?” Koichi remembered how pissed off Sakurai’s friends were when he was harassing Taka. “Probably, but I think we’d need a little more than just one person’s word, Sakurai might be suspicious.” Taka counterpointed.

                They sat quietly, drinking their coffees, staring out the window. Koichi giggled, “I know a way we could freak Sakurai out totally! We let Uta and Kyo show up at the Fetish Club, together, as in Kyo has collared Uta.” Taka snorted, “You must not like Kyo that much, Sakurai would literally kill him if he thought Kyo had contracted Uta.”

                As soon as those last words came out of Taka’s mouth, he froze. Koichi looked at his friend, an eyebrow peaked in interest, “What are you thinking Taka…you can’t be thinking of actually doing that…are you?”

                “No, not exactly. But I do think I have a way to get Sakurai to at least find out what’s going on with Uta.” Koichi leaned in, “Oh, do tell!  I hope it’s a bit shady,” Taka grabbed a clean napkin, “We need to get someone to see Uta, that will somehow report back to Sakurai.” Taka started a list. “We need that person to not be fully involved, someone like Sato or Tatsu wouldn’t work, it has to be someone a little further off than arms-length.”

                “Ruling out band mates right away, Sakurai wouldn’t trust them at the moment. But if we could get someone that could pass on the information…” Taka stopped for a moment, pressing his hand against his chin, tapping his pen on the table.

                “Who does Sakurai trust, that’s not directly involved in the industry?” A grin started to spread on Taka’s face. “And can you sneak out with me for one evening…I’ll have you back before midnight, so no pumpkins to explain.” Koichi frowned, not understanding the reference.

                “Remember when we rescued Uta, at the Fetish?” Koichi nodded. “Who was standing with Sakurai right before we grabbed Uta? Who was watching?” Taka waited. “Um, you, me, Kyo, Tatsu, Sakurai and..., I don’t remember.”

                “One is very tall and elegant, the other is a little more imposing, both had very beefy attendants with them.” Koichi eyes widened with recognition. “The two dominant women?” Taka nodded. “Madame F and Davina. People who are close to Sakurai, but not in our industry.”

                “But…I’m confused. How would they see Uta?” Koichi was not following Taka’s line of thought. “If we go to the Fetish and talk t…” Koichi gasped before Taka could finish. “TAKA! I can’t just go to the Fetish Club! Tatsu would fucking kill me!”

                “He wouldn’t know that we were going…we’d cover our asses somehow, if we go and talk to those women, one of them is bound to agree to show up on a day or night that Uta is working. I’m not sure if Uta remembers Madame F, but Davina…she’s the one that tried to take Uta away before we rescued him, Uta may remember her.”

                “This is all fine and good, but…how do we get Uta to leave his flat? If one of those women sees him at work, that’s great…she can tell Sakurai, but he’s going to flip shit and try to take him by force.” “You’re right, we need another person…” Both men were on their second cup of coffee and were starting to feel the effects of too much caffeine, their minds running at top speed.

                “Shot in the dark…what if we call one of the other members of Buck Tick? I could easily get a phone number from DCR” Koichi suggested. Taka thought about it for a minute. “Probably Yutaka, he’s the sweetest of the group, Toll and Imai scare me to death! Hide’s nice too…but I’d choose Yutaka if I had to call one of them.”

                “I’d better get home soon, or Tatsu’s going to wonder how many cups of coffee we had.” Taka and Koichi planned on texting each other throughout the next few days, agreeing that on Thursday, they’d try to get away from Sato and Tatsu, and go to the Fetish Club. Koichi was a little apprehensive about going, but Taka comforted him, telling him he had his back, and wouldn’t let anyone collar him against his will.

 

~

                Shinya watched for a reaction from Die, hoping it would one of concern and not jealousy or anger. He was pleasantly surprised when Die gave him just the opposite, but with a few questions in addition. “Wow…I’m not even sure where to start with that, Shin. Kyo never said a word to me about it” Shinya had asked Die over to his home, to talk to the man about the situation Kyo was in with Mao. “I don’t believe it was a planned thing Die. From what I gathered from Kyo, it was a reluctant attraction between them. But now…it’s in shambles and if you haven’t noticed, Kyo’s general demeanor has been more volatile of late.”

                Shinya explained what Tora and Aki had told him about the breakup, also mentioning that Uta had slapped Mao for his verbal assault. “Uta? Slapped Mao? Holy shit, that’s weird, I mean Uta, he’s so tiny and like breakable.” Shinya and Die futzed around with some ideas, but by the end of the night, there were no complete plans. “If you think of anything, call me Die. I don’t want to drag this out, but we also don’t want to rush things.” Die said his goodbyes and left.

                “Are you sure you want to get involved in all of this babe? Kyo’s a grown ass man, he can deal with his own relationship problems.” Miya had raised an eyebrow at what Shinya had told him. “Yes, I’m sure. You haven’t seen him lately Miya, I haven’t seen him this broken in quite a while. At least not counting when Koichi, Uta and I got attacked by Morrie…this is different, his heart is hurting, and I will always do whatever I can to help him, you know that.”

                Miya drew his husband into his arms, kissing the man. “I know that you are a fearless defender of our friends, I would never try to stop you, all I ever ask is that you’re careful and you never put yourself in any danger.” Shinya was certain that there would be no danger involved in the reconciliation between Mao and Kyo. He spent the rest of the evening making sure that his husband had nothing to worry about.

 

~

                “Have you come up with a plan to get out of the house on Thursday night?” Koichi was in his office, speaking softly to Taka on the phone.

                “I thought about saying we were going to the movies, but Sato knows I’m not a huge fan of doing that. So that’s out.”

                “What if we say we just want a besties night? Harajuku and Genki, with some shopping thrown in. Harajuku’s pretty wild at night, think that would fly?” Koichi kept watching the door to his office.

                “That sounds good, we’d almost have to buy something to bring home, to show that we were actually shopping, good excuse at least to get something new.” Taka knew Koichi didn’t need any excuse ever to shop.

                “Hmm, I think that sounds good. Let me try it on Tatsu first, see what his reaction is, then I’ll text you with a go or no go” The agreed to wait until the evening to ask their husbands.

 

               

                “I was just texting Taka, and he wants to a have a bestie night this Thursday, do you mind if I go?” Koichi was smart, asking his husband while they were still in the afterglow of a round of  very nasty sex. “Bestie night, doing what?” Tatsu didn’t care really, but he did like to know where his tiny husband would be, when he was away. “We were thinking Harajuku for some shopping, and people watching. You know the Harajuku kids really put it on at night. Oh, then maybe Genki sushi for a snack. We wouldn’t be out that late.”

                Tatsu rolled over and slid his arm around Koichi’s waist, pulling him into his chest and nuzzling his hair. “No, that’s fine. I’d hope that you wouldn’t be out too late… home before midnight.” Koichi snorted, “Yes tousan, I promise.” Tatsu growled and bit down on Koichi’s shoulder, eliciting a tiny scream and a giggle. “Really, just be careful…Harajuku late night isn’t that safe, I’d really rather you be home before then.” Koichi rolled into his husband, “I’ll be fine, Taka will be there too, but I’m pretty sure we won’t be out that late.”

                Koichi woke up, peered over at Tatsu and slid quietly out of bed. “It’s a go for Harajuku on my side, text me in the morning.” He texted Taka.

 

                Taka had chosen the same route of manipulation for Sato.  A glorious round or two of hot sex, usually made Sato very agreeable. “Hmm, that was fucking amazing…” Sato groaned as he rolled off of his husband, trying to catch his breath. Taka was a hot mess for at least the next ten minutes, but finally gained back his cognitive thought process. “Koichi and are going to have a bestie night on Thursday…unless you had plans?” Taka knew there were no plans for that night. “A bestie night? Doing what?” Sato was spooning his boy, nuzzling his neck. “Shopping in Harajuku, you know the kids kick it up a notch at night, maybe some Genki as a snack. We won’t be out late, probably home before midnight.” Sato had reached around Taka, running his hand down the boy’s thigh, sliding it towards his cock. “Mmm, will you beg me for it… convince me that I should say okay…” Sato’s low purr in Taka’s ear, went straight to his groin. “Pleasee… I need this…just one…” Taka’s lips were captured by Sato’s. Taka spent the next hour ‘convincing’ his husband, who at the end finally agreed as he fell asleep with his arm around Taka’s waist.

 

                “Didn’t take much to convince Tatsu…I’m sure you didn’t have many problems either.”

                “No, I just fucked permission out of him”

                “Oh my god…so did I”

 

~

 

                Shinya thought about going to the HBG to talk to Mao, or at least have some interaction with the young man before he tried to talk about Kyo. Aki had given Shinya a rough schedule, and thought that Die should be there as well, but it was the approach that Shinya wasn’t sure of. Die had suggested bringing Miya, as everyone knew he loved his High Balls, and it was the love of the cocktail that had brought together many of their friends.

                “Would you go? I know you don’t really approve of me doing this, but you also know that you couldn’t stop me either.” Shinya smiled sweetly, teasing his husband just a little. “As long as there is no violence, no shouting, no dragging Die off of some poor innocent boy, I’ll go with you.” Miya knew how Die worked and was in no mood for any of his antics.

                “Aki has indicated that Mao works this coming Thursday night, so if Die’s available would you like to go have a few cocktails with me?” Shinya walked up to his husband, slipping his arms around Miya’s waist, with a tiny bit of a grind against the man. “Is this a blatant open to any thing invitation?”  Shinya hummed as he moved in to lay a blistering kiss on Miya…with a little moan at the end, just for a special effect. Miya purred in Shinya’s ear, “Can we have an afterhours cocktail party when we get home? I have a special mixer just for you.” The talk about cocktails lasted into the late evening.

 

~

                “I got Yutaka’s number from one of the girls in marketing, I came up with a bullshit story about a gift that needed to be delivered” Koichi and Taka were on the train down to Harajuku, with Koichi being a little nervous about entering the Fetish Club. “You’ll stay next to me…right? I mean, I don’t want some burly dominate guy come and try to kidnap me.” Taka laughed, “Kou, nobody is going to kidnap you, and I doubt anyone will even approach you, stop worrying so much, it’ll be fine.”

                Taka was hoping that both of the women were at the club, and also hoping that they wouldn’t run into Sakurai. Walking down the street from the station, there was a short line for the club. Once up the stairs, Taka stopped and spoke to the tuxedoed doorman. “We’d like to speak to either Madame F or Davina if they are available please.” Taka bowed to the doorman, who had them wait at a small table close to the door.

                A very tall, very athletic man, in tiny shorts and suspenders approached them. “You wish to speak to my Mistress? Can I have your names please?” Taka explained who they were, and the young man had recognized Taka. “Will you wait here please?” The tall man moved off into the crowd. “Taka I don’ think I could ever get used to this…it’s just so out there.” Taka chuckled, “It’s not as out there as you think, Kou.”

                The tall man approached them, leading them to a small private room, much like Sakurai’s but not quite as nice. “Taka-kun, you’re here without your Dominant? Are you safe, my dear?” Madame F waved off her pet and had the two friends sit on a couch. “Davina is here as well, she’ll be with us momentarily. Why are you here, Taka-kun?”

                “I’d like to wait for Davina if that is acceptable.” Taka’s totally demeanor changed when he spoke to Madame F, something that Koichi had never experienced. “Who is this lovely child? Is he contracted?” Madame F stood and walked towards Koichi, placing a long sharp finger nail under his chin, gazing down at him. “Koichi is not part of the community, he is married to the gentleman Tatsuro, who was here when we rescued Uta.” The woman nodded, “Pity…he’s delicious. Boy, if you ever change your mind or divorce, know that I would welcome you as a potential pet.” Koichi gulped and just nodded, not trusting his words.

                A light knock at the door, and Davina stepped in. “Madame F, wh…” she stopped speaking when she saw Taka and Koichi. “Oh, what do we have here? New toys perhaps?” Walking towards Taka, she sat down next to him on the small couch. “Are you now uncollared Taka-kun? You know you have a place with me…oh and bring this other lovely boy with you”

                Taka laughed, “I’d like to tell you why we’re here, I do not want to take up too much of your time.” Davina sat with Madame F. “The boy Uta, that we rescued, is in poor condition, and is no longer with Sakurai as you may already know. Uta works with us, and has moved out on his own, but lives in a very dodgy part of town, in a total dump of a flat. He is suffering physically and his spirit is on the way to being completely broken.”

                Madame F and Davina shared a look, they both knew that Uta was no longer with Sakurai. “What do you want of us?” Davina asked carefully. “We know Uta still loves Sakurai, but both of them are so stubborn, that we’re not sure that we ourselves can reconcile them, they will look at it as some sort of contrived plot. We need an unattached third party…which is why I thought of you ladies. You are associates and friendly with Sakurai, without being connected as we are, to both of them.” Taka explained.

                “Go on.” Madame F was intrigued. “We would like to ask if either of you ladies would be willing to go see Uta, at the High Ball Garden at Tokyo Tower, and see for yourself what condition Uta is in?” Koichi asked shyly. Davina spoke first, “I would be more than happy to do that. Madame F would you like to have a cocktail with me?”  “Of course, Davina, I love a good high ball. What else would you have us do?” Madame F smiled at her counterpart.

                Koichi spoke, in a whisper, afraid to look at either of the women. “I um…we don’t want you to tell Sakurai.” Davina appeared puzzled, “What would be the point of us seeing Uta, if we do not tell Sakurai?” Koichi looked up, “We need to get Uta out of that shit hole flat he’s in. He needs to be somewhere safe. We were hoping that after you saw Uta, you could then make an anonymous call to one of Sakurai’s band mates, with the address to the flat. Sakurai’s band mate Yutaka would most surely take Uta home with him but Uta needs a buffer between himself and Sakurai. If we were to tell Sakurai where Uta was, he’d just come in and throw his alpha card down and forcibly take Uta, which would end badly.”  Koichi took a breath and sat back a little further on the couch.

                The two women glanced at each other, then they looked directly at Taka. “Why are you doing this, Taka-kun? Your relationship with Acchan was not ideal, so why are you pushing Uta on him?” Madame F asked coldly.  Taka smiled, “If you could see the expression on both of their faces, when they’re together, that would be enough of an answer. I’m sure you’ve seen Sakurai since they’ve broken up, he’s most likely miserable ne? Uta is slowly wasting away, he doesn’t care anymore, he loves Sakurai but the man refuses to understand Uta’s feelings about having his own flat.”

                Taka briefly went into Uta’s background, which the two women furrowed their brows, unhappy that the boy had such a horrid background. “Oh Acchan, you’re being a first-class asshole,” Davina sighed. Madame F sat up straight, looking directly at Taka. “Taka-kun, give me the information, I will gladly do this tomorrow if needed. Please, let me know when I can come and see Uta…that beautiful boy deserves to be loved, and Acchan knows, if he does nothing that there are quite a few people lined up who would willingly take him in. I do understand that the boy doesn’t want to be contracted, yet I would take him into my house to keep the boy safe, I’m sure Davina agrees.”

                “Yes, I’ve tried twice to get Uta to come with me, but I know the boy belongs with Sakurai, it was obvious the first night he came here and sat in his private room all night, alone.” Davina’s information was new to Taka, “Sakurai’s been here lately?”

                “Yes, several times. He comes in and goes to his private room, drinks and then leaves. We try to speak with him, but the man is unapproachable in his current condition. It’s very sad to say the least.” Madame F was especially saddened to see Sakurai in that condition, as she had been an associate of the man for years. “Acchan holds a special place in the community’s collective hearts, no one wants to see the man unhappy” added Davina.

                Taka and Koichi wrapped up their visit with the two women, giving them all of the information, they had, and thanking them profusely. “If you ever decide to divorce or want to be kept as a pet, my house is very comfortable, and I treat my pets with the utmost tender but strict care.” Davina kissed Koichi lightly on the cheek. “If not Davina, you would have a secure place in my house as well, boy. You truly are delicious” Madame F kissed Koichi on the other cheek, leaving the young man both breathless and speechless.

                Taka snickered as they were walking down the stairs, leaving the club, “You can always use that for ammo against Tatsu if he ever steps out of line… you have two of the highest ranking Dominant women in the community ready to fight each other over you.” Koichi turned bright red, “You don’t have to stay that…it’s not true.” Taka reached out and put a hand on his friend’s shoulder, “It’s very true, believe me when I say, these people don’t mess around with niceties and platitudes. If you ever needed a dominatrix, both of those ladies would love nothing more than to take you home, Kou.” Koichi blushed a deeper shade of crimson than he had ever before, the warmth of his face showing even in the dark.

 

~

                “Die please be on your best behavior, don’t hit on Mao…we don’t need that drama pushing he and Kyo apart any further.” Shinya, Miya and Die were on their way to the HBG, ostensibly for a nice high ball cocktail between friends. Shinya was on a mission to seek out Mao and talk to the boy, in hopes of having him reconcile with Kyo.

                “I’ll be good Kaasan, I promise. Besides, I’m just as worried about Kyo as you are, and if Mao is the key to his being happy…” Die trailed off. Deep inside, he knew that Mao would have never dated him and he was remorseful that he had chased the boy as long as he did. The night of the DCR party, when he confronted Mao yet again, Die had seen Kyo go stiff as Mao slipped his arm around the man. Die saw something in Kyo’s face as he slipped his arm around Mao, there was a change, a softening of the often coarse and spikey man. Die knew that night, he wouldn’t ask Mao for a date again, there was a connection with Kyo that had started at that point in time.

                Parking the car, the threesome walked up to the counters of the HBG, luckily Mao was standing right in front of them. “Hello Mao-kun” Shinya smiled as he approached the counter. “Hi Shinya-san… what can I get for you tonight?” Mao was looking a little worse for the wear, not sickly but seriously unhappy. “Miya and I would like high balls, and Die…” The second Die’s name left Shinya’s lips, Mao’s face grew dark. Die stepped up to the counter, with his big goofy grin, “Hey Mao…can I get a high ball too please?”

                As Mao turned to make the drinks, Aki walked up from the back of the HBG, greeting the three men. “Special occasion Shinya?” Mao was sliding the drinks onto the counter, “No, just getting away from the studio, we dragged Die with us.” They made small talk for a few minutes, talking about different things. “Toshiya and Kyo are writing a song together, so that’s taking up some of our down time as well.” When Mao heard Kyo’s name, he tensed up. Aki noticed the man looking a little pale, “Mao? Everything alright?”

                “Um, yah.” Mao looked at Die for a moment. “Not going to ask me out this time Die?” Mao teased. “Nope, it’s pointless. I already know where I stand, and that’s great. Just hope you know where you stand in it.” Mao’s face paled, as he stared at Die’s back as the group walked to the patio area to sit down.

                “Are you okay?” Aki placed his hand on Mao’s shoulder. “He knows about Kyo…why else would he say that…” Mao whispered. “Is it a bad thing that he knows? You guys weren’t really trying to hide anything, right?” Aki softly guided Mao towards the office. “You look like you need to sit down for a minute. I’ll watch the counters.”

                What the hell did Kyo say to Die? Shit…I need to know. Mao got up, and headed for the back door, “Aki, I’ll be right back.” Aki had planned for this, making sure that Shinya had arrived at a slow time of the afternoon. “Take your time Mao.”

                Mao approached the table where the three men were sitting. “Um Die, what did you mean I should know where I stand?” Die looked up, a soft smile on his face, “Just that, I’m not going to ask you out anymore, because I know that you’re important to Kyo. I don’t ask someone out, that is interested in one of my friends, that’s tacky and classless.”  Mao stood stock still, barely breathing. “What did Kyo tell you?”

                “Mao-kun, do you have a moment to speak to me?” Shinya stood and offered his hand to Mao, leading him away from Miya and Die. Going towards the secluded area near the base of the tower, Shinya sat on a low all, patting the spot next to him.

                “Mao, I want to ask you something. I don’t want personal details, but I need to ask you, do you still like Kyo? If you do, and I don’t want you to lie to me, then there are somethings you need to know about him.”

                Mao looked at the ground, “I know that he’s in love with Uta, I don’t really need to know any more than that.” Shinya took a finger and tipped Mao’s face up. “He’s not in love with Uta, he’s not in love with Koichi. I can’t say he’s in love with you, not yet.”

                Mao closed his eyes and sighed, “Why are you telling me this? He made it perfectly clear, how he felt about me.” Shinya shook his head. “Did you know that he’s basically been in hiding since that night? That he’s not all there when we’re in rehearsal, he’s more depressed and morose than he has been in a long time, did you know he’s suffering?”

                Mao hadn’t heard any of this, he’s not sure if he wants to know. “Let me tell you about our little warumono. Kyo is probably the most sensitive man I’ve ever known, he loves hard and deep, and when he hurts, it feels like death to him. The single fact, that you… you were able to penetrate that armor that Kyo wears around his heart? That speaks more clearly than you could ever understand.”

                “He can have anyone he wants, for fucks sake. He’s Kyo, Dir En Grey’s Kyo. He’s famous…he was just playing with me. He didn’t mean any of what he said” Mao sputtered.

                “It’s exactly that reason Mao, that Kyo hurts so deeply. Yes, he’s Kyo of Dir En Grey, but he’s also Tooru Nishimura, a small man with the soul of a giant and the presence of an army. Kyo has been used by people and thrown away, too many times has he opened his heart only to have it fondled then mutilated.”  Mao watched Shinya as the man explained his friend, and Mao could see that Shinya was being honest, something that Mao himself wasn’t doing.

                “Mao…” Die walked up to the couple. “Honestly, you’re hurting Kyo, as much as you think he’s hurting you. He cares about you, and when Kyo latches on to someone, it’s for the long haul, the problem is Kyo hasn’t had that in a long time. All his relationships in probably the last ten years have failed, for one reason or another. That weighs heavy on anyone, and even heavier on Kyo.”

                “I’ve been shit on so many times, and to have Kyo want to run after Uta, and save him, it’s more than I can deal with. Kyo saves people, he told me himself. Lovers, friends who ever needs to be rescued, Kyo runs off. I don’t need to fall in love with someone, only to have them run off and rescue an ex-lover.” Mao snapped. “Every boyfriend I’ve ever had, used me for sex or for money. I was always a convenient fuck…never anything more than that.” Mao looked up at Die, “They were all musicians, Die. That’s why I wouldn’t go out with you! You’re probably a really great guy, but you’re a fucking musician! I can’t trust you people!”  

                “Did you bother to ask Kyo what was going on with Uta? Why he was helping the boy?” Shinya knew this was the core problem. “Something about Uta and Sakurai getting in an argument, and Uta jumped out of Sakurai’s car, somewhere near his flat, how convenient is that?” Mao snorted, less likely to believe anything at that point.  “Would you have been angry if it had been anyone else? Or is this a Uta thing?” Die asked. “I don’t even know what it is.” Mao moaned, raking his hands through his hair in frustration.

                “Mao, do you still want a relationship with Kyo? Think long and hard before answering that. If you do, you’ll have to make adjustments to your thinking, any relationship with Kyo is difficult, he’s not an easy man to love. But I can tell you…if you allow Kyo to fall in love with you, you won’t regret it.” Die hugged Mao, turning to walk back to where Miya was waiting.

                “Mao-kun, give Kyo a chance, as Die said you won’t regret it. Love him from your heart, and not from your head, you’ll only get migraines if you over think loving him. He’s worth it Mao, and I’m sure you are as well. You’ll have to make the first move, Kyo is stubborn beyond anyone I’ve ever known. Take a chance Mao.” Shinya stood and hugged the younger man and rejoined Miya and Die.

                Mao walked into the HBG, Aki watching him. “Everything okay Mao?” Mao made a non-committal sound. “Yah, just you know, have a lot on my mind right now.” Mao looked up at his friend, “Would it be okay if I used my phone for a second? I really need to text someone.”

 

Chapter Text

                “How was Harajuku?” Tatsu was lying on the couch with Teo and Gordy sleeping on his legs. “Fun, the kids are just so outrageous! But it was a bust on finding anything new to buy, just more black and silver, so I didn’t spend any money.” Koichi had rehearsed in his mind what he would say to Tatsu when he came home, he hated lying to the man, but Uta was worth lying for. Without much more, Tatsu and Koichi went to bed for the evening.

 

                “I’m surprised Koichi didn’t buy anything, he’s the king of shopping.” Sato was also waiting up for Taka. “Well, it was the normal problem when we go shopping, everything he likes is black…so what’s the point? But the kids are insane these days…some of those outfits were more than just way over the top.” Taka was shaking inside, hating to lie to Sato. He thought about telling the man, if or when Uta and Sakurai reconciled. “Come on boys…let’s go to bed, it’s late.” Sato scooped up Eddy, and Taka picked up the twins, as they headed to the bedroom for the night.

 

~

                Mao sat in the office of the HBG, holding his phone. He wanted to text Kyo, but he didn’t have the faintest idea what to say. He had listened to what Die and Shinya had told him, and he knew deep down that he was being irrational and petty. Uta needed help and Kyo doesn’t forget his friends, even if they are ex-lovers. Insecurities were drowning Mao, too many times had he been burned, used and abused and then thrown away. Kyo was following a pattern that Mao had seen too many times, and he was just protecting himself.

                Now Mao was having second thoughts after listening to Shinya and Die explain some of Kyo’s behavior. He just didn’t know how to start a conversation with Kyo, he just knew he didn’t want to do it face to face.

                “Mao? You okay?” Aki peeked into the office. “Yah, I am. Sorry Aki, I’m just a little confused.” Aki leaned in the doorway, “Want to talk about it?”

                “Um, well…here’s the thing. Shinya and Die told me some stuff about Kyo, and now I think I want to talk with him again. I really do like the guy, I’m just being an asshole.” Mao was blushing in embarrassment. “I want to start a conversation with him, but I don’t know what to say!”

                “How about just ‘hi, how are you?’, it’s simple and it’s an opener. If he doesn’t answer, I’d shoot for something a little more serious, maybe something like ‘can we talk?” Aki had his fingers crossed. It was looking promising.

                “Hmm, you really think just ‘hi’ will work?” Mao’s fingers hovered over the keyboard on his phone. “Yah, I do. Try it…see what happens?” Aki smiled and walked away.

                “Shit…okay.” Mao typed in ‘hi, how are you’, and before he could chicken out…he hit SEND. “Crap! What the hell have I done?” He knew deep down, that it was a lost cause, he put his phone down on the desk and went up to the front counters, getting ready to shut down the HBG for the evening.

~

                Kyo was buried under a comforter and two blankets, attempting to suffocate all sound and all emotions, wanting to be floating in a semi-conscious state, only existing for short bursts of time. He would show up at the studio, do his part in the rehearsals, then would leave and return to his cavern of blankets. Leaving his cell phone in the kitchen, it would be less tempting to constantly check it for a text he knew would never come, he had finally resigned himself to be once again, alone.

                He had just climbed into wakefulness…the pressure on his bladder was the culprit in bringing him up from the warm darkness of sleep. “Fuck.” He got out of bed, used the bathroom and was just pulling the blankets back over his head when he heard his phone chime. Something made him go and check the phone, something drove him to hope that it was, “Shit…really? Is he into pain or something?” It was from Mao.

                Kyo hesitated to answer, did he want to go through all that shit again? Mao freaking out if he even breathed the same air as Uta, did he want…yah he kinda did. He took his phone with him back to bed, crawling under the covers, pulling them over his head. He looked at the text in the dark, not knowing what to do or say.

                Mao waited to hear the chime from his phone, he had left it on the desk in the office. How long should he wait to make another attempt? Ten minutes? “Mao, he might not answer right away, I think Diru is in the studio right now, so Kyo might be there or he may be asleep. Don’t get discouraged if he doesn’t answer right away.” Aki patted Mao on the shoulder and continued with the closing duties. “Hey can you go check the patio really quick? I don’t want to leave it messy for Taka.” Mao nodded, grabbed a broom and a cleaning cloth and went outside.

                Kyo closed his phone, it wasn’t worth the pain to answer Mao. The kid would just flip out on him again, if he even looked at Uta, or god forbid Koichi. He placed his phone under his pillow and closed his eyes. Kyo started to take deep calming breaths, emptying his mind of all things that were scattered there.

                Mao. Deep breath in…let it out slowly. Kissing. Breathe nice and deep. Hot lips. Turning over on to back. Mao in his arms. Flinging arm over eyes. Kissing, holding Mao. “FUCK!” Kyo reached under his pillow and opened his phone. “This better be worth it…damn it!” Hitting the button, the text jumped out at him ‘hi, how are you?’. Kyo’s breath hitched slightly. What the hell? “How am I? What kind of fucking question is that? I’m a piece of shit, how are you?”

                Mao came in from the patio, ducking into the office to look at his phone. No answer. “Guess that answers my question.” Mao muttered to himself. “Almost done Aki? I’d like to get out of here on time tonight, I’m beat.” Aki could tell that there had been no answer from Kyo, but it had only been fifteen minutes, hardly long enough if Kyo was busy.

                “Yep, I’m ready if you are, we just need to close the covers and we’re out of here.” Aki and Mao closed down the covers, and double checked everything. Grabbing his phone and bag out of the office, the two men closed up the HBG for the night. Walking to the train in silence, Aki stopped Mao before he got on his train. “Don’t be too discouraged, this is a rough time for the bands, a lot of new albums coming out and its tour season. He might still text you later tonight, so don’t worry yet.”

 

                Sitting on the train Mao kept his phone open, hoping to see the little light of hope flashing for an incoming text. “I knew it was pointless, he doesn’t care, nobody does.” Mao whispered to himself. As he got off the train and made his way to his sister’s house, Mao started to think about what Shinya had said, that he was going to have to make a decent attempt to get Kyo to talk to him. “If he doesn’t answer my texts, how the hell do I talk to him?”

                He rummaged through his room for his sleep pants, went down stairs and grabbed a quick snack and went back to his room. Sitting on his bed, he decided that maybe Kyo wouldn’t answer at all, that Kyo really did want him to lose his number. “My own fucking fault.” He flopped into bed, pulling the blankets up and putting the pillow over his head.

                “How the hell do I answer a question like that?” Confusion refused to let Kyo sleep. Battling with himself over the answer to Mao’s question. “It shouldn’t be this fucking hard!” he growled. Picking up his phone he opened it. Kyo wanted to be nonchalant, uncaring and harsh. He didn’t want Mao to know he was on his way to being completely broken. Why now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Hi”

                Mao’s phone buzzed. Pulling his phone out from under this pillow, Mao opened it and read the text. “hi? That’s it? Nothing but hi?” Mao rolled his eyes. Typical Kyo text, he should have known better than to expect a more extensive answer. Heaving a sigh, Mao knew he’d have to draw out anything more than just a single word answer.

Did I wake you?” Mao pushed the envelope…going with a four-word reply.

Not really.” Shit, he should say something else, “Are you at work?” Kyo knew it was too late for Mao to be at the HBG, but he felt compelled to keep the conversation going.

No, I’ve been home for a while.” I need to ask him…how though? Mao wanted to talk to Kyo in person, but not tonight!

Oh, okay.” Well that was fucking stupid! Kyo swore at himself.

Okay, I’m going for it! Mao took a breath, “Could we meet and talk, please?” He hesitated for about ten seconds, then hit the send button, and held his breath.

He wants to talk? What’s left to say? “Uh, sure. When and where?” Kyo couldn’t believe he was agreeing to this at all.

                Mao froze. Kyo said yes…shit now what? “Are you in the studio a lot right now?”

                “Yes, but I can make time to talk with you.” Kyo was scrambling.

                Where can we meet? “You pick a place that’s easy for you” Why can’t I be more confident! Mao felt like kicking himself in the ass.

                Kyo thought about it for a few seconds, “There is a bookstore near Tokyo Tower, it has a coffee shop in it. We could meet there, give me a time and I’ll be there.”

                Mao closed his eyes, “Tomorrow at noon” he hit send.

                “I’ll be there.” Kyo let a breath out he didn’t realize he was holding. He was about to close his phone, then decided; “Oyasumi Mao” He waited for the response, hoping it would be the same.

                Mao smiled, “Oyasumi Kyo” Closing his phone, Mao snuggled down into the covers, a little more light hearted than he had been in a while. He crossed his fingers and closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

Taka had no way of knowing when Madame F and Davina would visit the HBG, he was just hoping to be there so he could speak with them and gauge their reactions. Taka had tried to talk to the younger man, but Uta put up a wall, waving off Taka’s concerns. “Just tired Taka…that’s all. My futon isn’t very comfortable, I move around a lot at night.” Excuses that had become a standard rote, repeating with a slight variation every time Uta was asked.

                Taka had Uta checking the patio frequently, just in case the two women would show up and be able to take in the full vision of what Uta had become. He had not heard from the women since the night at the Fetish Club when Koichi and he asked them to help and he was hoping it wasn’t a bad sign.

                Having just returned from his break, Uta was at the front of the HBG, working the counter when Madame F arrived. Uta did not recognize the woman, as Madame F would hardly wear a corset and carry a whip in the afternoon.  “I’d like a High Ball please” she ordered, taking in what stood before her. Uta nodded and turned to make the drink. Taka had heard the woman’s voice, and peeked out of his office, looking towards the counters.

                Madame F watched Uta carefully while he was making her drink, appalled at his condition, recognizing that while he was not beaten or scared up, the boy was unhealthy. His eyes were sunken in, with dark circles beneath, his hair was dull and altogether unclean, his shoulder blades very prominent under his shirt. “Thank you, dear boy.” She bowed slightly and moved away from the counter. At the words ‘dear boy’, something registered in Uta’s mind, but it was unclear where he recognized it from.

                Taka watched Uta for signs of recognition of Madame F, but he saw none. Uta went back to doing his daily tasks, with no further problems. Turning back to his desk, he quickly shot off a text to Koichi;

                                “Madame F was just at the counters, Uta didn’t recognize her.”

                Bending over some paperwork, Taka had a difficult time concentrating. Watching the clock, he wondered how long it would until Davina appeared. Taking a break, Taka wanted to walk onto the patio, “Uta, I’m going to check the patio, I’ll be right back” he called out to the young man.

                Madame F saw Taka before he saw her. “Taka-kun, do you have a moment?” Taka sat with the woman and noticed that her usual stern commanding presence was missing. “Madame F?” Taka leaned in to speak with her. “I’m sorry Taka-kun, I honestly did not believe you when you told me that Uta was in such poor condition. It’s unfortunate that you were telling the truth, the boy is…” She couldn’t finish, her eyes welling up. She put her hand to her mouth and shook her head. “I’m angry with Sakurai at the moment, there is no good reason for that delightful boy to be in that condition, none whatsoever.”

                “I’m sorry that I had to ask you for help, but now you understand my concern.” Taka clasped the woman’s hand. “Davina should be here shortly, I wish I could prepare her for what she’s about to see.” Madame F squeezed Taka’s hand tightly.  Taka excused himself and walked back to the office.

                Just as he had opened the door, he heard Davina’s voice asking for a drink. Standing just behind some shelving, Taka watched Uta and Davina interact. Peering around a shelf, he saw Davina’s face, when she watched Uta make her drink, the woman appeared to be both shocked and shaken, but it also looked like Uta did not recognize her.

                “Thank you, have a nice day.” Uta said cheerfully as he bowed. Davina nodded and walked away. “Uta, how’s things up front? Need any help?” Taka had moved back to the office, “Nope, just two ladies getting drinks, I think it’s still a bit too early for it to be busy.”

                Should he take a chance and go back out onto the patio to speak with Davina? “Uta, I’ve got to make a personal phone call, I’ll be right back.” Taka dashed out the door, and quickly walked towards the two women. He stopped suddenly before saying anything, when he saw the face of Davina, the woman was in tears. “That beautiful precious boy! He’s wasting away… damn it Acchan you fucking asshole!” She snarled through her tears. “Madame F and I had our doubts when you asked us for assistance, but now I can see why. That beautiful boy...” Davina couldn’t finish her thought.

                “Would you please call Yutaka today? I’d like for him to be able to be at Uta’s when he arrives at his flat. I want the boy out of that shit hole tonight if possible!” Taka asked urgently.

                Davina stood up and grabbed Taka into an intense hug, “Taka-kun if this man Yutaka does not take Uta tonight, call me and I will. I will be at his flat in record time and will have my pet with me to assist. That boy will not spend another night in horrible conditions. I will not pressure him to sign a contract, I just want the boy safe, this is fucking outrageous!” Taka was taken aback at the viciousness in Davina’s voice.

                Davina was livid, Madame F was nodding her head in agreement. “Thank you both for coming and agreeing to help us. I’m sure Sakurai will appreciate the help, once he pulls his head out of his ass” Taka chuckled. Both women gave Taka a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek, assuring him that they would call Yutaka as soon as they got home.

 

~

                Yutaka sat in stunned silence, still holding his phone. If what he was told was true, he needed to act immediately. “Hide…I need to talk to you.” Yutaka stood in the doorway of their bedroom. “I just got a call, from two different women telling me that Uta’s in danger.” Hide was sitting on the bed. “Women? Danger? What kind of danger and who are these women?” Yutaka sat down beside his lover. “Both women said they were associates of Acchan…we can guess what that means, most likely from his non-industry community.  They both were very upset that Uta is living in a rancid dump of a flat, and that he’s unhealthy, much like he was when he was with that Natsu creature.”

                “Do you believe them? They could just be some random fans, wanting to contact Acchan.” Hide was skeptical, but at the same time he knew what was happening between his friend and Uta. “I believe both of them! They both sounded sad and angry, you know how Acchan’s temper has been lately…Hide let’s go get him, please?” Yutaka grasped his lovers hand, “You did say he could live with us…until Acchan came around. The address is in a shitty neighborhood…one of the women said Uta would be there this evening. Babe, we need to go get Uta!”

                “What do we tell Acchan?” Hide did not want any theatrics with the man. “The one woman asked us not to tell him that we have Uta, to keep it secret.  That won’t be hard…Acchan rarely comes over here. I think it’s important for us to do this. I doubt two random women, who says they know Acchan, and Uta, would lie about something like this. Can we at least go to the flat and see what it’s like? I’m fairly certain that we can convince Uta to come with us.” Hide opened his arms, inviting his lover to sit on his lap. “Yes, we can go get Uta. Yes, he can live here and yes…we will not tell Acchan until Uta decides. I love you so much.” Hide laid a long soft sexy kiss on his lover, leaving Yutaka a little light headed.

~

                Uta walked up the stairs to his flat, not wanting to open the door to his life of depression. Turning on a light and shuffling over to his bed, Uta dropped his bag and fell to his knees. He was so tired. Tired of being hurt and alone. Tired of being hungry and cold. Tired of…yah, he was just tired. He got up and changed into sleep pants and a hoodie, turning on the heat for the ten minutes that it may or may not work.

                Opening his small fridge, there was a half-eaten bento and an energy drink. Taking out the bento, he went and sat down on his bed and slowly ate. Drinking a glass of water to wash down the stale aftertaste, Uta turned off the heat…not that it mattered since it had never come on. He shuffled under his blankets and pulled them over his head, the routine always the same, it never changed, Uta was simply existing. 

 

                “Oh, Hide look! This is disgusting! Damn it Acchan!” Yutaka growled. He and Hide had just pulled up to Uta’s flat and saw the boy as he was walking inside. “This is definitely not the best neighborhood, but I’m sure it’s all he can afford.” Hide was muttering something else under his breath, that sounded a lot like ‘fucking asshole’.  “Come on…this won’t take long.” Hide parked the car and followed Yutaka up the stairs to Uta’s flat. Yutaka took a breath and knocked on the door, worried about what he would be facing.

