“You look like hell, Acchan, didn’t you sleep well?” Yutaka asked the obviously sleep deprived man who joined them in the kitchen. “Off and on, Uta was restless all night. If I wasn’t waking up to comfort him, I had Saki standing on my chest telling me that Uta was upset.” Acchan loved the beautiful cats, but not at 3:30am.
“Was he dreaming? Uta…not Saki.” Hide asked. “It seems so, he cried out and would whimper a lot, I would pull him into my arms and he would quiet down.” Hide snuck a look at Yutaka. “How was it having him in your arms again, Acchan?” Yutaka asked softly.
“Heaven and hell.” The man replied simply. “It’s what I have been dreaming about for two years, but this is not the way I wanted it to happen. He is not there of his own will, and I feel like I’m lying to him.” Yutaka looked up quickly, shaking his head no…Uta was coming down the hall.
“Good morning, Uta… sleep well?” Yutaka busied himself getting tea and coffee ready. “Sort of, I had a lot of weird dreams…that I don’t remember. Felt like I was running a lot.” Uta wiggled his way into Acchan’s lap, just as he would when they lived together, the older man sliding his arm around the boy. “I didn’t sleep at all…and it’s Saki’s fault.”
“How is it Saki’s fault? He’s just a baby!” Uta objected. “Anytime you made a sound…Saki got on my chest and woke me up, he was worried about you.” Acchan sighed. “That’s a good thing, right? At least he knew something was wrong.” Uta leaned back against his lover…his former lover, resting his head on Acchan’s shoulder.
As he would have in the past, Acchan couldn’t help but nuzzle Uta’s ear, making the boy squirm. “No fair!” Uta giggled. “You’re fair game when you’re sitting in my lap.” Acchan reminded the boy. Hide and Yutaka watched the couple playing, both wondering how long the happiness would last; happiness based on the promise of lies. They were all complicit, promising each other that the lies would be Uta’s truth until his memory came back. How they would deal with the fallout, how Uta will react to those lies, regardless of the caring intent behind.
“Okay you two…we’re going to go to Toll’s and pick up Rima and Zepp. Uta, you should probably keep Luna and Saki in your room, let them sniff between the door…we don’t need any scratched-up pets.” Yutaka warned Uta. “Hai.”
The questions had started that morning, with Sakurai not even completely awake. “Why were we in the Netherlands? I don’t remember ever saying I wanted to go.” Crap. Uta had woken early, with a stretch and a yawn he rolled against Sakurai, and the questions began.
“We decided to travel while the house was being renovated, and you said you’d like to see Europe.” Acchan was having to think quick on his feet, the questions started before Uta was even out of the hospital, but now the answers were becoming a little more complicated. He had satisfied Uta’s first urges with a kiss the night before, but now the real work had begun; keeping track of what lies were told.
“But how did we end up at Mistress Davina’s? I didn’t know she had a house in Europe.” Uta hated being this confused, it scared him. “When you fell ill, I knew she had a flat in the Netherlands, so I called her to ask if we could use it.” Careful Acchan. Uta sat up, legs crossed, stroking Luna’s soft fur.
“I don’t understand, what happened to me, why was I ill?” Uta was frustrated, he tried hard to remember, but he could only come up with the fact that he and Acchan lived together.
“The doctors don’t know why, but you had a seizure, they said some of your short-term memory would suffer, but it will come back. Don’t worry baby.” Acchan reached over and held Uta’s small hand in his.
“Did you call for Yutaka and Hide? How did they get here?” Uta whined in frustration.
“I did call for Hide and Yutaka and Davina offered to fly them to Maastricht. I needed their help when you were in hospital.” Acchan was sweating.
“What about the cats? Saki and Luna? Where did they come from?” Uta loved the cats, and it was obvious that they loved him…Luna sleeping next to him, and Saki was curled up against Acchan.
