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Lucid Memories

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Lucid Memories

He had his half-lidded eyes trained on the door. His room was near empty. It was dull, cold and really, it was empty. He remembered when Sho came to visit him the day after he was placed here. It was a visit he wasn't expecting, and the other man cried as he was engulfed in one of his warm bone crushing hugs. He missed those hugs.

Sho doesn't come by very often. He really can't blame the other, Sho was--is---still the busiest, even after the incident. He's placated with the fact that Sho's trying his best to get him out of this hellhole.

He slightly raised his eyes as heard voices, too far away for him to fully hear or recognize, but despite that, he knows they're coming to him. He was the only one on this floor after all. This fact made Nino snicker in amusement once and he was instantly pulled into reminiscing when the trickster came to visit.

Nino comes by the most, despite the moaning and bitching he does, he still comes. But he also comes by shortest time. Sometimes, Nino just barges in as if he owns the place and tackles him him for a hug then leaves right after. Sometimes, he blinks and Nino's just right there. He doesn't hate him for leaving so quickly. He would too, if he could.

He shakes away the memories as the voices get louder but it's the footsteps are what he listens most closely to. The echoing footsteps that was slowly making its way to his locked little room. He oddly recalls that shuffling from somewhere, but he can't put a name to them. But it's there, that faint memory. He gets dragged into a different one.

One that includes their Riida. He recalls that Riida comes by the longest. Whenever he comes over, he stays the entire day--between the two of them, comfortable silence was all that was needed. Sometimes, just sometimes, he asks how they all were--are. Riida only ever gives him this sad little smile and a small head shake, as if he was a little boy who did something wrong. You'll see, you'll see, was always the response. He won't ask again for sometime after that. Riida visits less than Nino but more than Sho. It fits---the ShOhMiya tandem. He gives a small smile. It brings back good, happy memories--those three.

He snaps back to reality when he hears the jingle of keys just outside his door. He narrows his eyes as it swings open and stares at the familiar eyes that meet his. Slowly, he begins to smile.

"Masaki" he greets, testing the name on his lips. "It's been awhile."

Aiba stands at the door together with his detested doctor. The lanky man smiles at him and began to tear up.

"You're very lucky you came today, Aiba-san" Doctor (Whatever-his-name-is) told his best friend. "He's been responding quite well to treatment lately." But he wasn't really paying attention to whatever the Doctor said, he was focusing on Masaki. He doesn't ever recall when he visited, but he was certain he visited more than Sho.

"MatsuJun!" Masaki greeted him as he stepped inside, frowning at his unfashionable jacket that kept his arms at bay. It was completely unnecessary, but after he punched the good Doctor at his last session, the orderlies thought it would be a really good idea. "Macchan?" Masaki called out when he didn't respond.

His eyes glazed over as he started to remember. Sho gave him that nickname back when they were Juniors.Huh, how time flies. He was probably what--30? 32? He lost track of time in here.

"Are you listening to me?"

He snapped his attention back to the man sitting crosslegged infront of him. He shrugged on response. "I asked you if I can bring Becky over next time." Masaki asked him. "You remember my wife; Becky?" He smiled wryly. "I remember Rebecca." he responded, knowing full well that Becky hated being called by her fullname. "I don't mind. Bring her over." He tells the lanky man. Masaki grins brightly at him and he smiles back. "Hey, Masaki. When do I leave?" he finally asks, Aiba's smile falls right off instantly.

"Kitagawa-sensei tells me that you're responding well to treatment, Jun. That if this keeps up--" he paused and looked up to smile encouragingly. "--he tells me that if this continues, you can leave by the end of the year Jun. Just in time for the New Year!"

He smiled brightly, for what seemed the first time in forever. "Sho would like that. He's been wanting to see us all together for the New Year." he tells his best friend in hopes to cheer up the other man's spirit. He does pause when he saw Masaki glance at the horrid Doctor in worry. He narrowed his eyes. "What's wrong, Masaki? Did Sho-chan get mad at you or something?"

Masaki gave him an uneasy look. "Sho...?" he says the name slowly, as if unfamiliar with who the name belongs to. Which was stupid, Sho and Masaki were like brothers. Masaki takes a piece of paper from his pocket and looks at it. "Sho, right?" Masaki asks, turning to the Doctor. The Doctor inturn, looks at him directly even while scribbling things in his chart. "You told us that you were colour coded, Matsumoto-kun. Can you remind me what coulour Sho-kun is again?" he asks, in that annoyingly grandfatherly voice of his.


"Sakurai." he barks at the Doctor, angrily. "Call him Sakurai." After all, the old man wasn't at all close or related to their--HIS--Sho. The Doctor went still, as if to accepting the proposition--or to note the name down, he didn't know. "Right, Sakurai..." The Doctor acquiesced, looking at Masaki from the corner of his eye.