                Uta heard the knock, wondering who the hell would want to see him, he got up to answer the door. Opening the door, he was confused at first, not fully understanding why two members of Buck Tick were at his door. He almost didn’t recognize the men, it was out of context…they were always with Acchan.

                “Uta! Oh my god…” Yutaka whined. He grabbed Uta and hugged him tightly. “This ends tonight, there is no argument, get your things you’re coming home with Hide and I tonight.” Uta pulled back, “I’m what? No, I don’t want to see him…he doesn’t love me. Just leave me alone please, I’m fine.” 

                “You’re fine? Have you looked at yourself lately? You’re nothing but skin and bones, you look like death warmed over… get your stuff.” Yutaka moved past Uta and into the flat, cringing at what he saw. “Why are you here? Did Sakurai send you? He doesn’t have the balls to come himself, he has to send his band mates?” snorted Uta. “What an ass he is. You guys don’t have to do this, just go home please.”

                “Acchan didn’t send us, Uta. He doesn’t know we’re here.” Hide said quietly, as he watched his boyfriend pick over Uta’s clothes and stuffing them into a bag. “He doesn’t? Then how did you find me? Did Taka put you up to this? Who told you were I lived?”  

                “We had an anonymous call, from someone that knows the situation. They begged us to come and get you, and now I can see why they were so upset. Uta you are going to come and live with Yutaka and I. We will not tell Acchan where you are, he will not know that you’re living with us. He rarely comes over to our place anyways. It’s safer Uta, you can’t possibly be happy here, are you?” Hide was playing the concerned father role, while Yutaka was fussing over the boy.

                Uta looked at Yutaka and Hide, his lip starting to quiver. “Why do you care? I’m nothing to you…” Yutaka gasped and covered his mouth. “UTA! You precious boy! We care a great deal about you! How could you say that? You’re part of our small weird family…but that’s the point Uta! You’re family and I refuse to let anyone in my family live like this!” Yutaka was trying hard not to cry, tears of anger forming in the corners of his eyes.

Hide frowned, “Uta, we are here because we do care about you. You’re someone important to Acchan…by default it makes you important to us. Not only that, we wouldn’t let any of our friends live like this, regardless of your relationship with Acchan. Now get your things together, you’re coming home with us, for good. You will not return to this flat to spend one more night.”

Looking at the two men through his tears, Uta just lost it and started to sob uncontrollably, Yutaka swiftly took the boy into his arms, rubbing his back and uttering soft soothing sounds. It took a while for Uta to calm down enough to help pack his things. He kept asking, “are you sure it’s okay?” until Hide finally held the boy by the shoulders and looked the boy in the eyes, “Uta, it’s fine, we are here for you…we came for you…you will be living with us, end of discussion.”   Uta giggled at Hide trying hard to be stern, except Yutaka was making faces behind Hide’s back caused Uta to laugh. Hide whipped around and glared at his boyfriend, then he winked.

                The men gathered up all of Uta’s things, which really wasn’t much. He left behind the futon, and some of the blankets and as he walked out the door for the last time, he turned and looked at the room. It had been a safe place, albeit dark dank and dirty, but it had beaten living on the streets. Closing the door, he hoped he would never have to return.

 

                The drive from Uta’s flat to Yutaka and Hide’s home wasn’t long, but the car was warm and it lulled Uta into a light sleep from the moment they drove away. Yutaka looked in the back seat, Uta was leaned over onto his bag of clothes, with a small smile on his face. “Thank you for agreeing to this. I love you.” Yutaka snuck a quick kiss on the cheek for Hide. “You know I can’t say no when you rescue things, be it dogs, cats or kids, you have me wrapped around your heart.”

                “Uta, wake up honey, we’re home.” Yutaka shook the boy’s shoulder lightly. “Home? Oh, okay.” Unloading the car, Hide walked with Yutaka into the house, with Uta trailing behind him. “It’s not as nice as Acchan’s, but you’ll have all you need here.”

                The house was large, not as big as Acchan’s but close. Where Acchan’s was very modern, Hide and Yutaka’s house was more traditional. Tatami, chabudai tables instead of western style, shoji doors and Uta could hear the sound of water coming from the back yard, with the comforting sounds of the bamboo sozu.

                “Tadaima” Yutaka called out, as they toed off their shoes in the genkan. Uta looked around for another person but was surprised instead with the sound of toenails on tatami, and a pair of pug dogs came barreling towards the man. “My babies!” Hide scooped up one and Yutaka got a wiggly one. “These are the boys…I hope you’re not allergic to dogs!” Uta giggled, “No, I love dogs. They’re so cute!” “This is Rima, she’s the boss dog, and this is Zepp, old and fat.” They spent the next ten minutes talking about the dogs, when Hide looked over and saw that Uta was close to collapsing.

                “Would you like some dinner, Uta? We have miso and rice…a ham steak and fried tofu.” Uta nodded, “Yes please.” He was trying hard not to blush, but it was a little embarrassing how hungry the boy really was. While Hide got the food together, Yutaka slipped off to the bedroom, pulling out his phone he looked for the number of the one of the women who had called him. The phone went straight to voice mail.

                “Yes, this is Yutaka, I just wanted to let you know that we have Uta at our house. I can’t thank you enough for calling. As you have said, we will not be telling Sakurai that Uta is living with us. Please be assured that the boy will be safe, fed and cared for. Thank you again.”

                Yutaka walked back to the kitchen finding that Uta had eaten and was looking a little drowsy. “Uta honey, would you like to take a bath before bed? I’m guessing you haven’t had a good soak in quite some time.” Uta sighed, tears starting to form yet again. “I’m sorry I’m being such a baby…this is just overwhelming for me” he sniffed, “Yes, I’d like to take a bath please, but don’t put yourselves out too much for my sake.” Yutaka stood in front of the boy, caressing his cheek. “Uta, you deserve this. We care about you…you’ve just hit a rough spot in the road, but now you have a soft place to crash. Go take your bath, and when you’re done, your room is the second door on the right. We will be leaving you alone for the evening. Please, rest easy.” The older man bent down and kissed Uta on the forehead.

               

                Uta sat in the bathtub soaking his weary body in the hot water. He had shampooed his hair for the first time in weeks and was reveling in the hot water. Reluctantly he got out of the bath, and dried off, putting his sleep pants and hoodie back on. He padded down the hall and found his bedroom. A beautiful large fluffy futon was on the floor, with his things still in the bag in a corner. He looked around at the room, tranquil and warm. He suddenly felt very tired and slid onto the futon, pulling the large heavy comforter up to his neck. It wasn’t more than a minute, before Uta was snoring softly, finally warm enough to relax into a deep sleep.

 

                “Taka-kun…Uta is safe with Yutaka and his husband. Yes, he just called me, thanking me for informing him of Uta’s whereabouts. You’re so very welcome my dear, Davina and I just can’t understand Acchan’s stubbornness, and he had better be careful, or someone else will snatch that precious boy away from him. Of course, oyasumi Taka-kun.”

Chapter Text

 

                He couldn’t sit still, looking between the door and the windows of the coffee shop, Mao was sweating. How would Kyo look at him? Angry, disappointed, frustrated or happy? Of course, he hoped for the latter, but was prepared for the angry Kyo, the persona that scares people. Just as he rose to leave, giving up on happiness, Mao saw Kyo crossing the road. Shit.

                Kyo opened the door to the coffee shop and looked around, seeing Mao sitting in a far back corner. His heart caught a little, a warmth spreading through his chest…yes this was right. As he approached Mao he smiled, which he could see was a relief to the younger man.

                “Hi” he mumbled, unsure how to start this new conversation. Mao nodded, “Thanks for meeting me, it was nice of you to agree.”

                “I had no reason not to. I wanted to see you even before this, but…” Kyo wouldn’t say anymore, worried that he might be showing too many of his emotions.

                The two men were silent for several minutes, neither one brave enough to start the conversation.

                “So, you wanted to talk about…?” Kyo asked gently.

                “I wanted to apologize for being a bitch that day. I don’t know if you know it or not, but Uta and I had an argument” Mao paused. “And he bitch-slapped the shit out of me.”

                This raised Kyo’s eyebrows in shock, “Uta slapped you…why?” Mao’s lip began to tremble.

                “I said some really horrid nasty things to him, I pretty much deserved that slap. He called me out on how I treated you…and he was right.” There was more to this story…Kyo could feel it. “What did you say?”       

                “I called him a whore. I told him that you were going to run home and call him and tell him that you’re in love with him, and that he was fucking Sakurai and that you two would be lovers again, and I called him a bitch.” Mao was so ashamed, his face was dark red, and he didn’t dare look up at Kyo, for fear of falling apart and causing a scene.

                “Uta called me a total fucking asshole, for treating you the way I did…he was right. He said I was vindictive and malicious and that I didn’t deserve you…that you were the best thing to ever come my way.” Mao was looking down, tears were starting to fall. “He was right about all of it, and I deserved that slap.”

                The awkward silence returned. Mao wanted to get up and leave, just be done with it, walk away and never have to worry about Kyo ever again. Kyo had other ideas.

                “I have a few things to say, and I want you to not respond until I’m done.” Kyo figured it was time for him to come clean with Mao, with hopes that the relationship could be repaired.

                “I don’t know how to act like a boyfriend, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Any relationship I’ve been in there always been an ulterior motive, they were fuck buddies and using me to get to where they wanted to go, so I haven’t dated, if you even want to call it that, anyone outside the industry…ever. It’s always been people that are musicians or at the very least technical crew. I have never had a real boyfriend, Uta was the first person I dated outside the industry, and yet he was kind of connected in a round-about way.”  

                Kyo sighed, “I’ve told you I like to rescue people, ex-lovers’ friends, whatever. I believe I do that because I think I won’t get hurt…the people I rescue have other people that they love. Koichi is a perfect example. I fell in love, or at least what I thought was love, the moment I met that boy. And the second he started to have problems, I pulled away from Uta and he knew it, he called me out on it. I knew in my heart I wouldn’t be able to keep Koichi forever…he belongs with Tatsu, as much as Miya and Shinya, or Taka and Sato belong together. Those relationships will last forever, regardless of the hazards placed in front of them.”

                “That night at the DCR party, when Die chased you down, you put your arm around me. Why?” Mao looked up, “I’m not really sure. You were there, I did it out of the blue really. I was trying to get Die to stop…I thought maybe if I did that…I don’t know.”

                “When you slid your arm around me, it felt right. I wasn’t in a good spot that night. Watching Koichi and Tatsu, then Uta and Sakurai…I felt lost. Then Die started to harass you again, and you slid your arm around my waist…” Kyo shook his head. “I didn’t even think twice about putting my arm around you, and when you leaned into me, it sort of felt natural, like a good fit or some shit.”

                Mao giggled, “Good fit or some shit? What’s that supposed to mean?” Kyo didn’t look up but he was smiling. Mao sighed, “I know I have problems, just like you, but I think mine are so petty! I didn’t get dumped twice in six months…only once.” Mao’s frown returned. “My dating history isn’t any better than yours. You got fucked over by people in the industry…I just got fucked over period. Used for money or sex…just a quick fuck and thrown away.” Mao and Kyo looked at each other, then Mao started to giggle.

                “We really must belong together! Two fucked up people that have been screwed over in every relationship they’ve had. There’s no way we can screw up another one…right?” Kyo chuckled. “You have a good point. We have one problem,” Kyo stopped. “I don’t know how to be your boyfriend…are you okay with that? I’m not good at the romantic stuff, I can fuck your brains out…but dates and flowers and all that? Nope, have no clue how to do that.”

                Mao’s face flushed when Kyo mentioned sex, he had heard rumors about the man. “You’re thinking naughty things…aren’t you?” Kyo murmured. Mao nodded. Kyo moved over to sit next to Mao and leaned in and whispered in his ear.

                “Before we even get to that point, you’ll have to tell me what you do and don’t like, that’s very important. I like to play with blindfolds, restraints and other such things. If you’re not into that, you need to tell me before we proceed, I don’t want to surprise you when the time comes and scare you. Not only that, I’m not going to jump into bed with you like tomorrow night, I want to take my time.” Kyo took his finger, placed it under Mao’s chin, turning the boy’s face, and gave him a very chaste kiss. Mao whined, and then placed his forehead against Kyo’s.

                “Now what do we do? Are you like my boyfriend now, are we officially dating?” Kyo rubbed his nose against Mao’s. “Yes, and yes. We do need to be careful in public. I’m still who I am…I can’t escape that. In public I mean outside the industry, at lives or anything like that. Everywhere else? We’re good.”

                “I want you to do one thing for me please, talk to Uta when you see him. You guys were such good friends, I’d hate for you to lose that.” Kyo kissed Mao again, and it just felt right.

                “You’re right, I will when I see him next.” Mao leaned into Kyo, as the older man slipped his arm around Mao’s waist. Kyo whispered against Mao’s hair, “Um… can I ask you out on a date? Or is that redundant since we’re like dating?”

                “Ask me.” Mao whispered in Kyo’s ear. “I’d like to take you to dinner at a restaurant…one that has been a safe haven for the music industry for years. I can’t promise we won’t run into anyone, but mostly we’re just left alone. No fans, no photographers, just a nice place for dinner.”

                “Yes, I’d love to go to dinner with you.” The couple set up a time and date, and Kyo walked Mao to the train station. “I’ll borrow Die’s car, it will be easier than the train.” Waiting for the train, the two men stood side by side leaning against a wall.

                It had become somewhat of a ritual in a short period of time. Mao getting on the train and finding a spot at a window, Kyo walking up and placing his hand against the window, Mao doing the same. They kept that touch until the train pulled away, Kyo watching it leave the station.

                Kyo couldn’t remember the last time he felt this happy and contented. Koichi perhaps? No, he knew deep down that his love with Koichi would be short lived, it was the same with Uta. With Mao, everything already felt different, the feeling in his gut, the shakiness that buzzed through his body.

                Boarding his train, Kyo found a solitary seat in the back, and shrugged down into it, pulling his knees up, he took out is phone, “Hey, I need to borrow your car sometime this week…I have a date.”

 

                “Kyo just text me! He wants to borrow my car…said he has a date!! Guess we got through to Mao, ne?

                Shinya jumped up off his stool and fist pumped in the air. “YES!” He then proceeded to do some weird happy dance, picking Miyu up and dancing around his kitchen with the slightly terrified dog in his arms. “Um…I can assume that something good has happened?” Miya had heard the shout and wandered out to the kitchen.

                “Kyo texted Die and asked to borrow his car… he said he had a DATE!” Miyu looked like she was going to puke, so Miya took the frightened dog away from Shinya, as he continued to do a happy dance in the kitchen.

                Miya smiled, “Good, someone got smart and took a chance.” Miya captured his willowy husband in a tight hug…nuzzling the man’s neck, whispering something a little racy in his ears…Shinya blushed. “Um, okay…” Grabbing Miya’s hand, Shinya dragged Miya off to the bedroom for a celebration of their own.

~

                “Did you get home okay? I know it’s only been an hour, but I feel better knowing your home.”

                “Just walked in…kind of freaked out my sister, told her I wanted to eat dinner with her and her husband…I’ve been pretty much a hermit lately.” Uta could hear his sister laughing in the kitchen.

                “I texted Die to ask about using his car…I’m surprised he hasn’t called me and drilled me for information.”

                “Give it time, I’m sure he will.”

                “Can I text you later tonight?”

                “Sure…I’d like that a lot.”

Chapter Text

 

                “Uta, you don’t need to do that…you’re not a housekeeper” Hide chided the boy. “No, I’m not a housekeeper, but I’m also not a mooch. Just look at it as these are my chores around the house, nothing more.” Uta had been washing dishes when Hide came into the kitchen. “Fine, you’re in charge of dishes…I hate doing them anyways.” Hide chuckled.

                Uta was eternally grateful to Hide and Yutaka, as the boy was thriving in his new environment. Simple things like decent food and a hot shower every day, restored Uta’s health quickly. He savored the long hot showers and loved the oversized western style bathtub, spending quite a bit of time in each of these during his first few days at the house. The addition of Yutaka’s constant mothering, just added a much-needed sense of being cared for by someone who loved him.

                “Where’s Yutaka this morning? He was already gone when I got up.” Uta hadn’t seen the older man in the morning, his savior as he liked to tease Yutaka. “Not really sure, he just said he had errands and he’d be back around lunch time. Do you need anything? I’m going down to the studio for a bit.”

                “Nope, I’m good. Just going to do some laundry and I need to call Taka about my schedule.” Uta finished the dishes and was removing his apron.  “I’ll see you both around dinner time.” Hide waved as he left the house.

                Uta made his way down to the room he was using, collecting his laundry and making a mental list of things he had to finish that day, using all of this as a distraction from thinking about Sakurai. It was more difficult at night, when it was dark and quiet, then Uta had to contend only with his thoughts.

                Those thoughts were now weighing heavy on his mind. What to do about Sakurai was all he could think of when he allowed his mind to wander. He missed his lover, painfully aware that the possibility of reconciliation was slim, did not keep Uta from hoping. “Get over it Uta, he doesn’t care anymore.” Uta sighed.

               

                “Are you going to just forget about the boy? If you are, then you need to talk to him and let him know that you no longer love him and give him closure.” Yutaka was sitting in Sakurai’s kitchen, having a cup of tea, trying to feel out what Sakurai was thinking.

                “I’m sure he’s already forgotten about me and has already moved on. He hasn’t tried to contact me, no calls or texts.” Sakurai was sulking.

                “Acchan, you’re acting awfully childish, why haven’t you called Uta or gone by the HBG to see him? Why does he need to come to you first?” Yutaka was being very careful, he didn’t want to reveal that Uta was in fact living with he and Hide.

                “He’s the one that jumped out of my car and told me to fuck off! I’m not the one that has to apologize…he should be calling me!” Folding his arms across his chest, and sticking his chin out, Sakurai Atsushi looked like a toddler, arguing with a playmate.

                “And if he doesn’t, then what?” Yutaka was becoming a bit testy.

“If he doesn’t, then… well then it’s over. Plain and simple.” Sakurai moved to the couch, sitting down and again crossing his arms over his chest. “It’s not my place to seek him out. I was only trying to help him, and he decided that he didn’t need my help, I texted him once, and he never replied.”

“What did you say in your text? If he didn’t reply…it was probably because you said something stupid.”

Sakurai couldn’t tell Yutaka that the only thing he had texted Uta was ‘bunny slippers’. “It doesn’t matter what I said. He didn’t reply and that’s enough of an answer for me.” Yutaka gave up, instead talking about an upcoming live for the Fish Tank. “Think about calling him, Acchan.” Was the last attempt by Yutaka, before he left the house.

 

                “Uta, I saw Acchan today, I went to his home and tried to talk to him.” Yutaka announced quietly as the three men were having dinner. “He told me that you’re the one who should be contacting him, and apologize, since you jumped out of the car and told him to fuck off. I tried to talk some sense into him, but the man is so fucking stubborn!

                Uta snorted, “I should apologize? For what? Trying to make sure I’m safe if something happens between us. Damn good thing I was able to get that flat, so I was safe…kind of. I don’t know why you’re wasting your time Yutaka and I do appreciate it, really. The man just used me. I wouldn’t bow to his authority, I wouldn’t cave to living with him and he wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say.” Uta’s voice wasn’t deceiving anyone, it shook with emotion.

                “Uta-kun, do you honestly believe that? That Acchan doesn’t love you?” Hide asked gently.

                “I have to believe that, there’s no other reason! He lied, he said he loved me and that he wanted to be with me forever…it lasted three months, that’s not what I’d consider forever.” Uta stared at Hide.

                They ate in silence, none of them knowing how to start the conversation again.  As Uta was cleaning up the dishes, Yutaka stopped him in the kitchen. “I was very close to telling Acchan that you were living with us.” Uta gasped, but Yutaka held up his hand. “I’d never do that without asking your permission of course. He told me that he did text you, but you didn’t reply so he believed you didn’t care. What did he say in his text?”

                “He texted me twice, once that same day, he told me he loved me, the next day he texted me “Bunny Slippers.” Uta told the bunny slipper story, which gave Yutaka the giggles. “I’ve never seen the bunny slippers at the house, maybe next time I’ll have to look harder.”

                The topic was dropped and the conversation turned to the next live, for the Fish Tankers. “It’s a one-shot show, just about ninety-minutes for members of the Fish Tank. We do these small lives a few times a year. They’re pretty fun, more interaction with the crowd than a normal live.”

                Hide and Yutaka talked about set lists, after parties and the other issues surrounding live performances. Uta served tea and had made some peanut butter cookies earlier in the day. “Oh, can we keep Uta forever, babe? He bakes way better cookies than you do” Hide teased Yutaka, which earned him a smack on the back of the head, that then turned into a wrestling match on the couch.

                Uta giggled at the couple. He excused himself to go to bed early as he was opening the next day at the HBG. Saying his good-nights he left Hide and Yutaka still tussling on the couch. Laying out his uniform for the next day, Uta thought about what Yutaka had told him about Acchan. “Apologize…what a fucking joke, Acchan. You want me to say I’m sorry for making sure I was safe? Uh, hell no.” Uta muttered under his breath as he changed into sleep pants. Lying in the dark, without even noticing, hot tears crept from his eyes, slowly sliding down his cheeks. Closing his eyes, he can see Acchan above him, leaning down, running his tongue over Uta’s lower lip, purring in his ears ‘you’re mine, you belong to me. I’ll never let you go, I’ll never let anyone hurt you again.’ Acchan lied, he let Uta go, pushed the boy away, never to belong to him again.

~

                Uta walked into the HBG feeling confident about his future, a future that didn’t include Sakurai Atsushi. “Taka, anything I need to do before we open?” Uta was bright and cheerful, a drastic change from the weeks before.

                “Not really, it was slow last night so everything got done. How’s it going over at Yutaka and Hide’s? You already look much better.” Taka had been called by Yutaka, letting him know that they had Uta living with him. He tried to sound surprised on the phone, internally he was screaming for joy.

                “Thanks, it’s going good. They’re so cute together… a lot like you and Sato, always pranking each other.” Uta hesitated before speaking, “Yutaka talked to Sakurai yesterday.”

                Careful, watch what you say, “Oh? He didn’t tell Sakurai you were living with them, did he?” Taka knew the answer, “No, but he thinks I should be the one to call and apologize, that I’m the one that left him. He still doesn’t get it Taka, and I’m not sure what to do.”

                “I don’t have an answer for you on that one, we know Sakurai can get a bit crazed, we’ve all witnessed it in the past.” Taka was referring to Sakurai’s bizarre behavior in the past.

                “But why does he think I’m the one that needs to apologize? I haven’t done a damned thing wrong, except try to look out for myself, he doesn’t get that.” Uta snapped. “Sorry, he just pisses me off”

                Taka chuckled, “You’ve changed a lot Uta. You never used to raise your voice.” Taka leaned in, “I never thought I’d ever see you slap anyone either.”

                Uta moaned, “Don’t remind me, that was a shitty day for everyone.”

                “Are we having a meeting that I don’t know about?” Koichi walked in through the back door.

                “Nope, just talking about random shit.” Uta laughed. “Talking about my stupid ex-boyfriend.” Koichi cocked his head, “Ex? Is that a done deal then, Uta?”

                “I don’t know…I’m so fucking conflicted. I miss him, but he fucking drives me crazy. He won’t accept any part of what’s going on, that’s his fault.” Uta’s shoulders slumped, he shook his head and walked towards the counters.

                “Sounds like he’s being quite the dick.” Koichi muttered. “Wish I could tell Uta what to do, but…” Koichi shrugged.

                “Hey, are you busy after work? I think we should take Uta to Ojisan’s for a few beers and some ramen, you up for it?” Taka winked at Koichi. He knew that Ojisan always had great wisdom, insight and advice.

                “Nothing that can’t be put off…Ojisan…yah, I think we may need to have a few drinks.” Kou knew exactly where Taka was going with this.

                “Uta! In my office please!” Taka rolled his chair into the doorway. He winked at Koichi.

                “Uh…?” Uta walked up. “You’re going out after work with Koichi and me.  As your sempai’s, you can’t refuse, we expect our kohai to be respectful and agree to our demands.” Taka tried hard to sound like a manager, but even Uta could see through the charade. “Where are we going?” Uta was actually relieved.

                “Ojisan’s. It will be nice just to hang out and have a few beers. We haven’t done that in a long time, we’re overdue.” Koichi saw Uta’s mood perk up from what it was five minutes ago.

                “Great…I’ll be ready to go!” Uta smiled.

               

                The rest of the shift went quickly, with quite a bit of teasing and general silliness, lemon’s being thrown at Taka and just the general feel of the HBG was lighter. Taka hadn’t brought up the fact that Mao and Aki were closing that night, deciding not to warn Uta prior to Mao’s arrival. As it turned out, things went better than Taka had expected.

                “Uta, can I talk to you for a minute please?” Mao had walked into the office and had asked Taka to step out. “Sit, please.” Mao was shifting from foot to foot, holding his hands behind his back. Uta watched the other man carefully.

                “I want to apologize for screaming such horrid things at you. I don’t think you’re a whore, I know you’re not trying to string Kyo along, and I know you’re not lovers either. You were right though, about me being a malicious person, you were also right about Kyo being the best thing for me. I know that now.” Mao looked up. “Forgive me please? I don’t want to lose you as a friend…I don’t have many of those, not enough to risk losing even one, especially a friend I’ve had for years.”

                Uta stood up. He stepped up to Mao and quickly pulled the man into a warm embrace. “I forgive you, of course! I had no right to say such nasty things about you either!” Holding Mao by the shoulders, Uta smiled. “We were both in really bad places that night, I’m sorry I slapped you. I had no right to stick my nose in yours and Kyo’s business.”

                The two friends looked at each other for a few moments, then both started laughing, hugging each other tightly. As this was happening, Aki walked in to the HBG, peered at the two in the office, smiled and kept walking. “I guess they’re good then?” he asked Taka. “Looks that way… thankfully there was no bloodshed!”

 

                After getting Mao and Aki ready for their shift, Uta and Koichi were grabbing their gear, with Koichi shooting off a text to Tatsu. “He’s in the studio today, so no rush in me getting home.” Koichi told Taka that Sato had also been informed about their boy’s night at Ojisan’s.

                “Good, I don’t have to worry about making him dinner, they’ll grab something on the way home tonight. Ready Uta?” They walked to the train station, talking about Mao and Kyo, hoping that those two would find their way back to each other. Koichi wanted to say the same to Uta about Sakurai but held his tongue.

                “Irasshai gentlemen!” Ojisan called out as they entered the small ramen hut. “Ojisan, this is…” Before Taka could finish, Ojisan leaned over the counter, “I’m happy to see that you are no longer being hurt, and you look like you’ve recovered quite nicely. Welcome.”

                Uta’s mouth was hanging open. He glanced at Taka, who was smiling, then he looked at Koichi, who just shrugged. “Ojisan, we’d all like a beer please.”

                Having Uta sit between them, Taka and Koichi lent an ear to the young man, who was completely confused, more than they had originally believed, about how to proceed with Sakurai.

                “Do you still love him, Uta? That’s the first thing you need to think of. Is he the only person you could ever see yourself with? Look deep in your heart. I knew, even when I was with Kyo, that the only person I could truly love was Tatsu. That’s where you have to start, Uta. Look deep into your heart.” Koichi was the voice of experience in this matter.

                Ojisan was sitting in his tiny kitchen, his back to the counters, listening to the two men talk to Uta. He smiled, he was proud of his young men, how they always seemed to stand up and care for their friends.

                “I don’t know what to do. I do love him, he’s just so damned stubborn! If I have to wait for him to call me, I might as well give up now. I’m confused about living with him…about the whole issue of having my own flat. Obviously, I needed my own flat this time…but he says we’re never going to break up, and yet here I am!” Uta put his head on the bar, Taka reaching over and rubbing his back.

                “We can’t tell you what to do, Uta. If you love Acchan, you need to let him know that. But you shouldn’t allow him to walk all over you, to bully you into things that you don’t want to do.” said Taka.

                Koichi had looked towards the kitchen area, he had been watching Ojisan’s reaction to Uta’s dilemma, waiting for the man to speak.

                “Gentlemen, another beer? On the house, just for this evening!” Ojisan knew when to approach his guests, and when to leave them alone. He looked at Uta, smiling at the young man, trying to make him feel at ease.

                “Thank you, Ojisan.” Taka nodded to the older man. Ojisan winked at Taka and nodded his head towards Uta. “This young one will suffer a little more, before it gets better. His lover is a stubborn prideful man, who has rarely had anyone stand up to him.”

                Uta made a small gasp. Koichi patted him on the knee. “Do not lose hope though, he may be prideful, but he also loves you a great deal. You just need to be patient, he won’t be pigheaded for much longer.”

                Ojisan turned and walked back to his kitchen, leaving Uta with his mouth hanging open. “How…?” Uta looked at Koichi first, then Taka, both of his friends were smiling. “Finish your beer, Uta, we need to get going.”

                “How does he know so much? He doesn’t know Sakurai…does he?” Uta was stuttering. “Ojisan is a special man, he can see through just about anything, and usually his advice is dead on.” Koichi supplied the short answer.

                “When Tatsu and I broke up, he called Tatsu a shameful man. When you were with Natsu, Ojisan told us to move quickly, because he saw that you were dying. I’m sure he said something to Kyo and Mao the night we met up there. The man has an uncanny ability to see through most bullshit, and somehow know about things he shouldn’t have. So, pay attention to what he said, it most likely will happen.”

                Uta thought about Ojisan saying it would get worse before it would get better, it frightened him…how much worse was it going to get?”

Chapter Text

 

Kyo stepped out of the car, walking around to open Mao’s door. “Good evening Kyo-sama and to your guest” the head valet greeted Kyo and Uta. Mao blushed at the attention, Kyo smiling as he handed the valet the keys. “Thank you” he nodded to the head valet.

                “Damn…this is fancy Kyo! I thought you said it was laid back, a valet is not laid back, and greeting you by name, isn’t laid back either.” Mao was giggling nervously. “We’ve all been coming her for years, I hope they would know my name by now, and it’s really not that fancy, wait till we go in.”

                Kyo offered his hand to Mao, who again blushed at the attention. “Am I doing okay so far?” Kyo whispered in Mao’s ear, causing the younger man to shiver. “Ye…yes, you’re doing more than okay.” Kyo was finding it wasn’t so hard to be the attentive boyfriend.

                Entering the dining room Kyo scanned the guests, trying to pre-warn Mao for anything ridiculous that may happen. Thankfully, Kyo had asked Shinya to keep Die away from the restaurant, knowing that it would be embarrassing for Mao.

                “Ut oh…” Kyo groaned. “What? What’s wrong?” whispered Mao. “Nothing…yet. Let’s just sit down.” Mao glanced around, looking for what was worrying Kyo, not seeing anything obviously out of place.

                After Kyo ordered drinks and dinner, he leaned in to whisper to Mao. “I don’t think it’s going to happen, but Ruki, Aoi and Reita are here.” Confusion showed on Mao’s face. “Okay, so what? I don’t see a problem with that.”

                Leaning back in his chair, Kyo looked down and smiled. “Oh, you’ll see the problem, if what I think, actually happens.” The drink had arrived and Mao downed most of his glass of wine rather quickly.

                “Thirsty?” Kyo teased. “No, nervous as hell. There are a lot of celebrity types here. I know you said there would be, but it’s different when you actually see them in front of you.” Mao was trying not to look like a star struck groupie.

                “Nobody will bother us, that’s why we come here. It’s an insulated environment where outside influences can’t reach us.” Kyo reached for Mao’s hand, squeezing it gently.

                “Hello Kyo…Hello Mao.” Ruki had quietly walked up to the couple, standing in front of the table. “Are you on a date? You look like it. When did you start dating? Have you had sex yet…oh, you hav…”  

                “RUKI!” Kyo growled at the other man. “You twit…stop before I kick your ass.” Mao giggled. “Kyo…don’t be so mean. I just wanted to let Mao know about…” A hand appeared from behind Ruki, cover the man’s mouth.

                “Sorry Kyo…he slipped away while we weren’t looking. Enjoy your dinner with Mao. I’ll get rid of this one.” Reita had grabbed Ruki by the arm and dragged the problem child back to their table, all the while Ruki whining about Reita being mean.

                “That was the ‘ut oh’ I talked about earlier. We got off easy this time, it’s usually a mad house. Ruki likes to try to skip out and not pay for his portion of the meal. He’s a notorious dine n dash bandit.”  Mao knew what Ruki was trying to tell him, he had heard the rumors about Kyo’s special physique.

                “You said you had bad experiences with musicians, that’s why you wouldn’t date Die. How bad, I mean you don’t have to go into detail…I was just wondering if there was something that I should avoid doing.” Kyo was worried.

                “Mostly it was just fuck n fly, sometimes it included money…them taking from me, using me for a place to stay, something to fuck. They’d never stick around longer than a week, two at the most. Then there would be some excuse; I’m too needy, clingy, bitchy or one guy said I was too expensive to have as a boyfriend, because I asked him to take me to dinner…once.” Mao was putting up a brave front, but Kyo could see the burned-out soul that the boy was trying to hide.

                “I have similar experiences, except mine were more along the lines of; hey, I’m fucking Kyo of Diru, maybe he can introduce me to whoever. Then there were the people that went out with me just because of who I am…never wanting to know me at a deeper level.” Kyo wanted to bring up Uta but thought it best not to.

                They looked at each other, and both started to laugh softly. “We’re pretty broken, aren’t we? How could we possibly fail in this relationship? I think we’ll be fine, as long as we communicate.” Kyo stood up and leaned over the table and kissed Mao. Someone wolf-whistled, another clapped, leaving Mao to turn bright red and hide his face in his hands.

                “Don’t do that…it’s fine, they’re just happy for us, this is the one place we can be open.” Kyo said softly. The rest of the dinner was spent telling stories about each other’s lives, joking around about how creepy but in a good way, Ojisan was. Mao asked about Kyo’s relationship with Koichi, a sad but not so sad story.

                “I knew deep in my heart that it would only be temporary, at least once we knew about Masa and Tatsu was healthy again. I rescued Kou, I was a soft spot for him to land. I’ll always love him, but not in a romantic way.” Mao could tell how Kyo felt about his friends, he loved hard and he loved long.

                “I don’t know why I was so jealous of Uta…maybe because he had two guys, and I had none. I didn’t think it was fair, I threw a huge pity party for myself and it took Uta slapping the shit out of me to realize what an asshole I had become.” Kyo reached over and held Mao’s hand.

                “I don’t think you were an asshole on purpose, you just didn’t know how to handle all of it. It’s understandable really. Uta felt the same way…that I threw him away for Koichi. We do some really asinine things, for the sake of love.” Kyo picked up Mao’s hand and kissed it.

                “I will never lie to you…I will try hard not to hurt you. I’m human, I’ve been shit on a lot, so please tell me if I’m acting like an ass…sometimes I don’t realize what I’m doing. I do like you a lot Mao, I wouldn’t be giving you so many uncomfortable confessions, if I didn’t I’ve already told you, I don’t really know how to be a good boyfriend…but I will fuck you senseless when the time comes.” Kyo winked at Mao, who then blushed bright crimson.

                On the drive back to drop off Mao, Kyo told tour stories, some of which were fairly raunchy. “Who knew that Toshiya could be that nasty? I don’t know him at all, but he seems like a sweet kinda goofy guy…guess I’ll have to take a good look at him again.”

                “Toshiya and Kaoru are not what they appear” Kyo said in a pirate’s voice…that alone made Mao fall over in the car laughing. “Pirate talk? Really?  You’re such a dork!”

                Arriving at Mao’s flat, they both got out of the car. Mao stood in front of his sister’s house, leaning up against a short wall, Kyo standing in front of him. “Thanks for dinner, it was fun…even Ruki’s um, wanna be confessions.”

                “Ruki is a twit, but god help me I like the guy. He helped Koichi a great deal after Morrie’s attacks.” Kyo leaned into Mao, cupping the younger man’s face, sensually kissing him, Mao whining with desire. “Um, we can’t do this here…but I want…” Kyo leaned in and put his forehead against Mao’s.

                “I want it too, but it’s much too soon. I don’t want to be a fuck n fly, as you so eloquently put it.” Grinding his hips against Mao, Kyo reached around the boy and pulled him into a tight embrace, licking Mao’s neck, leaving the boy shivering.

                “This isn’t helping you know… don’t tell me it’s too soon, then grind your cock against mine! That’s not fair Kyo.” Mao mewled.

                “I just wanted to give you a little preview, that’s all.” Kyo said with a wicked little smile. “I’ll text you after I get home, I have to return Die’s car first.” With one last kiss and a slap on the ass, Mao went into his flat, and Kyo drove away.

                “You look like you’re about to pop, Mao-kun, did the date go that well?” She had been peeking through the curtains, watching Kyo kiss her little brother. “Nee-chan, it was amazing.” Mao then surprised his sister, running up to her and grabbing her into a hug and kissing her on the cheek. “Ano …thank you for putting up with my grumpy ass. It took Kyo to smack some sense into me, and now I can honestly say I’m happy.” Running up the stairs, Mao went into his bedroom, and threw himself face first onto his bed, rolling over, he closed his eyes and smiled.

~

                At the top of the stairs, the doorman greeted him. “Sakurai-sama welcome, your private room is ready.” The tuxedoed doorman bowed, “Thank you, could you send for my drink please?” The doorman nodded, waving a hand for the bar.

                He glanced around, looking for anything remotely interesting but only seeing the same crowd as the norm for the night. He made his way back to his private room, resigned to the fact that he would be spending tonight alone, again. A light knock at the door, and the server entered with his drink. “Please, continue every twenty minutes or so, thank you.”

                Someone noticed Sakurai entering the club, someone that would never approach him without permission. He made his way to the bar, looking for his mistress. “Ma’am, he has arrived.” The tall athletically built man bowed and moved to her side, standing silently. “Thank you, Ormond.” The woman made her way across the club, followed by her tall pet. Stopping occasionally to speak to someone, the murmur went through the club that Sakurai was here, once more.

 “Is the boy with him? Have you seen the boy at all lately? Is the boy available to be collared?” Those questions roamed through the club, everyone buzzing with concern. “Madame F,” Davina approached the older woman. “Davina, he’s here again. How long should we wait tonight?”

Davina sighed, “I have Teddy watching the door of his room. He’s been here only about thirty minutes, and the cocktail waitress has been in twice, it appears Vodka is his lover tonight.”

The two women moved to one of the dark alcove booths along the wall, leaving them to speak openly without being heard, Ormond standing in front of the table, blocking any unexpected intrusion.

“Have you spoken to him in the last week or so since Uta was taken in by his bandmates? He won’t return my calls.” Davina’s standing in the community wouldn’t necessarily mean that Sakurai would automatically return her calls, but yet…

“He won’t return my calls either, darling. I am tempted to call Taka, I’d like to know how Uta is doing. I just don’t understand why Acchan is acting like a child. There’s no reason for this.”

Ormond moved away from the front of the table, as Teddy walked up to his mistress. “The cocktail waitress has now gone in with an entire bottle of vodka Ma’am, I thought you should know. I will return to my post.” Teddy bowed and went back to watching the door of Sakurai’s private room.