“That was Kyo…he gave them to you. We brought them with us because they were so small. You don’t remember Kyo giving them to you?” Acchan made a mental note to talk to Kyo about the cats. “Nope, but that sounds like something he would do, he gave Koichi a kitten when they were dating.” Uta smiled at that memory, which were far and few between at the moment.
“When can I go back to work?” Uta suddenly asked Acchan. “Well, the doctor said not for at least a month, he said stress is possibly your biggest threat in having another seizure. Why? Do you want to go back sooner?” Uta sat down on the couch next to his temporary lover, snuggling against the man. “Well, I want to see my friends at the very least! It feels like I’ve been away for months, not weeks.” Uta had his own timeline in his mind, he didn’t ask for specifics on how long they had been ‘traveling’, it definitely felt longer than two or three weeks.
“If you’d like, we could set up something at Ojisan’s…that way you could see everyone at once, a sort of welcome home party.” Acchan suggested. That way I can contact everyone and pre-warn them about his memory loss.
“Oh! That would be fun! Ojisan’s ramen sounds good right now…can we plan this soon? Like um, later today?” With the look that Acchan gave Uta, the boy covered his mouth and laughed. “I’m joking! Don’t worry… what about the weekend? That gives everyone enough time to plan.” An instant look of relief showed on the older man’s face.
“We should call Taka, he’s the best for getting the word around, is there anyone else you’d like to invite? Davina perhaps?” A long shot, Acchan knew. “Sure, Mistress Davina can come, she helped us when I got sick. Has she been to Ojisan’s before?”
Quick! “I think she may have, back when you were still…” Did he say Natsu? A shadow passed over Uta’s face. “Oh, that’s right…Natsu.” Uta said quietly. “It’s okay… she cares for you, Uta. Let me ask if she’s available, is there anyone else?” Uta shrugged, “Whomever you want to invite is fine with me.” Acchan nuzzled Uta’s neck. “Let me call Taka, then we’ll go from there. Do you want to do anything else today?”
“Can we go shopping? I’d like to buy some toys for Luna and Saki, maybe go to the bookstore and grab a latte?” Uta’s face brightened, the thought of Natsu pushed out. “That sounds wonderful” Acchan agreed, “give me five minutes!” Uta leaped off the couch and went down the hall to his room.
Acchan went into the kitchen, taking out his phone he called Taka. “Taka-kun, Sakurai. Yes, well I know it’s strange. I have a request; can you perhaps meet me later tonight after the HBG closes? Yes, could we meet at Ojisan’s? Perfect, I’ll see you then.”
“I’m ready to go!” Uta had his bag over his shoulder. “I just remembered, later tonight I need to run to the studio, I left some music there that I need to look over.” Acchan lied. The lies were getting easier to tell, that bothered Acchan a great deal. “That’s fine, I’ll probably be playing referee between the dogs and Luna and Saki.” Uta accepted his story as truth.
The day the two men spent together was nothing short of idyllic in Sakurai’s mind, shopping for some new clothes for the both of them, wandering around the bookstore, latte’s in hand and a quick stop at the pet shop. “Hmm, think they’d like these?” Uta holds up a bag of assorted catnip filled toys. “If it has catnip in it, I’m sure they will love them. Is there anything else we need?” Acchan asked. “Oh, what about surprising Yutaka and Hide with dinner? You’re such a good cook, what about that pasta dish, the one with the cream sauce?”
Uta’s request surprised Sakurai, he had only made the pasta dish once that he could remember, and for the boy to remember that of all things, was baffling. “I think that would be lovely, I’m sure both would appreciate it.” The drive home was quick, Uta helping unload the car, then running in to find Luna and Saki to give them their toys.
With Uta in the bedroom playing with the cats, and keeping the dogs away, Sakurai made dinner, both Hide and Yutaka pleasantly surprised. “Any day I don’t have to cook is a good day, and well this is excellent Acchan.”
Making his escape to meet with Taka at Ojisan’s, his nerves on edge, hoping to get complete cooperation from Taka and whomever else would be attending the party.