He glared at them both. "Don't mess with me, Masaki!" he scolded, "You should know this! Sho's red, Riida is blue... Nothing?" He paused to see if his bestfriend recalls but the blank helpless look on his face makes him scowl. Was it really that long ago that Masaki forgot their own colours?

"I'm purple and Nino's yellow." he reminded, trying to make him see the connection. Extremely pleased when Masaki finally made an Oh! face then made a small sad smile. "Right...and I'm green. We're idols."

He grinned at his best friend for finally remembering. Masaki must be truly happy running his parent's restaurant if he keeps forgetting, which is stupid. You simply cannot erase 17 years of camaraderie and experience. But before he could ponder more, his wretched Doctor just had to ruin the moment. "Matsumoto-kun, we've been over this. And you well doing so well earlier too." The miserable man told him patiently, with a fake sounding concerned tone. "You're not an idol."

He snarled at the Doctor, just because he was past his *expiration date doesn't mean he wasn't once one. "Arashi is just another name for the music store you own, don't you remember?" The Doctor told him with that obnoxiously fake patient tone. "JStorm; Jun's Storm, the store you co-owned with your cousin?"

He shook his head frantically. That couldn't be real! They were idols under Johnny's! They were number ONE! They EXISTED!

Masaki tried calling out to him, to get his attention. "Macchan--" he started, "--Sho, Riida, Nino, these guys...they don't exist. They're not real!"

"NO!" he all but screamed with a heavy glare. "Why--why are you SAYING that?!" he yelled at Masaki. They were all supposed to be good friends! Why was he saying this? Did they fight?! Why was Masaki listening to the stupid Doctor and his lies?! Wasn't he supposed to be on his side?!

"Jun! Jun, no, LISTEN!" Masaki yelled, making him stop and stare at the other in shock. Masaki continued, "Jun, look Sho could be your cousin, Yuki." He scribbled Sho's kanji on the paper Jun kept on the tables close by. "Flight can be read as Yuki too." Masaki explained, his eyes pleading for him to listen. "I mean, that's why you used to tease Satoru and Yuki to call their son; Shou, after his mother." Jun blinked, trying to remember this 'Yuki'. "I--I have a cousin named Yuki...," he trailed off. He remembers a cousin with a pleasing laugh, but every time he tried to remember her face, Sho appeared. It was getting confusing and he shook his head. It didn't make sense.

Seeing that Jun seemed to be listening, Masaki continued. "And Satoshi--Riida, right?, it sounds like Satoru; Yuki's husband. He was a freelance artist, but he was big in some circles. Remember that he created JStorms logo?," he explained and Jun shook his head to clear his thoughts. He has vague memories, but it was always hazy and glancing at the old man, his head began to hurt more. "His best friend was Kazuya, the NicoNico artist. You mentioned one too many times that he should've become an idol, but Kazuya always told you that it didn't seem like a real 'artist'. He was in it for the music, wanted to be a real singer who wrote and composed his own songs. You told me about Niji, last time, but don't you remember, that was the song that got him the contract."

Jun gave Masaki a confused, pained glare. That all sounded right, but it also sounded wrong. It doesn't quite make sense. He knew Sho, Satoshi and Kazunari were real. They were his band mates, his best friends. But he vaguely remembers his cousin Yuki and her husband; Satoru, and his cousin-slash-stalker Kazuya. It was all distorted, he couldn't remember if Sho was Yuki or Yuki was Sho. He couldn't tell if Satoshi liked art because Satoru was an artist. He was confused if it was Kazunari who wanted to be a director when he was younger or if it was Kazuya. He was barely lucid and trying to figure his memories out were getting hazier and hazier.

"It was your birthday, Jun. We were all going to meet up in that new Italian restaurant that Satoru managed to book us in, because he had weird friends in high places." Masaki explained to him with a pained look. "I was running late because the restaurant was packed and I couldn't leave my family to handle it alone. I remember when I arrived that the streets where filled with sirens and there were too many ambulances on the street. I managed to grab a police to tell me what happened and apparently, Kazuya had fans. Obsessed fans."

Jun looked at him, not liking where this story was going. "They don't know where they got the guns from, but they entered the restaurant guns ablazing. One of them begged Kazuya to reconsider going pro, that he shouldn't let the masses here his voice, because he belonged to them only." Here, Masaki swallowed and looked away, before turning back to him. "Kazuya didn't understand what was going on and --" he chocked and gave a sad smile, "--you know how he is when he gets angry."

"He becomes a snarky and defensive..." Jun muttered, not knowing if he meant Kazuya or Kazunari. Masaki gave him a watery chuckle. "Yeah. Enraged, the woman shot him in the chest. The police told me he died instantly." Jun's eyes widened, "No! No! He's NOT dead! Kazunari's NOT DEAD!" Horrified, Masaki moved back slightly before resolve burned in his eyes. "No, Kazuya died." He corrected. "But Yuki screamed in horror, they shot her next. Tw-twice in the head." He chocked when he said it, but Masaki met Jun's eyes head on. "Satoru raged and managed to disarm two of the crazy fans, before getting shot himself. By this time, the police arrived. He died before the ambulance arrived in the hospital."

