Kaoru is knocked down. Shinya reaches out. Die plans. Kyo stumbles. Toshiya catches. [Drug use. Very mild lemons.]
The press had caught wind of Yoshiki's involvement too.
Pictures of him around the band's studio have started popping up in the tabloids. Just yesterday a photo of Shinya and Yoshiki appeared, the two were sipping coffee at a café near the studio.
Apparently, Shinya had asked Yoshiki for a bit of help on drumming.
Kaoru didn't know what kind of help a seasoned drummer such as Shinya needed and he didn't ask.
With a quiet laugh, Kaoru sat up in his bed.
He had slept in today, faking a headache to get out of some celebrity breakfast his wife was cooking for. He knew he would pay dearly later, but right now Kaoru didn't care.
Stretching his arms, Kaoru swung his legs over the edge of the bed, wincing at the frigid floor's bite.
Kiko was a fan of 'modern' décor, which meant to Kaoru ugly ass sculptures everywhere and a lack of rugs.
Slipping on a pair of wool socks, Kaoru padded to his kitchen to make coffee.
Two cups later he was lounging on his overstuffed sofa, absently picking at his guitar when Kiko walked in.
"Hey." Kaoru called out, twisting around to see his wife. "How was it? Anyone I know there?"
Kiko entered the living room, a flourish of sweet perfume and swishing skirt.
"I don't think so, it was mainly people in the movie business."She answered.
Kaoru watched as Kiko whirled around the room, picking up sheet music. "You can't pick up after yourself?" she asked, snatching up Kaoru's coffee mug. Not waiting for an answer, Kiko stomped to the kitchen.
Groaning, Kaoru pulled himself up off the couch. Guitar in hand, he followed the sound of Kiko clashing around in the kitchen.
"I was going to pick up." He said, leaning against the bar.
Kiko rolled her eyes. "Sure Kaoru. I thought your head was hurting?"
"Certainly is now." He muttered, walking away.
After putting his guitar up, Kaoru went back to his bedroom to get dressed. He was sure if Kiko saw him still in his sweats again she would have something smart to say.
"Kaoru, can we talk?" Kiko called out.
Sighing, Kaoru resisted the urge to hang his head like a scolded child.
Kiko was sitting at the bar and to Kaoru's surprise, she was all smiles.
"Sit sit! I have some news."
Kaoru returned Kiko's smile slowly, sitting down next to his wife. "What is it?"
Taking a deep breath, Kiko handed Kaoru a thick bunch of papers. "Here, read this."
Laughing nervously, Kaoru unfolded the bundle. It took a minute for what he was reading to sneak in. "Lease agreement? Lease for what?" he asked, flipping through the papers.
"My own restaurant!" Kiko exclaimed "See is retiring, he's giving me, us, a discounted price if we sign now."
"This is discounted?" Kaoru asked in disbelieve, handing Kiko back the papers. "There is no way we could afford this right now Kiko. I'm sorry, but it can't happen."
Kaoru could see the anger flash in his wife's eyes, but she quickly pulled herself together. "I know it seems like a huge expense right now, but in the long run this is going to make us a lot of money!"
"Yeah? How long?" Kaoru asked
"About 5 years." Kiko asked quietly
Laughing, Kaoru stood from his barstool and grabbed his nearby jacket.
"There is no way Kiko, no way. Did you happen to forget that my band isn't making as much money these days? We have enough bills to worry about."
Kiko couldn't hold back her anger at this. "Of course I haven't forgotten. Jesus, you being home on the weekend is enough to remind me! That's why I want this, this restaurant is going to be what saves us from poverty!"
Kaoru stared down his wife. Her face was flushed with anger, her small frame shaking.
"I'm busting my ass to keep my band together, to keep our bills paid, to keep you happy, but Kiko, I'm not signing this lease. We can't afford it. That's the last I want to hear about it." Kaoru said slowly, unblinking.
Tugging on his jacket, Kaoru quickly made his way out the house without another word.
Halfway down the street, he dug his phone out his jacket pocket.
It was half past one in the afternoon and there was 3 inches of snow already on the ground, but he knew of 5 men that would drop everything to come to his aid.
