What will happen to Dir en grey once their fame start to fade? MxM pairings, drug use, self harm, lemons [will get stronger as story progresses]
It was an innocent enough number. Simple, nice and round.
But for the members of Dir en grey, there was nothing more vile.
"Are you shitting me?" Kyo roared, slamming his hand down on the table.
"33." Die said slowly, rubbing his weary eyes.
Toshiya, the bassist of the band, dropped his forehead to the table without a word.
Shinya stared down at his hands, studying his huge opal ring as if it held all the answers.
Magazine still in hand, Kaoru leaped from his seat to pace to room. "Such bullshit." He murmured to himself. "Last year we were number 12 on the charts! Now, 33rd? Our album couldn't even break the top 30!"
It was Monday, January 7 2013. The album charts for the last 3 months were in and Dir en grey's last album Embalmed had failed to live up to last year's album.
Groaning, Toshiya picked himself up. "What the hell did we do that was so great last year?"
"World tour Toshiya, a fucking world tour!" Kyo yelled, glaring. "Remember Russia? Remember freezing your balls off in front of a packed crowed?"
"Oh…Right." Toshiya muttered, dropping his head back to the table
Kaoru threw the magazine across the room. "How on earth did we go from that, to this?"
Throwing himself back in his chair, Kaoru took a deep breath. "It's fine. We can recover. We just need to ask ourselves- what do we do from here?"
"Work on lives. Work on videos. Push CD sales."Die said in a bored voice.
They all knew the drill. Kaoru had been chanting it to them all since last year's Ecstasy of Hell didn't meet his top 10 standards.
Die did his bit, preaching the album in interviews and playing until his fingers bled in lives. Now just walking into practice seemed award worthy.
Across the table, Shinya bit his lip to keep back his laughter. Die was right, but saying as much was sure to keep Kaoru pissed. They just need to nod and agree at the moment.
He was right, Die's comment set Kaoru off even more.
"If you know as much Die, why aren't you thinking of new ideas?" Kaoru asked bitterly.
Anger flashed through Die quickly. "I'm the one who suggested a cover album instead of the usual bullshit, if you remember!"
Kaoru laughed harshly. "Still going on about the fucking cover album idea huh? Cover albums are SHIT! It's for washed out assholes that don't have an original bone in their body!"
"Yeah! What the fuck are you trying to say anyway?" Kyo agreed quickly. He did, after all, write all but 3 of the songs on the last album.
"I'm just saying if the albums aren't selling like they use to, maybe it's time for a change." Die said, teeth clinched.
"I agree with Die." Toshiya said, head still down. "No offence guys. It's worth a try."
Snatching up his jacket, Kyo stomped to the door. "I'm gone. Fuck you guys. "
"Don't worry, he won't get far. He came with me." Toshiya said as Kyo slammed the door. He jiggled the keys in his pocket for effect.
Die laughed wearily. "He might buckle and take the bus. After all, were number 33 people now."
Sighing deeply, Kaoru began to gather his things. "Let's call it an early day. We can't practice without a vocalist, and I don't think anyone is even in the mood anymore. "
He left quietly, leaving the magazine forgotten on the floor. The last thing he wanted was it in his house. Sitting on his coffee table at home was the latest issue of Fresh Eats! magazine with his wife Kiko's shining face gracing the cover.
"I better get home too. I'm sure Mimaru could stand some help with Jun, he's walking now you know." Die said, grinning at his young son's antics.
Toshiya laughed and walked out the building with his friends. "I still have trouble believing you helped make such a cute kid."
Shinya laughed, but not at his friends playing joking. Kyo was sitting Indian style on the hood of Toshiya's prized sports car, shooting daggers at the man.
"Keys. Now." Kyo demanded as Toshiya neared.
Unlocking the car door, Toshiya slide in the passenger seat before tossing Kyo the keys. "Now now! Be nice!"
Shinya missed the flow of curses Kyo was spouting out by the slam of the driver's side door. His wave went unnoticed as Kyo sped off.
With a shrug, Shinya walked slowly to his own car. He wasn't in a huge rush to get back to his empty apartment, but he had little else to do. Practice usually didn't last 35 minutes.
He drove home slowly, running the day's events in his head. Embalmed was slow to sell from the start. Radio stations and music shows played a few tracks in the beginning, but newer bands took over fast.
Shinya knew from the beginning of the tour that the album would tank. Crowds were thin, thinner then when they were La:Sadies. Venues grew smaller, ticket prices dropped.
Shinya also knew they would soon be back out there. The mandatory breaks that Die had fought for would be forgotten.
He knew it wouldn't be a big 'tour', they would probably just stick to Japan and China. Kaoru wouldn't dream of anything like last year's massive tour right now.
Turning into his apartment's parking garage, Shinya started going over his tour to-do list. Call kennel, pay all bills, buy new drumsticks…
Kaoru still couldn't get over it, days later. All the years Dir en grey have been together, their albums never dipped below 15 on the charts.
Sitting in his home office, Kaoru browsed the band's message board.
It was a slap in the face, the fan's comments.
They heard this cd time and time again. They loved the band, but the music was growing stale. Their ego was showing in their songs, but not in a good way.
"Don't have to worry about egos anymore." Kaoru said out loud.
Clicking around the site, he found himself reading the band's history when it hit him.
They needed the help of the man who got their name out there in the first place.
Three days later, Kaoru called them all to his house 'to go over a few things'.
Shinya knew that this was it, the announcing of a quick tour to boost sales.