“An entire bottle? Oh Acchan…surely you don’t mean to get that drunk.” Madame F leaned back in the booth. “Should we just barge in? Do we insert ourselves into his private life without consent? Or do we wait and let events take their own path?”

“I’m not sure we should, but I am worried about him. Let us try to speak to him again tonight, maybe we can get him to at least stop drinking.” Davina was unsure.

“Let us try once more, then I believe we need to stop, we could be pushing Acchan’s patience to its breaking point.” Madame F tapped Ormond on the shoulder. “Come with me, you will stand with Teddy, outside the door.” Ormond nodded.

                Before Madame F and Davina could make their way to Sakurai’s private room, Teddy was standing in front of them. “Ma’am, Sakurai-sama just left his room…he’s…” Teddy stammered. “He looks very angry.” Davina frowned. “Acchan now what are you doing?”

                There was a commotion, the sound of breaking glass, and people shouting. Ormond and Teddy immediately stood in front of their Mistresses, shielding them from harm. Madame F pushed past Ormond and swiftly walked towards the dance floor. What she sees shocks her, and many others.

                Sakurai being restrained by two of the large bouncers, and a man lying on the floor, his face covered with blood. “YOU SICK SON OF A BITCH!” The man screamed at Sakurai. “YOU CAN’T KEEP YOUR PET COLLARED, YOU COME HERE AND GET SHIT FACED DRUNK? WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”

                Davina had her hand covering her mouth, holding on to Teddy’s arm, Ormond hovering behind Madame F. “What the hell is going on? Sakurai! Explain yourself!” she said angrily.

                “All I did was ASK if Uta was still his pet, then he grabbed me and FUCKING SUCKER PUNCHED ME! ASSHOLE!” The man in question lying on the floor was no one special in the community, just an average dominant, but he did nothing to warrant Sakurai’s attack.

                “YOU STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM UTA! HE’S MINE! HE BELONGS TO ME! I’LL KILL YOU IF YOU EVEN FUCKING LOOK AT HIM!” Sakurai was screaming hysterically, absolutely out of control, and very obviously drunk.

                “Sakurai Atsushi, you need to leave the premises. I am giving you a pass, I will not call the police into this, but you need to leave and do not return until your faculties are intact, sir.”  The manager of the club bowed and left the area.

                Sakurai wrenched his arms away from the bouncers, glaring at the crowd he turned and disappeared down the stairs, leaving everyone to wonder what has happened to their beloved Sakurai-sama.

                “Oh dear” Davina let go of Teddy’s arm, as she looked to Madame F. “Acchan, what have you done?” Ormond bowed to his mistress, “Are you alright, my lady?” Madame F patted Ormond’s cheek and gave him a quick kiss. “Yes, my dear boy, thank you. Davina, I think we need to call Taka and have him warn Uta. Acchan is on the war path, and he will take down anyone that crosses it.”

~

                “Tadaima” Uta called out softly as he toed off his shoes in the genkan, not sure if anyone was still awake. As he closed the door, Rima and Zepp waddled over to him, licking and snorting their greetings. “Oh… you silly pups…is this your Okaeri for me? Is everyone asleep already?”

                “No, we’re in the kitchen!” Yutaka called out. Uta walked down the hall to the kitchen, seeing Yutaka and Hide sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea and eating the last of Uta’s peanut butter cookies. “You’ll have to make these again, soon! They’re soo delicious. How was your boys night?”

                Uta made himself some tea, grabbed a cookie and sat down. “Ojisan’s ramen is to die for, and we even got a round of beer on the house!”

                “I have yet to eat at Ojisan’s, I’ve heard quite a lot about the place, and the man. I’ve heard he’s mystical and wise” Yutaka said in a low voice, trying to sound scary.

                “I’m not sure about wise, but mystical? Yah…he’s kinda creepy, but in a good way.” Uta devoured the cookie. “Creepy? How so?” Hide smacked Yutaka’s hand from grabbing another cookie.

                “He said some stuff to me, that he had no way of knowing about before…about Acchan and me. Taka said to pay attention to what he says, it’s usually dead on. He said that Acchan loves me but it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Uta involuntarily shuddered.

                “What an odd thing to say. He doesn’t know you or Acchan, does he?” Hide asked.

                “Taka told me that Ojisan said something about rescuing me quick, from Natsu because if they didn’t, I was going to die. And when Koichi and Tatsu were broken up, he called Tatsu a shameful man.”

                “Interesting. I guess you’ll just need to pay attention to what’s going on, see if whatever this Ojisan said, actually happens.” Hide patted Uta on the back. They sat together a little longer, Uta growing sleepy, and excusing himself, he went and took a hot shower. Drying his hair, he thought about what Ojisan had said, “How much worse can it get?” he muttered.

                Uta finished drying his hair and slid into his futon, hoping for a dreamless night. “Please Acchan, come back to me. I love you” he whispered into the dark.

~

                Taka groaned, “He actually attacked someone? Fuck, the man is losing it. Vodka? How much? Oh shit. Thank you for calling Madame F, I greatly appreciate it. Hopefully he doesn’t do anything more drastic than tonight.”

~

                Sakurai Atsushi stumbled his way from the garage, slamming the door as he made his way into the house.  “How dare he ask if Uta’s available…asshole. Doesn’t he know who I am? I’ll kill him if he even looks at Uta!” Staggering into the kitchen, Sakurai grabbed a glass of wine, and moved to his back patio, sitting in the dark.

                “This is all his fault! I’m this way because he’s driven me to this! Damn it Uta!” he snarled into the night. Taking out his phone he found the contact number and hit dial.

                Uta heard his phone, picked it up, his breath catching as he looks at the name on the screen.

                “Uh, hello?” he whispered

                “THIS IS YOUR FAULT! ALL OF IT!”

                Uta pulled the phone away from his ear, Acchan was screaming. “What? Why are you yelling at me?”

                “I saved you! You would still be with Natsu…or you’d be DEAD! I SAVED YOU! ME!” Acchan had no control over what he was saying, it just poured out of him.

                “Why are you calling me? You don’t love me anymore, so why are you calling me? Leave me alone! Don’t ever call me again! Just LEAVE ME ALONE!” Uta closed his phone and threw it against the wall.

                Sakurai held his phone to his ear…hearing the boy he loved, tell him never to call again, “I love you…please Uta,” He cried into the phone. He put the phone screen to his forehead, tears running down is face. He dropped the wine glass, not even hearing it as it shattered on the cement patio.

                “Uta?” Yutaka knocked on Uta’s door. Sliding it open, he found Uta curled up in a ball. “Baby, what happened? Why were you yelling?” The older man sat down, drawing Uta into his arms, petting the boy’s hair.

                “He just called me. He screamed at me that this is all my fault, that he saved me from Natsu, that I would be dead if he hadn’t saved me. He was yelling.” Uta was crying, but it was silent. No loud sobbing, no wailing. Just a deep silent cry, that felt like his soul was dying.

                “Oh, baby…Uta, I’m so sorry. Acchan is just acting like such an asshole. I wish I could tell you that he didn’t mean it. I think he’s probably drinking a lot right now. He tends to do that when his life gets rough” Yutaka stayed with Uta until the boy stopped crying. Kissing Uta on the head, and returning to his room, Yutaka swore under his breath.

                “What was that all about?” Hide asked as Yutaka slid into the futon. “Acchan just drunk dialed Uta, screaming at him about how he saved Uta from Natsu, and just…. FUCK! I’m so mad at him! He’s turning that boy into a basket case! I’m going to beat the shit out of him the next time I see him.” Yutaka burrowed into Hide’s chest, his husband drawing him close.

                “Babe, we’ll keep Uta safe. If Acchan is the one for him, then it will work out. If not, I’m sure Uta will find happiness with someone else. Whatever happens, Uta will live here with us, as long as he wants to.” Hide kissed Yutaka’s forehead. Hide knew that Acchan loved Uta, but the damn man was so stubborn. He sighed and closed his eyes, slipping into a restless sleep.

 


~

                Slumped against the toilet, Sakurai couldn’t remember the last time he puked as a result of drinking too much alcohol. “What am I…16? Pathetic…” he grunted. His mind was flashing different scenes, some that he remembered and regretted, some he wasn’t sure actually happening. Checking his phone, he didn’t see any calls from lawyers or police, so maybe the incident at the Fetish didn’t happen?

                Flexing his right hand and staring at the raw knuckles, he groaned. “Shit…I did hit him.” He leaned against the wall, his hands covering his face. “What the fuck am I doing?” He sat there, wallowing in self-pity, until he got the strength to get up and shower.

                Standing in the shower, with the water running as hot as he could stand it, he tried to dissect the events of last night, into nice little piles, labeling them; Fetish club in one pile, Vodka in the center, and everything else scattered around him. Uta.

                Finishing his shower, brushing the carpet off his teeth and making a large pot of coffee, Sakurai sat in his kitchen, alone with his fuzzy thoughts. Uta.

                His phone buzzes on the kitchen table, he reaches for it…opens it and groans. “Shit…here we go”

                “Yes, Yutaka?”

                “I heard you had a rather rough night, last night. Do anything stupid?” Yutaka’s voice dripped like sour milk, full of sarcasm.

                “And who did you hear that from?” Sakurai groaned. “We have a mutual friend that goes to the Fetish Club, and she said you made quite the scene. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?” Yutaka screamed so loudly, Sakurai dropped the phone.

                “There is nothing wrong with me. I had a bad night, that’s all. Leave me alone ‘taka.” Sakurai sighed. “I have nothing to say to you in regards to last night. Yes, I got drunk and hit someone in the face. Happy now?”

                Yutaka wanted to scream at him for drunk dialing Uta, but that would give away the boy’s secret. “No, I’m not happy now. I want you to take a good look at what you’re doing to yourself, and Uta, he deserves better than who you are right now.” Yutaka hung up.

                Uta.

Chapter Text

                He hadn’t felt this shitty in years…hung over at his age? “Pfft, I’m a jackass.” Sakurai Atsushi muttered to himself as he lay on the couch, wallowing in self-pity, drinking water and half ass watching some ridiculous TV program. Throwing his arm over his eyes, he sighs, “What the hell have I done to you, Uta?”

“Uta, he deserves better than who you are right now”

                Yutaka’s voice rings in a constant tone in Sakurai’s ears, the accusation perfectly clear.

                Falling asleep, Sakurai dreamed of Uta; his laugh, his hauntingly dark eyes, the sinful eroticism of the young man’s petite body…no longer in his arms due to his rampant insecurities and misdeeds. Uta reaching out for him, crying out his name, Acchan please…him pushing Uta away.

                Waking from the restless sleep, Atsushi realizes that he can no longer claim Uta as his own. He forfeited that the night before, by striking an innocent man for a mere question, and shaming himself in front of his community. The combination of the previous night’s events and his dream, had sealed his resolve, he had to finish it.

                                “I would like to apologize for my behavior last night, it was unconscionable, demeaning and absolutely abhorrent of me to call you and scream obscenities. You are not the cause of my problems, I am the cause of yours. I will no longer contact you. You need a lover closer to your age, that is not a jealous overbearing and controlling old man. Know that you can contact me if you are in need of any assistance. I love you…please be happy.”

                As he re-read the text before hitting SEND, he sighed. “Please Uta…” he whispered and hit the button. He closed his phone, and for the first time in years he cried himself to sleep, his heart breaking from the loss of his beautiful boy.

~

                Uta had just gotten out of the shower and was sitting on his futon drying his hair when his phone buzzed. Picking it up the caller ID flashes and his breath hitches. He opened his phone and hit the button. He read the text…he had to read it again to make sure he understood. Getting up, he walked into the kitchen and see’s Yutaka and Hide sitting at the table, having tea.

                “Uta…honey what’s wrong? Uta?” Yutaka sat up straight, looking at Uta’s paled face. Uta hands Yutaka the phone. “Acchan…” Yutaka hands Hide the phone, “Shit” Hide gives the phone back to Uta.

                Yutaka shook his head as he looked at Uta, “What will you do now?” Uta shrugged, “I don’t know, probably nothing. Just keep going to work and living here if you’ll let me.” The boy was looking at his feet, he wouldn’t make eye contact with either man. He wanted to sob, throw himself to the ground and scream for Acchan to stay…to love him, but he stayed silent and stoic, for Yutaka and Hide’s sake and his own.

                “Uta, you may live here as long as you wish. We are still your family, you’re not leaving here when and until you would like to.” Hide was speaking as softly as possible, he could tell the boy was in a fragile state.

                “I’ll pay rent! I can take care of Rima and Zepp…do the laundry! I’m not going to free load off of you! You’ve been more than kind to me.” Uta was stumbling over his words, which were being overtaken by his emotions.

                “Uta, you don’t have to pay rent! Honey we want you here!” Yutaka started to say something else but Hide held up his hand. “Uta, if you would like to pay rent, we will charge you 150.00 per month, is that workable?” Yutaka gasped, “HIDE! WHAT…” Hide reached over and placed his hand over Yutaka’s mouth. “If paying rent makes Uta feel more as an equal living here, then we will allow him pay rent.” Hide was furrowing his brow at his husband. “End of discussion.”

                Yutaka was swearing under his breath at Hide, “Thank you, Hide. I’ll start at the beginning of next month if that’s okay with you?” Uta felt a great deal of relief that he was not going to be forced to move. He loved living in the house with the two older men and their snorting farting little dogs. He had come to love them like parents, with a bit of flamboyance thrown in for good measure.

                “I’m sorry it ended like this Uta. But Acchan seems to have come to his senses, and I’m sure we will know more the next time we see him, which should be in a few days.” Hide hugged the young man, who he had become very protective of in a short time.

                “It’s alright, at least he won’t be drunk dialing me anymore and screaming at me.” Uta went back to his room and finished getting ready for work, trying very hard not to fall apart.

                “Paying rent? Are you fucking insane? That boy can’t pay rent! What the hell did you do that for?” Yutaka hissed at his lover. “Don’t get your panties in a bunch, love. When Uta pays rent, we will be putting that money in an account for him, a secret account. Once the boy decides to move out on his own, we will be able to give him a decent amount to start off on.”

                Like a light bulb, Yutaka’s face changed from dark to a bright smile. “Oh, you’re a sly fox!” Hide puffed out his chest a little, “Yes…I know. I can still be brilliant some times.” Hide leaned across the table for a short blistering kiss. “Wait until tonight, then I can show you how absolutely brilliant I can be.”

                Uta sat on the floor of his room, in an internal state of panic. Rereading the text again, he couldn’t decide if Acchan truly meant that their relationship was over…or if this was some sort of ploy to gain Uta’s sympathy.

                He read the text one more time, then closed his phone with a violent snap. “I haven’t got time for this shit!” he dressed quickly. He grabbed his bag and leaned into the kitchen, “Ittekimasu”

                “Itterasshai Uta-kun,” Yutaka called after the boy as he heard the front door shut. “Please have a good day, Uta.” Yutaka whispered.

 

~

                “Do you think he really means it? He loves you, Uta…how can he just throw that away?” Taka, Uta and Mao were standing in Taka’s office at the HBG, Uta informing them that Acchan was now out of his life. “I have to believe it Mao, after that drunk dial and him screaming at me? What else is there?” Mao shuffled his feet, “This doesn’t feel right, Uta…”

                “Don’t worry Mao, I won’t be coming after Kyo…he’s all yours!” Uta winked at his friend. “I didn’t say that! I wasn’t…okay maybe I thought that, but I know you won’t…shit, thanks Uta for making me feel like an idiot so early in the day!” Mao huffed, but a smile crossed his face. Uta reached around and hugged his friend.

                “Now what will you do and where are you going to live?” Mao knew who Uta lived with at the moment, but would he stay there if he wasn’t dating Sakurai?  “I’ll still be living with Yutaka and Hide, that’s not going to change but I will be paying rent and contributing to the household, just like any normal tenant.”  Both Mao and Taka offered their help if Uta ever needed it, and without any further discussion, the three men started their opening shift.

~

                “That seems extreme, don’t you think?”

                “I think Uta’s being smart, not falling apart on anyone, he’s stronger than he looks.”

                “Do you know anyone we could maybe set him up with? I’d hate to see him without anyone to love, or to love him.”

                “Babe, this is a little early to be pushing anyone off on Uta, give the boy some time. For what it’s worth though, I don’t know anyone off hand…and do NOT suggest Die!”

                “Die would be the last person I’d want Uta dating, he’s a nice guy but…”

                “See you later this evening? I have something special planned for us.”

~

                Mao was blushing a deep shade of rose, listening to the comments being made. Kyo kept his hand on Mao’s thigh, patting it reassuringly. “It’s okay, we’re always like this.” Kyo whispered in his ear. The special plans made by Kyo included meeting up with the members of Mucc and their boyfriends, at Ojisan’s for a small dinner party. Kyo felt Mao would be more comfortable in a public space, and not at Kyo’s flat, Ojisan’s was one of the few places where Kyo could be openly affectionate with Mao.

                “It’s nice to see you happy, Mao-kun…and you make Kyo happy was well.” Shinya was sitting next to Mao, and he had been watching his best friend with the younger man. “Thanks Shinya-sa… um, Shinya.” Mao was still a little embarrassed being surrounded by people that were somewhat famous, but listening to them tease each other, throwing barbs and jabs, Mao saw a group of friends having fun instead of a group of famous musicians.

                Ojisan walked up to Kyo, gazing at the man for a moment. “The young one you saved from death, his pain is still there but he holds it much closer these days. Watch your young friend carefully, his words are not convincing and there are others waiting in the wings for him as well.” Kyo nodded, he knew Ojisan was usually dead on with his insight.

                “Gentlemen, I will raise the beer limit to 4 tonight!” A general chorus of ‘arigato’ was heard by all but Kyo, as he sat there trying to understand what Ojisan had just said.

                As the night ended, Mao was squirming anxiously…he felt like there was something left to be done with Kyo, but he was unsure what it was. Walking to the train station, they stood against a wall, holding hands. “Do you work tomorrow?” Kyo asked quietly.

                “No, why?” Mao was shaking inside. “Would you like come home with me?” Kyo’s voice was barely above a whisper. “Uh…um, sure.” Mao hesitated before answering.

                 Kyo was holding Mao’s hand, occasionally squeezing it gently. Mao had texted his sister and told her he was staying with Kyo, in return, he got a text full of hearts, causing Mao to giggle.

                 Kyo raised an eyebrow, “What?” Mao showed him the text and Kyo chuckled.

It was a fifteen-minute walk from the station to Kyo’s flat, they walked quietly holding hands. Opening the door, Mao wasn’t sure what to expect. “Would you like some tea?” “Yes please,”  

                “I’m surprised at your flat…I thought it would be something like a raging bachelor pad…not sophisticated and stylish. I guess personal appearance doesn’t equal the way someone lives.” Kyo handed Mao his tea. “I gave up that life a long time ago, now that we’re successful, there’s no reason to live like I did when we first started, for one I’m happy not to be living with Die…he’s a slob.”

                Mao laughed, “Why am I not surprised? He’s a very sweet man, even though he’s a bit flakey.” Kyo set down his tea, turned on the couch to be facing Mao. “What do you want…for tonight I mean?” Mao tried to steady his gaze, eyes fluttering between looking at Kyo and the floor.

                “I’m not sure…” Kyo scooted closer to Mao, cupped his face in his hands, kissing him in a way made Mao feel safe, not pressured to do anything more than he wanted. “I will only go as far as you are comfortable with, whether that means I make love to you, or I don’t. Will you spend the night with me?”

                Mao nodded, whining softly as Kyo resumes his kiss, wrapping his arms around Mao’s waist and drawing him near. “Kyo…” Mao moaned as the older man licked his way down his young lover’s neck, nibbling softly on his collarbone, sucking on the skin, “Mine… all mine…” Kyo purred.

                “Can we move to my bedroom?” Kyo carefully asked, “Mmm” Mao nodded. Standing up and offering his hand. Leading Mao down the hall, Kyo suddenly stopped and pinned Mao against the wall, “Mmm… I just need a quick bite.” He nuzzled Mao’s neck, and bit lightly into the soft flesh, causing Mao to moan.

                Leading Mao into his bedroom, Kyo turned his lover, kissing him once again. “I know you’ve already heard the rumors or have talked to Uta or Ruki…but I promise you, if it’s what you want I will be so careful as to make sure you’re in as little pain as possible.” Mao gulped, he had heard the rumors and had heard Ruki and Uta talking about Kyo’s special physical attributes.

                “I trust you to not hurt me. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a boyfriend, so I’m just warning you in case I get a little too excitable.” Mao was blushing from his toes up. “I like excitable, makes things more fun.”

                Kyo kept his promise, and to an extent so did Mao. It took a little longer to prepare for the ultimate ending, but Kyo was gentle and thoughtful, and Mao appreciative and excited. This time, he made sure that Mao took a nice hot bath afterwards, considering he had forgotten to do that with Koichi, and the pain was considerable the next morning without it.

                Arms and legs entwined, Mao’s head on his shoulder, Kyo was nuzzling his lover’s hair, and was absentmindedly humming a tune. “What song is that? I don’t recognize it.” Mao murmured just on the edge of sleep.

                “It’s called Creep, it’s by a UK band, Radiohead.” Kyo kept humming. “Creep?” Mao snorted, “are you implying something?”

                “No, not with the title, but with the lyrics. Kyo softly sang,  “You float like an angel; your skin makes me cry” Mao looked up at Kyo, “Is that how you feel?” Kyo nodded, “There’s another lyric I love in this song.”

                                                “I want you to notice, when I’m not around”

                “Mmm, I already do. I look for you when I’m at work, thinking you’re going to walk up and surprise me. Every time I get a text I hope it’s you.” Mao felt confident enough for a few small confessions, but not the ultimate, he wasn’t quite there yet but he felt it coming.

                Kyo pulled Mao closer, kissing the boy’s forehead, “You just fit perfectly against me…remember what I said?” Mao giggled “A good fit or some shit” I remember, so I guess it’s true, I fit you in all the right spots.”

                Just before Mao was lost to sleep, he heard Kyo mutter “Mine…I have my own now, you’re mine alone to love.”

Chapter Text

 

                Every day felt like an eternity, every second a waste of time and the act of breathing seemed forced. If there was no rehearsal, he didn’t bother to get dressed, there was no point in doing so. The questioning by his friends was becoming tedious, the same answer to everything…I’m fine, I’m just tired.

                Imai and Toll had started glaring at Sakurai, Yutaka wasn’t speaking to him, which left Hide the only person that would remotely spare him the time of day. “You need to call him, Acchan, stop being an ass.” After each statement, Sakurai’s response was a middle finger, or a fuck you. Hide would just shake his head and return to what he was doing.

                “He doesn’t even mention Uta anymore, it’s almost as if Uta never existed.” Yutaka would complain in private to Hide, but he was so angry with Sakurai he didn’t trust his mouth. “I don’t want to say anything, what if I let it slip that Uta’s here with us?”

                Why don’t I call Uta? Does he miss me…or has he moved on?

 

                Uta was in the same shape as Sakurai. His cheerfulness was replaced by a heavy miasma. His physical health had returned, even if his emotional health was suffering. Both men were existing, but neither were living.

                Taka was worried about his friend, the boy seemed to be slipping into that zone of nothingness, that encased him when he was with Natsu. “I’m going to ask him to come over for dinner, maybe I can weasel out of him what the problem is.” Taka thought maybe Uta needed to be somewhere else, other than at work or at home, although he insisted he was happy where he was living.

                “You can try, I’ve got no problem with that. We can’t force him to open up, as we can’t force him to contact Sakurai. You submissives are a stubborn bunch.” Sato winked at his husband. “Duh, we have to deal with our dominants being dumbasses a lot of the time.” Taka shot back.

                “Oh my god…I just thought of something!” Taka’s eyes grew wide. “Do you think Uta being collared would be a good thing? Straight up, collared and contracted…traditional roles.”

                “I doubt it, with the destruction he had with Natsu? I’m not sure he should even revisit some simple dominance. I just don’t see him feeling comfortable with that.” Sato felt that annoying creep up his spine, that someone’s shit was about ready to hit the fan.

 

               

                “This was delicious Sato! Thank you so much for inviting me…it’s nice to be out with friends.” Sato cleaned the kitchen while Taka and Uta sat on the couch, playing with the twins and talking, Taka trying to draw out the reason for Uta’s depressive moods.

                “Has he even tried to contact you, other than the last text?” Taka watched every step as he pried into Uta’s life.

                “Nope, not a word. I’m guessing he’s not even talking much at rehearsal with the others. Yutaka and Hide never saying anything about it, not like I ask either.” Muzzie was in Uta’s lap, flat on his back with his paws curled up, Uta stroking the cat’s fur quietly.

                “We haven’t heard anything either, but it’s not like we every see those guys much, unless it’s a DCR event, or we go to a Buck Tick live. Koichi said they’ve got some fan club lives coming up. We may go, I mean even though we’re not in the fan club, Koichi has connections.” Taka leaned back as Fozzie ran over the couch and into the kitchen upon hearing Sato opening cans.

                “Are you going to start dating…not that you have to but being alone sucks and I found that out the hard way.” Taka remembers his days after Sakurai had canceled their contract.

                “Probably not, I need to have some time to myself, which I haven’t had in forever, between Kyo, then Natsu and Sakurai, I haven’t really been on my own much in the last three years. It’s better that way, then nobody gets hurt.”

                “Don’t think like that, it’s wrong. I’m not going to let you back off life like that. Believing that being alone is better than being with someone, because then nobody gets hurt? Uta I almost died because I thought that…I believed that if I was alone or gone, Koichi would be better off, Sato could find a new husband and Sakurai would feel guilty. Tatsu did the same thing, and he came pretty damned close to dying as well. That’s not the right mind set to going into being single.”

Taka had picked up Uta’s hand, squeezing it for emphasis, “You’re not alone, you have all of us. Yutaka and Hide obviously care a great deal about you, or you wouldn’t be living there, ne?”

Uta giggled, “I tell them that they’re like my parents but with more flamboyance. I love living there, the dogs are super cute and Yutaka’s a pretty decent cook, although Hide likes my peanut butter cookies better.”

Sato looked at Taka and nodded, telling him to ask the question.

“Do you think if you would have agreed to be collared and contracted, that things might have gone differently?”

“Maybe. We tried to keep that out of the bedroom in the beginning, but that didn’t last long.” Uta looked at Sato, who had his back turned, then he leaned in towards Taka, “We had started with just blindfolds and pining me down, then the fight happened. He’s a natural dominant, I’m a natural submissive, it was difficult to keep it out of the bedroom completely.”

“I’m going to play devil’s advocate right now. IF he were to call right now, apologized and ask for forgiveness, would you go back?” This was a critical question, Taka had thought about not asking it at all.

“I don’t know… we never dated, just like you and Sato. We just had that one night here, that we talked all night, and obviously that didn’t solve any problems. I can’t answer that, he’s so stubborn, and pigheaded and he won’t listen to me! He ignores my wishes and acts on his insecurities…that’s why I ended up it this bullshit drama…he created it.” Uta sighed, slumping back into the couch, petting Muzzie’s tummy.

“I wish I had the answers for you, Uta. I hate seeing you like this, you deserve so much more! Acchan can be a bit of an asshole, we all know and have seen that, but this is just him being childish and selfish.”

“Thanks Taka, you too Sato…thanks for listening to me whine…but I really have no one else to talk to about this shit but you and Koichi. I don’t mean to dump all of this on you…but it helps me feel a little better.” Uta leaned over, dumped Muzzie out of his lap and hugged Taka.

 

Lying in bed together, Sato and Taka were snuggling down for the night, talking about Uta. “Well, you at least got some answers and opinions, but no solutions and I have no suggestions either. Maybe Uta and Sakurai were not meant to be with each other, in my heart it feels wrong that they’re apart, but…” Sato’s train of thought trailed off.

“I think they do belong together, but Acchan’s being such a dumbass. He’s so clingy and needy…I never thought I’d see that in him. He’s always so calm and confident, and that fight he was in, totally blew that belief out of the water.” Taka slung an arm and a leg over his husband, causing Sato to pull him in tightly. “At least Uta is safe and healthy…happy? Not yet, hopefully soon.” Sato kissed Taka on the forehead and turned off the light.

 

~

                “Mao, Kyo’s here, he’s waiting on the far side of the patio.” Aki had just come in from cleaning the patio area just before closing. Mao had his ban removed by Taka once everyone had settled down and there would be more verbal or physical drama. Sakurai however still had his ban in place mostly for Uta’s comfort and not the HBG.

                “Thanks Aki…almost done up front then we can go.” Mao’s attitude had improved much over the last few weeks, most attributed to his relationship with Kyo. The odd couple somehow had found their groove and were moving along quite nicely.

                “Hi babe…ready to go?” Kyo slid his arm around Mao’s waist, pulling him for a blistering hot kiss. “Yep, let’s go home.” Mao had been staying at Kyo’s house most nights that Kyo didn’t have work the next day. The couple were becoming more comfortable with each other, with Mao proclaiming this was the best relationship he’d ever been in and had also introduced Kyo to his sister and her husband.

                “Mao-kun…he’s a bit…um” Mao’s sister couldn’t find the word to describe her little brother’s boyfriend, “Abrasive, spikey, terrifying, scary…” Mao offered. “No…he’s none of those, he’s introspective! Kyo doesn’t throw around extra words if they’re not needed…he’s very much to the point.” Mao had to laugh, “Yep, you nailed it…he doesn’t waste time on unneeded conversation.” Mao’s sister didn’t seem overly concerned with the age gap, as some might. “So, he’s a little older…more experience! He’s got a steady job…well as much as being a famous musician can be considered a stable job. As long as he takes good care of you, I’m good.”

                Mao’s sister and Kyo had hit it off immediately, the two were having a laugh over a childhood story about Mao…with Mao and his brother-in-law glaring at the two. “I don’t want him around here if she’s going to start telling stories…after they’re done with you, she might start telling my stories!”

                Kyo felt comfortable around Mao’s family…he had his own, but they lived way outside the city. “I’ll take you to meet them at Christmas…my sister will love you…and I’m sure my nephew’s and nieces will too.”  The new couple had lucked out that both of their families were so accepting of their relationship.

                “Um…can I ask you something without you freaking out on me, please?” Mao and Kyo were laying in bed, after another intense love making session. “Of course, I promise not to freak out unless it involves snakes or some kind of weird food.” Mao frowned at his lover. “Uh, no…no snakes or weird food. How do you feel about sometimes me topping you?” Mao had this sly coy expression he was wearing.

                “I’m fine with it. But can maybe I blindfold you while you’re doing it?” Kyo was teasing. “Oh, hell yah you can!” Mao surprised Kyo with his enthusiastic response. “Blindfold you…while you’re topping me…isn’t that a little backwards?” Mao shrugged, “Ok, we’re both blindfolded…how’s that?”

                Kyo laughed, “That may be awkward…but sure, why not?” The couple had found that they had somewhat similar tastes in lovemaking, leaving Kyo somewhat curious on just how far he could push things.

                Kyo admitted to himself, and now to Shinya that he was falling hard for Mao. “Kyo, you seem like you’re ready to burst…I haven’t seen you like this in years.” Shinya hugged his friend. They were at Ojisan’s for lunch, taking a break from recording. “I am happy, you’re right. He’s a bit of brat, I’ve had to spank him a few times, but we’re good together.” Ojisan had heard Kyo talk about spanking, which made the older man blush.

                Turning to Kyo, Ojisan looked at the small man with the large presence. “The young one that didn’t need to be saved…he’s in love with you. Make sure you tell him frequently, how much you love him in return. He’s still fragile enough to break, but if you love him the way you have loved the others, he will become shatterproof.”

                Ojisan then frowned, “The young one with the lover who is being stubborn, he needs to be careful. Something isn’t sitting right, and there may be miscommunication, he needs to look with his heart before he decides to move on.”

                Shinya glanced at Kyo when Ojisan was speaking about Mao. “Do you love him, Kyo? You don’t want to be toyed with, and Mao doesn’t deserve it either.” Kyo nodded, “I’m falling hard for him, you’re right about that. I’m just gun shy…I told Koichi I loved him and look where that went.”

                “You were his safe keeper, your young man needed to be rescued and held safe until the other one was gone. You did what was right…you kept him safe until he could be reunited with his husband. There is no shame in what you did.” Ojisan nodded, turned and went back into his kitchen.

                “Mao isn’t Koichi…there is no Tatsu waiting for Mao…there is only you. Tell him, Kyo…Don’t wait until it’s too late, it may make a huge difference in your relationship with him.” Shinya patted his friend on the shoulder.

                “I’m guessing Uta and Sakurai have not reconciled? That’s sad, I thought Uta was the one…that would keep our Acchan in line.” Shinya started to say something, but Ojisan interrupted.

                “Send the stubborn one here. Have him come and sit at my counter.” The man then turned once again back to his kitchen.

                “Hmm, if anyone can get through to Sakurai, it’s Ojisan.” Both Shinya and Kyo agreed. “I’ll call Taka, he’ll be able to figure some way to get Sakurai here. I’d loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.”

                “Ojisan, would you also like to see the young one, that is connected to Sakurai?” Shinya had a thought. “Not together, it would do neither one to hear the other’s complaints.”

                “Arigato, Ojisan. We will try to get them both here, on separate nights.” Shinya bowed and left with Kyo.

                “You’re going to tell Mao…aren’t you? Don’t wait too long…he may feel unloved if you do.” Shinya hugged his best friend and left for home. “I’m going to tell him, I promise.” whispered Kyo.

 

~

                “Get out of the way! You’re blocking my view…damn it!” the man muttered as he stood behind a large hedge. “There…now I can… Uta!” Sakurai Atsushi, the Dark Prince, was hiding behind a large hedge, spying on his ex-boyfriend. He had sunk to a new low in his opinion and probably many others. He couldn’t just approach Uta…the boy would probably cuss him out or run. But he had to see the boy, even if he couldn’t speak to him. The weeks had dragged on, panic every time his phone rang or chimed, hoping it was Uta.  “Uta… baby…please…” he whispered.

                Sakurai no longer went to the Fetish in search of privacy within the crowds, the temptation to drink heavily barred him from going. Now he had resorted to stalking his ex-boyfriend, hitting a new low in his life. 

                Standing behind the hedge, Sakurai’s breath caught…Uta was on the patio! “Uta…baby…” he whined. The boy looked healthy, somewhat happy…or not. There were no dark circles under his eyes, his hair was clean, but where was he living? He had to be living close by…but with whom? “Kyo…” he growled, assuming the worst.

                He stood up as Uta walked back into the building, resigning to himself that today’s stalk was over. As he moved away from Tokyo Tower, his mind was ditching thought after thought…no it can’t be, yes… probably, fuck!   Walking into his house, he went straight for the wine…not arguing with himself about drinking. He wanted so badly to call Uta…to hear his voice.

 He set down his empty glass…the third glass and picked up his phone. He opened it, his finger hovering over the keypad…second thoughts. Closing his phone, he laid his head back on the couch. “What the fuck are you doing to yourself? To him?” he snarled.

He opened his phone once more, “Where are you?” he hit SEND before changing his mind, then he turned the phone off. “He’s not going to answer anyways, it’s none of my business where he is.”

 

“Tora…um, could you do me a favor…please?” Uta was standing in the back of the HBG when his phone chimed. Opening it, he sees the familiar name. “Uta?” Tora looked at the young man, “What’s wrong?” Uta gave his phone to Tora, “Could you read the text? I don’t want to…” Uta whined. “Are you sure? It could be really private.” Uta nodded, “Okay…” Tora read the message, sighing that it was really nothing. He handed the phone back to Uta. “It’s okay…just erase it”

“Why is he texting me now? Damn it Atsushi!” Uta had stopped thinking about the man every second, and had started moving on, realizing that the man was lost to him.

“At least he didn’t drunk dial you…that’s a plus” Tora pushed Uta in the shoulder, trying to lighten the mood. “Well there’s that too…” giggled Uta.

 

~

                “Taka-kun, we have a request from Ojisan. Well it’s a bit strange but we think it will work. Ojisan would like to have Sakurai sitting in front of him at some point, very soon. Yes, he does know about Sakurai, but has never met him. No, not Uta…Ojisan wants to speak with him after. Yutaka? He could probably do it if no one else. Thank you Taka-kun.”

 

~

                “Ojisan? OHHH! That’s the mystic that owns the ramen hut! No, we haven’t but Uta has spoken about him, that he knows things that he shouldn’t. Hmm, I bet we could wrangle him there after rehearsal. Uta? He hasn’t said a word about Uta in over a week, closer to two…No, of course not. Really? Well, I’m sure you and Kou-kun can get him there with no problem. I will for sure…this should be very interesting!”

Chapter Text

“We need to talk…but I don’t want to do it here. Will you please go grab something to eat with me?” Yutaka had decided to offer the olive branch of peace to Sakurai, mainly to get him to Ojisan’s so the wise man could talk some sense into him.

                Sakurai smiled, “Yes ‘taka. Where would you like to go?” He was relieved to finally be able to speak to his friend, considering Yutaka had been the angriest with him over his treatment of Uta.

                “There’s this ramen hut… nothing fancy but I’ve heard rave reviews from a lot of the boys over at DCR, it seems to be somewhat of a down scale version of our regular restaurant. Tatsuro and the Mucc boys, Gazette and Diru included as well, have been frequenting it for several years now.” Yutaka was hoping that the additional mention of Mucc, would sway Atsushi.

                “A good ramen is never passed up. Let’s go.” Yutaka offered to drive in order to hold Atsushi captive to an extent. The man wouldn’t be able to escape once Ojisan started talking to him. Walking up to the small restaurant, Atsushi smiled. “Looks like a place I used to eat at back in the old days.”

                “Irasshai gentlemen, please have a seat. What can I get you to start?” Ojisan stood directly in front of Atsushi, looking at the man. “Ojisan, you come highly recommended by our friends in the band Mucc…it seems that they have been long time customers”

                “Yes, those young men hold a special place in my heart, I cherish them dearly.” Ojisan poured them each a beer and returned to the kitchen to prepare their food. “What did you want to talk about, ‘taka? Please don’t say Uta…that’s off limits.”

                “No…I wanted to talk about the three lives coming up for the Fish Tank. I’d like to offer some special comp tickets to various members of DCR bands, mainly because we are always crashing their parties.”

                “That seems reasonable, I don’t think management would have a problem with that, how many tickets are we talking about?” Atsushi drank his beer, leaned back when Ojisan placed his food in front of him.

                “Hmm, good question. Mucc has four members, they each have a partner, so that would be eight, but I say let’s offer 20, in case we’ve missed someone?” Yutaka took his first bite of the ramen, pausing for a moment.

                “Oh! Ojisan! This is amazing! Now I know why you come so highly recommended!” Yutaka shoved another bite into his mouth, making yummy noises. Atsushi picked up his chopsticks and took his first bite, also amazed at the flavor.  “Ojisan, this is indeed amazing ramen! I may have to become a frequent customer as well.”

                The two men ate and talked about the upcoming lives, when the conversation lulled, Yutaka took a chance, and looked up at Ojisan and winked.