“Irasshai Sakurai, welcome home.” Ojisan was standing at the door, something Sakurai never remembered him doing, what was more surprising was the hug that the ramen maker gave him. “Thank you, Acchan, for watching over the young one, I feared the worst when I heard about his condition. Come, beer on the house tonight.”
“Did I hear beer on the house Ojisan?” Striding up to the door right behind Sakurai was Sato and Taka, both wearing wide grins. “Yes, for a select few and only for tonight.” Ojisan winked at the couple.
“Sakurai, good to see you, how is Uta?” Sato patted the older man on the shoulder. “Well, that’s why I’ve asked Taka to meet with me. Uta wants to set up a party of sorts, he has told me he wants to see his friends, this will be a major undertaking.”
With beers on the bar, Sakurai started to plan Uta’s party. “He has no memory of anything after being rescued from Natsu, to him we are still a couple. He remembers what happened with Natsu, but not leaving my home, so nothing to do with Madame F or Davina. This of course is breaking Davina’s heart.”
“Is Mistress still in the Netherlands?” Ojisan asked. “No, she’s back at the Manor with Yoji, she refuses to be that far away from Uta, even if he has no memory of his life with her.” Sakurai’s brow furrowed, he pinched the bridge of his nose. “He has no memory of Kyo giving him the kittens, but I have convinced him of that, the story I have planted in his mind is that we were traveling to Europe while our home was being renovated, we took the cats with us. He believes that he fell ill in Maastricht, that I knew Davina had a home there and that she let us use the home, that she also flew Hide and Yutaka to help.”
“Gentlemen, this will be a long string of elaborate lies, we need to have at least some continuity between his friends. I called you, Taka, because you have an easier time of getting the information to those that need to know. The most important issue is staying calm and thinking before you speak, if you are in doubt of something, just don’t say anything.”
“Do the doctors know how long his memory loss will be? Is there any type of timetable?” Sato asked. “No, and No, are the easy answers. The doctors did warn us that stress may send him back into a seizure, which will complicate matters medically.” Sakurai explained.
“The other issue is our relationship, Uta believes that we are still a couple, which means everything that goes into being a couple is involved.” Sakurai closed his eyes. “You have no idea how difficult it is for me to fake this.” Sato gave Sakurai a look. “Truly Sato. I do not want Uta this way! I do not want this relationship built on lies, it’s not right! I’m torn between loving him the way I have dreamed for two years, verses what Uta expressed to me before any of this happened. He does not want me in his life! And now I’m having to…you don’t understand…”
Sakurai leaned back in his chair, rubbing his face roughly with his hands to keep from crying. “He’s already asking about… well he’s asking when we can have sex again! I’ve been able to deflect that with instructions from the doctors, but for how long? What happens if he regains his memory while…you have no idea how this is tormenting me!” The man groaned.
Ojisan took Sakurai’s beer away and replaced it with a glass of water, “Sakurai, drink this.” The ramen maker instructed. “You are only doing what needs to be done. You love the young one, you always have. You are not doing this to benefit yourself as much as you are doing this for Uta. What his reaction will be when his memory returns is unknown at this point, but you can’t hold back your affections, that will only worry the boy. You love Uta, you will not hurt the boy intentionally, we all know that, but you must do what it takes to keep Uta healthy. There is no deception on your part, there is no lie, you love Uta with your soul, there is nothing wrong with that.”
Taka assured Sakurai that he could get everyone on board with what needed to, or not needed to be said at the party. “I’ll ask Kyo to tape Mao’s mouth shut…” He laughed. “I’ll make sure Tora and Aki aren’t too loud, or too drunk or too anything. We don’t have to worry about Tomo and Ruki, they’re so into each other you won’t even notice they’re here.”
Sakurai thanked Taka and Sato then turned to Ojisan. “Old man, thank you for understanding my position with Uta. I know I’ve not always been your favorite person, but right now, my only concern is Uta’s mental and physical health, anything else is unimportant.” The three men parted ways, with Ojisan watching them leave, “Mistress, what about your health and well being…who’s concerned about that?”