It was one of those cold winter nights in the middle of December. Couples were flooding the streets of Tokyo as Christmas season was slowly approaching. There was a man walking slowly between them and trying not to bump into the couples that were almost aggressively trying to show off to the others that yes, we are together!
Keep your hands in your pockets, the man thought and turned left, soon reaching his destination. His black jacket was covered in many snowflakes, which he began to brush off as he walked downstairs. Despite being the perfect time for partying, the sign at the entrance of this bar said ‘closed’ yet he didn’t pay attention to it. After all, it was his doing that bar was unavailable to others – it was a special day for him and his guest, who was probably already waiting for him. As he approached the door, quiet music reached his ears and a smile appeared on his face. The man twisted the door knob to open the door and entered the bar, the music becoming louder before finally, his eyes landed upon a small stage with a person standing on it.
It was an old song that the man knew by heart, but it’s been ages since he had last heard it. The person on the stage moved along with the music, carefully taking each step, each twirl, finally stopping as they noticed a sudden observer in the audience. The music abruptly stopped and the man wiped his forehead with a sleeve, his bangs still sticking to it.
“Took you a while, Ryo-san.” the dancer spoke as he walked off the stage, approaching the guest, “At some point I thought you wouldn’t show up.”
“I wouldn’t show up? I wouldn’t let you down like this. Who do you think I am?”
The man laughed and began to take off his jacket and scarf. The snowflakes had already melted when he hung his coat on the wall and went to sit by the bar counter.
“Hmm, let me think… Tsukumo Ryo, president of Tsukumo Productions and a bully, that’s it!” That made him laugh once again. The younger man sat by the bar counter and sighed.
“Now, that’s an interesting description. I have never bullied anyone in my very dear life you know! I’m as pure as snow.”
Ryo earned a snort as an answer. Of course.
“If I hadn't known you for almost 5 years, maybe I would take your words as true. You may not be the person that you were when I met you back then, but still, your ways didn’t change that much,” he said, playing with a glass that he brought for himself beforehand.
“Only you know my true self, don’t you?”
“Of course. Only I can know what kind of person you are, Ryo-san.”
Ryo hummed in response, giving him a nod.
“This is why I have chosen you, Nanase Riku. No one else would be able to work so perfectly with me, but you. Also, what was that before? Missing your old profession?” Ryo asked, a grin appearing on his face. Riku looked behind himself and pouted.
“Not really,” he answered “I just thought it would be nice to do some exercise. I was getting cold here without-”
“Me? Come on, say you missed me!”
“How rude. You usually say something different when we are in private… just like now.” Ryo put down a bottle of champagne and juice next to it. Riku turned his face to him and scanned carton of a juice.
“Apple juice makes my stomach turn. Choose something different, Mr. Big Boss”
“Let me see what do they have here~ You sure that you don't want to drink champagne with me?” the man asked, not really expecting any other answer than no, but it wouldn’t hurt to try, right?
“… Maybe I can…” he said after a while, earning a surprised expression on his very own former boss' face. “What, surprised? Today is a special day after all, Ryo-san. I may suffer the consequences afterwards, but I have a day off tomorrow.”
“R---Rikuu!! You agreed to drink with me! How long has it been? Definitely too long, I cannot remember-” His voice died in his throat when Riku put a finger on his lips with a grin.
“I will make an exception for you today. Look how nice I am. Now…”
Soon, both fine glasses were filled with fizzy drink. They sat side by side, next to each other, looking at the empty seats and stage.
“You sure had a lot of audacity to rent this specific place, haven’t you, Ryo-san?” Riku asked, looking at his partner “It’s a holy ground for “those people” after all.”
“It was a holy ground for them, Riku. We came here to trample them even more… I would say, we came here to put an ultimate end to the place where they were born. Ah, how awful it is!” Ryo laughs, looking at the stage through his glass and smiling .
“Now, it is but a relic of the past, the sacred grounds that lost their so called reverence long time ago. We just arrived at the very graveyard of your former enemies, Riku. Rejoice.”
“I don’t think I could rejoice in such a moment, Ryo-san.” he answered, looking lazily at his former boss “There is nothing to be happy about this situation.”
Ryo didn’t like this voice filled with strange sorrow. He put down his glass and looked at redhead’s face closely.
“Do you regret what you had done, out of a sudden? That’s unlike you, little duckling. I do not like how your words sound.”
Riku closed his eyes, feeling Ryo’s fingers tickle his cheek and play with his hair. It took him a while to answer, but it was something that older man was willing to wait for.
“It is not regret that I speak about, Ryo-san. What saddens me is how easily they were shot down by us.” His expression changed slowly “I wish I could play more with them, you know. What fun is it when a cat cannot play with its prey for more than 10 minutes before it dies?”
Riku’s voice was as sweet as honey yet so poisonous at the same time. Even after so many years, he couldn’t get rid of that trait of his, developed when he had entered Tsukumo Productions. “Keep your face smiling, but curse your enemies under the mask that you are wearing.” It was something that he was taught. Tsukumo Ryo couldn't be happier to hear those words.
“You are still a naughty, little child, Riku.”
“I am not a child already, I am 25 years old, you know? I have only 5 years of life left now.”
“As I recall, cats have 9 lives, but in your case it’s over 9000.”
The man earned a smack at his shoulder for that comment and laughed. Riku backed away and grabbed his glass.
“Enough of useless talk, Ryo-san. We came here for a reason and now, it is time to do what has to be done”
“Right…” Both males looked at each other, their expressions gentle, despite words that soon poured out of their mouths.
“On this unholy ground, we will drink for our victory, Nanase Riku, former Tsukumo Super Idol and my partner.”
“Right. Let us celebrate, Tsukumo Ryo-san, Tsukumo Production’s president and my partner as well.”
The glasses clinked as they raised a toast.
“For the day when Trigger was disbanded by us”
A moment later they set down the glasses, already emptied of their drinks. Ryo watched fondly as Riku grimaced a bit, still not used to alcohol. Fortunately, he chose a weak drink, so even his weak headed fiancé should be fine.
“Ah… It still feels unreal. But at the same time, realer than ever. It’s over, truly over.”
“It sure was a long road. Well, for me it felt like a few days, because I got the best company~”
Riku sent him a half smile. As always, Ryo was the master of compliments. His head already began to fill with pleasant buzzing, there were merits to being weak against alcohol. Moving his glass aside, Riku laid his head on the bar counter.
“To think that it all began in such a silly way… Had I known that karaoke can change your entire life, I would join people from the university every day.”
“It was destiny, my dear! Since we were meant for each other, we would’ve met one way or another~”
“Ahaha… Yes. It absolutely was destiny. For once, I’m glad it exists. I wouldn’t have exchanged my life with you for anything else.”
Ryo giggled happily. Oh, they were in permanent pre-honeymoon phase and he hoped it would never change.
“Do you think of that time sometimes? When we met.”
“Hmm… Sometimes, perhaps? I’m too busy thinking of how beautiful you are to drown in the past. But oh, I know! We have equipment here, want to sing? Just like then.”
Riku”s eyes sparkled and he nodded, forcing his head to leave the counter.
“Let’s sing then. Just like then.”