                “I know you don’t want to talk about it, but are you really sure you are done with Uta?” Yutaka took a chance and told a tiny white lie, “I saw him recently in Harajuku, with his friend Mao, at a shop. He looks healthy, but his smile is gone, Acchan won’t you please talk to him?”

                Atsushi closed his eyes, “I don’t think it can be repaired…I think it’s been shattered.” Ojisan made his move, standing in front of Sakurai Atsushi, wearing a frown.

                “The young one, you saved him from a certain death at the hands of the other that had broken all the rules, took him in and loved him, yet you sit here and lament that it is shattered. Shattered by whom?  The young one is lonely but refuses to acknowledge it, he’s done with being weak, and you have problems with his new-found confidence.  You watch him like a spy in the night, but will not approach him? Stubbornness is born out of conceit and self-importance, and you’re overflowing with both.”

                Atsushi gaped at the man on the other side of the counter. “What did you just say? How…” Ojisan smiled, “You wear this out in the open so everyone can see, but you are the one who is blind.”

                “Ojisan, how do you know this? We’ve never met…have you been speaking to Uta? Or someone else?” Yutaka patted Atsushi on the thigh. “Acchan, listen to what he’s said, please…listen!”

                “That young one, has been through absolute hell in the last several years. He has almost died twice at the hands of others. He believed that you were his safe place, his last hope for love. I have watched this young one since he arrived…if you do nothing to remedy what you have torn apart, there is a good chance that there will not be another savior…is that what you want?  The boy Uta is on his last chance for happiness, if it is not you…” Ojisan leaned on the bar, getting close to Sakurai’s face.

                “The small man with the large presence is no longer in the young one’s life, he has another that he loves. He will rescue this young one if needed as a dear friend, but the young one will remain alone.”

                “Kyo?” Ojisan smiled. “Uta’s not with Kyo? Then who is he with?” Atsushi turned to Yutaka. “You know, don’t you?” Yutaka just smiled, not saying a word. Atsushi sat back in his chair, staring at the man across the counter. “How do you know these things old man? Are you a prophet?”

                Ojisan just smiled before he turned and went back to his tiny kitchen. “This is why you dragged me here, isn’t it Yutaka? You knew about this…this mystery man?” Atsushi was wearing a crooked grin, obviously not upset with his friend.

                “I was just told that Ojisan has the best ramen and pork cutlet in town, a hidden gem. This was just a bonus!”  For the first time in months…Sakurai Atsushi laughed, mostly at himself. “Oh, what an idiot I am! Thank you Ojisan, and Yutaka…my friend, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have some things I need to work on before I do anything.”

                As they paid their bill, Atsushi left a very generous tip, “Please use this to pay for free ramen to anyone who needs it, Ojisan.” Just as they reached the door, Sakurai Atsushi bowed from the waist, holding the bow for several seconds. Ojisan nodded in thanks.

~

                “Sato and Tatsu are in the studio, and we’re bored eating with just each other. So, you’re available, you get to come with us! Sato’s buying dinner…no reason to say no.”

 

                Uta stood in front of Ojisan’s, waiting for Koichi and Taka. He’d pretty much been bullied into eating dinner with the two men, but he had to admit, a free meal was a free meal. “Uta!” Taka walked up and threw his arm around Uta’s shoulder, “Can’t beat free food, right?” Uta shook his head, rolling his eyes, “There is something else…I know you two too well…better not be what I think it is.”

                “Uta, I promise that we did not invite Sakurai here, we’re not that stupid.” Taka chided. Uta still didn’t believe them…there was something else going on.

                “Irasshai gentlemen! Please have a seat and I will be with you shortly.” Ojisan turned to his tiny kitchen, making a great effort of being heard cooking, instead of listening to Uta. “Where are you? That’s a weird thing to say…that was it?” Koichi was just now hearing about the text from Sakurai.

                “Yep, not another word, just like the two other times.” Uta shrugged. “Two other times? Um, I have no clue what you’re talking about.” Koichi looked at Taka who didn’t know either. Uta then explained the I love you, text and the bunny slippers.

                “You get in this huge fight…and he texts you bunny slippers? What the hell does that even mean?” Taka was giggle snorting, as Uta told them the story behind the bunny slippers.

                “You’re telling me that Sakurai Atsushi, the Dark Prince, the Gothic King, wears bunny slippers at home?” The three men were silent…then the all busted out laughing. “Oh my god…what the Fish Tankers would do to get that information. I wonder if Imai knows? If he doesn’t, we need to tell him.” Koichi was laughing the hardest, because he totally understood the goofy gesture by Uta.

                Teasing each other until the food arrived, Ojisan watched Uta carefully. He waited until they were finished eating, then Ojisan walked up and stood in front of Uta.

                “Young one, your older gentleman is a stubborn man, conceited and prideful. He does not know how to love, there have always been rules for him.” Uta kept eye contact with Ojisan. “Love has no written conditions, young one. You can not demand, what you will not give of yourself.” Ojisan winked at Uta and went back to his kitchen.

                Uta didn’t say anything for a long time, just ate his ramen with his eyes cast down. “Uta? Um…” Taka put a hand on Uta’s shoulder. “He’s right…all of it. Acchan doesn’t know how to love…he’s always been in control, he told me he’s had only one normal relationship. Maybe he can’t love me the way I want him to.”

                “Young one, listen to me. Your older gentleman loves you with everything he has. It’s up to you, to teach him how to be an equal partner, unless you want the written conditions? If you want that contract of love, then you must express yourself, he can not read minds.” Uta’s face paled when Ojisan mentioned a written contract of love.

                They quietly finished their meal, but Ojisan had one more thing to say to Uta, “Uta, I have watched you all these years, I have watched your friend’s care and concern for you.” Ojisan came around from behind the counter, and stood in front of Uta, both of his hands on the young man’s shoulders. “Uta-kun, you’re loved. You’re wanted. You’re worth everything and more. Sakurai can give you those things if you allow him. He is a conceited man, some of it not his doing, legions of people would love to be near him. He has a difficult time with emotions. Teach him how to love. Be the one he can love.” Ojisan pulled Uta in for a hug and kissed the boy’s forehead. “Next time you visit, bring the stubborn one with you.”

                Ojisan turned and walked back into the restaurant. “Holy shit…Uta! I’ve never heard him say anyone’s name before.” Taka was wide eyed and Koichi had his mouth hanging open. “What do you mean?” Uta was confused.

“You’ve always been the young one, Kyo is the small man with the large presence, Tatsu was the shameful man, and Masa well… he was something that nobody would put a name on. What I’m getting at is this…Ojisan’s usually dead on with his wisdom or advice or whatever you want to call it, he told us to move against Natsu quickly or you would die. He must believe that you are something special Uta, we already know that.” Taka tried to explain.

                “For Ojisan to use your name…Sakurai’s name, is important. We have never been able to figure out how he knows things…that in reality he should have no information on, but everything I’ve ever heard him say, either has come true, or is true. Trust me on this one, Uta. Ojisan says you need to be with Sakurai, you’re the one who is going to teach him to love. Just accept it.”

 

                As Uta lay in bed that night, he went over his life of the last few years, his relationships and the actions that might have caused the problems. He knew he had no fault in relation to Morrie. That was not his fault…Morrie was a rapist, so Uta checked him off the list.

                Kyo was more difficult. He bore some of the responsibility of their breakup, he knew he did. Instead of confronting Kyo about it, he chose to let the man go. When Koichi and Kyo were over, he refused to listen to anything Kyo said about Natsu, instead of opening his arms and loving the small spikey man.

                Natsu. That was 50% his fault, if not more. He should have left after the first incident of violence, not the domination in the bedroom, but the rapes, the beatings, bites that bled, the mental abuse. Yes, he was at least half at fault with Natsu.

                Sakurai. He wasn’t even sure where he was on this one. “It’s half my fault,” he whispered in the dark. If I had not stressed wanting my own flat, we’d still be together…but he just wouldn’t listen!

                He thought about what Ojisan had said, he knew it was true. But how to approach it? He couldn’t just call Acchan up and expect to go back to where they were…no, changes had to be made by both of them, but how to start?

                “Uta?” Yutaka knocked on Uta’s door. “Yes…come in.” Uta sat up on his futon. “How was your visit with Ojisan today?” Yutaka was wearing a naughty smirk. “How…how did you know?” Yutaka sat down next to his young friend. “Acchan and I had lunch there today. Your friends and I have been busy bodies…but with all the right intentions.”

                Uta snorted, “I knew it was something! Those liars!” he giggled. “What happened when Ojisan talked to him? Did it freak him out?” Now it was Yutaka’s turn to snort, “Beyond belief! It was hysterical to watch Acchan’s face almost melt off…he was stunned.”

                “What did Ojisan tell him?” Uta got a little quiet. “To stop being such a prideful conceited asshole…well in so many words. He told Acchan that you were not with Kyo, which evidently he thought you were…I still have not told him you are living with us, but he has guessed that I do know where you are.”

                “Ojisan told me that I was the one to teach Acchan how to love. He also brought up being collared…well contract of love is what he called it. That Acchan can’t read minds, and that he doesn’t know how to love and I’m the one to teach him.” Uta peered up at Yutaka, “How do we start this? I can’t just call him and start from where we left off, so what do I do?”

                “Leave that to us, we’ll get you there…if that is where you want to be? Do you love Acchan, Uta? Is he who you want to spend your life with?” Yutaka reached out and caressed the boys cheek, “Yes…I do. Please…Yutaka, help me win him back!”

                Yutaka flung his arms around the younger man and placed a kiss on this forehead. “Yus! I’ve been waiting for this since you moved in! Uta, you do truly belong with Acchan…he’s been so miserable without you, and I have seen that you’re not in the best place ever. Let Hide and I work on a few things that we already had in mind. You just go back to work and keep calm.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

                Uta felt like he hadn’t slept at all, with dreams of Acchan plaguing his mind through out the night. He dragged himself through his morning routine, Yutaka and Hide saying little knowing that Uta had a lot to consider. He dozed on the train on the way to the HBG, and stumbled into work, only to be greeted by an overly enthusiastic Mao.

                “Uta…what’s wrong? You look like shit!” Mao hugged his friend. “Gee thanks Mao…you look…like you’re happy!” Uta snorted. “I’m just tired, Mao. I have a lot on my mind today. But I’m glad at least you look happy…which I’m going to assume is because of Kyo, ne?”

                Mao nodded. Kyo’s name still made him blush. “Mmm, yep, super happy actually.” Uta put his arm around Mao’s shoulder, “I told you…well I yelled it actually and cussed you out…that Kyo is the best thing to ever come your way…and now you know!” Uta teased Mao about the small blow up they had just weeks earlier.

                “Has he confessed yet? Have you?” Uta wanted to keep his problems out of the conversation, and by focusing on Mao, it was a simple ploy. “No, not yet. I’m terrified he’s going to freak out…I won’t say it until he does, just to cover my ass!”

                Mao and Uta teased each other back and forth during the first few hours of work, and neither one realized that there had been a delivery at the back door, until Taka walked up with a huge arrangement of roses.

                “Holy crap…who’s that for?” Mao gaped at the flowers. “Uta, these are for you” Taka smiled and put the flowers on the counter. “Me? Who would be sending me flowers?” Both Taka and Mao said ‘DUH’ at the same time.

                “Really Uta? You’re not that stupid… you know who sent those to you!” chided Taka. “Here’s the card” Taka handed Uta the tiny envelope with the card. Upon opening the envelope, Uta was confused, the card had pictures of flowers on it, and nothing else.

                “What does it say?” Mao looked over Uta’s shoulder. “Um, it’s just a card with pictures of roses, and what they mean. OH! What colors are there?”

                “Red, white, lavender orange. Red, well we all know that, white means purity and wedding, lavender means love at first sight, and orange means passionate romance.”

                “How many are there?” Taka counted quickly. “Eleven” Uta made a small sound, and Mao read the card, “’you are truly loved’ if there are eleven roses! Uta, you know these are from Sakurai…who else would be sending them?” Mao nudged Uta in the ribs, “Maybe Kyo?” giggled Uta. “HEY! He’s MY boyfriend, go get your own.” Mao shoved Uta’s shoulder playfully.

                “Should I leave these on the counter, Uta? They look nice right here” Taka moved the flowers to a center spot on the back counter. “Mmm, they do look nice.” Uta had butterflies, banging against his ribs, did this mean? “Taka, can I use my phone really quick? I want to send a text.” Taka waved Uta off, and he ran back to grab his phone from his bag.

                His hands where shaking as he typed two words, ‘Thank You’, and hit SEND quickly, so he wouldn’t back out of the message. He put his phone back in his bag, too nervous to wait for a reply.

                Sakurai had been waiting for a response for the flowers, negative or positive, from the minute he knew they’d been delivered. Sitting in his kitchen, he held is phone in his hands, staring at the screen until he was cross-eyed. It took two hours until his phone finally chimed. His heart pounding and his hands clammy, he opened the text, it simply read, ‘Thank you’.           

                With no hesitation, Sakurai quickly text back, “You’re welcome.” Getting up from the table, Sakurai quickly took a shower, his heart lighter than it had been in months. “Soon, Uta baby, soon.”

                “Uta for fucks sake! Go check you phone, you’re driving us all crazy with your pacing!” Taka gently shoved Uta towards the supply room, “Go ahead…” Uta turned red, “Thanks Taka, it will only take me a minute.” Uta trotted off to the supply room, grabbed his phone out of his bag and flipped it open. His breath hitched as he saw Acchan’s name on the display, he quickly opened the text. You would think that two words couldn’t make someone as happy as Uta felt. Those two words were the first on his path back to his lover, the only person he could ever imagine himself with, even after all the bullshit between them.  He quickly put his phone back in his bag, and went back to work, all smiles.

 

~

                “That sounds like something Sakurai would do, the man isn’t stupid by any means. If he is truly trying to reconcile with Uta, he’s going to have to totally kick it up. The different color roses…yah that’s pretty classy.” Kyo and Mao were in a private room at the restaurant having dinner, Mao telling him about Uta’s roses.

                “I guess Sakurai texted Uta as well, because after he went and checked his phone, he was so spaced out, smiling and giggling randomly for the rest of the shift. He teased me about you…it was cute.” Mao waited for Kyo’s reaction.

                “Oh, how so?” Kyo had his elbows on the table, his chin in his cupped hand. “At first, he didn’t understand who the flowers were from, and then he said “Maybe Kyo?” but he was giggling about it…just playing of course. We all told him Duh, the flowers were from Sakurai, so we teased him for the entire shift.”

                The conversation felt forced during dinner, both men nervous for the same reason. Kyo had resolved himself to confessing to Mao, with Mao thinking the same thing. Kyo rarely drank, and it was a dead giveaway for Mao, when Kyo ordered more than just one beer, with Mao ordering a cocktail as well.

                The train ride back to Kyo’s was silent, holding hands but not looking at each other. Mao had dry mouth and Kyo kept bouncing one leg, tapping on his thigh with nervous energy. After arriving at Kyo’s flat, Kyo took Mao by the hand and led him to the couch. “Sit…we need to talk.” Mao suddenly became scared, was this a confession or a break up?  “Um, okay.”

                Mao watched Kyo’s face, seeing the internal struggle the man was having, but not with how to word a breakup. Mao reached out and held Kyo’s hand, smiling at his lover. “Do you want me to start?” Kyo’s head snapped up, “What? No…I mean, how did…”

                Mao scooted closer to Kyo, almost sitting in the man’s lap. Reaching out Mao took Kyo’s face in his hands, “I think I know…and it’s the same for me, I love you Kyo” he then gently kissed Kyo. The older man’s eyes flashed wide open, he grabbed Mao into his arms, his head buried in his young lover’s neck, “I love you too” he whispered. “I was so fucking scared to tell you…but I just had to, even if you didn’t love me back.

                 “Well I’m glad you’re not breaking up with me…this is a relief.” Mao teased. “Break up? Why the hell would I break up with you?” Kyo was stunned that it had even crossed Mao’s mind. “Because…in the past, when I think everything is going great, guys break up with me. I was sort of prepared, not that it would have been easy or anything. I was hoping it was going to be a confession, I’ve held mine back for weeks!”

                “Weeks? Seriously? Then why didn’t you say you loved me sooner? Shit, I’ve wanted to say it for over a month, but I didn’t want to scare you off.” Kyo flopped back on the couch and laughed. “Damn we’re either stupid or…I don’t know what we are!”

                “We’re fucking cute as hell…well I’m cute, you’re just fucking hot.” Mao threw himself on top of Kyo, touching foreheads and rubbing noses. “I love you,” Kyo bear hugged Mao. “I love you too.” The rest of the evening consisted of more confessions, with much heavy breathing, kissing and more than a few rounds of love making.

                By the wee hours of the morning they had exhausted themselves, cuddling together to greet the day. “Do you want to change anything about us? Not like I top you or anything, but…well,” Mao had not gotten any vibes from Kyo about the topic of living together and didn’t want to just ask to move in.

                “Hmm, maybe a few and topping me would be among them if you so choose. What did you have in mind?” This was Kyo’s next step, although he had the feeling that he already knew what Mao was going to ask, but Kyo stepped in ahead of him, “I want you to move in with me.”  Mao laid in Kyo’s arms, just short of dozing off, “Mmm yes I’ll move in with you, I’m tired can we sleep now?” Kyo kissed Mao’s cheek and pulled the boy in close, happier than he’d ever been.

~

                Taka had given Uta a ride home, so the boy wouldn’t have to drag his large bouquet of flowers with him on the train. Sitting in the front seat Uta was hidden by the flowers, the scent filled the car. “Damn, those are some smelly flowers…better not put them in your room, you’ll suffocate!”

                “Tadaima…” Uta struggled to open the door, closing it by a kick. “Okaeri Uta-kun” Yutaka was sitting on the back patio with a snoring pug Zepp in his lap. “I wondered where he was, Rima came to the door…figures it’s Zepp’s nap time.”

                “How was work this morning?” Yutaka did not know about the flowers, Sakurai had not spoken to him since the lunch at Ojisan’s. “Well, you can come see for yourself…” Uta winked. “What?” Yutaka woke up Zepp, placing the dog in the chair. Walking into the living room, Yutaka gasped, “Oh my! Those are beautiful! Let me guess, Acchan?” Uta nodded. Walking over to the flowers he took out the card. “Hmm, interesting. Looks like he picked all the right colors. Have you spoken to him yet?”

                “No, I just texted him thank you…he replied you’re welcome, nothing exciting but this is a start” Uta gazed at the flowers, knowing it had taken time for Acchan to pick the right colors. “I don’t want them in my room, can we leave them out here so everyone can enjoy them?”

                “Thank you, Uta…that’s very sweet of you. I’ll put them on the table behind the couch.” As Yutaka was moving the flowers, his little wicked mind was burning. “Uta, can I use your flowers tonight?”

                “Use them for what?” Uta didn’t understand the request. “Oh, I want to tease Hide and tell him I got them from a secret admirer. Something to ramp up our sex life.” Yutaka winked at Uta, which made Uta giggle. “Sure, just don’t let him yell at me when he finds out the truth!”

                “What’s your next step with Acchan? Have you thought about it in advance?” Yutaka was rearranging the flowers, adding some water to the vase. “No not really, but I should have some sort of plan I guess. Any suggestions on how to start?”

                “Hmm, I think texting should be your first step, then I’d probably move to phone calls, visiting you at work for lunch.” Tapping his finger on his chin, Yutaka took a moment, then looked at Uta. “I also suggest not waiting too long to tell him where you live. He already figured out that I know, and he does know you’re not living with Kyo, Ojisan told him that.”

                “How did Ojisan know? Did you tell him?” Ojisan continued to freaked Uta out with the information the man had, when there was no logical way for him to obtain it. “Nope, Ojisan told Acchan that you’re not living with him, and that Kyo had another that he loves, Mao-kun. Needless to say, it freaked Acchan out, like gaping at the man with his mouth hung open.”

                “I never did ask you…how did you find out where I lived? You said something about an anonymous call, that they told you where I lived.” Uta had his suspicions but never voiced them. “I had two calls, back to back that night, from two women. They both said they were associates of Acchan’s, and told me you were in danger, and gave us the address. I never did find out who they were, although I have an idea. I did call one of them back, it went to voice mail, and just let the woman know that you were safe at our house.” Yutaka often wondered about the women.

                “Associates of Acchan’s? Hmm,” Uta thought of the women that knew Acchan. After a few moments his eyes flashed wide, “Oh. My. God. I think I know who they are… but how did they find out where I lived? Damn it!” Yutaka perked up at this, “Who! Uta…tell me!”

                “It has to be Madame F and Davina, they’re the only women I know that could be called associates.” Uta smiled. “They’re dominatrix’s, they helped me to get away from Natsu. They’re very nice women, Davina especially. The first night Acchan saw me at the Fetish, she tried to get me to leave right then…I wanted to but I was so drugged up, I couldn’t speak.”

                “That does make sense, Acchan does have an entirely different set of friends outside the industry. But how would they find out where you lived, nobody else knew did they?” Yutaka loved a good mystery…and this was even better than a book.

                “I didn’t tell Taka or any of the others where I lived, so who found me?” Now Uta was a little miffed, who the hell found him and how? “I guess I really shouldn’t be mad, I mean I was in a shithole and I was starting to feel like I did when I was with Natsu. Acchan would have flipped out and dragged me back to his house, and at that point he wasn’t listening to me at all.” Uta sat up straight suddenly. “Shit! I remember Madame F being at the HBG!”

                “You what? When?” This caught Yutaka’s attention back. “She came and ordered a drink from me, she called me ‘dear boy’. I sort of remember her saying that when I was at the Fetish, with Natsu, but she didn’t look like she did that night.”

                “I would highly doubt that Madame F, as a dominatrix would wear her ‘work clothes’ out during the daylight hours.” Yutaka teased. “Work clothes? That’s an interesting way to put it, but you’re right, she was just dressed normally. I wonder if Davina was with her? If they came to the HBG, then Taka is somehow connected…he has to be!”

                Just as Uta had finished his last sentence, Hide could be heard in the genkan. “Quick! Hide in your bedroom!” Uta jumped up and ran down the hall, hearing Hide talking to the pugs. Sliding his door open just a bit, he could hear the mumbling of words, some of them sounding a little tense. Uta started to sweat, wondering if he should go down and tell Hide the truth. Before he could move, he heard laughter, Yutaka’s laughter and then Hide’s.

                “Uta, you can come out now,” Yutaka called him. Sheepishly Uta walked down the hall, seeing Hide wearing a super fake frown. “You little turd! You let him talk you into this ruse?” Hide had his hands on his hips, Yutaka was behind him, sticking his tongue out which caused Uta to giggle. “Hey, I’m just the flower boy…blame your husband for everything else.”

                “They are beautiful, Acchan out did himself this time.” Hide admired the flowers. “Let’s hope he keeps this up…he really needs to spoil you a bit…don’t let him in too quickly, milk it for all it’s worth! Make him spend a bit of the money he hoards on you…go big!” Hide had a fist up, shaking it at Uta, who just laughed.

                “Yah, okay…I’ll have him buy me a sports car, I want a diamond ring, and a standard poodle and his name will be Rico Suave, and a Siamese kitten, oh we should have a pool put in too!” Now all three of them were laughing, coming up with more outrageous ideas as they went along.         

                “When do you think I should tell him that I live with you?  I really don’t want him screaming at you, that wouldn’t be fair” Uta wanted to avoid any sort of dramatic scene. “You can tell him when you’re ready, and not before. It doesn’t matter to us, he’s been mad at me for months, I just tell him to fuck off and grow up.” snarked Hide.

                “I might have the perfect idea for this Uta, if you’re willing to wait two more weeks?” Yutaka whispered something to Hide, who’s face broke into a huge grin. “PERFECT! Oh baby, you’re so stinking sneaky sometimes, I love you!” Hide laid a huge sloppy kiss on Yutaka’s cheek.

                “We have a Fish Tank live coming up, and I had already suggested that we give some free tickets to the Mucc boys and their partners. I think if we did that…and had you in the audience without him knowing… having that be the first time he see’s you, would be epic!” Yutaka clapped his hands gleefully.

                Uta thought about it for a moment, “I think that’s doable, two weeks of texting and maybe talking on the phone. That’s time enough to get him really worked up…does that make me sound evil and vindictive?”

                “I think that makes you smart…two weeks isn’t much, if he can’t control himself for two weeks, then I would tell you to re-think your relationship with him.” Hide was serious on the issue, and Uta could sense it.

                “If he respects you, truly loves you and is willing to give your relationship another go as long has he’s changed, two weeks is nothing.” Yutaka threw in his opinion. Uta was undecided on how exactly he was going to start, but he felt he had to do something soon.

Chapter Text

                Taka knew something was in the works when Uta asked to speak to him privately in the office. Shutting the door behind him, Uta glared at his boss. “You did it…didn’t you? Who helped you?”

                Taka was puzzled, “Um, what did I do?” Uta huffed. “You told Madame F and Davina where I lived, didn’t you?” Taka’s heart stopped...shit.

                “Um… well I sort of…it wasn’t all…fuck.” Taka stammered. “Can we please wait until Aki and Tora come in? Then I’ll explain everything, I promise.” Uta was still glaring at Taka. “You’d better explain it all, I’m not entirely happy with this.”  Taka watched Uta’s back as he left the room and slammed the door. “Oh shit…now what?” Taka muttered.

                In their usual boisterous entrance, Taka and Uta both always knew when Tora and Aki had arrived for their shift. Uta planted himself in front of the office door, looking agitated. “You…both, in the office now.” Uta growled. Tora and Aki stepped back one step, the unusual gruff manner of Uta surprising them.

                “Come on in guys, this is important to Uta.” Taka was resigned to the fact that he was about to be yelled at. Tora and Aki meekly entered the office, they could feel Uta’s hostile stare on their backs.

                “Which one of you did it? Which one of you found my address…and how?” Uta started with the easy questions. Tora and Aki looked at each other and Aki slowly raised his hand. “That would be me”

                “How?” Uta needed to know how easy it was. “Um, I did a search of your name, against current credit reports” Aki wouldn’t look Uta in the eyes. “Why? That’s personal information that is not usually made public, why would you do that Aki?”

                “Uta…you were so sick looking, you were scaring the shit out of all of us…almost as bad as when you were with Natsu, but worse because you were doing it to yourself and I couldn’t stand by and watch it. If you hate me, then that’s okay, I totally understand. But I did it because I love you” Aki looked over at Tora, who smiled. He knew the type of love Aki was referring to, nothing for him to be threatened by.

                “Taka, are you the one that involved Madame F and Davina? Just tell me the truth.” Uta’s face had softened a bit, it was hard for him to be angry with his friends.

                “Koichi and I went to the Fetish Club…” Before he could finish, Aki, Tora and Uta gasped. “You took KOICHI to the Fetish Club? Holy fuck, how are you alive? Tatsu would have beaten the shit out of you!” Uta was amazed that Taka was sitting in front of them.

                Taka grinned. “He doesn’t know. Anyway, we talked to both the ladies, told them what was happening. Evidently, Acchan had been going to the club and sitting in his private room, drinking but not being involved with any activities.”

                “But how did they know I was in trouble?” This part wasn’t clear to Uta. “I asked both women to come and see you at work, and that’s when the shit hit the fan. Both Madame F and Davina were livid…Madame F was angry, told me that if no one came for you that night, she would take you home herself, Davina said the same thing, they were angry with Sakurai as well.” Taka remembers how vicious Madame F sounded that day. “Both of the ladies were also in tears, Davina was ready to send for Teddy at that moment.”

                “Teddy?” Uta, Aki and Tora didn’t know who the man was. “Davina’s pet…he’s a rather beefy young man. She was going to call Teddy and have him physically move you to her house…and neither one wanted you as a pet…they just wanted you safe.”

                “I gave both ladies Yutaka’s phone number, and I’m assuming they both called, telling him that he needed to get you that very night.  Later that night, Madame F called me and told me that you were safe, that Yutaka had taken you from the flat.” Taka stood in front of Uta. “I’m not going to apologize for this Uta, no way in hell am I sorry that I did this. You might not like the fact that I got involved, if you choose not to be my friend anymore, I’m good with that, as long as you’re safe. Uta you looked like you were on your way to the same condition you were in when you were with Natsu. I’m not sorry I did any of this, so you’ll just have to deal with it.” Taka walked out of the office.

                “Taka’s right Uta, Aki and I aren’t sorry we did this either. We’d rather not be your friends, as long as you’re alive and well. If you want to be pissed off…like Taka said, that’s fine with us. We love you, that’s all I have to say on the matter.” Tora grabbed Aki’s arm and pulled him out towards the counters, leaving a stunned Uta standing alone.

                Uta sat down, reeling from the information his friends had just given him, trying to sort his emotions; anger, sadness, gratitude. All three combined into one was the best way to describe how he felt at that moment. “They did it for me…they care about me…why am I being such an asshole then?” Uta felt ridiculous, he shook his head and chuckled, “Uta, you’re a fucking idiot.”

                He left the office and walked towards the counters, first encountering Tora. He stood in front of his friend, then lunged and threw his arms around the taller man, kissing him soundly on the cheek. Backing away, he made a bee-line for Aki, and repeated the act. Taka watched, and as Uta made his way towards him, Taka jumped over the counters and ran, laughing like a child. “HA! Stopped you, didn’t I?”         

                Tora had other ideas and ran out the back door grabbing Taka as he rounded the corner. “UTA! HURRY UP…I HAVE HIM!” Tora was quite a bit stronger than Taka, pinning the man’s arms to his side long enough for Uta to run up to Taka and fling his arms around his friend, and as with the others, kissing him soundly on the cheek.

                The three men had drawn a bit of a crowd on the patio, with girls covering their mouths and giggling, a few adults pointing and shaking their heads in confusion, but Uta, Tora and Taka were shoving each other and laughing.

                Making their way back into the HBG, panting and out of breath, Uta stopped and gazed at the three men standing before him. “I’m sorry guys, I didn’t mean to come off…wait yes I did if I’m honest with myself. I’m an asshole…a huge jerk, I’m sorry. I should be saying thank you for being such amazing friends.” Uta then bowed.

                The rest of Uta’s shift was full of joking and throwing of fruits at each other, and at one point, almost hitting a customer, who laughed it off and told them it was good to see people enjoying themselves at work.

                A delivery came to the back door, leaving Taka to miss out on Aki putting ice down Tora’s back. When he returned, he had a large box in his arms, addressed to the ‘Staff of the HBG’. “What the hell?” Taka put the box on the counter and cut it open. Inside, there were six identical Sake gift sets, each including a brand of Sake from the Gunma prefecture.

                “Shit! These are super nice!” Taka pulled one out, it had a tag with Tora’s name. “Me? I don’t know anyone from Gunma,” Taka proceeded to hand out the gift sets, setting aside one for Koichi and for Mao.  “Who would send these? I don’t get it.” Aki looked in the box, no card, not even an invoice.

                “Sakurai sent these…” Uta said quietly. “How do you know?” Tora was inspecting the Sake carefully. “Acchan is from Fujioka…this has to be him.” Taka glanced over at Uta. “Are you okay with this Uta? Would you rather we send it back?”

                “I’m fine, I think this is his way of apologizing to you all, for being such an asshole lately. He’d be offended if we sent them back.” Uta was blushing all the way to his toes, feeling a bit warm. He could tell that Acchan was trying very hard to make up for everything, and the fact that he understood he had caused problems with Uta’s co-workers and friends, gave Uta more hope for a true reconciliation.

                The rest of Uta’s shift went smoothly, suggestions of having a sake party at Taka’s house thrown around, with everyone excited except Taka. “You really don’t want to see me drunk, ask Koichi, he’ll tell you all it’s a very bad idea.” Uta had taken his phone with him on his break, decided to text Sakurai and thank him for the gifts.

                “That was very nice of you to send the gifts for everyone, they all really liked them.” Uta hit the send key and put his phone away, starting in on his lunch. His phone chimed just as he was finishing up, he stopped to look at the text.

                “You’re very welcome. I know that I caused an extreme amount of pain for you and your friends, and I truly regret that. Tell them all to enjoy their gifts and give them my humble apologies.”  Sakurai was pleased that the gifts were received well. He wanted to continue to text Uta but did not want to pressure the young man.

                Uta was feeling the same, wanting to talk to Sakurai, but having no clue as what to say. Sakurai decided for him, “Can I text you later tonight when you’re through with work?” Sakurai was taking a chance. He didn’t have to wait long, “Yes, I’d like that” the boy quickly replied.  Uta returned from his break, giving them Sakurai’s apology and trying to hide his excitement over the chance of texting Sakurai when he got home.

                Mao and Koichi were the closing shift and were both in awe of the gifts from Sakurai, “You should piss him off more, Uta…I could use a nice tea set.” Mao joked. Koichi was also very pleased, “This is a nice gesture Uta, I really believe he’s being honest with himself, finally!”

                The shift change went smoothly, with Uta hurrying out to catch the next train home. What am I going to say when he texts me? When do I tell him where I live? Uta had more questions than answers at that point.

 

                “Tadaima… hello Rima, where’s Zepp?” Uta bent down to pat the chubby pug and he toed off his shoes in the genkan. Making his way towards the kitchen, it was clear that no one else was home. “Snack time.” Uta busied himself making a quick snack, making sure he ‘accidently’ dropped bits of food for Rima and Zepp. He sat at the table eating and staring at the Sake set. Uta giggled as he remembered the outrageous suggestions for gifts, the car and the diamond ring. “He probably would buy all those if I asked” he admitted, “I don’t really need those things…I just need you Acchan.” Cleaning up after his late lunch, Uta hoped that Sakurai would text him first, relieving him of the headache of coming up with a conversation starter.

                Taking a shower and changing into track pants, Uta laid on this futon staring at his phone. He had flipped through the pictures of Acchan and himself in happier times. The difference now was that the pictures and memories gave him happiness, instead of making him cry. Just as he was going to text Yutaka about dinner plans, his phone chimed…it was Sakurai, and he wasn’t entirely ready, his nerves taking over.

                “Are you home?” Sakurai didn’t remember when Uta’s shifts were over, something he berated himself over.

                “Yes, for about an hour now.” Uta’s hands were shaking as he text.

                “Can I say something first?” Sakurai took a deep breath and started pushing keys.
                “I’m sorry for being an insanely protective, controlling insecure jealous asshole, who wouldn’t listen to my lover and his needs. I had no right to tell you where to live, I had no right to expect you to bow down to my needs. I’m sorry.”

                Without realizing it, tears had started falling from Uta’s eyes as he read the text. “I’m sorry for being a stubborn brat, who threw temper tantrums when I didn’t get my way.

                There was a brief lull between texts which worried both men, had they angered the other?

                “Can we not speak of the past anymore? I want to move forward. Looking back only makes your neck hurt.” Uta was done living in the past, he needed to start living in the now and looking into the future…a future he hoped with Acchan.

                “That’s fine with me, I also want to look to the future…with you and only you. Is there anything you’d like from me? Ask and it shall be yours.” Sakurai was smiling broadly, visions of Uta and he living together again.

                Uta could only think of one thing, “Patience, please. I’m not ready to jump back to where we were before.

                Sakurai agreed with Uta, push the relationship reconciliation too quickly, it may backfire and then become damaged beyond repair. “Of course, we can move as quickly or as slowly as you like.”

                The silence between them was deafening, until Uta took a chance. “Thank you” He typed out the three words and hit send before he could back out. “I love you

                Tears formed in Sakurai’s eyes when he read the text…he was on his way back to his beautiful boy, “I love you too, oyasumi baby.”

                “Oyasumi Acchan

 

~

                “That should get his attention…maybe to the point he won’t be able to continue.” Imai warned. “Nope, I don’t think that will be the case, if anything the effect of seeing Uta will just the opposite, we could have the best live ever.” Yutaka had just told Imai the plan for the upcoming live, with the free tickets and Uta being in the audience. “I was hoping that Uta had better sense than to fall back into Acchan’s trap.”

                “IMAI! You’re not around Uta on a constant basis, the boy is lonely and still deeply in love with our Acchan! They both made mistakes, Acchan’s a little bigger, and Uta’s a little more dangerous. You didn’t see him Imai, when we brought him home. He was skin and bones, dirty and on his way to being dead, AGAIN!” Yutaka was furious with Imai’s blatantly nonchalant attitude.

                “He’s right you know. Uta was very close to collapsing when we got him home. It’s both their faults, about 50/50 in my eyes. Acchan being stubborn and paranoid, Uta being stubborn and defiant. But they’ve worked through that, or at least their trying to.” Hide added. Imai had to rethink his preconceived notion on what was going on between Uta and Acchan.

                “Are we agreed then on the comp tickets for the Mucc boys? Do you remember how Acchan responded when he saw Taka in the crowd, during Lady Skeleton? I’m sure this won’t be too different, other than Acchan might jump off the stage and start humping Uta right there!” Imai and Hide tried to look shocked at the statement but realized who it was coming from and it was to be expected.

                “Yes, I think that the Mucc gang plus Uta would be okay with the venue, as long as all the Fish Tankers have their tickets. It will be an interesting night, wonder if anyone will discover who Acchan is singing to? Oh…what song though?” Imai had been working on the set list.

                “I think we leave that up to chance. Once Acchan see’s Uta he may ask for a specific song. He won’t use Lady Skeleton… did that with Taka-kun” Yutaka acknowledged. “This is just a hunch, and I think we should rehearse it just in case, let’s put Flame in the set list, that might be the perfect song.”     The day progressed as they went through the set list, waiting for Sakurai to appear for rehearsal.

                “Gentlemen, are we in good spirits today?” There was a weird aura emanating from Sakurai when he came into the room, Imai taking a chance to tease his friend. “Oh god, he’s happy…look at him. All smiles and ponies with glitter on their asses.”

                “Glitter on their asses? Really Imai?” Hide smirked. “I arrived in a pleasant mood, I suggest you work hard to keep me this way.” Sakurai got his equipment out and prepared for rehearsal. “And why are we in such a good mood? Something that we should know, Acchan?” Yutaka quipped.

                “If you must know, Uta texted me earlier, and it was rather nice.” Acchan sniffed. “Rather nice? What kind of a text is ‘rather nice’?” Now Hide was in on the teasing. “All of you can just fuck off. There is nothing you can say to me today, that would dampen my spirits.” Turning with a flourish, Sakurai picked up his mic, “Let’s play.”

~

                Koichi was sitting in his office, doing DCR paperwork when an email chimed. He didn’t recognize the address, which made him cautious. Emails like this had come before, bearing ill will and maliciousness, so he hesitated before opening it. “Tatsu?” He rolled his chair into the hallway. “Babe?” Tatsu popped his head out of the kitchen, “Hmm?” Koichi waved his arm, “Can you come see this please?”

                “What’s wrong?” Tatsu leaned against Koichi’s desk. “I don’t know who this is from, and I’m a little worried about opening it.” Tatsu looked at the address, “Go ahead.” Koichi opened the email and then broke into a smile. “It’s from Yutaka…about a live” he was relieved it wasn’t some sort of monster announcement. “Can you handle this? I mean I can hold your hand while you read it or pat you on the back to reassure you.” Tatsu mocked his over anxious husband. “Get the fuck out of my office, or no sex for you!” Koichi shoved his husband away.

                Koichi read the email, then decided to call Taka, who’d be more than excited for the concert. “Hey, can you stop by on your way home from work? I just got a great email invitation.”