Kaoru tried Kyo first, but after letting the phone ring ten times Kaoru had to scratch him off the list for now.
He kept walking, leather jacket zipped all the way to his chin for warmth.
Kaoru tried Shinya next, greatly relieved when his friend answered on the second ring. "Can you come pick me up? I'm about two blocks away from my house." Kaoru asked hurriedly.
"Of course, do you need to get back home?" Shinya asked.
"No no, I just…need to get away from there for a bit." He admitted. If it wasn't for the bitter cold, Kaoru would have been blushing right about now.
"Ok, I'll see you in a few minutes then." Shinya said simply.
One thing Kaoru loved about Shinya, he didn't snoop.
Twenty minutes later, Shinya scooped a frozen Kaoru up off the side of the road. "Get your exercise for the day?" he joked
Cranking up the heat, Kaoru cupped his hands around the vent. "I would have taken the car, but she had the keys."
Shinya chuckled. "To proud to ask for them back?"
"Oh you know it." Kaoru agreed.
Shinya grinned and shook his head at the older man's antics. "How bout I treat you to lunch then? Build back up your energy after your hike through the snow."
"I think I can handle that."
"Good! I think there is a ramen shop up ahead…" Shinya said, pleased.
Only when they were halfway through their meal did Shinya prod at Kaoru.
He opened up to Shinya, grateful to pour everything out now that he wasn't pissed and stuck in the snow.
"Am I wrong? I mean, we honestly can't afford it right now."Kaoru said weakly.
"I think" Shinya began slowly "that you should have agreed to really discuss it once you got on sure footing."
Kaoru leaned back in his seat. "I guess so, but I'm just so mad that she would even bring that up right now! She knows that Dir en grey is on unsteady ground right now and that all my energy needs to be there."
"I understand, trust me I do, but I think just sitting down and promising to go over it again in the future would go far." Shinya said.
Kaoru thought about Shinya's idea for a minute, letting himself get use to it.
"You're right. How do you know so much about women all of the sudden?" Kaoru teased.
Shinya smirked. "It's not so much of a woman thing, just a relationship thing."
"Aah, I see. So, speaking of relationships, what are you and Yoshiki up to?" Kaoru asked tongue in cheek.
Shinya suddenly became very thirsty, taking a long gulp from his water.
"I'm not sure exactly. "He answered honestly.
The past week he and Yoshiki had defiantly spent a lot of time together. Nothing serious, just dinners, drinks sometimes after practice.
But Shinya felt something building between them. Sexual tension, sexual longing…He knew something was about to happen, that was for sure.
"I think it's about to progress a bit." Shinya said vaguely.
Kaoru bit the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning.
Oh how he hoped things worked well for Shinya! The last relationship the younger man had been in just kind of fell apart, so Shinya said.
"Good! Now, how about you take my sorry ass back home? I think it's safe- Kiko had to be in for 'the lunch crowd' soon."
The next day, after a night of sleeping on the couch, Kaoru had to get up early to prepare for a live performance on a music show.
As he rushed to get ready, Kiko appeared from the bedroom. She was huddled in her thick robe, watching Kaoru from the hall archway.
"Have a minute to talk?" She asked.
"Not really. If I don't leave now I'm going to be late." Kaoru replied, snapping shut his guitar case.
Without another word, Kaoru rushed out the front door.
At the television studio, during the chaos of having his hair and makeup done, Kaoru didn't notice his other band members.
He looked up to see Yoshiki standing over him.
"Yes?" Kaoru asked, dreading the worse. He knew Yoshiki called in a few favors to get them on the show, he thought now they were being asked to leave. A change of heart, a change to a top ten band.
"Your band members are nervous." Yoshiki said.
Kaoru laughed with relief. "They will be fine. We have played bigger shows then this without a problem."
Yoshiki muttered his agreement. "Yes, but not under these circumstances."
Kaoru studied his friends curiously.
Kyo fidgeted in his chair, sneering at the makeup artist hovering above him. Toshiya was crouched beside him, cursing at the boots he was trying to lace up.
Shinya was perched on a worn sofa beside Die, tapping out the rhythm to a song on his knee.
Die had his eyes closed, fiddling with the guitar in his lap.