Jun's eyes watered. He didn't want to hear this. He didn't want to remember this! "N-no! That's not true. That's not r-real!" He whispered. "Sho's alive, Satoshi's painting and Nino's okay. You're lying! They're all fine!"

"Macchan!" Masaki called out. "They're not fine, they're not even real. They're all dead! Do you know what happened to you? You got shot too! You tried to help Satoru and got shot in the head, but the doctor's managed to save you! Don't do this to them! Shoutaro is asking for his mama's favourite cousin!" He raged back, holding the other's shoulders. "What do you think I should tell him?" Masaki by this time had tears falling out of his eyes. "He's looking for the man we keep talking about."

Jun looked at him, his own tears streaming down his face. "Shou...taro?" he mumbled in question, and Masaki laughed and explained. "Yeah, Yuki was on her 9th month. She was ready to pop anytime. They managed to save him." Jun looked into the other's eyes, looking for lies. His head was a mess. He didn't know what reality to believe in. It hurts to think about it. He opened his mouth, but he didn't know what to say. "I-I..." he started and failed.

"Arashi doesn't exist, Jun." Masaki told him gently, trying to softly bring him back to this world. But this was the wrong thing to say apparently, as Jun's face contorted in anger, rage and pain. "Don't you say that!" Jun wailed, pushing his best friend away, oddly he felt a pinch on the collar he wore. His memories getting muddled and his emotions were out of control. He was so confused, so he did what he could. He lashed out. "Don't you dare say that! Arashi is more than just a memory, a band!" He yelled, angrier than he thought he should be. "They are us! Why are you lying, Masaki!"

Jun curled into himself. The memories of pain, hearing Yuki's scream and Satoru's heartbreaking wail and Kazuya's small exhale of pained shock dulling in his memories. Fading, fading but not truly disappearing, simply placed far from the front of his mind, where happier memories (real or not) played on. "They're real. Liar. Liar. Liar." He muttered, as he tried to shut out Masaki's pained, confused, desperate plea. Jun removed himself from reality, if only because reality seemed so much more painful. He was trapped in his lucid memories; where he didn't quite know which reality to believe.

Masaki looked at his best friend, pain evident on his face. "I don't understand..." he whispered as he moved to stand. "He seemed so much better." Jun's doctor gave him a sympathetic look. "Sometimes, there are cases when you push too hard they simply cannot take it." They both left the room. "Bye, Macchan." Masaki called out, his eyes tearing up at the sight of the broken man. As expected, there was no reply. The good doctor locked the door and guided him back to the entrance.

"We had high hopes for him." The doctor told him. "Don't worry, we'll keep working hard. This is nothing but a minor set back." Masaki nodded, but more dejected than usual. "Thank you, Kitagawa-sensei." Masaki thanked with a tired smile and a small bow. The old man laughed. "I told you to call me Johnny. My niece prefers to be called Kitagawa than I." Masaki smiled a smile that didn't reach his eyes. "I'll take my leave. I'll be bringing my wife and Shoutaro next time, to see if it'll bring him back." Johnny Kitagawa, the doctor, nodded. "Run this by me before you arrive. Just to make sure we don't surprise him too much. We'll make sure to subscribe him a new set of medicine, I don't think the one we gave him is working." Masaki nodded, thanked him and left. All the while, he hadn't noticed the pen the good doctor was holding looked too bulky and un-pen-like to be a pen. If one looked closer, it seemed to look more like a small remote of some sort.

A woman who was watching their interaction came closer as soon as Masaki left. "That one seemed persistent." she commented as she stood beside the good old doctor, watching one of their wealthier client leave. Johnny Kitagawa-sensei scoffed. "Aiba-san is a respectable business owner, old blood. We wouldn't want him to be distraught. Be a dear and up the dosage of hallucinogens in patient MJ-83. He's becoming quite un...stable again, Julie, my girl."

Julie snorted as she shook her head, giving her uncle an amused look before doing as he bid. "Yeah, I think you mean to say stable, Uncle." She commented teasingly. Her heels making clacking noises in the otherwise silent and empty reception room. "If only people knew that all these people need were a few months of psychiatric help and support than shipping them to the hidden facilities dosed with drugs, they'd be less unhappy when they come to visit." She said, looking back slightly as she walked. "But then, you'll never tell them that, will you, Uncle?" she mocked. "After all, where's the money in a healing up a patient, right? You taught me that."

Johnny Kitagawa didn't look at his mocking niece as he smirked at the car that was driving away. He didn't need to respond. Julie understood that Matsuyama Junta was never leaving The Facility, at least, not until his funds were bled dry first.