 

                “So, what’s the invitation?” Taka was sitting in the kitchen with Koichi, who was waving a piece of paper in front of him. “Read this!” Koichi gave him the paper. “Damn, seems like Yutaka’s going through a lot just for Uta…not that he doesn’t deserve it of course. But why us?”

                “I spoke with Yutaka before you got here and he said it’s basically a thank you for letting Buck Tick always crash the DCR parties, specifically Mucc events. Hey, I’m all for it! Free tickets AND a surprise for Sakurai? I’m in…you think the others will be as well?”

                “I know Sato will want to go, what about Tatsu?” Taka was speculating on who would accept. “Tatsu, do you want to go to a free Buck Tick live?” Koichi leaned back in his chair and shouted out to his husband, who was in the garden. “Yes! If its’ free… hell yes!”

                “Guess that answers the question. I’m sure as long as Kai and Shinya don’t have anything going with their bands and I don’t think they are…they’ll want to go as well. This should be fun! I can’t wait to see Sakurai’s eyes when he sees Uta for the first time!”  Koichi emailed Yutaka back and let him know that it was an enthusiastic YES!

                                                “Looks like the plan in finally in motion.”                   

 

                “Oh god, Uta! Acchan is going to have a fucking heart attack when he sees you! Holy shit…your hair! It’s amazing, let me see the clothes!” Yutaka had taken Uta shopping and Uta had his hair re-dyed to the beautiful blue-black that had faded out over the last few months. Hide was almost speechless as he saw Uta for the first time, walking into the house with Yutaka.

                Showing Hide the clothes; skin tight black pants with a snakeskin like embedded pattern, a very sheer black shirt, and a beautiful black coat with silver chain accents, Hide knew that Acchan was in for a huge surprise. “You think he’ll like this?” Uta was unsure, but hopeful.

                “Honey if he doesn’t jump off the stage and fuck you right there, I’ll be surprised” giggled Yutaka. “Um, I don’t want that! I just want to make sure he see’s me” murmured the embarrassed boy. “He’ll see you, so will everyone else, hopefully he doesn’t fly into a jealous rage…shit I didn’t anticipated that.” Yutaka admitted.  “He’ll be fine, don’t worry so much! Let’s eat dinner, I’m freaking starving.” Hide pushed Yutaka and Uta into the kitchen.

                After dinner, they were watching TV, when Uta’s phone chimed. “Excuse me” Uta whispered as he got off the couch and went down to this bedroom.

                “Will you allow me to call?” Uta looked at the text, deciding to take the initiative himself, pushing the dial button.

                “Uta? I was going to call you, if you would have allowed it” Acchan was surprised to say the least.

                “Um, I just thought I’d do it instead…was I wrong?” he waited for the anger.

                “God no, baby. I’m glad you called.” The awkward silence started. “Have you been working a lot?”

                “Mmm, yes…I need the money and I do like my job, though we’ve been really silly lately.” Uta felt that work was a safe topic.

                “Silly? How so? I would think it would be difficult.” Sakurai’s voice was shaking, he hoped Uta didn’t notice it.

                “Aki and Tora are working together again, and they usually cause some sort of problem, throwing lemons, or ice down your back. Thankfully Taka doesn’t seem to mind. Tora almost hit a customer when he threw a lemon at Aki.” It felt so good to hear his voice again, leaving Uta with the chills.

                “Throwing lemons? You naughty boys…you could injure someone, I’m sure Taka doesn’t appreciate all the foolishness.” Acchan’s voice was light, teasing.

                “Taka’s the worst of us all! He’s really bad about snapping towels at your butt, he’s good at it and it freaking hurts.” Uta giggled, which sent sparks straight to Acchan’s heart.

                “Baby, it’s so good to hear your voice again. You have no idea how lucky I feel that you’re willing to work towards a new us. I love you” Acchan said softly.

                “I…I don’t even know what to say. I miss you so much, I want to be with you again. Please, be patient with me.” Uta whimpered. “I love you Acchan.”

                Both men sighed as they closed their phones, both wanting the same thing but are willing to wait until it’s the right time. Too many of their friends had moved too quickly into their relationships only to have them fall apart. It seemed to be a pattern, and one that was not worth repeating.

 

~

                Uta looked at himself in the full-length mirror in Yutaka and Hide’s room. The clothes that Yutaka helped him pick out fit nicely and his hair, he was so happy with his hair and with that for the first time in months he felt himself completely returned.

                Sato and Taka were picking Uta up, as Yutaka and Hide had left hours before, to get set up at the event. With Uta coming into view, Sato and Taka both wolf whistled. “Oh my god, Uta you’re going to give Acchan a fucking heart attack! Damn…if I wasn’t married, I’d fuck you in a heartbeat!” Taka blurted out. “HEY!” Sato punched Taka in the arm, “Sorry babe, but shit! Look at him…he’s fucking sex-on-a-stick fuckable!”

                Uta was blushing a deep red, not believing all the comments from Taka. “It’s not that good Taka, sheesh. Don’t hit on me in front of your husband!” Uta warned. “Oh, don’t worry, I’ll make it up to him later.” Taka wiggled his eyebrows at his husband.

                They were meeting the rest of the group at the venue, and much of the same reaction from the others, when they saw Uta. “Uta-kun, you’re gorgeous!” Shinya hugged the young man, happy to see him healthy again. Yukke got an elbow to the ribs from Kai, “Quit drooling honey, it makes you look like a pervert lusting after the boy.” Kai winked at Uta. “But Kai! He’s so delicious looking ne?”  Miya added his two cents worth but whispered in Uta’s ear, ‘You really do look amazing Uta-kun, I’m happy for you.” But the best reaction came from Koichi and Tatsu.

                “Um, Uta…what would you think of maybe leaving Acchan and living with me and Koichi? We have a large house and a king-sized bed…plenty of room for one more.” The group gasped and ‘TATSU!’ was heard over and over again. Koichi leaned in to whisper to his friend, “He’s joking, but play along, it might be fun.”

                “Hmm, what else could you give me Tatsu? I do think you and Koichi are fucking hot…add me and we’d be burning. I’ll think about it, make the offer a little better and I’ll even go as far as considering it seriously” Uta challenged.

                “Let me get back to you, Uta. I may have a few incentives to offer.” Tatsu teased. To play up the joke, Koichi placed Uta between he and Tatsu in the seats, while they waited for Buck Tick to start. Taka leaned over to Koichi, “You guys are playing, right? There’s no way you’re serious about this.” Koichi grinned and shrugged. “Uta’s fucking hot Taka, look at him. Tatsu’s drooling, and I’m willing to share, but only if it’s with Uta.”  Taka’s mouth when slack jawed. “There’s no way he’s serious” he muttered under his breath.

                Just as Taka was going to say something more to Koichi, the house lights went down and the cheers rose, Buck Tick was taking the stage. Yutaka was out first, waving at everyone and smiling that cute babyface grin. Toll was next, throwing drum sticks into the crowd Hide and Imai took the stage, with Imai taking a picture of the crowd.

                The tension rose as they all waited for their Dark Gothic Prince to appear. Uta was nervously shifting his feet, his hand covering his mouth, this was the moment he’d been hoping for…to see his lover face to face for the first time in months.

                Sakurai Atsushi strode out to center stage, wearing black on black. Uta’s breath hitched, he tried to swallow but his mouth was dry. Koichi watched Uta’s reaction, as did Taka. They both took one of Uta’s hands in their own, squeezing it reassuringly.

                The opening chords of Dada Disco began and they were all lost in the sound of Buck Tick. Uta’s eyes were wide as he watched his lover move around the stage, mesmerized by the sexual power that radiated from Sakurai Atsushi. He now understood the difference between that man, and his Acchan, they were two separate people entirely.

                Uta glanced around him, looking into the faces of Buck Tick’s fans, now understanding the fanatical reverence that was heaped upon the players. He looked at Taka in wonderment, the man obviously a huge fan…even with his history with Acchan. He then turned to Koichi, who was now standing in front of Tatsu, who had his arms around Koichi’s waist, randomly kissing the boy’s head.

                It wasn’t until the third song that Sakurai finally saw Uta. The lights had come down and the beginning strains of Romance had started. Sakurai stands at his mic stand, singing to the crowd, purring the breathy dark lyrics. He moves from behind his mic stand, moving towards the front of the stage, and dropping to one knee.

                His expression doesn’t change the second he makes eye contact with Uta, but for the remainder of the song, he never once looked away from Uta. At the conclusion of the song, Acchan moves to speak with Imai, “I want to do Flame, please…” He looked to each of his friends, his band mates who were more precious than family.

                No one in the world mattered more than Uta at that very moment. Acchan poured everything he had into the song, every word, every move was for his boy. Uta couldn’t tear his eyes away from the man for even a second, he was captivated, entranced. The audience could sense that Acchan was singing to someone, but they didn’t know who. People looked around the general vicinity of Uta, but there were so many people, male and female, that they could not pinpoint the person.

                At the end of the song Acchan was still staring at Uta, then he made eye contact with the others in the group. Much like with Taka, Acchan bowed low, holding it for several seconds. And with that, the live ramped up to include the crowd. Uta was shaking and had to sit down, Taka leaned over, “Are you okay?” Uta nodded but remained seated until the end of the first set.

                As the crowd filed out of the theater, Tatsu and Sato headed towards the bar but not before a warning shot from Koichi, “I’m watching you Mister! Anyone even gets close to you, my claws are coming out and they’re deathly sharp” he snarled at his husband, who was a little taken aback. Koichi stepped away from the bar but stared at Tatsu the entire time the man was ordering drinks.

                “Kou, really? Masa’s not here, lighten up.” Taka teased, which earned him a dirty look from his bestie. Koichi was feeling a little uncomfortable, this was the first time he’d been at the venue since the train wreck known as Masa had arrived.

                Taka was watching Uta carefully, trying to gauge the man’s reaction to Acchan singing to him. “Feeling okay Uta? Pretty intense isn’t it. I know it was when he did it to me, scared the shit out of me actually.”

                “I’m fine, but you’re right it is intense. He was singing to me, wasn’t he?” This wasn’t a question as much as a statement. “Uta-kun?” Shinya had walked up, “Are you alright honey? You look a little pale.” Shinya was as much of a mom as Yutaka. “Yah, I’m fine. It’s just weird seeing him that’s all, it’s been awhile. But we talked on the phone the other night, so it makes this a tiny bit easier.”

                The second set was about to begin and the crowd started to file back into the theater, Uta was more relaxed now and intended on enjoying the show, this was the first time he’d seen Buck Tick live. By the end of the evening, Uta was sweaty and exhausted, Buck Tick outdid themselves as they usually did for the Fish Tankers. “Maybe I should join the fan club! I could do it under a fake name, and just show up at the lives” Uta joked.

                “I’ll join if you do, Uta…Koichi you should too! We can get all the Fish Tank merch!” The trio huddled together before they all divided up into their own groups, for the drive home, promising to get together soon for an evening at Ojisan’s. “Maybe when you’re back with Sakurai, Uta-kun, and then we can invite Mao and Kyo, Aki and Tora…we should book a private party!”  This got them all worked up again, and with much pulling of arms, the group finally broke up.

                “Tadaima.” Uta knew he had arrived before the others, but that didn’t stop Rima and Zepp from running to the genkan and demanding attention. “Oh, poor babies you were all alone all night...guess what? Snack time!” Both dogs wiggled uncontrollably, as they had come to learn what ‘snack time’ meant, Uta’s favorite way to sneak treats to the dogs, by dropping tidbits on the floor in the kitchen.

                He was sitting in his room, after a late snack and a shower, having to wash all the sweat and makeup off before bed. “Tadaima…” Another round of barking pugs. “Okaeri! Would you like me to make you a sandwich?” Uta walked down the hall, just as Hide and Yutaka were dragging their bags to the bedroom.

                “Uta-kun, I’ll kiss you myself if you do that!” Hide chucked Uta under the chin. “Hey! What about me?” Yutaka pouted. “I’ll do more than just kiss you!” Hide purred. “Gross you two! Get a room”

                “Oh, like you wouldn’t be itching for it if Acchan was here, right now. How did you like it the live?” Uta blushed, “I um…it was uh…” stumbling over his words, Uta wasn’t sure how to explain how he felt. “You liked the song he sang, Flame…right?” Uta nodded. “It was nice… did he say anything about me?” Before Yutaka could answer, Uta’s phone started to chime…repeatedly. Yutaka guessed it was time for he and Hide to shower and leave Uta alone with his phone. “Oyasumi, Uta-kun” Yutaka kissed Uta on the cheek.

                “I don’t want to text, please let me call you? What I have to say…it won’t sound right via text.”

                “Please baby…Uta…call me!”

                Uta giggled. “You sound so desperate.”

                “AAAAHHHHGGGGGHHHH! CALL ME PLEASE!”

                Uta felt badly for teasing Acchan as he hit the dial button, but he wasn’t ready for the phone to be picked up on the first ring. “UTA! Baby…Oh my god, I… I can’t even tell you how much…shit, I love you!” Acchan was almost screaming into the phone, “Calm down Acchan…you’re going to have a stroke!

                “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to be at the live? I would have had your come back stage, please tell me you didn’t pay for those tickets! And how did you get all the others to come? I almost did have a heart attack when I saw you!” Acchan was panting, like he had just finished running.

                “You’ll have to talk to Yutaka about the tickets, I was just told to be ready when they came to pick me up.” Uta was calm, even in the face of a panicking lover. “I’m going to kill Yutaka when I see him…or maybe buy him a car!” Now Acchan was laughing.

                “You’re glad that I came then? I wasn’t sure you’d want to see me yet.” Uta lied…but it didn’t hurt to tell Acchan a tiny one.

                “Glad? Understatement of the fucking century! God and you looked so fucking amazing! It took all I had not to jump down off the stage and grab you right there!” Acchan finally caught his breath enough to speak normally.

                “Uta, baby you’re beautiful, you looked amazing…your hair, everything. Just so luscious and delicious. I’m going to have wet dreams for eternity with that vision of you seared into my brain.” Even just talking to Uta, Acchan’s pants were becoming a little tight and uncomfortable. “The only time I’ve ever seen you look more beautiful…is when you’re under me” he said softly.

                Acchan’s voice…that deep purr that could melt Uta every time, still had the same effect, a tiny sound of lust escaping from Uta’s lips. “I um…yes.” Is all that Uta could say.

                “Please baby, when can I see you again? I can’t wait until the next live…soon please baby?” Acchan was not beyond begging at this point. “I need to see you, I need so badly to hold you and love you again.”

                Uta hesitated for just a moment. “What are you doing tomorrow evening?” “Nothing that can’t wait if I can see you.” Uta was silent…was he ready? “Uta?”

                ‘I’ll meet you at Yutaka and Hide’s, tomorrow night around 6pm…is that okay?” Gave him time to get home from work and shower and calm his nerves.

                “I’ll be there…thank you baby…I love you!” Acchan closed his phone, and put against his forehead, visions of Uta flashing in his mind. 

Chapter Text

 

 

                “Hey babe…we’re home…come on” Kyo shook Mao’s shoulder lightly, rousing the younger man from a long nap on the drive home from Kyo’s sister’s house. “Already? Damn…I need more sleep” Mao groaned as he stretched out is arms and legs before getting out of the car.

                ‘More sleep? It’s an hour and a half drive…how much more do you need?” Kyo had Mao’s hand in his, leading him towards their flat. “It was a long exhausting weekend! I didn’t really sleep at all, too much going on.” Mao grumbled. “Your nieces and nephews are a rowdy bunch…they take after Oji Kyo.”

                “It was nice for them to have a new toy. I’m usually the one that needs the nap after spending a weekend with them.” Kyo pushed Mao towards the bedroom, while he dragged the suitcase in, Mao falling face first onto the bed. “Don’t wake me up for anything, I want to nap.”

                Kyo walked up behind Mao, laying his body across this lover’s back, “Anything? Are you sure?” Kyo whispered as he nuzzled Mao’s neck. “Yes, I’m sure…you old horny bastard! We can do that later.” Kyo stood up, but the ‘old’ comment earned him a hard smack on the ass, causing Mao to yelp.

                Kyo had decided not to wait until Christmas to introduce Mao to his sister and her family, he wanted everything to be in place, before the holiday season. Mao was sick to his stomach the entire drive down, worried that Kyo’s sister wouldn’t approve. His fears were unfounded, as Kyo’s sister pulled Mao into a firm hug, kissed him on the cheek and welcomed him to the family.

                “Mao-kun, you’re much too cute to be with my brother…he’s such a troll most of the time,” Mao looked into the living room where Kyo’s nieces and nephews were dog-piling Oji Kyo, with small cheers and screams. “I know, but I love him. I’ll try to keep him from getting worse, but I can’t guarantee anything, he’s old and stuck in his ways.” Mao said just loud enough for Kyo to hear.

                “I don’t hear any complaints from you when we’re…” Mao and Kyo’s sister screamed at him, “DON’T SAY IT KYO!” Mao giggled, “He’s so bad! I can’t imagine what he was like as a child.” This sent Kyo’s sister into a lengthy monologue, detailing Kyo’s antics and misadventures growing up.

                “Ne, Kyo?” She corned her big brother in the kitchen, “Keep this one…he’s perfect for you. He’ll keep you in line, and I totally approve.” She kissed her brother on the cheek, then turned back to wrangle in her children for dinner.

                Lying in bed together that night, Mao was exhausted. “I can’t imagine having kids! They take up all of your time an energy.” Mao had his head resting on Kyo’s shoulder. “My sister approves of you, and she’s says you’re a keeper. Guess you’re stuck.” Kyo kissed Mao on the nose.

                “I like her, she’s a softer version of you. Her husband is an angel, he has to be to put up with you coming and disrupting the house! Seriously though, I love your family, thank you for bringing me to meet them.” With one last kiss, Mao snuggled down into the blankets, Kyo’s arms wrapped around him, and in total contentment, the two were soon lost to the world.

 

                “AKI STOP IT! I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS!” Tora bellowed. Aki had just taken a picture of his boyfriend in the shower, surprising Tora. “I need this for when you’re not with me! I have to have something to jerk off to!” teased Aki. Tora leaned out of the shower, “You’d better fucking delete that now! What if you lost your phone? Someone would then have naked pictures of me to spread around the internet, making me the new porn boy of the month!”

                “Porn boy of the month?” Aki laughed, “You’re my porn boy…nobody else’s!”  Living together, the two men were constantly pranking each other, much like they did at work although the end result at home was usually a round or two of steamy sex. With no roommates, Aki and Tora had completely defiled the entire flat, including the tiny terrace.

                “You’re a fucking dorky pain in my ass, I love you.” Tora, with still dripping wet hair, had his arms around Aki, hugging him from behind and nuzzling his lover’s hair as Aki stood at the sink. “Can I be a pain in your ass later tonight? We really need to get to work.” “Only if I get to be a pain in yours, too.” Tora ran his tongue up Aki’s neck, leaving Aki a little shaky. “Stop…we don’t have time for this!”

                The decision to work together again, had been a smart choice, working out better than expected. The couple had started to resent each other, when they were working separate shifts, one being pissy and one being tired all the time had start to take a toll on their relationship. They were the perfect tag team during the busy summer hours at the HBG, leaving the third shift member to concentrate on keeping the patio clean.

                “Um, why do all of you look so…I dunno, pissy?” Aki and Tora walked into the HBG and were confronted with Taka, Koichi and Uta, looking haggard. “Um we’re not pissy, just tired. We went to a Buck Tick live last night.” Taka was sitting in his office chair, head thrown back and eyes closed. “Wow! We didn’t hear about that…how was it?” Aki looked at Uta, who just smiled. “It was amazing, Sakurai was sooo good, sexy too.”

                Tora and Aki looked at each other and laughed, “Uta…you’ve lived with the man, had sex with him, how was last night any different?” Tora didn’t quite understand. “My boyfriend is Acchan, Sakurai Atsushi is someone completely different, they are two separate people.” Uta asserted.

                “He’s right you know. When I was…well, back then I thought the same thing. Acchan is not the same as Sakurai Atsushi.” Taka added. “It was just a long show, and we’re beat, glad you got here on time, you guys ready to go?” Gathering up their things, Taka, Koichi and Uta went home.

                “I wonder what Sakurai is like in bed…think I should ask Uta one of these days?” That question earned Tora a hard smack to the back of the head from Aki. “HEY! It’s a legitimate question! It’s not like I’m the only one in the world that would like to know!”

                “Tora, it would be the same thing if Koichi asked me how you were in bed…do you really want to ask Uta that?” Aki huffed. “Hmm…I wonder what Tatsu is like in bed?” Aki threw up his hands, as he walked away laughing, “I give up!” Tora smirked, “I love you!” he called after Aki, “I thought they were legitimate questions.”

 

                Taka had driven Koichi and Uta home, with Uta starting to feel anxious, enough so that Taka and Koichi noticed. “What’s going on with you, you look like you want to puke?” Koichi asked carefully. “Acchan is coming over tonight…I’m just a little worried about it.” Uta was actually terrified. “Nice! Did he call you last night after the show?” Taka and Koichi assumed that’s what would happen.

                “Mmm, it was nice to talk to him again. I’m sure everything will be fine, it’s just me being me.” Uta answered before he got out of the car, “Good luck tonight Uta…call us if you need to.” Koichi offered.  “I hope it goes well, we put a lot of work for them…hopefully Acchan doesn’t do something stupid.” Taka quipped. “I’m sure it will be fine, Yutaka and Hide won’t let Acchan get away with something stupid, not if he wants to live at least. Yutaka can be fierce when he wants.”

 

                “Tadaima” Uta toed off his shoes and was immediately trampled on by Rima and Zepp. “Okaeri, Uta-kun…on the back patio” Uta could hear Hide on the phone, as he walked towards the garden. “He’s talking to Acchan.” Uta’s stomach shook a little. “What does he want? Is he backing out of tonight?” Yutaka put his finger up to his lip, “listen”

                “No, I won’t tell you, because I was asked not to. Oh, stop it…quit being a brat Acchan, that’s what got you into this shit in the first place. What? Me? I haven’t done shit…no, you save that for Yutaka, I have… LISTEN TO ME DAMN IT! I told you I will NOT tell you where Uta lives! Just be here when he told you, and things will be fine!” Hide closed his phone with a violent snap.

                “What the hell was that all about?” Yutaka leaned over and held Hide’s hand, the man had his eyes closed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “He wanted me to tell him where Uta lived, so he could drive by and check on him. He’s a pain in the ass. Hello Uta…don’t worry, he doesn’t know.”

                “I’m sorry he’s acting stupid…I’d hope he’d changed at least a little” Uta worried. “He’s in for a big surprise tonight…I can’t wait to see his face!” Yutaka chuckled, “He’s going to be pissed off at Hide and I, but he deserves it! He needs to grow the hell up, and stop being such a toddler.”

               

                Uta sat on his futon, drying his hair after a much-needed hot shower, trying to relax and calm his anxiety. “It’s just Acchan…he loves me” Uta said quietly to himself. “He’s changed.” Deep in his heart, he was sure that Sakurai had indeed changed, he had to believe this in order to make it through the afternoon before his lover arrived.

                Uta heard the door chime and checking the clock, it was exactly 6pm. He could hear Yutaka and Hide…then he heard Acchan’s voice, and his anxiety fell away. “Is he here?” Acchan questioned his friends. “Yes, he’s in… he’s here.” Yutaka almost said ‘in his bedroom’ but bit the comment back. “Have a seat, Acchan. Would you like some wine?” Sakurai nodded. “That would be lovely Hide, thank you.”

                Uta stood near the door, biting on a fingernail and trying to push himself out of the room, his feet not wanting to move. “Uta?” Yutaka tapped on Uta’s door. “He’s here sweetie.” Yutaka slid the door opened and faced a worried young man. “Are you sure you want to go through with this? Your face isn’t very convincing right now.”

                “I need to talk to him, I…I want to see him.” Yutaka smiled softly and took Uta by the hand. “Deep breath, I won’t leave your side, you can sit next to me on the couch, ne?” Uta nodded. Taking Yutaka’s hand, he breathed deeply, “Okay.”

                Acchan see’s Yutaka and Uta coming down the hall, he stands but does not move towards his lover. Uta’s eyes are lowered, he hasn’t yet looked at Acchan, Yutaka leads him around and sits with him on the couch. “Hello Uta baby…you…” Acchan stammers, then realizing he’s still standing, he sits down in his chair. Uta slowly looks up, looking into the eyes of the man he knows he truly loves.

                “Hi, um…thanks for coming tonight,” his voice faltered. “Um, I need to say something before we do anything else.” He looked over at Yutaka, who smiled and nodded. Turning back to Sakurai, Uta hesitated a moment, “I’ve been living with Yutaka and Hide for the last several months.”

                There was no immediate reaction from Sakurai, but slowly his face darkened, his brow furrowing. “You’ve been here? For months?” Sakurai glared at Yutaka and Hide, Uta getting up and leaving the room quickly. “How could you…why did you…fuck!” Sakurai growled as he stood up. “You’ve been hiding Uta from me for how long?” he hissed.

                “What now? 5 months I’m guessing. Seem about right to you babe?” Hide didn’t over react, in fact he wasn’t reacting at all. “Yes, maybe a little longer” Yutaka leaned back on the couch, his arms crossed in front of him. The tension in the room was palatable. Sakurai looked down the hall, to where Uta had gone. “You will not go see him Atsushi, I will stop you if I have to” warned Hide.

                Sakurai sat back down in his chair, staring at the floor. “Acchan, what difference does it make where Uta was living? He was safe here, more than where he was when we found him.” Sakurai’s head snapped up. “Where…where did you find him?” Yutaka shook his head, “You’ll have to wait for Uta to tell you that.”

                Hide had walked down the hall, “Uta, you can come out again if you’d like, he’s not angry with you, just me and Yutaka.”  Uta slid open the door, “I’m warning you right now, it’s not going to be pretty.”

                Uta marched into the living room, standing in front of Sakurai, “How DARE YOU question them! You had no right to know where I was living, NONE! I’m the luckiest man in the world, because your two friends rescued my dumb ass from possibly dying! All because you didn’t want me to have my own flat, you’re fucking RIDICULOUS!”

                Sakurai shrank back a bit from his lover. “What…how, wait what?” Uta went back to sit on the couch next to Yutaka. “What do you mean dying? Where were you living? How is this my fault?” Uta gaped at Sakurai, “How is this your fault? Hmm, let me see. You are controlling and insecure, two great traits to have! You couldn’t understand my needs, even after I told you about my background. You went with me to look at flats, then turned into a huge fucking BABY, sulking because you weren’t getting your way.”

                Uta took a breath, “I ended up taking that first shitty flat we saw, because I didn’t want to impose on my friends, and I DIDN’T WANT TO BE FUCKING HOMELESS!! What part of that don’t you understand? That was EXACTLY what happened, we had a fight and I had NO WHERE TO LIVE! FUCK YOU’RE STUPID.”

                Sakurai, Hide and Yutaka were shocked at the volatile nature of Uta’s words. “I’m done, this is over.” Uta got up and stood back in front of Sakurai, “You lied to me…you said you’ve changed. Nothing has changed, you’re still not listening or hearing me. Leave me alone, it’s obvious that you love no one but yourself, no one else is important to you.” Uta shook his head and walked back to his room.

                Yutaka and Hide started to clap, Sakurai whipping around and turning on them, “Stop it, this isn’t funny” he snapped. “We have never thought any of this was funny, what you’re doing is asinine, ridiculous and so fucking stupid, it’s unbelievable. You’ve just lost him, Atsushi. I doubt he’s going to want to come back now. At least you know that he’ll be safe here, unlike the last place he lived.”

                “How did you find him? Who told you where he lived?” he asked. Yutaka and Hide looked at each other, “We had an anonymous call from two of your associates, telling us that Uta was in danger and the conditions he was living in. We took it upon ourselves to go and take Uta from that rancid shit hole where he was living. He was cold, very hungry and dirty. Yes Acchan, this is your fault, you drove Uta to that.” Yutaka was sneering at him in repulsion.

                “Associates? Who…” he had no idea who his friends were referring to. “We’re not sure who they were, but thankfully they called us. We got him the same night.” Sakurai was looking down the hall, hoping that Uta would return. “Forget it, Acchan. He won’t be back out tonight. You may as well go home. If you’re lucky, he may reconsider speaking with you, but right now…you’re done.”

                Sakurai got up, walking towards the door, he stopped short, “Uta, I love you baby. I don’t know if I’ll ever have another chance to say it. I love you.” He turned and looked at Yutaka and Hide, “Thank you for taking care of him, it means so much to me.” He walked out the door, without a glance back.

                “I’m going to go talk to…” Hide put his hand over Yutaka’s, “No, let him be for tonight, he’ll come to us when he’s ready.” They both turned at the sound of Uta’s door sliding open, “Is he gone?” Yutaka nodded, “Yes Uta-kun, he’s gone.”

                “I can’t believe him! He just does not get it…why can’t he understand?” Uta flopped down on the couch, Rima jumping into his lap. “Uta, he doesn’t understand anyone that stands up to him, well…anyone he’s ever had sex with.” Hide chuckled, as Uta’s ears started to turn red.

                “He tried to get information about Madame F and her friend, but we didn’t say anything about them. It’s none of his business right now, if you choose to tell him later, that’s fine. Right now, ignore him, I’m sure he’ll be…” at that moment, Uta’s phone chimed, “Speak of the dark prince himself.”                

                Uta groaned, “Now what?” Opening his phone, he read the text…then snapped his phone closed. “It’s done…we’re done.” Uta walked back down to his room, and slid the door closed quietly.

                                “I’m setting you free, I no longer have any intentions on winning you back, as it seems I’m incapable of loving you unselfishly. You deserve better than I can give you. There will be no one else. I love you.”

                “Uta, can I come in please?” Yutaka asked quietly. “Mmm.” Yutaka slid the door open, finding Uta on the floor. “Honey, what did he say to you?” Uta handed the phone to his friend, who’s eyes grew wide, then started to fill with tears. “I’m sorry sweetie, I have no explanation for you on what or why he’s doing what he is. What will you do?”

                “I’m just going to live my life…I can’t do anything about Acchan. Do you mind if I stay here until I can make other arrangements, I don’t want to be in your hair?” Uta sniffed, sitting up and wiping his eyes. “Honey, you can stay as long as you’d like, but if you choose to go elsewhere, it’s fine. You do what’s right for you, don’t worry about us.” Yutaka kneeled down and hugged Uta, kissing the boy on the cheek. “You’ll always have a room here, even if it’s just for a night, there is no hurry, I’m sure Hide will miss your cookies…I’ll miss you.”

                Uta hugged his friend, “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, I love you and Hide so much!” Uta sniffed again, lying down as Yutaka left the room. “You fucked up, Acchan. I am no longer your boy.” Closing his eyes, he hoped for no dreams, no nightmares, just silence. 

Chapter Text

Taka closed his phone, and fell sideways on the bed, reaching for a pillow, he screamed as loud as he could, in frustration. “Um…babe? What’s wrong?” Sato had heard the muffled scream, lifting the pillow he peered down at his husband.

                “One word…Sakurai” Taka grunted. “Fuck…what did he do now? Wait…do I even want to know?” Sato sat down next to Taka on the bed. “He went over to Yutaka’s last night to meet with Uta. Yutaka said the second he found out that Uta had been living with he and Hide, that he didn’t quite lose it…but enough so that Uta told him to leave.” Now it was time for Sato to fall back on the bed, “The man is an idiot!”

                “It gets better…Sakurai texted Uta a little while later, and basically told him that he was done, that he couldn’t love Uta properly, and that he was done chasing him…he set him free, is what Yutaka said was in the text.” Sato covered his face with his hands, “That poor kid…doesn’t seem like he can catch a break. Do you know what he’s going to do?”

                “Evidently, he told Yutaka that he wanted to move out and move on. He said that he was done with Sakurai, which I find hard to believe from either one of them. Acchan loves Uta, but I have no fucking clue to what his problem is!” Sitting up to lean on his elbow, “I want to help Uta if he comes to me. I’m not going to try to talk to Sakurai, there’s no point and I’m done with him being a dumbass.”

                Sato sat up, pushing Taka back down on the bed, leaning over his husband Sato bent down to kiss him, leaving Taka a little squirmy and breathless. “I want you to do what ever it takes to keep Uta safe, that boy deserves some fucking happiness. I only ask one thing, please do not put yourself in any danger if you can help it. If it gets too dicey, I’m either going to step in to help, or pull you out, do you agree?”

                Taka nodded, “I promise…nothing serious or dangerous, just me helping Uta in any way that I can, thank you.” Sato slid his hand under Taka’s shirt, ghosting over the boy’s nipples and sliding a hand in the waist band of his lover’s pants, a faint mewling came from Taka’s lips. “Show me how much you promise not to get into trouble…convince me.” Sato purred in Taka’s ear. With a shutter and a moan, Taka spent the night, showing Sato his promise keeping skills.

 

                “Hey Uta, how was your…” Aki stopped mid-sentence, judging by the look on Uta’s face, his reunion with Sakurai didn’t go well. “Um, never mind.” Uta smiled, “Thanks” is all the boy said. Uta moved through his day at work with little to no enthusiasm, no playing around, no throwing of fruit.

                “Aki, would you know anyone off hand, who needs a roommate? Or a cheap flat, that’s not like my old one? I don’t want to stay with Yutaka and Hide any longer than I have to.” Uta had a realtor pulled up on his phone, paging through ads for flats and roommates.

                “Let me ask Tora, maybe he knows. Do you know off hand your budget?” Uta sat down and did a quick math check, “Not much…” he showed Aki his calculations, “Let me text Tora, he may know of someone looking for a roommate.” 

                Aki kept an eye on Uta throughout the shift, noticing that the young man seemed to slip deeper into depression. Texting Tora again, he was hoping to touch base with his boyfriend before leaving for the day, but with no luck. “Uta, I’ll text you when I talk to Tora later today, ne?”

                “Thanks Aki, I may have something already, but keep me in mind.” Uta was lying, he didn’t have any idea where he would be able to find a flat. Living at Yutaka’s was not really ideal, he knew he’d run into Sakurai at some point, and the thought of that made him sick to his stomach. “Have to do this on my own.”

~

                “What are you going to do? I’m sure Sato doesn’t want you to get too involved.” Koichi was sitting with Taka at the bookstore’s coffee house. “I’m not totally sure, Uta’s not going to want us to get involved directly.” “In other words, you’re going to have to be sneaky…and if anyone can do that, it’s you.” Koichi snickered.

                “I have to Kou, you know that as well as I do, Uta can’t go back to where he was before! I won’t allow it, even if I have to have him move in with me!” Taka said angrily.  Koichi reached over and patted Taka’s hand, “Don’t worry, we won’t let it get to that.” Taka sat back in his chair, head thrown back…growling in frustration, “It’s like Uta’s not allowed…some fucked up force is keeping him from being happy! I’m so fucking over him being shit on!”

                Walking back to the train, Taka stopped dead. “I know this is probably a really bad idea, but what if…” Koichi was already shaking his head, “If you think it might be a bad idea…it probably is, Taka. Stop while you’re ahead, or at least don’t tell me about it, I’ve been in enough trouble with Tatsu to last me a lifetime.”

                Taka looked at Koichi, “Okay, I won’t say anything and you’re right, it would be a bad idea. Let’s go home.” Koichi was somewhat relieved, but he also knew Taka better than anyone, and he was sure that whatever Taka was thinking, was a bad idea, and would most likely backfire on him.  

~

                “Tadaima” Uta sat down in the genkan to take off his shoes, his entire body sore from the tension he had dealt with all day at work. “Okaeri, dinner will be ready in about an hour if you want to shower.” Yutaka offered. “Thanks, I think I’m going to soak in the tub for a bit.” Uta wandered down the hall, stopping at his room for a towel.

                Sitting in the hot water started to loosen up those tense muscles, as well as freeing his mind on what his next steps would be. He believed he couldn’t afford a flat by himself, as was the original problem. But finding a roommate that he was compatible with? That was going to be tough. “Damn it Acchan, why did you have to fuck all this up?”

 

                “That was delicious, thank you!” Yutaka’s cooking was something that Uta knew he’d miss once he moved out. Helping Yutaka with the dishes, Uta didn’t notice Hide leave the table. “That’s done, the rest can wait, come and have a seat with me, Uta.” Yutaka took Uta’s hand and led him to the couch, where Hide was waiting. “As much as we would like to stay here, continue living with us, we also understand your need for independence. We will help you Uta, anyway we can, but I think this will help you more.” Hide handed Uta an envelope.

                Uta took the envelope and looked at the other men, “What’s this?” Uta opened the envelope, removing its contents. “I don’t…shit! You’re kidding right? This is way too much…I can’t accept this!” Uta held a check in his hand, for several hundred dollars. “It’s your money Uta. This is the rent you paid us, we never intended on keeping it.” Hide assured Uta.

                “Thank you, you’ve both been so kind to me when you didn’t have to. I wish I could stay, but I need to get my own place and not have to rely on others.” Uta’s voice faltered. He stood up, walking over to Hide, and hugging the man tightly. Returning to the couch, he sat down and leaned into Yutaka. “You guys have always been my soft place to crash and you have no idea how much I truly appreciate what you’ve done for me, I’ll seriously never forget.”  Jumping up from the couch, Uta went down to his bedroom.

                “This is all we can do, without forcing our help on him” Hide was trying to comfort Yutaka, who had tears falling. “I know, I just wish I knew that where ever get finds a flat, that it’s safe! This boy is just too precious to…DAMN IT Atsushi” snarled Yutaka. “This is his fucking fault…all of this over a stupid flat!” Hide hugged his husband, “True, but it’s over and now Uta can move on to something else, a healthy life.”  Yutaka’s brain was working overtime, which led Hide to believe that the man had stopped wanting to rant about Sakurai.

                Later that evening, when the house was dark and still, a shadowy figure walked through the living room and into the kitchen and stood near the stove. The dimmed screen of a cell phone the only source of light. The figure stood motionless, doubting the intention on what he was going to do, was it the right thing to do?

                                “We need to talk, somewhere private. I want to ask you for a favor, a big favor that involves Uta, but not Sakurai.” Closing his phone, and making his way back down the hall, the phone vibrated.

                                “Name the place, and the time…preferably past noon, and I will be there.”

 

                He had no idea what she looked like, he didn’t ask as he assumed he would be able to notice her based on her presence. Walking into Bar Eden, Yutaka noticed her immediately. He sat down next to her. “It’s nice to finally put the text and the face together.” Yutaka started the conversation. “Yes, it is although I know you better than you know me, it’s hard not to considering you’re a public figure and I’m…well let’s say a not so public figure.”

                “I’ll get right to the point of you meeting me here, obviously it’s about Uta.” Yutaka furrowed his brow, thinking about Sakurai. “Oh lord, what did Acchan do to the boy now?” Davina’s posture slumped back in her chair. Yutaka could only think of two people that may be able to help Uta, without Sakurai knowing, as in keep your friends close, your enemies closer.

                Yutaka went through the events of the last few weeks, including the Buck Tick live and the after affects on both Uta and Sakurai. “Needless to say, when he found out that Uta had been living with us for months, he lost control. Then the asshole texted Uta, saying he was setting the boy free and that he would no longer chase after Uta.”