No one was joking around, no one was laughing.
Kaoru swatted away his hairstylist and stood up.
He cleared his throat and waited until he had their attention before going on. "Guys, we all know that this show is an important mile stone for the bands recovery. We just need to go out there and remind them who the fuck we are!"
Toshiya laughed heartily. "Were Dir en grey damnit!" he shouted
Kyo elbowed Toshiya in the head smartly. "No shit, now stop laughing. You sound like a dying donkey."
Scowling, Toshiya rubbed his head while the people around him erupted in laughter.
"Five minutes!" a chipper voice called out.
"Here we go! Let's do this!" Kaoru bellowed.
Seeing his friends get pumped made him shelve his fears, for now.
He knew he was right; they could do a two song set on some stupid TV show with their eyes closed. They have been doing this stuff for years, after all.
As the filed out the room, Die grinned at him. "Nice pep talk there, 'leader-sama' "
Kaoru snorted at the title. "Let's just show em we aren't dead yet, eh?"
By the time the show and interview afterwards were over, it was already dark out.
"Oh man, I'm dead tired." Die said, stretching out his arms.
He was out in the parking lot with most of the members of Dir en grey.
Yoshiki was driving Shinya back home, but Die had the seeking suspicion he wouldn't be in a rush to leave. Even he had noticed how Yoshiki stared at Shinya while he was on stage today.
"Wimp!" Toshiya called out. "We only played two songs, come on!"
"Hey man, I was up with a cranky one year old half the night! Cut me some slack!" Die retorted, searching for his keys. "I gotta go relieve Mimaru anyways, see you guys later."
As he pulled out the parking lot, Die felt ashamed that he had lied to his friend's face. Heading home wasn't even remotely on his mind.
Die was heading over to watch his buddies of Beyond Earth practice, and to discuss Die's future.
Gripping the steering wheel, he focused on the road.
Back in the parking lot, Toshiya was still trying to convince the others to go out with him.
"So! Now that father of the year is gone, how about we go out to celebrate our fantastic selves?" Toshiya offered.
"No way I'm in. I'm headed home to get ignored by Kiko." Kaoru groaned.
"Come on Kaoru! You haven't gone out with us in so long!" Toshiya whined, hands on hips.
"You're such a queen Toshiya." Kyo said easily, exhaling cigarette smoke.
Rolling his eyes, Toshiya saluted Kyo with a choice finger.
"Maybe next time, I hope. Don't stay out to long though, we have a show tomorrow night!" Kaoru called, already walking to his car.
That left Shinya and Yoshiki. "Come on Shinya, don't leave me with just Kyo."
Shinya hesitated. He wanted to have a quiet dinner with Yoshiki, maybe share a bottle of wine.
"Ah, you're thinking about it! That's enough for me! Now, go tell your mister to meet us at that old abandon warehouse near the Yellow Spring Park. It's supposedly a really cool club now."
Laughing, Shinya went to go tell Yoshiki that they would be spending their evening in an old paper storage warehouse.
"So what makes you think I want to go with you?" Kyo asked Toshiya, tossing his cigarette butt.
"Let me count the reasons." Toshiya began, climbing into Kyo's car.
"Save me. " Kyo sighed, cranking up his car. "I'll go, but I ain't dancing."
"We will see." Toshiya sang.
It was about two hours in before Toshiya noticed how much Kyo was drinking.
"Since when did you drink so much?" he asked, cocktail in his own hand.
Kyo tapped his foot to the beat of the techno song blaring. "Since I got here. Now, shut up and go buy me another vodka rocks."
Toshiya wagged his finger at Kyo. "Oh Kaoru is gonna be mad at you tomorrow!"
Laughing, he swaggered off to the bar. "I need a vodka rocks and another rum and coke please." Toshiya called out over the noise.
He leaned against the bar as he waited for the drinks, watching the swarm of bodies before him.
Yoshiki's presences with Shinya had caused a stir, but so far everyone in the club was trying to play it cool.
He caught sight of the two every so often, dancing closely, laughing together.
Sighing, Toshiya suddenly felt overcome with loneliness. Trying to shake it off, he took his drinks from the bartender. Right now wasn't the time for pity, he decided.