The men sat in Kaoru's large living room, waiting on an explanation.
"Ok guys, I've done a lot of thinking about this and I think the next best step for us would be to hire a producer." Kaoru said, clasping his hands together.
"Then hire one, god." Kyo answered. "Why call us up for this? It's all so boring."
Ignoring Kyo, Kaoru plowed on. "I want to hire on Yoshiki for a while."
Die was the first one to react. "Awesome!" he exclaimed. He was truly excited, if any two people could turn Dir en grey around it would be Kaoru and Yoshiki.
"Have you talked to him about this?" Toshiya asked from the couch. "Surely he is very busy…"
Kaoru bobbed his dark head. "I called him a few days ago, to let him think over the idea. "
That was a lie. Kaoru did indeed call Yoshiki a few days ago, but he had begged the older man to come immediately.
Smirking, Toshiya poked Shinya in the ribs. "Don't get your hopes up just yet then, Shinya."
Rolling his eyes, Shinya swatted away Toshiya's hand. He would never live down his once huge crush on fellow drummer Yoshiki.
It would be nice to see him, Shinya decided. But he wasn't giddy at the thought like he would have been years earlier. The band had last seen Yoshiki around two years prior. Shinya had a bit to much to drink at a dinner party Yoshiki threw and the pair kissed. No big deal.
Right now, all Shinya wanted was Dir en grey to sellout venues again.
"Alright then. Call him up, get this show on the road." Kyo concluded, headed towards Kaoru's kitchen. "Let's just do something."
"So were in agreement then? Everyone wants Yoshiki to help us out?" Kaoru asked, phone already out.
With everyone's agreement and a muffled growl from Kyo, Kaoru dialed up Yoshiki's number for the second time that week.
"Yoshiki? It's Dir en grey. When can you come?"
Yoshiki sat waiting in Dir en grey's private studio. Dir en grey's empty private studio, he corrected himself.
Kaoru was here, out discussing matters over the phone with his record label. Yoshiki was sure it wasn't a pleasant conversation.
Die was dropping his kid off at daycare.
Toshiya was going to pick up Kyo.
No word from Shinya yet.
Cursing, Yoshiki stood from his seat and walked to the nearby window.
The first practice he was sitting in since he got to Japan, and no one was here.
Anger building, Yoshiki pulled a crushed pack of cigarettes out his pocket.
He heard Kyo before he seen him, cursing vehemently at Toshiya, Yoshiki assumed. The pair burst through the door, paying little regard to their surroundings.
"For fuck sakes Kyo, it was time to wake up! Jesus Christ, get over it." Toshiya snarled, striding to his waiting bass.
Kyo snatched a bottle of water out the mini-fridge by the door. "You jumped on my freaking bed like a deranged child! Who in the hell does that?"
"You shouldn't have such a childishly small bed." Toshiya said sweetly, plucking at his bass.
Before Kyo could comment, Yoshiki cleared his throat, making himself known.
"I thought I was producing Dir en grey, not La:Sadies again."
Toshiya whipped his head up at the sound of Yoshiki's voice. "Yoshiki! Holy shit, I didn't know you were sitting in today!"
Laughing, Toshiya hugged Yoshiki. "Good to see you, you're looking hot these days!"
Now it was Yoshiki's turn to laugh. "Oh please. I'm a million years old compared to you guys."
"I would still bet that your bed never gets cold, eh Yoshiki?" Kyo joked, pumping Yoshiki's hand.
This time, Yoshiki couldn't keep the blush at bay, much to Kyo and Toshiya's amusement.
Die came in shortly after, followed closely by Kaoru. As everyone was sharing hugs and handshakes, Shinya slipped in quietly.
Out of the corner of his eye, Yoshiki caught a glimpse of copper. Standing up straighter, he held his breath and watched as Shinya strode over.
Had he always been so tall? Shinya's long legs looked perfect in the dark jeans that covered them, but Yoshiki remembered well how they looked in leather skirts.
Had his arms always been so toned, so sculpted? Yoshiki remembered Dir en grey's first major show, how Shinya's arms killed him afterwards. Now it looked like the man could drum for days without stopping.
The only thing that hasn't aged was Shinya's face. He looked just as Yoshiki remembered him. Beautiful high cheekbones, clear skin, full lips, eyes wide open.
"Yoshiki, it's good to see you again." Shinya said quietly, offering Yoshiki his hand.
That voice, smooth as glass, Yoshiki remembered when it was a bit higher.
Grinning, Yoshiki took Shinya's hand in his own and shook it gently. It was rough from drumming without gloves, but Yoshiki was sure his were rougher.
"Good to see you too Shinya."
Toshiya rolled his eyes and smirked knowingly at Kyo. "Let's get started!"
Slipping his hand away, Shinya smiled politely at Yoshiki before walking to his drums
His back burned with the intensity of Yoshiki's stare. Surely, his clothes were about to catch flame, burning him to dust. Grabbing up his drumsticks, Shinya squeezed them tightly for support. He sat down without flourish at his drums and waited.
He could sense Yoshiki nearby, but he refused to search around for him.
The smell of him- clear and crisp, like running water, like poured champagne danced around Shinya.
Oh this wasn't going to be easy, that much was already clear.
He should have just fucked Yoshiki back in LA all those years ago. Who cares if there was a room full of people and cameras just next door?
Now that longing was back. And he didn't even have the excuse of alcohol.
Gritting his teeth in frustration, Shinya pounded away at his drums, hoping the noise would block out his thoughts.