                “Where do I fit in, Yutaka-san? I know that Uta has no wishes to be contracted, so why are we here?” Davina would of course, contract Uta in a heartbeat, but it is not what the boy wanted. “I know that you said both yourself and Madame F would give Uta a safe haven, a place to live without the pressures of being contracted. Is that offer still on the table? The boy can barely afford a flat such as the one we pulled him from. Would you consider making an arrangement for Uta in your house?”

                Davina leaned onto the bar, her chin resting on her fists. “What would we do about Sakurai, if the man were to find out that the boy was living with me? That may become a very serious problem.” This was the problem Yutaka had with the plan, “I don’t have an answer for that, I’m going to say it would be up to Uta what was to be done.”

                “I will agree to this only if Uta wants it. I will not pressure that boy into anything he does not explicitly want. There will be no contract, no collar. I could have him as a house boy, and I would let him live with Teddy. Teddy is my personal pet, and has his own flat, with two bedrooms, that of course I pay for. Teddy is also very discrete, he’s a dear boy and would be a good friend for Uta.”

                They parted ways after Yutaka had given Davina Uta’s cell number, making sure to keep their meeting discrete. Davina assured Yutaka that everything would be very private, and that she would contact him after she had spoken to Uta.

 ~            

                “Have you found a flat that is suitable yet, Uta?” Yutaka was in the kitchen doing prep work for their dinner, “Not yet, I’m still looking.” Uta was feeling dejected and was a little more than just concerned over his situation. “There’s no rush to leave here Uta, you already know that.” Yutaka took a break and sat down with Uta at the dinner table. “Have you explored other options, like roommates?” Yutaka probed carefully. “Mmm, there just aren’t that many I can afford, right now, I may have to take a second job.”  Yutaka had to bite his tongue to stop from speaking about Davina’s offer, he’d hoped that Davina would contact Uta that night.

~

                “Are you willing to share Teddy? I’m not asking you as my pet, I’m asking you as my friend.” Davina had Teddy sitting in front of her, talking about Uta. “He’s the boy that the maggot tortured, isn’t he? I thought he belonged to Sakurai…did something happen?” Davina broke down the story to it’s basics, Teddy not needing to know some specifics. “I want to help Uta, he’s been burned by so many people, so many times it’s often painful to see the boy. I’m going to offer him a position as a house boy, he will neither be collared nor contracted as he will not take on any duties I require from my pets.” Teddy agreed to the arrangement, telling Davina he’d help Uta in any way he could.  “I think I’m going to let you handle this part my boy…I will give you Uta’s phone number and you can text him, will you agree to that?”

                “If you think he’d listen to me more than you, yes I’ll do it. He seems like a nice kid, it’s a shame that he’s so lost right how. You’re a very special woman to offer Uta this chance, I love you.” Teddy placed a very chaste kiss on Davina’s cheek, then slipping back into collared mode he kneeled before her, placing his head in his Mistresses lap.

~

                “Hi! This is Teddy, my Mistress Davina was told that you’re looking for a place to live? I have a two- bedroom flat and I need a roommate. Want to talk about it?”

                Uta looked at the bizarre text message, reading it several times before deciding if he should reply. He doesn’t live with Davina, so it’s not like I’d be involved in the scene…maybe I should at least talk to him.

 

                “Hi Teddy, sure I’d like to meet up with you and talk about the flat, as long as there are no other ‘conditions’ that have to be in place before I could rent. Text me a place and a time

                                ~

                “Hi, um Uta?” Uta had been sitting on a bench watching the ducks on the water in a park not too far from Tokyo Tower. He was filled with more anxiety. Turning at the sound of his name, Uta see’s a very tall rather muscular young man with long black hair, standing before him. It confused Uta a bit, as this man had on jeans and a t-shirt with a leather jacket, not the tiny leather shorts and suspenders he had always seen him in.

                “Hi, Teddy…right?” The young man took a seat next to Uta. “Sorry about what’s going on with you and …well you know. Sucks when they turn out like that, it’s happened to me in the past.” Uta was surprised that Teddy knew why he needed someplace to live. “How did you find out…well how did Davina find out, do you know?” Teddy smirked and shook his head, “I don’t ask her…I just do what I’m told. I’m sure it was someone that knows about you and Sakurai.” They talked a little about each other, trying to see if there was any type of a friendly connection.

                “I bet you could tell some great stories about the Fetish Club…but I know you’d never do that! That’s not accepted” Uta nudged Teddy in the ribs. “Hey, do you want to go look at my flat now? Do you have time?” Uta agreed, walking with Teddy to the train station. The trip was short, just enough time for Uta to learn that Teddy’s real name was Teiji, and that Teddy was something that Davina thought up, sort of an oxymoronic name considering Teddy’s size and appearance. It was a five-minute walk from the station to the flat, which was a single level triple unit.

                “At least this is close to the station, and about the same distance from Yutaka’s. Entering the flat, Uta was surprised at the décor, it was masculine and tasteful, leaving Uta to giggle at himself. “What?” Teddy eyed Uta, “Where you expecting a bondage dungeon or something?” Uta nodded, “Nope, I don’t bring work home with me. I’ll show you the bedroom and the rest of the place.” Teddy took Uta on a little tour of the flat that was actually quite spacious. “I have a teeny tiny garden, about the size of a large futon, but it’s mine.”

                Uta was having doubts about being able to afford living in the flat, it was beautiful and perfect. Teddy was heating up water for tea when the doorbell rang. Teddy went to the door, Uta heard a female voice. Leaning back in his chair, Davina walks in, sending a bit of a shock to Uta’s system. “My dear boy, I’m so glad to see you are well, you’ve given me a bit of a hard time you naughty thing.” Uta gulped, “Wha…what do you mean? I haven’t done anything.”

                Davina sat down on the couch, holding her hand out to Uta, “Come, sit with me please Uta.” Teddy handed Uta his tea and nodded, “It’s okay, she doesn’t bite…too hard.” Teddy winked at Uta, making the younger man smile.  Uta took Davina’s hand, and sat next to her. “My dear boy, how did it get to this? We all had hopes for Sakurai and yourself, but it sounds to me like he’s being a raging asshole these days, pardon my words.”

                “He is, that’s why I’m done. He told me he won’t chase after me anymore, because he doesn’t know how to love me properly.” Davina nodded as Uta spoke. “I don’t want to live with Yutaka and Hide anymore, it’s not fair to them to have Sakurai’s ex in their house. How did you find out?” Davina shrugged, “Word gets out quickly in our small community, I’m going to guess that everyone knows that you are no longer with Sakurai. You could have people pounding on your door, wanting to get to you and contract you. I couldn’t see you being harassed at work by dirty Dominants that think they can contract you and somehow gain status because of it. It would make for a lot of ugliness at the Fetish if you showed up wearing another’s collar.”

                “My dear Teddy, did you show him the room and the rest of the flat?” Teddy rose from the kitchen table to stand next to Davina, “Of course, I think he finds it quite nice, ne Uta-kun?” Uta nodded, “It’s a lovely flat, but I’m afraid it’s most likely out of my price range, but I thank you for the offer.” Davina scooted a little closer to Uta, “I have an offer for you…and no it’s not to be contracted nor collared by me, I know you don’t want that every again and I understand and support that.” Davina continued.

                “What I would like to offer you is a job, as a house boy in my private residence. Your duties would be that much like a caretaker or possibly a maid…without the darling costume of course. You would be taking care of my daily needs, but none of my personal needs, I have pets for those. You could work around your schedule at the High Ball Garden. I will accept your payment of rent to be what and when you can afford it, the house boy position will supplement your portion of the rent of the flat. Oh, if Teddy didn’t already tell you, I own all three flats in this little section, therefore I set the rent amounts.” Davina winked at him.

                “What about Sakurai? If he finds out I’m living and working for you, it may cause difficulties with the community, and I want no trouble with him.” Davina waved him off, “Do not worry about Sakurai Atsushi, he will make no drama to be seen at the Fetish, I can promise you that. Do you think you can be happy here Uta? You deserve it more than anyone I’ve ever come across…you should not have experienced such horrors and pain in your short life, as you have. Teddy is a wonderful man, very cheerful and loyal” she looked up at Teddy with affection.

                “If I wanted to tell my friends where I lived, would that be a problem for you or Teddy? I’m not talking like anyone in any bands, but Taka and Koichi?” Uta wasn’t sure how hard it would be to hide where he was living. “That is completely between you and Teddy, if you’d like to let a few people know, I have no objections, but just be pre-warned, there are a lot of big ears out there, that would love nothing more than to know where you lived, to try to lure into a contract. I can only think of one person that would keep your secret, if you decided to open up to him, Kyo-san. He’s part of our community and is discrete.”

                Uta hadn’t thought of telling Kyo, not wanting to make any trouble between the small man and Mao. “I’m not sure I want to tell anyone…” Uta hesitated, then looked at Teddy, “If they ask, can I tell them you’re my roommate but maybe use your real name? Taka and Koichi both know you as Teddy, but no one knows you as Teiji” Teddy looked at Davina, “That’s acceptable with me, I’d like you as a roommate, it gets lonely here sometimes.” Before she could say anything, Teddy leaned down and kissed his Mistress on the cheek.

                Davina shook hands with Uta, using that as a rental agreement and making him promise to come to her if he needed anything. “I’m so glad you’re going to be safe, Uta. Acchan is a fucking dumbass to allow this to happen. When he’s at the club, no one can approach him as he sits in his private room and drinks himself stupid. We all hope for no more physical altercations as well. Come by my house tomorrow, with your work schedule and we’ll talk more about your duties, Teddy will drive you. Welcome to my lovely twisted little family Uta, you’ll fall in love with all of us before too long.” Davina rose and hugged Uta, placing a soft kiss on the boy’s cheek.  

                “I think you’ll like working for Davina, she’s a very sweet woman. I’ve been with her for five years, and I have no desire to leave, I love the woman.” Teddy assured Uta. Teddy and Uta made arrangements for his moving in while Teddy walked him to the train station. “I’ll have Yutaka drop me off here, that way he doesn’t see you and figure this all out, ne Teiji?” Uta giggled.

               

                 On the train ride home, he had finally come to the realization that it must have been Yutaka and Hide, who had told Davina about his predicament, they were the only ones that knew both Sakurai and himself. He smiled and the thoughtful gesture, “Those two…” he snorted. Walking from the train station, he had visions of what it would be like in Davina’s household. He knew that he would never be forced by the woman to sign a contract, that he would indeed just be a house boy. He worried about Sakurai finding out, hoping that if he did, that it would be taken care of so Uta wouldn’t have to see the man face to face.

                “Uta-kun!” Yutaka’s voice startled the boy, turning around he sees that he’s already near the house, and Hide and Yutaka were just pulling in. “We went grocery shopping, help us with the bags please!” Unloading the car, Uta starts putting away the food and other items, while trying to decide if he would confront Yutaka with what he suspected.

                “How was your day? I missed you when you left. Any luck with finding a place?” Yutaka was talking as he busied himself in the kitchen. Hide watching while drinking a beer. “Oh, I think you know exactly how my day went, Yutaka…” Uta tried to fake an angry edge to his voice. Yutaka froze in place, Hide shook his head and started laughing. “Yu, you’re not at sneaky as you thought! Uta saw right through it!” Yutaka kept right on putting those groceries away, without a sound, shaking his head at Uta and Hide’s laughter.

                Turning to face the two jesters, Yutaka had a stern commanding look on his face, “Well, did you like the flat? Are you going to work for Davina?” he stood with one hand on a hip. Getting up from the table, Uta strode over to stand in front of Yutaka, “Yes, I love the flat. Yes, I’m going to work for Davina as a house boy, and Yes, I love you.” Those last three words were enough to push the tears out and over the falls of Yutaka’s face. He violently grabbed Uta and smashed the boy to his chest. “I did it for you! You deserve so much more than you believe! I’m tired of seeing you hurt and lonely, fucking Atsushi has lost the best love of his life, because of a stupid flat and a lack of understanding! He pisses me off to no end!” Yutaka was blubbering through his tears.  “Yu…taka…I can’t…breathe….” mumbled Uta who was still being held a little too tightly by Yutaka. “Sorry honey.”

                “Why Davina? Of all of the people we know…why would you contact her?” Uta looked at both his friends. “I didn’t know about it, until today. Yu snuck off in the night to text Ms. Davina. I played zero part in this, but I am definitely happy with the outcome.” Uta looked at Yutaka, “Well? You’re putting me with a well-known Dominatrix, living with her pet, and working for her as a house boy, what were you thinking?”

                Yutaka pouted, “I was thinking of the old saying ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer’ not that Acchan is the enemy by any means but hiding you in plain sight…it sounded like the best option. I met with Davina, I told her about what happened with Acchan, and she had the same reaction, what a dumbass. I brought up the fact that the night we took you from that putrid flat, that if we couldn’t take you, Davina would come with Teddy and take you herself. She emphasized that she did not want to contract nor collar you, but to employ you as a house boy, and that you could live with Teddy.”

                He didn’t say anything but started looking at it from his friend’s points of view. “I guess you did what you thought was best. I do like Teiji…Teddy, and the flat is super cute and perfect. I haven’t been to Davina’s yet, so I don’t really know what to expect, other than being somewhat like a maid, but as Davina put it, without the darling costume.” The entire day had been exhausting and the last twenty minutes especially so. “I’m going to go take a bath, would you drive me over to Teddy’s tomorrow?  I want to get settled while I still have another day off. I’m going to start my new life tom

Chapter Text

“Thanks Teddy…that’s the last box, I’m just going to go outside and say goodbye to Yutaka and Hide” Uta ran out to the curb, both men were leaning back against their car, waiting for their last hug from Uta for the foreseeable future, something that they knew was going to put a hole in their hearts. “That’s it, everything is in the house.” Uta looked down at his feet, shifting a bit. “You promise to come to dinner at least twice a month, ne? Both of us will stop by and see you at the HBG, and of course see you during the parties. I would ask if you’d like to come to another live, but I don’t think that would be smart at this point.” Yutaka was nervously running his mouth, so much so that Hide pulled him into a quick kiss to shut him up.

                “Bye Uta, don’t be a stranger…always remember that we’re here for you, and we love you.” Hide hugged Uta briefly and kissed him on the top of his head. “You’d better keep in touch with me, I know where you live and I’ll…” “YUTAKA GET IN THE CAR!” “Bye…love you!” Yutaka ran over and hopped in the car, “You didn’t have to scream at me…I was…” “No, you weren’t you would have stood there all day.” Uta watched as the car pulled away, with their voices still arguing in the wind.

                “They’re cute together.” Teddy chuckled as Uta walked in. “They’re the best people I know. Guess I’ll go unpack my stuff.” Uta walked to his new bedroom and looked around with a satisfying grin. Davina had furnished the room with a western style bed and night table, and a large wardrobe in the corner. “Hey, here’s sheets and blankets, and there are towels in the wardrobe for you. I have to run over to Davina’s for a while, will you be okay?” Uta waved Teddy off, “I’ll be fine, thanks Teddy.”

                Sitting on the bed, Uta went through his belongings, sorting clothes and other items into neat piles to deal with. There was a small desk in a corner which afforded Uta a place to store his papers and other semi-important items. “This is going to be nice! I don’t have to worry about him randomly showing up” he muttered.

                It took Uta just under an hour to get everything in place, take a shower and lie down for a nap. He knew he had to go to Davina’s the next day, and he also had a closing shift at the HBG which he worried about. He knew he didn’t want anyone to know who he was actually living with, at least anyone other than Kyo. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to tell the older man his living arrangements, he was just so unsure. Turning over onto his side, he put his head under his pillow and dozed off, for a dreamless nap.

~

                “When I left, he was just unpacking. The two other gentlemen were very cute together, I can’t believe they know Sakurai-sama at an intimate level.” Teddy was giving a report of sorts to Davina, about how Uta was settling in. “Does he seem happy Teddy? From what you have seen of the boy, do you think he will thrive living with our strange little family?”  Teddy bent down, “May I please…” Davina nodded. Teddy cupped her face in his hands and kissed his Mistress with an intensity that most pets would not give unless ordered to, but Teddy truly loved Davina. “Yes ma’am, I do think he will thrive. Our family is a bit odd, we have some strange characters, but doesn’t every family?” Davina sighed, “Teiji, watch over him for me please…this boy is precious and has witnessed and experienced horrible things in his short life, he deserves nothing but the kindest care. I wish Acchan would come to his senses, but I fear that he is unwilling to face the truth of his actions.” Teddy ran his hand through Davina’s hair, a question in his eyes, a nod…then another kiss. “Davina, my Mistress…I will care for Uta as if he were my own child.” Davina stretched out on her bed, reaching out for Teddy, who slid in next to her, molding himself to her body, “Teiji, my beautiful perfect pet, how I love you.”

~

                As Uta woke from his nap, his surroundings confused him for half a second, then realizing where he was he smiled, his new life was starting well.  Deciding that getting up out of bed was probably a good idea since his shift at the HBG started in less than two hours, Uta got up and wandered into the kitchen. Opening the fridge, he was shocked at the amount of food Teddy had stocked up on. Reaching for some sandwich meats, he made himself a quick snack, making sure to leave a note for Teddy that he would be doing some grocery shopping of his own the next day. “I actually have a little bit of money” Uta mused. Having money and not having to worry about eating was somewhat of a novelty for Uta when living alone.

                Getting dressed in his uniform, Uta left the flat and walked the five quick minutes to the station and was soon on his way to work. He muddled over what or how he was going to tell his friends about his new living arrangements. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything…other than I found a roommate. He already knew that both Taka and Koichi would recognize Teddy, perhaps even Sato and Tatsu. Kyo is aware of who Teddy is and that the man belongs to Davina…but as was common in the community, he never mentioned him to outsiders.

                Walking to short three blocks to the HBG, Uta resolved to give as little information as possible and also remembering not to make the deception too elaborate. A well thought out white lie was easy to cover than an obvious con-job. He knew he could use Teddy’s real name as his roommate, the background information would be harder to create. “Hey Uta…how’s things? Taka had rolled his office chair out into the doorway, greeting what ever employee had walked through the door.

                “It’s good, I um found a flat to rent.” Uta thought through each word carefully. “Nice! Where at?” Taka was relieved to hear the news. “It’s over on the other side of the tower, a little three plex single story unit” That part is true… “I do have a roommate though, his name is Teiji, I still can’t afford a single on my own.”  Uta had put his bag away, to start doing the opening duties for the day, hoping Taka wasn’t going to ask too many questions.

                Mao arrived just as Taka was going to ask Uta about his new flat, “Uta found a flat!” Taka reported. “Yay! Is it nice Uta? Do you have a roomie? Where is it? Oh, you should have a new flat party!” Mao’s brain was moving a mile a minute, with Uta walking up and placing his hand over his friend’s mouth.  “Yes, I have a roommate, his name is Teiji, the flat is on the other side of the tower, and there will be no parties.”

                By the end of Uta’s shift he was exhausted, the constant banter about his new flat and roommate, his trying to keep the story straight wore the young man out. He dozed on the train ride home, took a hot shower and fell onto his bed. “Uta…can I come in?” Teddy knocked on the door. “Sure…what’s up?” Uta sat up, “Davina wants you at her home around 5pm, I’m going to drive you over. It’s new employee orientation.” Teddy said with an absolute straight face. “Orientation? I thought I was just a house boy?” This surprised Uta. “We all go through it, it’s needed if you’re going to work in the house of a well-known woman or man of the community. Just be ready in forty-five minutes, and then we can leave. Don’t worry too much…Davina is a dream to work for, even for a non-pet.”

                Uta went to the kitchen and had a light dinner, telling Teddy he’d stock the fridge on his next days off. Teddy was waiting for him and commented on his appearance. “You look nice. Davina likes her pets and her house boys to be clean and neat. For house boys, no facial hair, your hair must be secured out of your face, you don’t have to tie it all back, but just no bangs, she also supplies the uniform, you’ll receive it once she knows your size.” Uta watched the road, as they left the dense part of the city, and climbed a small hill, stopping at the gate of a large estate. Teddy punched in a code for the gate and it swung open, leading to a long drive.

                “Holy shit, this is huge!” Uta stared in disbelief. “My Mistress is wealthy, I’m just going to say that” Teddy said with pride, “She’s a pillar of our community, there are only two that stand above her, and you know both of them.” Uta knew it was Sakurai and Madame F, without asking. Parking the car, Uta was lead up to a massive mahogany door. Walking into the entry, they were greeted by a man in a dark suit wearing sunglasses. “He’s a bit cliché…right?” Teddy whispered, “Just a little” giggled Uta.

                Uta was shown the kitchen, “You will only be making very light meals, anything more and my Mistress frequently hires the best chefs in Japan for any special event she has here at the manor.” Walking down a very long hallway, Uta counted seven doors, and six different bathrooms. “How many people live here?” Uta couldn’t believe that Davina had that many personal pets, that would be difficult to comprehend. “There are usually four of us, and they rank from myself at the top, down to a new trainee. The other rooms are either play rooms, or bedrooms for our guests that will be spending the night. I doubt you’ll speak to anyone other than myself.” Teddy winked at Uta, who turned beet red. “There are other pets that live outside the manor, like I do. But they are brought in for specialty events.”

                “Here we are, one moment please.” Teddy tapped on the door, Uta hearing a soft response. As he was standing there, a movement caught his eye, and he turned and looked back down the hallway. A bedroom door was opening, and an attractive young man peeked out. He saw Uta, but the expression on his face didn’t change. The young man closed his door and made his way to one of the bathrooms, not looking back and not saying a word.

                Teddy opened the door and motioned for Uta to enter the room. Taking a somewhat deep breath and followed Teddy into the room. “Uta-kun! Come here my dear, sit next to me.” Reclining on a Victorian fainting couch, Davina was dressed in a sheer black dressing gown and wearing tiny kitten heeled shoes. Without even thinking twice, Uta bowed without being asked and walked with his eyes cast down, perching himself on the end of the couch. “Oh, my. You have some residual manners, don’t you?”

                Davina patted a spot a little closer, “Sit here, lovely.” Uta moved closer, a pink blush showing on his cheeks. “You are a natural submissive, no wonder that maggot could control you, I wish I would have known sooner and I’m very sorry for that Uta.” Uta nodded, “It’s nothing to worry about Ma’am, it’s over and done.” Davina looked up at Teddy, “Is he comfortable? Does he have everything he needs?” Teddy nodded, “Yes Mistress, he does.” The difference in Teddy’s demeanor was significant, from what he was as they were walking through the house, to how he was at that moment. “I would like to go over our contract…” with that word, a fearful utterance came from Uta. “No! Oh, I’m sorry Uta…not that type of contract, this is a work contract only. More of a description of duties, let’s say.”

                Uta breathed a little easier, “Sorry Ma’am, that word…” Davina picked up one of Uta’s hands, “Uta, there will be no talk of contracts of collars between you and I. Even if we both desired that arrangement, I would refuse. You will always be Acchan’s boy, there’s no denying that even if you believe you’ll never be a part of his life, that status you hold, will never change.”

                “Thank you, Ma’am” Uta whispered. “Now. Let’s get on with your work duties. I’m sure Teddy has informed you of the basics, but now I would like to cover the specifics.” Davina spent the next two hours going over Uta’s duties as the house boy. “Ma’am? Basically, I’m a personal assistant correct?” Uta asked shyly. “Yes Uta, that’s exactly what you are, but in my little twisted family you are a house boy, you do not venture out when I play, nor when I entertain at home.” Uta looked at Davina, “May I ask a question please?”  Davina nodded, “Um, do you ever entertain Sakurai-san in your home? Is there a chance I would be seen by him?”

                Davina felt her heart lurch, “No, my dear boy. I will not entertain Sakurai-san at my home, there is no risk for you.” Uta sighed in relief. “Thank you, Ma’am.”’ Davina looked at Teddy, who had stood motionless for the two hours she spoke with Uta. At her glance, Teddy was at her feet in an instant. “Teddy darling, could you get Uta-kun measured for a uniform, and I’d like him to have 4 complete uniforms, with the color ties you know I love. Uta, I have your schedule for the HBG, since you’re off I’d like you to start tomorrow afternoon, please be ready by noon, and Teddy will bring you to the manor.”

                Davina dismissed Uta, leaving Teddy to take him home. Uta was quiet on the drive, “Are you okay Uta?” The young man nodded, “A bit overwhelming, might take a little time getting used to it. I was surprised though, at what she had to say about Sakurai…does everyone think I’m his boy even if we’re not together and why would they think that?”

                “From what I understand and I’m not privileged by any means, the night that Sakurai-sama took you away from that maggot, everyone at the Fetish saw him, they saw you…the volatile actions by Sakurai-sama, that marked you as his boy, and also the most recent incident where Sakurai-sama struck a man for merely asking about you.  There are a lot of people in the community, that want to contract and collar you, and I do mean a lot. At least a dozen that I can think of right now. Nobody will touch you, Uta. You’re under Davina’s protection, even Sakurai would-sama will not approach you.” This reassured Uta that he may not have to worry about Sakurai anytime soon and he was satisfied with that knowledge.

~

                “At least he’s safe, that’s the most important part. Him living with someone else is probably a bonus, he can’t get all sickly without his roomie noticing. What’s the roomies name?” Koichi and Taka were at Ojisan’s having lunch and catching up. “Teiji…I don’t know anything about him, but I guess he must be okay.” Uta had been unusually quiet with information on his new flat and roomie, something Taka noticed, but it didn’t send out any alarms. “Hopefully now he can move past Sakurai, that man can be so unbearable at times.”

                “The young one is happy, ne?” Ojisan snuck up to the counter, listening to Koichi and Taka. “We think so Ojisan, but he never did reconcile with Sakurai, the man is just an asshole.” Ojisan nodded, turning away from the counter. “We might have a Sakurai problem in about two weeks.” Koichi hated telling Taka these things. “Fuck…now what?” Taka groaned, throwing his head back. “DCR event, so Buck Tick crashing, Ruki Rampage and now maybe a Sakurai suicide?” Taka snorted, “A what? You mean a Sakurai seppuku…Acchan commits hara-kiri at a DCR event. He’s that dramatic…” Taka shook his head.

                “The young one’s gentleman, caused another problem? It seems like Uta has a path paved with mountains and caverns, he must climb the mountain to succeed, only to fall into a cavern on the other side.” The old man closed his eyes, “Ojisan, what’s going to happen to Uta? That boy has had nothing but heartache and misery for the last few years, doesn’t he deserve to be happy?” Koichi was on the verge of tears.

                “I don’t see that for the young one, not yet. The man he is living with is kind, loyal and will keep Uta from harm, there is another connected and will do the same. Sakurai Atsushi is deep into his depression, I see him wallowing in self-pity for some time yet.” Ojisan turned his back and went into his kitchen.

                “I guess Teiji is a good guy, at least if that’s what I’m getting from Ojisan. Sakurai? Yah, he’s making this all about him, dumb ass.” Taka huffed. “It’s always been about him, he rarely thinks of others unless there is something in it for him. Is it going to take something drastic for him to stop being so fucking selfish?”

                “Maybe Uta leaving him for good, with no chance of reconciling will work. Hard to say, but we’ll keep Uta with us…he’ll be okay even without Sakurai.” Koichi punched Taka in the arm lightly. “Come on, I need to get home before Tatsu thinks I’ve left him.” Thanking Ojisan for the meal and the company, Taka and Koichi went on their way. “Uta, you must not forget Sakurai…you have to forgive the man. He is in pain but does not know how to move on.” Ojisan clapped once and looked to the sky.

 

 

 

 

Image result for dominatrix women in leather Davina                                    Image result for masaki koh       Teddy/Teiji

 

Chapter Text

Koichi sat in front of his computer, re-reading the email that was pulled up on the screen, and in growing frustration pushed away and left his office. “I just got an email about an upcoming DCR event, in two weeks.  It talks about a special announcement, I hate when they do this…have you heard anything about it at the studio?” Koichi walked into the kitchen, putting his arms around his husband’s waist as he stood at the stove. “Nope, nobody’s said anything that I’ve heard, do you anticipate a problem of some sorts?”

                “I always anticipate a problem when it’s a DCR event if it’s at the HBG, with Ruki rampages and all the other fun stuff that comes along with one of these parties.”  “Don’t worry until you hear what the event is, maybe it’s as simple as bands doing an inverse. That’s nothing to be worried about really.” Tatsu turned and slid his arms around Koichi’s neck, kissing his small husband on the forehead. “Sit down, breakfast is ready.”

 

“Here’s your list of errands for the day Uta-kun. Davina would like you to stop at this business and pick up a package. The business is fairly discrete, as is the package. They know you will be picking it up today. Any questions?” Teddy handed the list of errands to Uta. “No, I’m good. Is there anything she requires from me at the manor?” Teddy looked through his planner, “It appears that my Mistress has you only doing these errands, then you are free for the rest of your day.” Davina had made a point of making sure that Uta had one complete day off from her employment and the HBG, and with one whole day for himself left Uta well rested.

                Uta truly enjoyed working for Davina. The clients he came in contact with liked Uta, appreciated his discretion and also knew that Uta was untouchable, that he was not part of the direct community, and employed by a high-ranking member. His home life had improved much, Teddy was a perfect roommate… when he was home. There were times that Teddy spent the night with Davina, leaving Uta the flat to himself, which left Uta not distractions, leading to nights of emotionally conflicting thoughts about Sakurai that would plague his mind.

                In addition to running errands for Davina, his knowledge and awareness of the BSDM community increased. Some of the ethics, rules and the intricacies of contracts Uta understood, but also how dangerous Natsu truly was by violating those rules, leaving Uta to reflect on just how lucky he was to survive that relationship. He had spoken to Teddy about some of the abuse, and the man had knowledge of other aspects of Uta’s relationship with Natsu. After one particularly graphic discussion, Teddy burst into tears and grabbed Uta into a bear hug. “I can’t believe someone would to that to their pet, it’s just…” The young man now had added appreciation for his Mistress. “Davina has never done anything remotely close to that! We have our scenes, we have our rough play time, but there is always a safe word in place at all times. The fact that you didn’t even know that a safe word existed is just unheard of in our community.” Uta knew and told Teddy as much, that he would never again sign a contract or be collared.

 

                The cute little sedan Davina provided for him was a novelty, although he knew how to drive, he had never owned a car and the sense of freedom was overwhelming. With the radio turned up loud, Uta was out and about in the city running his errands for the day and did not feel the glaring look thrown his way from someone two lanes over, stopped at a traffic light. If looks could kill, Uta would be dead. The car tried to follow Uta, but the small sedan was quick and evasive, leaving the other car unable to follow. The frustration from the other driver was barely contained, as he was yelling at himself as he drove, swearing and beating on the steering wheel violently. Picking up his phone he dialed,

                “YOU WILL TELL ME NOW WHO UTA IS WITH! YOU WILL TELL ME WHERE HE LIVES! WHOSE CAR IS HE DRIVING! TELL ME HIDE OR I SWEAR…”

                “Davina, it’s Yutaka. I want you to know that Sakurai saw Uta out in the city… no they were both in cars, Uta didn’t see him. Well he just called Hide screaming, trying to get us to tell him where Uta is living, we gave him zero information. I just wanted you to become aware in case he somehow finds Uta. Please Davina, you know how bad Acchan is right now, just keep Uta safe for us. Yes dear, thank you.”       

               

                It was on Uta’s day off that he rode the train into town for his bi-weekly dinner date with Hide and Yutaka. “Tadaima! Oh, RIMA! ZEPP!” Uta was promptly trampled by a herd of pugs, leaving his face a little sloppier and two dogs very happy. “Okaeri, Uta-kun! On the patio dear!” The one regret Uta had living on his own, was the loving company of Hide and Yutaka which he sorely missed. “Uta-kun! I’m so happy to see you!” Yutaka was frequently close to tears whenever Uta came to their home, trying hard not to upset his young friend, he battled keeping the tears from flowing.

                “You look well, Uta. How’s the job treating you?” Hide hugged Uta. “I love it! It’s interesting, I get a cute little car to drive around, and some of the clients are um…special.” He cocked his head and blushed. “Oh! I want to hear about these special clients!” Yutaka grabbed Uta by the hand and pulled him into the kitchen. “Tea?” “Mmm, yes please.” Uta didn’t see the quick frowning glance between Yutaka and Hide, but he soon would hear the reason why.

                The chatter during dinner was festive, Uta telling his friends about Teddy, how the man can be stern and gruff, yet turn around and burst into tears. He recounted the conversation he recently had about Natsu and his treatment. “He cried, hugged the hell out of me and patted me on the head like a dog…but he’s the nicest most genuine person I think I’ve ever met. You’d never know that he’s Davina’s special pet.” This perked up Yutaka’s ears, “Special pet? What does that entail?” Uta explained that Teddy ran the house, including the pets in training, hiring for special events, most all aspects for the manor.  “But he’s truly in love with Davina, he spends the night with her a lot. It’s just not the submissive part in him. I think he would marry Davina if he could.”

                Hide coughed, as it was a signal for Yutaka to change the subject to something not so pleasant. “Uta honey, Sakurai called Hide yesterday afternoon.” Uta immediately stiffened. “He saw you in town, driving your little car” Yutaka explained the phone call. “He wanted to know whose car it was, who are you living with, where you are living, he wanted to know everything. Needless to say, we shut him down quickly. The only thing we told him is that you were no longer living with us, that’s it. To say he was angry is an understatement, his mental state is so unbelievably fragile right now. He’s fallen into a torturous deep depression and is abusing alcohol, he rarely leaves his house, he shows up at rehearsal barely able to function, then he leaves. He looks like hell…we’ve never seen him like this before.”

                “We are not telling you this because we want you back with Acchan, we’re telling you so you are aware of what he’s experiencing. I don’t think he can find you, at least I hope he can’t. I called Davina today and told her what was said and I know she will do anything to keep you safe. I want you to make sure you’re aware of your surroundings when you’re running errands for Davina, I’d rather Teddy was with you but I know that’s impractical. I will also say, be careful at the HBG. If you have to tell someone what’s going on, please do. It’s more than worth it to keep Acchan at bay. If for some reason you’re frightened living on your own and that Acchan will discover this, I’m sure Davina would move you into her manor, or you can come home to us.”

                The remainder of the evening was spent discussing what was the root of Sakurai’s behavior and what possibly triggered his current melt down. “He had issues with stalking Taka, always screaming about having a contract that he wouldn’t let Taka break on his own. What was that all about, does anyone even know?” Uta remembered the incident well, with Kyo and Die restraining Sakurai that night at the DCR event.

                “No, we never did fully understand it, although now looking back Taka was the first submissive he had been involved with, that had ever defied him. With you coming into the picture, defying him by insisting on your own flat, that might have just pushed him over the edge. I do NOT want you blaming yourself for anything that Acchan is doing to himself! You are not the cause of his problems, he’s had these issues long before you or even Taka came into the picture.” Uta nodded, wanting to believe Hide with his whole heart, but having a difficult time in doing so.

                “The only other person that may be able to shed light on what Acchan is doing, would be Kyo. He’s also on both sides of the same coin, as is Acchan. Both are dominants involved in that community, and both highly visible musicians. It is up to you if you wish to bring him into the conversation. But know this, whatever is said between you and Kyo that involves the BSDM community, will stay within those walls. There is no talk of community business with outsider, we both know of this.”t

                “Guess I need to talk to Davina, see what she has to say about this whole thing. Let’s not talk about it anymore, I want regular old gossip! How are Kyo and Mao doing, do you know?” Uta edged forward on the couch, leaning into Yutaka, with Hide rolling his eyes.

                It was getting late and Yutaka offered to drive Uta home, which he greatly appreciated since the late-night trains could be a little sketchy. “Please, make sure you talk to Davina tomorrow. I want you to be safe, and she is the one that can help you the most at this point. I think Acchan is visiting the club frequently, he seems to always look tired and hung over.” With a quick hug and smooch, Uta left his friend and walked into the flat.

                “Tadaima…” Uta walked into the living room, noticing that Teddy must be at Davina’s as the flat was quiet. There was a note however, left on the table for him;

                “Uta-kun, please call my Mistress when you are home, it is imperative that you speak with her tonight. T.” Uta got his phone out of his bag and dialed.

                “Ma’am…yes I just walked in. Yes, Yutaka and Hide told me as much. Right now? Of course, yes, I’ll be ready. Thank you.”

                “Must be important if she’s sending Teddy for me.” Uta put his shoes back on and grabbed his work bag, not knowing if he was working or just speaking with Davina.

                “Do you know why she needs to see me?” Uta got into the car, it had taken Teddy less than ten minutes to arrive. “I’m not privy to that information, I won’t ask either. But if she’s specifically requesting to you see you out side of what would be normal hours…it’s important.” Teddy had a stern look on his face, which usually meant he was in ‘pet’ mode, leaving Uta to not ask any further questions of his roommate.

               

                “Uta love, come in and sit with me.” Davina was sitting at her small office table in her room, dressed in night clothes, but looking very professional at the same time. “You needed to see me Ma’am?”  Davina looked into Uta’s eyes, sadly smiled and shook her head. “Yes dear, as you know I spoke to Yutaka today about our Sakurai’s crazed phone call. You are aware that he randomly happened to see you driving …yes?” Uta nodded, “Yes, Ma’am.”  

                “It seems that our Sakurai has been asking a lot of questions of a lot of people within our little community, at both the Fetish Club and the lesser club Scream. He’s been talking to both Dominants and their pets, which is wholly unethical. You just do not speak to other’s pets without express permission from their Dominant, thusly causing a huge problem anywhere he’s been seen. This is worrisome to me, I fear for you Uta, and I can’t pinpoint the reason why. I worry about you at your other job, the HBG is not protected as it is here in the manor, or even at the clubs.”

                Davina looked at Teddy, and the man was quickly by her side. With a tap on her shoulder, Teddy started to gently massage Davina’s neck. “Uta, how do you feel about what’s happening in the current situation? Are you worried, scared or unaffected?” Uta looked at his hands, “It scares me…I’m worried that he’ll find out where I’m living, and maybe try to take me. It scares me that you may be in danger, or Teddy.” A very soft sound came from Teddy, who then bowed to Davina. “My apologies Mistress.” Davina waved it off. “It’s acceptable Teddy, I know you care for Uta.”

                “I’m at a loss right now on what to do Uta. Part of me wants to excuse you and have you go back to live with Yutaka and his husband. I know you’ll be safe there, and yet a part of me wants to collar you, contract you so that there is no way Sakurai would ever get to you. But that is not an option. What do you want to do, Uta? That is what is important right now, not what I want, or what Teddy wants…what do you want?”

                “I don’t know” Uta replied in a small voice. “I like working for you but…” Davina reached over and lifted Uta’s chin with the tip of a long black fingernail. “Uta, I have one suggestion…it’s a very far fetched idea, which in the end may cause us more grief than good, and it would expose you to your friends…Taka, Koichi and their husbands, you would have to lie to them.”

                Uta’s eyes grew wide, “What? I uh…I’m…” he stammered. “This would be the ruse of all ruse…would you be willing to sign a faux contract, or at least wear my collar, but yet have none of the responsibilities that go with it? There would be a few of us, that would know that it’s all a huge ruse, those people would include Madam F and her pet Ormond, Yutaka and his husband, and lastly the one that I think may be an important key player…Kyo.”