Tossing a few bills on the bar, Toshiya weaved his way back to Kyo.
He was greeted by an empty table.
With a huff, Toshiya slide into one of the hard chairs. Maybe tonight was the night for pity.
It didn't take long for him to spot Kyo despite the crowds. He was dancing after all, although it wasn't with anyone Toshiya knew.
Sneering, he sipped at his drink, eyes never leaving the pair.
At the other end of the club, Shinya was having a much better time than Toshiya.
As one song ended, Shinya braced his hand against Yoshiki's chest. "Break!" he demanded. He didn't know Yoshiki could dance so well!
Slightly winded, Shinya grabbed Yoshiki's hand and pulled him to an empty table.
"Break already? I'm surprised at you!" Yoshiki laughed.
Shinya snorted, turning in his seat to waving down a server. "Oh you know those old bones of yours are screaming."
Yoshiki laughed heartily. "I admit nothing."
He wasn't upset in the slightest. The chance to sit gave Yoshiki a moment to study Shinya.
His cheeks were flushed, his skin dewy with sweat from their dancing. The work the hairstylist did hours ago to Shinya's hair was long gone. His long copper locks where now falling loose from the complicated up-do of earlier.
Shinya turned forward in his seat to ask him something, but Yoshiki wasn't listening.
He was too busy noticing how bright Shinya's eyes were, how the night's excitement had lightened them so.
"Yoshiki, beer?" he asked.
Dumbly, Yoshiki nodded. When the server left, Shinya leaned in closer. "You ok? Not having a heart attack on me are you?"
Yoshiki wondered how Shinya managed to still smell like lavender after dancing hours straight. "I was just thinking how amazing you look right now."
Shinya rolled his eyes and tried to play off Yoshiki's compliment. "Oh please. My hair and makeup is shot, I'm sweating like a pig…"
Yoshiki cut him off. "Don't play coy, we both know you don't have a shy bone in your sexy little body. Now, how about we go to your place for something long overdue?"
Shinya didn't think twice. He stood quickly, tugging on his coat.
Taking Shinya by the elbow, Yoshiki pulled him in close. Without a word, Yoshiki crushed his lips onto Shinya's
It only lasted a few seconds, but it was long enough to drive Shinya wild.
He tasted just as Shinya remembered, like warm scotch and a hint of tobacco. Warm, addicting.
Yoshiki suppressed a shutter, but just barely. Shinya deepened the kiss, tongue sweeping over Yoshiki's.
When they broke apart, they were panting. It took all of Yoshiki's self-control not to take Shinya right there. Luckily, he spoke up before Yoshiki could act.
"Let's go." Shinya whispered, breathless. Grinning, Yoshiki took Shinya's hand and led the way to the door.
"So you in?"
Kyo snorted. "But it's so old. Who takes ecstasy anymore?"
His dance partner just smiled. "You'll love it, I promise. You feel fucking amazing the first time."
Still dancing, Kyo held out his hand. "If you say so."
The other man laughed and discreetly handed Kyo three small pills. "One at a time ok? Come find me when it hits."
Kyo watched as he disappeared into the crowd, pills heavy in his hand.
What harm could one do? Life was already shitty enough, taking drugs from strange men seemed to fit right in.
Couples bumped into him, pushing him roughly to and fro. He walked to the edge of the dance floor and quickly swallowed one down dry.
No turning back now, he thought. Heart racing, Kyo went to find Toshiya.
"I think you should set up a formal interview with them, flesh out some details." Mimaru murmured.
Die was miles away from his band mates, his wife nuzzled up close as they lay awake in bed.
"They want me to start on now, the sooner the better. " Die said, mostly to himself.
He had left Beyond Earth's studio more torn then when he went in.
Die loved their sound, indie rock with a nice peppering of slower songs.
"Well I think that's a good sign babe!" Mimaru laughed.
Die agreed, but kept quiet.
He wanted this, he wanted the flexible schedule, the toned down music.
It was all better for him and his family that he knew.
But he wouldn't be doing what he loved with his friends. He couldn't imagine playing a concert without them surrounding him.
Rai, the bassist and his good friend, was great. Die and Mimaru often had Rai and his family over for dinner. They would stay for hours, eating and laughing.