                Uta sat in stunned silence, eyes wide, looking at Davina then Teddy, back to Davina. “A fake contract? Is that ethical within the community? And if Sakurai found out, he’s going to flip his shit! Uh…sorry Ma’am.” Uta cast his eyes to the floor. “Why would I want to tell Kyo? If Mao found out, that might ruin their relationship…no, I can’t go to Kyo. How will this help me? If Sakurai believes that you collared me, he’s going to attack you…I’m almost sure of it. No Davina, I can’t do that Ma’am, I won’t risk hurting those I love.” At the word love, Uta looked up and stared Davina in the eyes. “I love you, and Teddy and everyone else too much to take a chance like that.”

                Davina lowered her eyes…this boy had hit her in the heart hard. “Uta, I will accept your decisions. We will both sleep on the problem tonight, I’m going to have Teddy take you home, he will be staying with you. I don’t trust Sakurai at this point, the man is not thinking nor behaving rationally, he is a danger to himself and others right now. Perhaps we should meet with Yutaka and his husband? I would love to meet Hide, he’s also quite the attractive man.” Davina said her good-nights and good-byes to Teddy, and then turned to Uta. “We will figure this out, try not to be too distressed over it. You work at the HBG tomorrow afternoon, that gives us time to think of other options. I want you to be very careful when you are out, be watchful.” With those last words, Davina kissed Uta on the cheek and sent the two men home. “Acchan…what the fuck are you doing to this boy? Why…Acchan, why?”

 

Chapter Text

               

                “We’re going to have a mid-shift meeting today to discuss the upcoming DCR /HBG event next week, so you’ll both have to stick around, but you will get paid.” Taka was in leader-sama mode, one that he fell into easy when needed.  “I still haven’t heard anything further about the special announcement at the event, which makes me uncomfortable, not sure why though.” Koichi was constantly checking his email, hoping for more information, he hated going into anything unprepared. “Um…what about…” Uta mumbled. “What if he causes a problem?”

                “Uta, there will be nothing that he can do, that would jeopardize your safety. It’s just very sad that we even have to have this discussion.” Taka hated what Sakurai had become, especially in relation to Uta. The once loving man had lost his way, leaving his friends in the ruins. “Let’s wait until the others come in for their shift, and we’ll address it further at the meeting, ne?” Taka patted Uta on the shoulder.

                The day went smoothly despite Uta’s caution every time he needed to check the patio. He would not step out of the HBG, until one of the others cleared the way. “I just don’t want him sneaking up on me…I’m sorry Taka.” Uta hung his head and sighed. “Uta…” Taka placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder, “It’s not a problem, really. I don’t need a crazed Sakurai here any more than you do.”  Sending Uta out to check the patio, Taka turned to talk to Koichi. “I have no idea what’s going to happen at that event, do you think we need to contact Yutaka or even Imai? I haven’t heard anything about Sakurai in weeks.”

                “You could talk to Kyo, he goes to the Fetish Club, although I doubt he’s been there recently…Mao is keeping him, um…busy.” Koichi giggled. “I’m surprised that Mao can even walk.” “KOU! Dude, I SO didn’t need to hear that from you!” Taka groaned and shook his head, rolling his eyes at his best friend. “What? It’s not like nobody knows about Kyo’s…um, special talent!” Koichi laughed.

 

                “We have an upcoming event with DCR, nothing special as far as the HBG is concerned…it’s the same program as usual. What we do have is a problem with something that DCR is going to say or do, but we’re not sure what. Kou can explain a little more.” Taka had everyone standing in the office, giving the pre-party meeting.

                “The email that I received only said that there will be a special announcement, but no clue to what it may be. I asked Tatsu, and he seems to think that it’s going to be something simple like a band inverse live. If and when I get more info, I’ll let everyone know.”

                “What’s a band inverse?” Uta didn’t understand. “The band members change position, and or instruments. Mucc’s last inverse had Miya on drums, Tatsu on bass, and Yukke on guitar with a very sad sounding Sato on vocals. It’s been something that bands have done for fan club lives, but honestly, I don’t know how that would work with bands like Diru or Gazette. We just have to wait.”

                Uta raised his hand, “Uta, you don’t have to raise your hand…what did you want to say?” Taka gently chided. “You said we’d talk about my um, problem?” Uta was ashamed that there even had to be a discussion about this. “Yes, the potential Sakurai issue, do you want to tell them or should I?” Uta shook his head.

                “Okay, it seems that Sakurai saw Uta out and about on the streets a few days ago, and then called Hide and flipped shit over it, demanding to know where Uta lived, and with whom. Needless to say, Sakurai’s not at his best right now. I may do a few different things, with your permission Uta.”  Uta shrugged, he had no input at the moment. “I will leave you working the counters, but when it’s time for your break, and if Sakurai is here I want you to stay inside, preferably in the office. I want none of you to approach or confront Sakurai, the man can be unpredictable as some of you know.”

                “Don’t worry Uta, Kyo will be here…he and Die will protect you.” Mao hugged Uta. “Uta, there will be an army here to protect you, we have a lot of band members that all have been in scraps before. Sato’s strong, Tatsu’s a little wimpy, but Die and Kyo are a force in themselves, we’ll keep Sakurai in line.” Koichi put his arm around Mao’s shoulder.

                “Aki and I can kick ass as well, Uta. I’m good at jumping the counter, Aki...well he’s um, strong too.” Tora teased his lover, who then punched him in the arm. “I’m tough… sort of.” Aki pouted.

                All the support that was being given Uta, caused the young man to tear up. “Thank you…I’m sorry that I have to even ask this of you.” Uta bowed, a few tears hitting the floor.

                “I’m hoping that all we will have to contend with is a Ruki rampage, but I think I’m going to speak to Kai about keeping the man in line. I’d hate for Ruki to unleash his wrath on Sakurai, that could be a huge mistake on his part.” Taka concluded the meeting, “Everyone be here at 6pm, party starts at 8…any other questions?” With nothing more to say, Taka sent the opening shift home.

               

                On his walk to the train station, Uta received a text from Teddy; “My Mistress requests that you meet with her at Yutaka’s home, I will pick you both up at a later time.”  Uta was puzzled but reminded himself that Davina had said she wanted to speak with Yutaka, he was just surprised that it would be at his home. The train ride was short, and soon Uta was in Yutaka and Hide’s genkan. “Tadaima…”

                “Okaeri Uta-kun, we’re in the kitchen.” Hide called out. “Uta, dear boy.” Davina opened her arms, and Uta received a warm hug from his employer. “I’m so happy to see you, Uta.” Yutaka was next, with Hide patting Uta on the back. “We’ve been talking obviously about our little problem,” Davina nodded, “We really haven’t come up with much of a plan yet.”

                “There may be a bigger problem” Uta announced. “The HBG is hosting another DCR event, all of us have to work.” Uta cast his eyes down and leaned into Yutaka. “Will Buck Tick be there? You don’t have to come do you?”  Yutaka looked over at Hide, “Actually yes, we do have to be there, at least Imai does. He’s leader-san. I’m not sure why we have to be there, it must be in conjunction with this special announcement that DCR has.” Uta was crestfallen. “Will he be there? What do I do if he tries to talk to me?” Uta was on the verge of a panic attack, his breathing became shallow and he started sweating.

                “Uta my dear boy, what is your role during these events? What will you be doing and where?” Davina was rubbing Uta’s back, trying to comfort the boy. “We had a meeting this afternoon, Taka wants me at the counters for the event, so I don’t have to be on the patio at all. I will take my break inside as well.” Davina thought for a moment. “What if I have Teddy be with you at the event? He could stand guard outside the building…honestly that’s the only option I have.”

                Uta snorted, “I don’t think I have to worry about body guards considering what bands are going to be there. Kyo will be there, as well as Die, Tatsu and Sato, Ruki will be there but we want to avoid a Ruki rampage if we can.” Davina raised an eyebrow, “Ruki rampage? Do I even dare ask what that entails?”

                “Ruki is the vocalist for the band Gazette. He’s about 5’3 and has the fierceness of a tiger, and a libido to match.” Uta was trying to nail a description of Ruki that was accurate. “He typically just lusts after what ever new boy happens to be working the event. He’s gone through a few band members, then he went after Kanon, and most recently Tora. But he also jumped on Natsu and attacked him, he did the same with that horrid creature Masa, that ruined Koichi and Tatsu’s marriage.”

                “I must meet this boy! Not that he would be suitable as a pet, but your description of him intrigues me greatly.” Davina mused. “Do you think it would be of great consequence if I was at this event? I could be invited as a friend of someone associated with a band, say Kyo perhaps. It may intimidate Sakurai, or perhaps keep him in line…he would not want to lose face in front of me.” This caught Hide’s attention, “Would it look bad for Atsushi to create a scene, just because you are there? I’m not trying to question your status Ma’am, but would his behavior create a problem within your community?”

                “Possibly, if the information were to get out that Sakurai was involved with any sort of altercation, it would reflect badly on the community, we try to keep ourselves out of the public as much as possible. If I were to show up with Teddy, in my active role within the community, that may hinder Sakurai’s behavior.” Uta cleared his throat, and looked at Davina, who nodded, “What about Teddy? Do you think that people may find out that he is Teiji?”

                “Good point, Uta-kun. Perhaps I would ask Madame F to borrow Ormond for the evening, that would keep Teddy in the clear, and it would also satisfy his worries about me. My pet is especially protective.” Davina chuckled. “When you say that you would attend in your active role…you’re saying you would attend in your work clothes?” Yutaka teased “Work clothes? Oh my! How appropriate of a description! Yes, I would attend as if I were dressed for work.”

                “I think before we move forward with this, you may need to contact Kyo, unless you want Yutaka or myself to issue the invitation?” Hide added. “That may be counter-productive, if Sakurai were to discover you invited me? We may as well shut down the entire ruse.” Davina explained. They chatted a little longer, deciding to speak to Kyo first, before moving forward. Davina called Teddy, who she asked to bring into the house so Hide and Yutaka could meet in properly.

                “You have my word, I will protect Uta at any cost. He’s a dear friend to me now, and he’s also very precious to my Mistress.” Teddy bowed, and with Davina and Uta in tow, Yutaka and Hide bid them good night. “My, my, Teddy is a big boy! You can see he loves Davina, she is more than just his Mistress.” Yutaka guessed. “Oh? I must be blind, all I saw was a large young man, who followed orders quite well and promised to keep Uta safe.” Hide joked, which lead to a pillow to his face, by his lover, “Cretin, you don’t see anything romantic anymore…I may need to trade you in for someone like Teddy, that can truly be devoted to me alone!” Yutaka whined. “Oh? A new lover…” Hide got up and grabbed Yutaka’s hand and dragged the man down to the bedroom, slamming the door, and proved to Yutaka that he didn’t need a new young lover.

 

                He dialed the phone once again, and once more it went to voicemail. Where are you? Who are you with? Are you with Kyo again…you’re fucking that god damned midget? Asshole…you traded me for Kyo? Pfftt... who’s the idiot now? Fuck you, Uta! I’m Sakurai Atsushi… I can get a new sub in a heartbeat!  You’re a shitty sub anyways, mouthy, defiant, who fucking needs you? He reached for his wine glass, tipping it over in the process, staining his white carpet with the shade of blood. Uta…baby…why can’t I love you? I’m not worth a normal relationship…no more Acchan ever, just Sakurai. Better off that way.

 

                “Thank you my dear, I will take good care of Ormond for you, and I leave Teddy at your disposal if you need him. Yes…he’s apparently seen Uta on the street, doing errands for me. No, he didn’t, thankfully. I went to see Yutaka and his husband Hide, a handsome man! Yes, I mentioned Kyo, I’m going to contact him this evening. Thank you, Madame F, it’s greatly appreciated

 

                “Sit down baby, I need to talk to you about something important, and about my past.” Kyo was sitting with Mao on the couch, just after Kyo received the phone call from Davina. “I want you to hear me out before passing judgement.” Mao nodded, “Is it that bad? We’re not breaking up, are we?” Kyo leaned over and kissed Mao senseless for a few minutes, leaving the younger man breathless. “Does that feel like a break up to you?” Kyo whispered. Mao shook his head, unable to speak.

                “This has to do with Uta and Sakurai, and about my past. You’re aware of the BSDM community…you know Uta was mangled by Natsu and his twisted version of what how a dominant and a submissive interact.” This was harder than Kyo had thought. “In the past, the recent past, but before you and I were even a twinkle in each other’s mind…I was a part of that community…I was, I am a dominant.”

                Mao nodded, and stared at Kyo. “And…?” he said. “Um… well, you’re not upset…why?” Kyo was apprehensive about revealing his past, considering how touchy Mao could be. “Why would I be upset? That is your past…you don’t have a submissive now do you?” Kyo’s jaw dropped, “NO! Of course, I don’t! Anyways with the situation as it is with Uta and Sakurai, one of the highest ranked Dominant females in our community, has stepped in to help. Her name is Davina, and she’s asked me to invite her to the DCR event, with her pet. She’s hoping that with her appearance there, it may keep Sakurai from being a raging asshole.”

                “Sure…where’s the problem then? If she can help Uta by keeping Sakurai in line, I don’t see a problem. You don’t have a current submissive, I don’t count, and you’re not trolling for a new submissive, are you?” Kyo was totally taken aback by Mao’s response. “No, you don’t count, no I don’t have a current submissive and no, I’m not trolling for one. I guess I expected you to be a little more…or at all, upset.”

                Mao leaned towards Kyo, and pushed him back on the couch, crawling up and straddling his hips. “I trust that you’re telling the truth, that you’re not hiding anything from me.” Mao put his forehead against Kyo’s and rubbed noses. “Does this feel like I’m upset about anything?” Mao started to grind his ass into Kyo’s lap, leaving Kyo to start moaning. “Baby…um… if you’re going to start this, then I’m going to finish, and if this is how you feel when you’re upset, I need to upset you more.” Mao pushed down on Kyo’s rising stiffness, Kyo closing his eyes, enjoying the rising sensation of his cock. “Mmm, can we go into the bedroom, so I can show you how really upset I am, like I’m devastated?”  Kyo opened his eyes and growled, “you better not have any plans for the next few hours…” Kyo grabbed Mao around the waist, and without a great deal of difficulty, stood up, Mao’s legs around his waist. Mao tightened his arms around Kyo’s neck, leaning in to slide his tongue against Kyo’s lower lip. “The only plans I have are of you fucking me into the mattress…”

 

                “Okay…here we go. Mao and Uta are at the counters, Tora and Aki on the patio. Koichi will be here with Tatsu, I’ll be here with Sato, so if anything comes up, you just need to let me know. We will rotate breaks, but Uta you’re to stay inside, I don’t want you on the patio. One more thing…Kyo has invited someone that is not in the industry, a woman that will be dressed um… professionally, but I’d rather not say what profession.” Uta started to giggle, Mao elbowing him in the ribs. Mao knew it would be Davina and her pet but decided not to say anything. “The woman’s name is Davina and her attendant is Ormond, be courteous to her but generally ignore her if you can.”

                “Lastly, IF there are any disturbances involving Sakurai, Uta’s our first priority. I want the covers pulled down and the back door locked. I know this is probably overkill, but we don’t know what’s going on in Sakurai’s mind these days. Uta, if you’re very scared, lock yourself in the office. I’m sure that this will all be unnecessary, but I’d rather look paranoid than let something happen to you. Any questions? Okay good, let’s open the counters, have fun!” Taka bowed and walked out to the patio area.

                “Ru…seriously, tonight you can’t chase anyone” Kai and Ruki were on their way to the event, with Kai making sure Ruki understood the potential for Sakurai problems. “Tonight, the only thing that matters is that Uta is safe. Kyo will be watching…shit the entire company will be watching for Sakurai, so high alert tonight Ru…promise no rampage please?” begged Kai. “Of course, I’ll be in control, Uta-kun is part of mine and Koichi’s special group, with Shinya. I’m not letting that sick son of a bitch near Uta.” Kai sighed in relief, hoping that Ruki would keep his promise.

                “Ma’am, what are your instructions for me tonight?” Ormond had just been picked up by Davina, who had left Teddy with Madame F for the evening. “I’d like for you to stay close to me, watch my back as it were and of course, watch for Sakurai-sama to do anything that may cause an interruption. We are observing the man, trying to ascertain his state of mind. Perform your duties that you normally do with your own Mistress, is that clear?” Ormond bowed, “Yes Ma’am.”

 

                “His phone must be turned off…it goes straight to voicemail. When was the last time we saw him? A week?” Hide was getting ready for the DCR event, while Yutaka was trying to reach Sakurai. “The last time was… yep, about a week ago and he looked like shit. I say we prepare for him, make sure everyone is on alert, Imai and Toll should keep an eye out. Davina will be there with Ormond…can’t wait to see that boy, if he’s half as luscious as Teddy…” Yutaka let the thought trail off. “Let’s go babe…for better or worse, you signed up for this, there’s no backing out now” Hide held out is hand, “As long as we’re a team…god, we’re a bunch of corny old bastards.”

               

                People started arriving, leaving a long line at the counters, everyone wanting to start drinking as early as possible. There was a small stage, a platform really, with a mic stand and a chair, the CEO of DCR was expected to speak later in the evening. Koichi, Tatsu, Taka and Sato arrived together, hitting the counter for drinks. “Hi Uta, Mao… how’s it going so far?” Tatsu ordered drinks for he and Koichi. “It’s busy…but it’s normal for these events.” Mao was blushing hard in front of Tatsu, something Kyo loved to tease him about…his fan boy crush on Tatsu. “I don’t have a fan boy crush on Tatsu! Why would I? I’m fucking Kyo of Dir en Grey, like nightly, I don’t need to fan boy over anyone but you…”

                Kyo arrived with the other members of Diru, going with Die to the counters so he could see Mao. “Hi Die…no I don’t want to go on a date with you.” Mao deadpanned, “HEY! I wasn’t going to ask! Shit cut me some slack already…” Die was pouting, while Kyo jumped up on the counter and leaned over to get a kiss from Mao. “That’s correct Daisuke…this one is mine.” Kyo growled, then winked at Mao and Uta, leaving them in giggles. “Your boyfriend is weird, Mao.” Uta shoved Mao’s shoulder gently. “My boyfriend? He was your boyfriend first…you didn’t bother to tell me that he’s weird…I had to find all this shit out on my own!” Mao and Uta joked back and forth in between customers, but no lemons were being thrown…at least not that early.

                “Ruki, I’m sure Kai already talked to you about Uta and Sakurai?” Kyo had gone over to the Gazette’s table and sat down next to Ruki. “Kyo, why is Sakurai hurting Uta so much? What’s his reason for being such a dick bag?” Kyo raised an eyebrow, “Dick bag…um, never mind. I’m not sure what the problem is, maybe that Uta has a set of balls and stands up to him, unlike most everyone else? I don’t care what his problem is, he’s not getting to Uta…so will you help keep an eye out tonight? No rampaging around with a boner?”

                Now it was Ruki’s turn to raise an eyebrow, “My boner wouldn’t be half as visible as YOURS!” Just as Kyo was going to call Ruki a twit, Reita stepped in. “We want no boners or rampages tonight… the big boss is here, so both of you shut it!” Reita turned away and went to go talk with Toshiya. “Guess that means no fun tonight, ne Kyo?” Ruki sighed, “Yah, not this time…we should get together for a night of insults and innuendo’s, you could wear high heels and show off your legs, and I can whip it out…what’d say about arranging that?” Kyo was certain Ruki would say something snarky, he was surprised, “Oh! Yes please! I want to talk to Mao anyways about… well that thing of yours. I’ll call Mao next week and we can set it up!” Kyo sighed and got up and walked towards the counters. Standing in line for a few minutes, he approached and called Mao over, “Whatever you do, do NOT agree to go out with Ruki anytime soon, we are both unavailable…I’ll explain later. I love you.” He kissed Mao quickly and went back towards the party. “Do I even want to know what that was about?” Mao said in agony.

                There was a barely noticeable change in the tone of the crowd when Davina entered the patio area. Kyo looked over and saw his associate, and calmly walked over to her, inclining his head. “Davina, you look stunning tonight.” Kyo didn’t verbally acknowledge Ormond but did nod his head to the muscular man. Davina was dressed in a hi/lo black brocade skirt, with stiletto heeled books, a black lace up corset, and a tiny shawl that just covered her shoulders, she was wearing full length opera gloves, her hair flowing loosely down her back. “Davina, would you accompany me please, I’d like to introduce to my lover, and also to buy you a drink.” Kyo offered her a hand, which she took, following him to the counters.

                “Mao babe, this is Davina and her pet Ormond, Davina my lover Mao, the reason for my absence at the Fetish.” Davina gave Mao an appraising look, which left Mao with his mouth hanging open. “Mao-kun, you’re truly enticing, I can see why we have lost Kyo from our community.” She winked at the flustered boy. As Kyo and Davina walked away, the topic turned to Sakurai. “He’s obviously hasn’t arrived, if he will show at all. I fear for him Kyo, none of us have ever witnessed such a fall.” Kyo led her to the Diru table, and introduced her to his bandmates, with Davina eyeing Toshiya lewdly, with Toshiya blushing to his toes.

                “Yutaka and the remainder of the band haven’t arrived yet, they usually walk in around 11pm, we still have a while. If you’d like, I could introduce you to some of the others?” Kyo had a rotten dirty mind, he wanted to introduce Davina to Ruki. “My boy,” Davina stood, getting close to Toshiya, “You are unbelievably luscious” Lifting a finger, Ormond reached in his coat and produced a card, “If you’re ever in need of corrective instruction, please call me. I would love to see you…” Davina didn’t get to finish, Sakurai Atsushi had just walked into the patio of the HBG.

Chapter Text

A depressing murmur was heard on the patio as Sakurai Atsushi arrived, walking in on unsteady feet. Disheveled appearance, blood shot eyes, and obviously drunk, Sakurai attempted to walk a steady pace towards an empty table, where he sat himself down heavily. Mao had seen Sakurai walk in, and he pushed Uta towards the office, “It’s him, stand back here for a bit…let me see what’s happening.”  Just as Uta went into the office, Tora ran through the back door, “Sakurai’s here…he’s fucking hammered, stay inside Uta!”

                Tora ran back to where Aki was standing with Koichi, Miya, Shinya and Sato…watching as Tatsu walk towards Sakurai, everyone holding their breath. “What the hell is Tatsu doing? Shit! Koichi…what’s he doing?”  Die and Kyo had moved closer to the table where the drunken Sakurai had parked himself, poised to jump in if the man tried to attack Tatsu. “Fuck…” Kyo growled. Kai had his arm on Ruki, Aoi and Uruha behind him. “Guys, just wait…” Kai warned.

                Tatsu was taking the chance to attempt to speak clearly to Sakurai, squatting down in front of the man. “Acchan what are you doing to yourself? Is it all worth it? You’re throwing your life away because someone turned you down as a lover? Really Acchan?”

                 Sakurai stood up, swaying dangerously close to falling and started screaming, looking around at all the guests. “ACCHAN NO LONGER EXISTS! IT’S ONLY SAKURAI ATSUSHI!” Sakurai snarled, “I CAN GET ANY LOVER I CHOOSE, TO FALL AT MY FEET!” YOU KNOW NOTHING TATSURO, YOU’RE A WASHED-UP PUSSY VOCALIST!  I MADE EVERYONE OF YOU PEOPLE!   IF IT WASN’T FOR BUCK TICK NONE OF YOU WOULD HAVE FUCKING CAREERS!” The audible gasp that rose from the others on the patio was beyond definition, it was painful now to watch Sakurai Atsushi fall deeper into his self-destruction. Tatsu stood up, took one last look at Sakurai, a man he saw as a mentor, shaking his head and he walked away, Koichi waiting for him to walk into his arms.

                Kai had gone to Yukke, Shinya was standing with Miya, various band members surrounding them. “He’s absolutely bat shit crazy,” Kaoru swore, as he tried to reason with Sakurai, “Atsushi, stop please. We’ve known each other for decades, is this really how you want to be seen? Nothing is worth alienating your peers, we’re all family…” Sakurai turned on Kaoru, “You have NO IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH! Fuck off Kaoru, take your shitty band and leave.” Kaoru stared at his friend, his peer in the community, “You’re going to regret everything you’ve done tonight, Atsushi. Once you’re sober, it will be too late to repair any relationships you’ve had with your peers.” Kaoru turned and walked back to where Toshiya was sitting.

                Another murmur was heard as the remaining members of Buck Tick entered the patio area. Imai spots Sakurai immediately, walking over to stand in front of his bandmate. “Atsushi, you look like shit, what the fuck’s your problem? You lose a beautiful boy because you’re an asshole, then you come into public looking like this? I’ve had enough of you being a fucking dumbass, we’re going to fix this NOW!”  Imai reached down and grabbed Sakurai by the front of his shirt and pulled him up. Shoving the man towards the side entrance of the patio, the other members of Buck Tick followed.

                The other attendees were milling around, speaking in hushed tones, wondering what the hell was wrong with Sakurai Atsushi. Taka went over to the HBG to check on Uta, “Uta? You okay right now?” The young man nodded, “I hope he just goes home…I don’t want to be the cause of any scene…” Uta mumbled, as he looked at the floor. “Any scene that Sakurai causes, will not be because of you, he’ll be doing it because he’s an asshole right now that is acting like a spoiled brat who can’t get his way.” Kyo was at the back door, looking for Mao, “Babe, everything okay? How’s Uta?” Kyo grabbed onto Mao, pulling the younger man into a crushing hug. “I think he’s okay, he’s just upset over what Sakurai has been saying. I think deep down, Uta still loves him but this is hurting him, with Sakurai driving everyone away.”

                Taka returned to the patio area, where the atmosphere had a definite dark miasma hanging over it. The constant hum of voices, with shouts and angry words being heard somewhere under Tokyo Tower. After a few moments, the shouts had ended with Buck Tick dragging Sakurai with them and shoving him into a chair. “The only reason I don’t drag you off and kick your ass Acchan, is because we have a contractual agreement to be here to support DCR. I want you to sit there and shut your mouth.” Imai ordered. Sakurai sat in the chair, his arms crossed tightly over his chest, wearing a belligerent frown.

                People milled about for a time, quite a few of them heading to the HBG counters for more beverages, some people ordering two at a time. Uta wouldn’t look anyone in the face, he was embarrassed…this was his fault. He knew that if he would not have pressed to have his own flat, none of this would have happened. He could hear the talk on the patio, the words that people were using to describe Sakurai’s condition, he heard Sakurai screaming at Tatsu, it was almost too much for Uta to take. Then it happened.

                Davina, with Kyo at her side, and Ormond having her back, she approached Sakurai. “Sakurai Atsushi, your reprehensible actions and appearance are a shock to our community, and I’m not talking about the music community. You have brought our private lives into the public, which is unheard of. You are a disgrace and you shame us, Sakurai Atsushi, you will face consequences, be forewarned.”

                                                                                                “FUCK OFF DAVINA, YOU SKANK-ASSED WHORE! 

                The moans and ut oh’s heard after that, flooded the patio. Davina stood there for a moment eyeing Sakurai Atsushi, reaching out she slapped the man hard across the face. “No one, not even the great Sakurai, gets away with defaming me.” Davina said softly. Sakurai lifted his eyes, then he lunged for Davina, “FUCKING CUNT!”

                It’s a debate on who was faster to respond, Ormond or Kyo, regardless they both reached Sakurai at the same time, with Ormond trying to physically restrain Sakurai and Kyo swinging on the man. Kaoru, Sato and Toshiya grabbed Davina out of the way, placing her behind them, Die jumped into the fracas swinging on Sakurai as well. Toll, Imai and Hide were trying to get Sakurai pulled away, but with multiple fists flying, it was difficult to see whom was striking whom.

                “Oh shit…no!” Mao was leaning over the counter, and had just heard Sakurai screaming at Davina, then both Mao and Uta heard the slap, and the sound of a fight, “No, Davina!” Before Mao could act, Uta ran out of the HBG, towards the fighting, screaming and pleading with everyone,

                                                “STOP IT! PLEASE JUST STOP HITTING… KYO DIE STOP PLEASE EVERYONE STOP HITTING… STOP PLEASE! ACCHAN STOP!”

                Uta ran straight into the middle of the fight, pushing his way through the fists, pushes and shoves, helplessly attempting to break up the fight. “STOP PLEASE…” A missed punch that connected to someone’s head, a hard shove and before anyone could stop, Uta was on the ground unconscious. “UTA!” Davina was the first to see the boy hit the concrete with a sickening thud, then getting stepped on by so many. She pushed her way through, pulling hair, shirts, clawing her way through to lay on top of Uta, shielding him from further injury. It wasn’t until Sakurai saw Uta underneath the fight, that he stopped. “Uta…oh baby…why?” He dropped to his knees, trying to pick the boy up.

                “NO!  SAKURAI!  GET AWAY YOU WILL NOT TOUCH HIM!” Davina growled. Everyone grew quiet, the only thing heard was the panting of breath, and the whimpering of Sakurai. “Davina, let me look at him…someone get Sakurai out of here NOW!” Miya had pushed through the crowd, dropping down next to Davina to look at Uta, “Let me see him Davina,” Miya took her hands away from Uta’s body, and rolled the boy over. “Miya…” Yutaka was leaning over Miya’s shoulder.

                “Uta…baby…please, no I didn’t…” Sakurai was whining, straining against Toll and Imai, wanting to get to his boy. “Get him out of here please, I don’t care where you take him, just get him out of here now.” Kyo growled at Toll and Imai. “Miya should we call for an ambulance?” Someone aske from the crowd, “Uta, hey boy…come on, open your eyes for us. Taka get your first aid kit please.” Rolling Uta onto his back, Davina was stroking his face, “Uta-kun, you need to open your eyes dear one…I’ll be cross with you if you don’t. Your Mistress will be displeased with you…come on Uta.” She murmured.

                Taka had the first aid kit, Uta had a rather bad case of road rash on his cheek, a split lip and one of his hands was swelling quickly. Putting an alcohol wipe on his face, Uta’s eyes started to flutter open. “That’s right, come back to me Uta…Teddy is waiting for you at home, we need to go back to the manor” Davina cooed, as she carded Uta’s hair. Kyo heard this, as did Taka, both stealing glances at each other.  “Wha…owww! Who hit me!” Uta reached up to touch the side of his head. “Wait… where’s Sakurai? Did he hurt anyone, Davina? He didn’t hit you, did he? Ormond? Miya…why are?” Davina’s face lit up like a birthday cake as Uta’s eyes became clearer.

                “Do you hurt anywhere else Uta? Arm, back, leg? Can you stand up?” Ormond came over to assist Davina in getting up, Miya and Taka helping Uta to stand. “Did anyone get hurt? Please tell me!” Uta looked around, seeing a few scrapes and what would later be bruises on Kyo and Die, “We’re fine kid, you took the hardest hit, not sure who threw the punch but it might have been me.” Kyo smiled and winked at Uta, who returned the smile. “You scared me half to fucking death Uta! Don’t ever do that again! My god I must have aged 10 years…now I’m 30!” Yutaka pulled Uta into his arms, kissing the boy on the head, caressing his back. “You’re way over 30 babes, hate to tell you,” snickered Hide, Yutaka turning to flip his lover off.

                Tatsu was speaking with the DCR management and they all agreed on canceling the special announcement and ending the party. Everyone stopped to see Uta as they left, with Ruki running up and hugging his friend tightly. “Uta-kun, we need to get together for our little group meeting, maybe this week, ne? I love you, Uta-kun.” Ruki kissed the boy on the forehead. “I love you too, Ruki” Davina stopped Ruki before he left the patio area. “I’ve heard much about you, Ruki-kun. Here’s my card” Ormond handed Davina a card. “I’d like to speak to you further boy.” Ruki stared like a deer in headlights at Davina, he nodded then turned to walk away with Kai.

                “Your hand looks pretty bad; can you move your fingers?” Miya looked at Uta’s hand. “I think they’re just bruised. I know you don’t want to go to the hospital, but when you get home stay awake for a few more hours, you may have a concussion.” Uta nodded, then looked at Davina and Yutaka who were standing apart talking. Walking over to Uta, Davina spoke first, “It’s your choice. You can come home with me, and you’ll stay at the manor, or you can go home with Yutaka and Hide, but you’ll have to call Teddy at some point tonight, he’ll be mad with worry if you don’t.”

                Uta thought about it, worried that if he went home with Yutaka, that somehow Sakurai may show up, “I’d like to go home with you please” he said to Davina. “I don’t want to be at your house in case he tries to come over, but I’ll come by tomorrow if I’m not working.” He hugged Yutaka and Hide, both of whom were short on words, the intensity of what had happened wore on both of them, not only for Uta but for Sakurai as well.

                “Take the next three days off, Uta. I want you to make sure your hand isn’t broken, and I think you need to rest a bit. Don’t worry, I’ll work your shifts for you.” Taka patted the younger man on the shoulder. “Can we go home please Ma’am?” Uta pleaded. “Of course. Thank you all for what you’ve done for Uta,” Davina put her arm around the boy’s shoulder, and they walked out to the car.

                “Call me tomorrow at some point, I think we need to discuss some things.” Taka looked at Kyo, who just stared back. “I will, sometime in the late afternoon.” Taka secured the HBG as quickly as possible, wanting nothing more than to go home and de-stress. The events that night had played out similarly to what Taka and Uta had anticipated, the outcome wasn’t.

 

~

                The only sound in the car was the hum of the engine and the tires on the street. Sakurai sat in the back seat, his arms crossed tightly over his chest, his eyes closed and his head laid back. Imai was driving and was stealing glances in the rear-view mirror, waiting for Sakurai to say something…anything that would justify is actions that night. Toll was hoping to get back to Sakurai’s house before the fighting resumed.

                “Out, just fucking go inside and don’t say a damned thing.” Imai opened the passenger side door, grabbing Sakurai roughly by the arm and dragging him out of the car. Sakurai glared at Imai but obeyed the commands. Upon entering the house, toeing off of shoes in the genkan, Sakurai went straight to the kitchen, pouring himself a large glass of wine. “Are you sure that’s a smart idea, Atsushi? Pouring more alcohol on your problems?” Toll shook his head and sat at the kitchen table.

                “What the hell is wrong with you Atsushi, how did you go from a normal loving man to a self-absorbed narcissistic asshole?” Imai moved to stand in front of his friend, his bandmate. “Why are you doing this to yourself? Screaming obscenities at your peers, telling them that they owed their careers to you, that without Buck Tick none of the bands would exist, and Davina? You called her a cunt, Atsushi, the worst term you can call a woman…did you also intend on attacking the woman physically? Would you have really laid your hands in a violent manner, on that woman…ANSWER ME SAKURAI!” Imai was in Sakurai’s face, screaming at him.

                “I owe you no response, I owe you no explanation. These are my choices, my words, I owe nothing to anyone.” Sakurai stubbornly answered. “Oh, really? Are you going to tell me that you’re Sakurai Atsushi, the great lover, the dark prince and you can do as you wish? You’re a self-absorbed asshole, Atsushi. If you continue down this road, I’m going to have to call management and have Buck Tick put on permanent hiatus. You can not perform in this condition, I will not have you screaming drunkenly at our fans.” Imai got up and walked to the kitchen, sitting down at the table.

                “Now it’s my turn, Acchan.” The sound of his nickname, lit a fire under Sakurai, “YOU’RE NOT TO CALL ME THAT! ACCHAN IS GONE AND DEAD!” He shouted loudly at Toll. “You’re right, he’s gone and dead. The gentle man, the lover, the friend…he’s gone, probably for good. Uta, that beautiful boy, was knocked unconscious tonight, because of you. It doesn’t matter who threw the punch, you were behind it as if you threw it yourself. What if it’s serious? What will you do if Uta is seriously injured, in the hospital…again, hooked up to machines so he can breathe. All of this is your fault, and why? Because you needed to throw out your dominant card, and insist on Uta living with you, instead of having his own flat…let that sink in. You’ve physically hurt the boy you claim to be in love with, that you draw breath from, he could be lying in the hospital right now, in an unknown condition, all because Uta wanted to have a back-up plan. How does that make you feel, Sakurai?”

                Imai walked towards the front door, “I’m taking your car, so you don’t fucking go out and kill someone. Take what I’m going to tell you as serious; if you refuse to get some mental health counselling, and some substance abuse counselling, Buck tick is over. I will not hesitate to pull the plug on our thirty years career and believe me when I say I will release the cause of the breakup, without hesitating one second, I will tell the world it’s because you were a mother fucking drunken asshole. You can also forget about Uta, that boy needs to be kept as far away from you as possible. Let this all sink in over-night. If you want help, you need to ask for it. I will be here in a heartbeat if that’s what you want, if not. I don’t ever want to speak to you again, our friendship will be over, Atsushi.” Without another look, Imai walked out of the house.  “I’ll be right behind him, Acchan and I’m sure Hide and Yutaka feel the same way, especially considering how much they love Uta. Have a nice evening.” Toll walked through the door and closed it quietly.

 

                                ~

                He can’t close his eyes, when he does the image of Uta on the ground, unconscious and bleeding burns in his mind. He doesn’t know what condition the boy is in…was he severely hurt? Is he in the hospital? If he is, what are his injuries? He understands that he has no right to know, but it’s almost as if someone had put a one-hundred-pound weight on his chest, making it uncomfortable to breath. He takes a chance…

                                                “I know I don’t deserve to know, but is Uta in the hospital? Please, just tell me his condition.”

                Closing his phone, he is able to slide into a restless nightmare filled sleep, it’s all he can take to not fly apart.

 

                “Will you tell him? Do you think you should? He’s the cause of all of this, he doesn’t really love Uta.” Mao and Kyo were in each other’s arms, coming down from the adrenaline rush at the HBG. Kyo had been reaching to turn off the light when his phone chimed with a text message…from Sakurai Atsushi. “I don’t know, I may just let him stew over-night, and I may ask Uta first, it’s his choice on whether or not to tell Sakurai.” Kyo put his phone back on the bed table, turning to draw Mao closer, kissing his young lover on the forehead. “I’m so glad you weren’t involved, if you would have been hit? I probably would have been arrested for beating Sakurai to death.” Kyo tightened his arms again, “I love you Mao.”

                “UTA!! Oh my god, you’re hurt!” Teddy was waiting in front of the massive front doors of the manor, rushing to the car when Uta and Davina arrived. Teddy ran to the car, pulled the door almost off it’s hinges and grabbed Uta, picking him up his arms like a small child. “Are you in pain? Oh…your cheek! It’s all scraped up, and your lip!  Mistress, you’re not injured, are you?” Teddy almost forgot Davina, “I’m sorry I didn’t check on you first my Mistress,” Teddy put Uta down and bowed low. “Teddy darling, it’s perfectly fine, I understand your distress over Uta. Let’s go in and get settled for the night, ne?” Teddy scooped Uta back up, carrying the young man bridal style. “Teddy, I’m fine. I can walk…I’m not hurt that bad.” Teddy’s arms pulled Uta in as close as he could. “I don’t care, I’m taking care of you.”

                Davina walked in behind Teddy, with a soft smile on her face, it’s exactly as she had thought. “Let’s put in him in the Gardenia room, Teddy. It’s the next closest room to mine.” Teddy nodded and followed Davina to a room that was close to the master bedroom. Opening the door, Uta was surrounded with a lovely soft shade of white, with green floral accents, and the room smelled of gardenia flowers. “Oh, Ma’am this is way too nice for me, I can just go home…” Uta started to protest. “No, you will stay here the required three days, as Miya and Taka expressed. I want you where I can keep an eye on you, and I’m sure Teddy doesn’t mind staying over as well.”