As for the three remaining members, Die didn't know them at all.
Die said as much to Mimaru, running his hand over her bare back.
"You'll get to know them, it's just going to take time. Besides, no one is rushing you Die. This is your decision and I'm totally behind you." Mimaru said, pecking Die on the cheek.
Die smiled happily. "I love you Mimaru. Now, how about we busy ourselves with other matters?"
Giggling, Mimaru was happy to oblige. "I think I can handle that." She said, climbing on top of Die.
Toshiya had finally found Kyo.
He had gotten kicked out of the club for trying to climb up the fire escape ladder. Apparently he wanted to go up to the roof to 'kiss God'.
Toshiya strapped him in the backseat and took off before the cops or press were called.
He had brought them to Kyo's house, it being closer.
Toshiya was now in the process of holding Kyo under an icy shower in an attempt to sober him up.
Ignoring Kyo's screeching, Toshiya kept a firm grip on his arm. "I can't believe you Kyo! What has gotten into you?" he scolded, grabbing a towel with his free hand.
"I'm never going out with you again if this is how you handle your alcohol! You just wait until I tell the others, you will never live this down."
Toshiya toweled Kyo off roughly before plunking him down on the closed toilet. "You sit here while I go find you something to wear." He demanded.
He gathered up Kyo's pants and shirt, leaving the man shivering in nothing but his boxers.
"Kiss God…" Toshiya grumbled to himself. Deciding Kyo could wait a bit, Toshiya busied himself with emptying out his pants pockets.
That's when he found them, two pale green pills with a faded heart stamped on them.
"Oh for fucks sakes!" he groaned. Clutching the pills, Toshiya stomped back to the bathroom.
Swinging open the door, he glared at Kyo. "Where in the hell did you get ecstasy?"
Kyo just blinked at him stupidly, wiggling his toes. "They are melting."
"That's wonderful, just wonderful." Toshiya spat out.
Leaving Kyo once again, he ripped open a dresser drawer in Kyo's bedroom. Toshiya snatched up the first shirt he found and marched back to Kyo.
"Arms up." He demanded curtly.
Kyo raised his arms, giggling madly. "I'm a puddle, Toshiya. I'm dripping down the drain, into the dirt."
Toshiya pulled the shirt over Kyo's head, feeding his arms though. "That's your hair, it's dripping from the shower."
Once Kyo was up, Toshiya tossed the remaining pills into the toilet and flushed.
"So you do ecstasy now, is that it?" Toshiya asked. Not waiting for an answer, he pushed Kyo back down onto the toilet.
"Can I leave here?" Kyo asked, leaning against the toilet tank.
Toshiya shook his head. "No way, I'm not cleaning up any puke or shit. You're staying put. "
Kyo smiled serenely. "Of course. I'll just stay here and be beautiful dirt."
Toshiya scoffed as Kyo began to sing. "Wrong song Puddles. You're singing Glass Skin, God."
Kyo continued to spew randomly lyrics, singing in a high pitched voice.
"You're being so freaking annoying." Toshiya spat out.
They sat in Kyo's bathroom for hours, Toshiya only getting up for bottles of water and coffee. Kyo never puked, but pissed for ages at one point.
Toshiya watched him closely. Kyo seems content to sit on the toilet all night, humming to himself. Sometimes he would comment on something that happened years ago or something that was just happening in his head.
All in all, it was a long night for Toshiya.
He was just nodding off, head against his arms, when Kyo stumbled off the toilet. "Move." Kyo demanded voice like gravel.
"Your high wear off?" Toshiya asked, voice dripping sarcasm.
Kyo cursed violently. "I swear to fucking God if you don't move I will stomp your ass."
Wearily, Toshiya stood up to let Kyo through. He figured if Kyo was sober enough to threaten him, he was back to normal.
Rubbing his back, Toshiya tip-toed quietly into Kyo's room to check up on him.
Kyo was face down on his unmade bed, already sleeping. The t-shirt Toshiya had given him to wear had ridden up enough to show off the swell of Kyo's ass. With Kyo safely asleep, Toshiya took a moment to admire it before heading to the futon in the living room.