                “No Mistress, I love staying here with you.” There was a soft exchange of smiles between the two, then Teddy turned back to Uta. “I have some new pajamas for you, and all the necessary toiletries. I know that Miya-san wanted you to stay awake for a few hours, so I prepared a light snack for us in the kitchen. If you’d like to shower first, I will meet you there shortly.” Teddy held the door open for Davina, and they left the room.

                Uta looked around the beautiful room, it was peaceful, the soft scent of gardenia flowers wafted through the room. There was an attached bathroom, which made it much easier to shower, than having to walk the halls and possibly run into another pet, which didn’t happen frequently. He stood under the hot water for what seemed like an hour, trying to relax the muscles that had tightened when he had been thrown to the ground. He didn’t remember seeing Sakurai when he woke, all he could see where Miya, Taka and Davina. So, where did Sakurai go, what happened to him?
                Stepping out of the shower, pulling on brand new pajamas, with a small kitten print, making Uta giggle, “Oh Teddy…” putting on some house slippers, Uta went down to the kitchen, surprised to find Davina there as well. “Sit with us, Uta-kun,” Davina slid a sandwich to Uta. “God, this is sooo good!” Uta tore into the sandwich, not realizing he was this hungry, but having to be careful of his split lip. “Uta, how does your head feel?” Teddy reached up and gently stroked the somewhat large lump, with Uta grimacing. “I’m sure it’s going to hurt worse in the morning, but my face? It looks horrible!” Uta was a pale boy, so the redness from the scrape was very noticeable as was the swollen lower lip.
                As per Miya’s instructions, Uta stayed up for another hour, but then his eyes started to droop, and Teddy took advantage of it, scooping Uta up and carrying him again. “Teddy…really I can walk.” Uta protested. “Just let me baby you tonight, tomorrow we’ll all be back to normal.” Teddy cradled the boy in his arms.

                Arriving at the bedroom, Davina kissed Uta good night, and went into her room, leaving Teddy and Uta alone. “When Ormond texted me, I wanted to drive over to the HBG right then, I felt helpless here at the manor.” Teddy was sitting on the edge of Uta’s bed, as Uta snuggled down. “I wanted to seriously damage Sakurai-sama for getting you involved in all this bullshit.” Uta was watching Teddy’s face, his eyes were telling Uta that there was something else Teddy wanted to say. “Uta, you have grown to mean so much to me in so little time, that the thought of you being hurt…I can’t describe how angry and scared I was.” Teddy scooted off the bed, kneeling at the side, looking into Uta’s face. Very slowly, Teddy reached out to stroke Uta’s cheek, “Uta…” before he knew what was happening, Teddy’s lips pressed gently to Uta’s, in a soft kiss. “Oyasumi, Uta-kun.” He stood up and turned off the light, leaving a very shocked Uta alone in the dark.

                “Enter.” Davina was in her black dressing gown, lying on the bed. She could see it in Teddy’s face, in his eyes…he had more than just friendly feelings for the boy, Uta. “Did you?” she asked quietly. “Yes, but just very soft. No tongue or anything. I’m sorry my Mistress.” Teddy moved to the side of the bed, looking down at the woman he did truly love, but now had conflicted feelings about. “Can I just talk please?” This was usually a sign for Teddy to speak without being constricted by his contract. “Of course, you know I’ll never deny that.”

                “What do I do, Davina? I’m confused” Teddy’s hair was hanging in his eyes, Davina carefully pushed a strand behind his ear. “I’m not sure Teiji, this is something that would normally be discussed in the rescinding or cancellation of a contract. Is that what you want? What about Uta and how he feels? Does he share your feelings or do you think that he may not? I can’t tell you what to do, Teiji.”

                “My last relationship with a man was just before I met you, and it was disastrous, which played a huge part in wanting to be contracted by a dominant female. You have treated me with such kindness and I truly love you, Davina. But Uta…I can’t even think straight when he’s near me…it’s been so hard living with the boy, I’m in love with him.”

                “But…” Davina added. “But I don’t know how he feels about me. I don’t want to break our contract, if I then turn around and get rejected by Uta.” Teiji sat with his shoulders slumped, his hand over his eyes feeling like he wanted to cry. “Davina, what should I do? Please…just tell me yes or no. I’ll do what you tell me to!” he pleaded.

                “Teiji, I can’t tell you what to do. That’s not for me to say, this has nothing to do with our contract. If you love Uta, you tell him so and you go from there. If at any time you’d like to cancel our contract, you know that we need to discuss it although” Davina paused, “Because it’s Uta and because it’s you, my beautiful boy, I will terminate our contract without the normal process. I want you both to be happy…and if Uta can make you happy, then please… leave me.” Davina had tears filling her eyes. She loved Teiji like no other pet she’d ever had, and Uta…that boy did things to her heart that no other person had been able to.

                Teiji crawled onto the bed, and crept into Davina’s arms, both silently crying, both for loss, and for the future.

Chapter Text

 

                “What did you hear? Yep, same thing I did, but I’m not sure I understand the context of it. No, that’s what I thought, after Natsu why would he want that? How did he get so close to Davina and Teddy? No, I’m not sure. You think? He doesn’t wear it though…I’ve never seen him with it, and why would he lie about it? Probably, wouldn’t you be pissed off? Sure, I’m working this afternoon. Text me and let me know…no, he’s not going to care. Thanks, ja ne

                Taka closed his phone, still not convinced that what he and Kyo heard, meant what they thought. Why would Uta be contracted to Davina? If he didn’t want to be collared by Sakurai…why Davina? Kyo couldn’t really shed light on anything either, it was all very confusing. They had come to the agreement that they needed to speak with Davina directly, forcing her to explain the situation, hoping it would answer their questions.

                “Why yes, Kyo. I can’t really comment on that at the moment. No, it truly is none of your business, but I understand the concern. He slept well, his face is slightly swollen and he’s complaining of a headache. Teddy? You know better than to ask me that Kyo. Taka? Yes, I can understand that…but why the necessity to speak to me about it? True, but I doubt that will be the case. Fine, I agree. Where is it? I will be there.”

                                “Ojisan’s 6:30”

 

                Uta woke in pain, the side of his head more tender and painful that it had been the night before. Getting up and going into the bathroom, the vision looking back at him in the mirror was an eerie memory of Natsu. His lip was still tender, but not bleeding and his hand was a little puffy. “What the hell, why Acchan?”  Uta chose to take a hot bath instead of a shower, he wanted to soak the pain away, and not just the physical pain, but the emotional turmoil his heart was in. Acchan, the man he thought could do no wrong, had just shown again, that wasn’t the truth. Teiji, someone he thought of just as a good friend, the kiss he gave Uta last night, what did that mean? The man had confessed, which left Uta in mass confusion. How could he confess to Uta, if Teiji loved Davina and was her pet? How does that work, he’s a submissive like Uta, what part would he play in a relationship? Uta groaned and sunk down into the water, resting there for a minute.

                “Why me? Can’t I just find a situation that makes me happy?” Uta bemoaned. As the water temperature grew tepid, Uta got out of the bath, dressing and making his way to the kitchen, not sure what he may find. “Ohayo Uta-kun.” Teddy was standing at the stove, cooking omurice for breakfast. “Ohayo” he said shyly. “Breakfast? Omurice and toast, coffee or tea?” Teddy looked over his shoulder, smiling widely. “Tea please and yes for omurice.” The tension was palatable, but not in a bad way. Teddy dished up the food and tea and sat at the table across from Uta. There was an uneasy tension, each man wanting to bring up the kiss, but neither knowing how to approach the topic.

                Pushing is empty plate away, Teddy looked up at Uta, he had to ask. “I’d like to ask you something…and I want you to be honest. Could you see yourself in a relationship with me? A loving relationship…and everything that goes with it?” Teddy dropped his head further with each word, rolling his shoulders in trying to create an internal barrier, ready for disappointment. “Is that what the kiss was about last night?” Uta murmured. Teddy nodded. “I was so scared last night Uta, that you had been hurt badly, and once I saw you, how beat up you looked, it was then I knew I had to be honest with myself. I’m in love with you, Uta.”

                Uta was still, not even a breath could be detected. “How would this work with Mistress? You’re her pet, I’m not.” Uta carefully worded his response. “My Mistress would agree to let me out of my contract if I so desired.” Teddy couldn’t look Uta in the eyes, he was scared of what he may see. “Are you saying you want for us to date?” Uta asked. Teddy nodded, his hands in his lap, fingers crossed. “If you agree, we date openly…I don’t want anything to be hidden.” Uta liked Teiji, but did he like enough to move to another level? “I know this sounds weird, but um…could you kiss me?” Uta knew that if the kiss burned…

                Teddy slowly rose from his seat and stood next to Uta. Leaning down, cupping Uta’s face carefully, pressing their foreheads together, “Uta…” Teddy gently placed his lips against Uta’s, he ran his thumb over the boys injured lower lip, slipping in the tip of his tongue to tease Uta. The smaller man moaned, a sound that begged Teddy to get on with the serious kissing, and being the good submissive he was, Teddy did what he was told. The dance was soft, slow and gentle, Uta was leaning into it. After what seemed like an eternity, Teddy pulled back, Uta mewling in disappointment. “I’m guessing you liked that?” The older man asked Uta, who just nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Pulling Uta up, Teddy wrapped his arms around the diminutive man, leaning back down to kiss Uta again, the boy leaning hard against the taller man’s chest.

                “Teiji…my beautiful boy. I’m losing you, and I couldn’t be happier.” A swish of a skirt was all that was heard as the causality of circumstances left her hiding spot, returning to her room.

 

~

                Davina drove herself to Ojisan’s to meet with Taka and Kyo. After witnessing Teddy kissing Uta, she was now more concerned with the damage Sakurai could do if he found out that the two young men were in a relationship. After parking her car and walking to the small ramen hut, Davina was struck by a peculiar feeling as she neared the doors, an aura of light blue. Davina shook her head and reached for the door.

                “Irasshai, please sit where you’d like.” Davina bowed, sitting on a corner of the bar. “I’m meeting two friends, so I will…” She didn’t get to finish as Taka and Kyo walked in. “Gentlemen, your friend just arrived, what shall I start for you?” Ojisan snuck a glance at Davina, who was frowning. “I’d like the chashu please and a beer” Taka turned to Davina, “The ramen and pork cutlet is Ojisan’s best ramen, I highly recommend it.”

                “Ojisan, the cutlet for me…Davina?” Kyo asked, “The same please, and a beer.” Ojisan nodded and turned to his tiny kitchen. “I’m anxious to hear what you gentlemen have to tell me. Please explain why you’ve called me out.” Davina’s emotions were in turmoil, with the new revelation of Teiji and Uta’s budding romance.

                Taka looked at Kyo and nodded. “Last night during the fracas, we heard you mention the manor, Teddy and yourself as Mistress. What we want to know I has Uta been collared and contracted by you? We’re not sure if anyone else caught the terms during the mix up.” Taka spent little time getting to the point, which Davina appreciated. “Your dinner,” Ojisan placed bowls in front of the three customers, stood back with his arms crossed, as if waiting for a judgement. Davina took her first bite of the ramen…her eyes growing wide. “This is beyond just normal ramen, old man. What’s your secret?” Davina squinted her eyes at Ojisan. “A good cook never gives away his secrets” is all Ojisan said, he smiled and walked back to his tiny kitchen.

                “I’d like to explain what is happening with Uta, as I know he is very important to the both of you, as he is to me.” Davina took a long pull on her beer. “When Sakurai texted Uta, setting him free as he put it, Uta found it necessary to find his own flat as you know. He was having a difficult time finding anything that he could remotely afford, just more of the same that we had rescued him from. Yutaka had called me, and we met at a bar to discuss an option for Uta.” Taka ordered another beer for Davina and himself.

                “Yutaka had remembered that both Madame F and I had offered to give Uta a safe haven in our homes, without contracting and collaring the boy, which we both knew wasn’t an option. Yutaka asked if I could have the boy live with me at the manor, but I was fearful that if Sakurai were to discover that, there would be trouble. I have a three-unit complex near the manor, where my pet Teddy lives, as he is the only one that lives off property. The units each have 2 bedrooms, and it would have been a safe place for Uta to live. I also offered Uta a position in my household.” Both Kyo and Taka raised their eyebrows at this bit of information.

                “I offered Uta the position of house boy, a personal assistant that was neither contracted nor collared as his responsibilities had nothing to do with my business. I spoke with Teddy and he agreed to let Uta live with him, and I had him discretely contact Uta. Teddy and Uta met, Teddy showed the flat to the boy and Uta moved in.  He started working for me, running errands and other small chores, he is paid a wage, and has very discounted rent to pay, I own the building so I set the rent. When Uta spoke to his friends about Teiji, as his new roommate, that is Teddy’s given name.”

                “House boy? That’s a new one…or old term” Kyo quipped. “It got worse, I’m afraid.” Davina’s words hit Kyo and Ojisan, both remembering what they told Uta. “Sakurai happened to see Uta while the boy was out driving and doing errands. Sakurai, as young people would say, flipped his shit.  He called Hide, screaming obscenities and threatening the man.” Taka threw his head back and groaned. “Yes, that was my reaction as well. Uta and I discussed it, and could not come up with any viable suggestions, and as a result we did nothing. Last night was the consequence of my indecision and inaction, although there is now another development that began last night and continued this morning.” Kyo and Taka stared at Davina, “Is this going to make things worse Davina?” Kyo’s voice was low, in a menacing tone.

                Before Davina could answer, Ojisan stood in front of them, his arms crossed. “Your personal friend is in love with the young one, ne?” Davina’s eyes grew wide and she leaned back away from the counter, “What did you say, old man?” Taka put a hand on Davina’s arm. “Just listen to him.”

                Davina hesitated a moment, “Yes, he is.”

                “The young one needs your personal friend right now. His older gentleman is ill, very ill and would likely try to come between them. I told the young one that his gentleman would become worse before he became better, now that is happening. Your personal friend loves the young one, and he needs him right now. It’s going to be a difficult road for the older gentleman, he does not want to face what’s in front of him. Your personal friend can be devoted to both you and the young one, there is no conflict between the written terms. One can live with the other.” Ojisan winked at Kyo and Taka, then went back to his kitchen. It took Davina a few moments to realize what was said, “Teddy confessed this morning to Uta, and Uta accepted the start of the relationship, Teddy has been in love with Uta since the day he moved in.”

 

                Leaving the diner, Davina stopped Kyo and Taka, “Who is that man? How does he know?” Kyo and Taka chuckled, “We’re not sure, but he’s rarely wrong, we’ve known Ojisan for years, since just before Tatsu and Koichi were married the first time. He knows things he had no prior knowledge of” Taka offered, “I like his way of saying Teddy is…your personal friend, classic Ojisan.” Davina frowned, “How do you know who he’s talking about?”

                “The young one is Uta, has been since he was with Natsu. Ojisan pleaded with us to act quickly, he saw that Uta was dying. The Gentleman is Sakurai, Tatsu was The Shameful Man when Masa was around, Kyo is the small man with the large presence. I’ve only heard him use Uta’s name and Sakurai’s name, never anyone else.” Taka placed his hands, on Davina’s shoulders, “Just keep Uta safe please, make sure Teddy doesn’t hurt him because if he does, there’s going to be all kinds of hell that will rain down on him, Uta is loved and protected by so many.” They said their goodbyes, Davina promising to keep in touch with both men, and also to carefully watch Teddy and Uta. “I love Teddy as I have never loved another pet, and Uta does things to my heart that I do not understand. I will let no harm come to either one of my boys.” Kyo kissed Davina on the cheek, Taka bowed and they went their separate ways.

               

~

                “Thank god!” Koichi whooped from his office. “TATSU!” Koichi pushed his chair out into the hall way and yelled for his husband. “Hey, guess what?” Tatsu had his head buried in a book. “Hmm?” Koichi still in his office chair, rolled himself down the hall into the living room. “Hey, the DCR special event was canceled. Guess there were too many logistical issues.” Tatsu didn’t look up from his book. “Mmm…” Koichi sighed, but a devilish idea came to mind. He didn’t say much, just sort of leaned back in the office chair, and shoved is hand down his track pants, and started massaging his dick, while staring at his husband and started thinking of something very lewd. After a few minutes, Koichi’s pulse rose, he started to get very twitchy, his dick was close to being full mast, and a small soft sound slipped from his lips. “Nnnngghhh...” he whispered. He rose his hips a little and shoved his track pants down further, giving him free access to play. Leaning back, he closed his eyes, which afforded Tatsu a quick look, but still pretending to ignore Koichi, who was getting close to the edge. Looking a Tatsu, Koichi had enough. Standing up, he stepped out of his track pants, took off his shirt, walked over the couch and tore the book out of Tatsu’s hands. “I KNOW you can see me now! Do something about…about this!” he gestured to his stiff dick.

                “All you had to do is ask, Kou. I wasn’t ignoring you…well maybe on purpose to see how far you’d take this” Koichi huffed, crossed his arms over his chest, tapping a foot on the carpet. “Well? ARE you going to do anything about this?” Tatsu couldn’t help but laugh at the vision before him; his tiny, beautiful husband, buck naked, with a huge boner, with his arms crossed and pouting. “You…you’re laughing at me? FINE! Fuck you, I’m going to go jerk off…and maybe it won’t be YOUR name I call out!”

                As Koichi turned Tatsu quickly reached out and grabbed Koichi around the waist, pulling the small man onto his lap and started to tickle him. “NOO! FUCK NOOOOHHAHAHNOOOO!” Koichi wiggled out of Tatsu’s clutches and ran down the hall towards the bedroom, with Tatsu in hot pursuit. For the next hour, Tatsu made sure it was his name that Koichi called out.

 

                He tried to lift his head off the pillow…the pain so intense he slowly laid back down. Opening his eyes but shutting them quickly as the room was spinning out of control. “Fuck, you really did it this time” he moaned. Sakurai Atsushi was more hung over than he could ever remember…it had never been this painful before. Part of the pain had nothing to do with alcohol, as his heart was shredded by the memories of the night before. Uta, his beautiful boy, on the ground and unconscious, having been struck in the side of the head by an errant punch, Davina screaming at him to stay away, not to touch the boy he loves.

                Toll and Imai shoving him into the car, driving him away from the panic and drama that he had created. The lecture by his friends, wanting to call Buck Tick over and done, because of his reprehensible actions, the word he had screamed at Davina, he never believed he could have sunk that low as to throw that word at a woman with ease. He was sure he had lost peers, people that would never speak to him again, he was hitting the bottom.

                How had his life gone from something that people envied, to this? Sakurai had turned from a well-respected man, both in the music industry and in the BSDM community, to becoming a pariah in both worlds. The greatest loss of all…his beautiful boy…Uta, he doubted that Uta would ever return to him, not after last night. Groaning, Sakurai tried to sit up, his head feeling like it was going to split, standing for half a second was all he could muster until he had to run to the bathroom, almost not making it to the toilet to vomit.

                Sakurai spent a good portion of his early afternoon in the bathroom vomiting, then lying on the cold tile floor resting until the next wave of sick came over him. He could hear his cell phone chiming, but he didn’t have the energy to retrieve it nor did he care at the moment.

                Waking up, still on the floor of the bathroom, Sakurai looked through the small window and saw that it was mid-day. Moving slowly, he pulled himself up off the floor, standing still for a moment to judge if he was going to vomit yet again. “So far…shower first.” He peeled of his clothes, turning the shower on, setting the temperature to hot. Grabbing his toothbrush, he needed to do it anyways as his mouth felt like dirty carpet, Sakurai stood under the hot water as long as he could before turning it down to a steady stream of just slightly less than scalding. Brushing his teeth first, he then slowly washed his hair and the rest of his body. Turning the temperature back up, he let the hot water run over him.

                Stepping out of the shower, he went through his normal morning routine but decided against actually wearing clothes. He pulled out a comfortable pair of flannel pajamas, found his bunny slippers…bunny slippers. Sakurai sighed, smiled as he put the slippers on and walked to the kitchen. Making a huge cup of coffee, he grabbed his phone with some small hesitation. Opening the phone, he saw 8 text messages waiting to be read, but he looked for a specific name…finding it he opened the text;

                “I really shouldn’t tell you this, you’re right, you don’t deserve to know Uta’s condition. He’s not in the hospital, that’s all I can tell you, that’s all that you deserve. Leave him be Sakurai, or I swear I will hunt your old ass down and beat the living fuck out of you.”

                “He’s not in the hospital…thank god! Rest assured Kyo, I will not contact the boy…” Sakurai whispered to himself. Leaning his head back on the couch, the tears that he had been holding in all afternoon, had finally found their release, closing his eyes he just let them fall.

Chapter Text

                “I guess we’re lucky that management didn’t just tell us to go fuck ourselves over this.” Toll was the optimistic type, always trying to find good out of shit. “I’m not sure Atsushi will see it that way, but then he has no choice, now does he?” Hide added. “He goes or he goes, it’s a win/lose situation.” The members of Buck Tick were walking out of the management offices, after calling the team to discuss Sakurai, and his behavior. Management agreed with what the band members put on the table and were getting ready for a public relations blitz to assure the fans of Buck Tick, that the band was doing well, one of the members needed some personal time off.  “All we can hope is that he’s receptive, and not a belligerent fool, he has no choice. But I’d much rather help him to the plane, instead of throwing him in it.” Imai was ready for Sakurai to put up a fight.

                They didn’t call or text before showing up, using the surprise element, hoping it would work, they didn’t even bother to knock, just used their spare key and walked in. “Can I ask why you are walking into my house uninvited?” Sakurai was on the couch, where he had parked himself earlier in the day. “Nope, you can’t. You don’t have a choice right now, you’re just going to sit there and shut your mouth, or I will force you into a chair and tie you down…although you may enjoy that.” Yutaka laughed. “What do you want?” Sakurai leaned his head back again and closed his eyes.

                “You need to sit up, shut up and listen.” Imai had had enough of the bullshit attitude of his friend. “We just came from a meeting with management.” That caught Sakurai’s attention. “Why were you at a meeting, and why wasn’t I informed?”

                “You were the topic of the meeting, you didn’t need to be there. I can go over the minutes of the meeting with you though. I’m sure you’ll be interested to know what’s going to happen next.” Imai sat on the coffee table in front of Sakurai, staring him dead in the face. “You have two choices, Atsushi; Either you go to rehab, or the band is done. There is no negotiation in these choices, arrangements have already been made, you just need to pack your shit, and we’re going to the airport.”       

                “Hide and I will take care of the house while you’re gone, a security company has already been contacted.” Yutaka added. “Acchan, you know you need to do this, right? Think of Uta…of what happened last night, do you want to keep repeating that scene on a weekly basis?” Sakurai closed his eyes, he knew they were right…that he needed to go. “The rehab is in California, just outside of Los Angeles. We’ve spoken to Yoshiki, and he agreed to be your emergency contact person.” So, the information had gotten to the top…the only man he felt was his senpai. “So, Yoshiki knows? Anyone else? How does management think they’re going to keep this out of the media?”

                “There will be a general press release, but the details will not be given. There will be no mention of who the member is, where they are going and for what.” Toll added. “How long? Are we talking weeks or months?” a major concern for Sakurai. “Six months. No negotiating that. It will be for both mental and physical issues related to the alcohol, and the personality problems you have, starting back with your ridiculous pursuit of Taka, which was never fully addressed.”

                Yutaka sat next to his long-time friend, “Acchan…we want our boy back. We want the Acchan that we grew up with, the sweet loving man who is adored by his fans and his friends. I miss my best friend, Acchan…he’s been gone now for a while. Please…bring him back.” Yutaka’s eyes were filled with tears, something that finally wrenched then broke Atsushi’s heart. “I’m so sorry, ‘taka…I have no idea what’s wrong with me…I don’t want to be this way! I lost my friends, and worse…I lost Uta…the boy who could have been the one.” Atsushi leaned over and fell into Yutaka’s lap, sobbing, Yutaka uttering soft soothing sounds, and petting Atsushi’s head…running his hand through the once silken hair.

                For the next hour or so, Atsushi started to pack for the trip, he left a long list of important details to be taken care of by his friends, the keys to his house and cars, asking that the Porsche be put in a secured storage unit, and instructions for his house plants. With Yutaka pushing behind him, they finally loaded Atsushi’s suitcases into the car, and drove to the airport. The chatter on the drive was subdued, Atsushi voiced apprehension and doubt that the treatment could be successful. He did not mention Uta, which Yutaka and Hide found odd, the one thing that could possibly aide him in recovery, was a non-topic.

                “Thank you…all of you, for putting up with my incessant bullshit, my reprehensible behavior, my disgusting language, and my general being a huge asshole. I love you all very much. Please, if you can…write me, let me know how…how he’s doing and if he’s happy. Don’t tell the Mucc boys where I am, Taka I’m sure will figure it out, he’s such a bright boy.” The last call for boarding was issued, Sakurai Atsushi hugged his friends, and as he walked away turned and waved before he walked down the jetway.

                The walk back to the parking lot was somber, nobody saying anything. The ride back to Atsushi’s to pick up his Porsche, to double check all the doors and windows, turning all the alarms and timers on, Yutaka stopped before he closed the front door. Looking back at the house where so much had happened over the years, good and bad, Yutaka said a silent prayer for his friend, “Come back to us Acchan…come back to Uta.” He closed the door and drove away.

 

~

                “Do you think this will work, Teiji? Davina loves you…will you be able to just stop being her pet, and move into being her personal assistant?” Uta was sitting in Teiji’s lap, his arm around the man’s neck, nuzzling the older man’s long black hair. “I think so, we both understand what’s going on, and that it’s not personal, not mention we’re both madly in love with you.” Teiji cupped the back of Uta’s head, caressing the nape of the neck, causing Uta to shiver. “I love you, Uta. I know you’re not there yet, but I’ll wait for how ever long it takes, I’m not going anywhere with out you.” Teiji pressed his lips to Uta’s, the baby soft lips parting, letting Teiji’s tongue dance in, Uta mewled…the emotions that were coming up…the feeling he was getting in his stomach, Uta knew it was only a matter of time, before he would tell Teiji that he loved him, he was falling hard for the tall man.

                “Where do you want to sleep tonight? I know that’s an odd question, but I’m going to ask and I’ll respect your wishes.” Uta laid his head on Teiji’s shoulder, thought about it for a moment, “with you…even if we don’t um…you know. I don’t think I’m there yet…is that okay?” Uta whispered into Teiji’s neck. “Would you just hold me tonight…please?” Teiji tightened his arms around Uta protectively. Standing up, with Uta in his arms, Teiji walked over to the wall, Uta reaching down and flipping the lights off, then to the front door, Uta reaching for the lock. “Shall we?” Walking down the hall, Uta looks over Teiji’s shoulder at the flat they shared. I’m finally happy, he thought to himself, finally on my own happy.

 

                “I think I would have paid good money to see that! Oh my god…I can’t believe you jerked off in front of your husband, in the living room no less!” Koichi had told Taka about the incident with the office chair, leaving Taka laying on his couch laughing. “I thought it might get his attention, but I had to strip down to do that!” Koichi huffed. “Still, that’s epic…one for the books.” Once Taka had recovered enough to look at Kou without laughing, Koichi brought up the latest email directive from DCR.

                “Looks like we’re still going to have a party at the HBG, but DCR is paying for everything, and the owner said he’d close for the night so we could all attend the party! Finally! A DCR party that you don’t have to plan!” Taka was overjoyed with not having to deal with scheduling and possible problems. “Uta has asked if Teiji could come…I told him of course. It’s weird using his real name now…he’s not Teddy anymore.” Taka had nothing but smiles when he thought of Uta these days. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Uta so happy, not with Kyo or even Sakurai, he’s just blissed out all the time.”

                Uta had come to Taka requesting to speak to everyone in the crew. Uta had then apologized firstly for lying, which everyone blew off considering all the shit that had gone on with Sakurai, then he told everyone about Teiji, with a blushing smile on his face. Between Mao and Koichi, Taka didn’t know which one was happier, “When do we get to meet Teiji, Uta?” Mao wanted to see this tall man that had stolen Uta’s heart. “He’ll be at the party, I’ll make sure to introduce him to everyone.” Uta had gone back to being a little shyer than normal, which was to be expected in a new-ish relationship. “Well I can’t wait to meet him, he sounds very sweet Uta. I’m glad you’re finally happy!” Aki blushed as he hugged his friend, whispering in his ear, “I’m so happy for you Uta, you have no idea.” Pulling away, Aki had tears in his eyes, which Tora spotted and ran up, grabbed his boyfriend and kissed his tears out of his eyes. “Ewww Tora! Gross! You just licked my eyelids!” That of course started a round of gross insults and innuendos, with Taka ordering everyone back to work.

 

                “Would you and Madame F, along with Ormond please attend our little party tonight, if you have no other plans? I would love for you both to be my guests. Yes, that’s not a problem, but please keep the equipment at home. Thank you. Oh? I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to see you. Around 8pm then? You’re welcome

 

                “This feels weird… the counters are closed down and the lights are off. I love it!”  Taka was with Sato, Koichi and Tatsu as they entered the DCR event at the HBG. “Oh! I can drink something other than a high ball tonight!” Taka crowed. “Don’t over do it…I don’t want to have to hold your hair later tonight.” Sato teased. “Pfftt, worry about your own drunk ass, mister!” Sato growled, Taka eeped, and the chase was on. Tatsu and Koichi wandered over and grabbed a table, close to where they usually sat. It was almost an unwritten rule, that each band sat in the same general area as the previous event. Miya and Yukke walked towards their table, while Shinya and Kai sat with their bands for a time.  “Will Uta be here tonight?” Miya asked Koichi. “Oh, he’ll be here, you’ll know when he arrives” Miya raised in eyebrow in confusion.

                Shinya and Kai returned from their bands tables and sat with their husbands. Shinya leaned in and whispered something to Miya. “What? Oh, holy fuck… no way!” Shinya shushed his husband and punched him in the shoulder, giving him ‘the look’. Koichi glanced at Tatsu, who shrugged. Sato had come back from the bar, passing drinks all around.

                As the night progressed and became more crowded, there was a slight shift in the volume on the patio. Koichi and Taka craned their necks to see who had walked in, and then Taka’s jaw dropped. “Oh, my god.” Koichi stood up to get a better view. “Kou, who is it?” Tatsu pulled on Koichi’s hand. “Um…you’ll see in a minute.” A well-built beefy young man, with short spikey black hair, wearing tiny black shorts, no shirt, but with suspenders, his body shiny with oil and Doc Marten boots, walked ahead of two women who could only be described as powerfully dominating. Madame F and Davina, both in ‘work clothes’ had arrived at the DCR event. Kyo, seeing Ormond, walked up to Madame F and Davina, bowed then kissed both women’s hands. “Ladies, thank you for attending our small soiree tonight. Ormond.” Kyo nodded to the man. “Kyo-san, thank you for the invitation, I look forward to meeting some of your peers tonight.” Madame F glanced around, surveying the guests. If anyone had any questions on what profession these women were in, the questions were answered by Madame F and Davina’s choice of stiletto heeled, thigh high boots, corsets and black skirts, as Yutaka had labeled them, ‘work clothes’.

                “Have Uta and Teiji arrived yet? I wish to speak to both of them.” Madame F asked. “They should be here shortly. Can I buy you ladies a drink?” Kyo extended his hands, one for each of the ladies, and escorted them to the bar table. Koichi’s mouth was hanging open. “Wha…who the… what just happened?” Most in attendance didn’t know about Kyo’s extracurricular activities outside the music industry. “Kou, sit down. You look like a fish.” Tatsu gently tugged on Koichi’s shirt, pulling his tiny husband into his lap. “You know he was in that scene…why are you so shocked?” Taka leaned over and asked. “I don’t know…it’s just so not Kyo-like.” Even Shinya was having a difficult time with the scene that just played out in front of them.

                Mao had walked up behind Kyo, sliding his arms around this lover. “Can I borrow him for a while ladies?” Mao bowed to the two women, “Of course Mao-kun, my apologies for keeping him from you. Kyo, go take care of your delightful boy…keep him safe…he’s much too cute to be left alone.” Madame F winked at Mao, who just turned red and giggled. Just as Mao was going to drag Kyo away, when there were arms around his waist, “Boo!” Mao turned to find Uta, and a VERY tall young man, with beautiful gray eyes and a stunning smile, standing behind him. “UTA!” The two hugged each other, “Mao, this is Teiji, my boyfriend, Teiji…this is Mao, one of the sweetest guys you’ll ever meet.” Mao looked at Uta…then started to tear up. “How can you…but I was so…UTA!” Suddenly Uta had an armful of weeping Mao, with Kyo frowning a bit. “What’s wrong Mao?” Uta pushed his friend back a bit. “I was so awful to you…now you say that? UTA!” Mao started crying again, leaving Uta giggling. “You’re such a drama queen Mao! That was ages ago…here, go cry all over your lover.” Uta passed Mao off to Kyo, who smiled.

                “Excuse me for a minute baby…” Teiji leaned down and quickly kissed Uta. “Oh my god, Uta! He’s so damn dreamy! You’re lucky…he looks like he’s in love with you, big time.” Mao gushed. “Yah, he is…and yes, I am.” Uta blushed hard, as he watched his lover walk towards Davina, Teiji bowed first, then embraced his former Mistress. “Excuse me Mao…” Uta quickly hugged Mao. “Uta, dear boy! I’m so pleased to see you!” Madame F quickly hugged Uta, as did Davina. “Hello, Madame F, thank you, it’s nice to see you as well.” The couples chatted for a moment, then something caught Madame F’s attention, she leaned over and whispered to Ormond, who then walked over to Gazette’s table.

                “My Mistress wishes to speak to you, follow me please.” Ormond bowed, then looked at Ruki and Uruha. The two musicians looked at each other, Ruki shrugged and smiled, Uruha looked terrified. “Gentlemen. Ormond, thank you pet.” Davina watched with some amusement. “Ruki-kun, I was under the impression that you spoke with my associate Davina, a few weeks ago? Have you given it any more thought, as to her offer?” Ruki smiled, “No…not really. I’m in no position to accepted anything from either of you lovely ladies, as it could have negative effects on my career, you understand of course.” Uruha was trying to hide behind Ruki, which was comical in itself. “Boy, your name?” Madame F walked closer to Uruha, placing a long finger nail under his chin, turning his face. “Uruha, ma’am.” He was visibly shaking. “You my dear boy, are exquisite. Yes, I can definitely see potential here. Ruki-kun, can I have this lovely boy? Or is there someone else I need to obtain permission from?” Just as Ruki was going to speak, Kai walked up.

                “Ma’am, I’m dreadfully sorry, but Uruha is a critical part of our band, I couldn’t spare him right now. But if you check back with me in a few weeks, after tour season is over, I’ll be able to give you his contact information.” Kai bowed then walked away, trying hard not to fall down laughing. Uruha looked in horror as Kai walked away, “Wait…KAI! I’M NOT AVAILABLE!” He bowed to Madame F then ran after Kai, swearing under his breath. “That was fun…” Kyo snickered, then Ruki punched him in the shoulder. “Maybe you should go work for these nice ladies, you can just whip…” Reita was standing behind Ruki and covered his mouth. “Sorry, I’ll handle him” Both women turning and staring at Kyo, “What?” Kyo had a naughty smile playing on his lips. Kyo just happened to look over Reita’s shoulder, and saw Toshiya trying to slip away, “Totchi, come here.” Kyo ordered. The man stopped, his shoulders sagged and he turned and walked to where Kyo was standing with the two women. “Oh, now this one I remember! Madame F…he’s beautiful, ne? Those cheekbones…turn for me dear. Such narrow hips…yes.” Toshiya glared at Kyo. “Do not find fault with Kyo, boy.” Madame F lifted her hand and Ormond handed her a card. “I know you have Davina’s card, now you have mine as well. Think about it.” Toshiya paled and back away.  

 

                Kai was laughing so hard, he fell over in his chair, and the man just stayed on the ground laughing, as Uruha stood over him, threatening to kick his ass. Yukke was sitting on the other side of the table, not willing to get up to help his husband, “He brought this on himself…he gets to fix it.” Shinya scolded Yukke, who just laughed, “Nope not helping.” Uruha finally kicked Kai in the ass and stomped off, muttering something about revenge.

                Shinya put his hand in front of his mouth, giggling, “Don’t encourage them Shin…they’re behaving like bratty kids.” Yukke shoved Miya in the shoulder, “Naahuh! You’re just a poopy head.” Miya just rolled his eyes and reached for his drink. “Gods, sometimes I wonder why I’m even in this business.”

                The night wound down, with more than a few people calling for cabs, the bartenders were gathering their gear, and people were saying their good nights. “I noticed that Buck Tick didn’t show, not that I thought Atsushi really would, he’d be smart not to.” Tatsu noted. “I think he’ll think twice about coming to any event again.” Koichi looked over at Uta, who was sitting on Teiji’s lap, both arms around his lover’s neck, exchanging kisses and soft words. “He looks so unbelievably happy…finally. Teiji I think is going to be good for him, much better than Sakurai.” Koichi turned and leaned over for a kiss from Tatsu. “Maybe now things will settle down. Kyo has Mao, Uta has Teiji, and then there’s the rest of us old married people.” Koichi turned to see Taka and Sato, heads together dozing. “Us old people married people need to get home, some of us have work in the morning…TAKA!” Koichi kicked Taka’s chair… Taka responding with a middle finger.  

 

                The flight touched down at 6:45am local time. Sakurai Atsushi had a restless night, visions of what rehab may be like, worried that he could fail. As he walked down the jetway, there was a man with a sign with Sakurai’s name. The man spoke perfect Japanese, informed him that he was from the Rehab center, and that he would be his driver. Sakurai bowed, “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu”. They stopped at baggage claim, and the driver loaded up his luggage and they pulled away from the airport. The sky was a dusky orange, the fires in the greater Los Angeles area, were as normal as the beach. The traffic was like nothing he had ever experienced, the mass number of cars was somewhat staggering. The trip took them up the coast line, but then veered off into a hilly area. Sakurai watched as the scenery changed from dense urban chaos, to green forest covered hills, and as they turned up a long drive, a spectacular, clear view of the ocean.

                There were three people waiting for Sakurai at the entrance, again with someone that spoke fluent Japanese. He was ushered into the center, given a tour, then sat down with his doctor, that would be handling his treatment. He was asked if he was comfortable speaking English, if not there was a Japanese doctor on staff. Sakurai smiled, “It’s okay, I do speak English, and a little German as well. Thank you for your consideration.”

                Later that afternoon, as he was relaxing in his room, it gave him pause to think about the next six months of treatment. The doctor had asked him what he hoped to gain out of his stay, “A wholeness I have not felt for a long time. An attitude that does not put myself first, a recovery of love for others.” The doctor seemed pleased with the answer, “Your road starts tomorrow morning.”

                He looked out a large picture window, the sun slowly disappearing into the sea. He thought of what Uta may be doing at that moment; is the boy happy, is he safe, is someone looking after him? He closed his eyes and grabbed that perfect image that he had of the boy, and locked it away in his heart, knowing that in the next six months, he would have to revisit that image many times, just to get through his day.