Author: Acerbitas PM
After spending a night with Eiri in New York, Tohma comes home without Eiri's affection. Depressed, Tohma tries to sort through his troubled mind, but finds that he needs someone else to help combat his emotional difficulties TohmaxSakano mild [oneshot]Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Drama - Touma S. & Sakano - Words: 4,499 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-07-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2522387
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Authors Notes: This story has grown on me and is now very important in my mind. I took longer on this story then I thought it was possible to take on a one shot. I just wasn't satisfied with what I had writen, and I erased, salvaged and tore apart this piece millions of time. I think I was worried that people wouldn't like it, and I was also worried I wouldn't do well, because people are now expecting things of me. >.
I got the idea for this story from shuichiyukilover, a fellow writer on this site. She wrote me in e-mail and asked me to write or make up a plot for a SakanoxTohma fiction. At first I couldn't think of any ideas, and wasn't very motivated, but then as I thought about it I formulated a plot (which got changed several times) and wrote her again saying I was going to write it. And here it finally is. Thank goodness.
Leaning back into his familiar office chair, Tohma willed his tense joints to relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. He shut his eyes and let comforting blackness sweep through his mind. For days he had been resisting an urge to stop thinking, and he was finally succumbing as a throbbing at his temples ate away his resolve. Eiri was ignoring him, and Mika was pissed because he was distressed that Eiri was ignoring him. Of course, she knew little of the circumstances. "Grow up, Tohma! He's not sixteen anymore, and you're definitely not twenty-five!" I know, Mika. "He can take care of himself! Badly, yes. But he doesn't need you anymore. He can wander through life on his own. He has the right to stick it out, like you like to do." I know, but don't say it. Please don't say it. You don't understand. I don't want anyone to say it. Let's all pretend it's alright. Let's all pretend he's sixteen again. Please. "You can't pretend anymore, Tohma. He's gone. You can't pretend on your own." But I want to, Mika, he insisted stubbornly, I want to! He could almost see himself stomping a resolute foot to the floor, eight years old again with a fierce frown of juvenile determination on his face. But I want to!
Fingernails dug into the armrests. Not thinking wasn't working too well. Not sleeping, on the other hand, was going too well. Everything had started out wonderful. A trip to New York, with Eiri. And they had been alone. It had seemed a misty-eyed dream, and it had seemed even more of a dream when he had convinced Eiri to plant a goaded kiss against Tohma's cheek. And again. And again, no longer goaded. Tohma had given his all to Eiri—pressing trembling lips against Eiri's sacred flesh…yielding himself, everything, to his emotional master. He had thought with typical self-sacrificial hope that if he let Eiri have his way with him, let him ravage him as many times as he wanted to, that Eiri would realize he felt something for Tohma, and come back to him. But he hadn't, and he hadn't even left Tohma with the happiness he thought would surely come along with a night like that. Maybe if only one person got something from it, nothing was afforded them. It was just…all sucked out. For Eiri, their night together had been nothing more then a fanciful but soon dull exploration might have beens and what ifs. Maybe it was even just the sex, but Tohma didn't want to think of being used like that. Especially not with Eiri. Not his little Eiri.
All of those bustling people outside his office door thought his heart was encased in frozen granite. They thought he was untouchable and that he could smile and smile his fearsome smile in the face of death. The second part was probably true, anyway. But it hurts to have a heart encased in granite—it hurts like the devil just to keep it beating.
Tohma shut his eyes harder and willed that suffering heart to give out. Fatal heart attack. Thirty-two. Great, terrible tragedy! No…not really. What a shame! Not really. Life's not worth living if you're stone inside.
Jumping to awareness as his phone vibrated, Tohma shoved his hand quickly into his silken pocket. Feeling a wild, frenzied hope that it was Eiri, he soon felt his rosy enthusiasm dampened. Sakano. Oh, he just wasn't in the mood.
"Mr. President?" Sakano sounded incredibly nervous, "We just finished recording the new Bad Luck album, and I was hoping you would come and see it and…offer your expert opinion."
Well, that was a good thing. They were done. He sincerely hoped it was good so he could just smile and go on his way. But he knew he would probably need to offer his usual deluge of advice. Oh well. He could think about music for awhile. That would be a pleasant change. "Alright then," he said in a sticky, charming tone, "I'll be down." From years of acquaintance, Tohma could picture the sunshine sparkle in Sakano's eyes and see Sakano's mouth turn up into a slightly agape grin.
"Y-yes, Mr. President," Sakano exclaimed, openly gleeful, "We'll be expecting you!"
"Good," Tohma agreed, and forgot all about Sakano and his cartoonishly exaggerated moods.
Sakano hurried towards Tohma in great excitement as he entered, wringing his hands as if pleading for good results. The entire band sat slumped around the CD player, Nakano in an obviously deep sleep. Ignoring Sakano's praise and barrage of welcomes, Tohma outwardly smiled and said encouragingly, "Let's hear your album."
"Yes, yes!" Sakano approved readily, fingers grasping the air in nervous anticipation. "You should like it, sir, really wonderful! Finally finished…finally done…worked hard…"
Sakano's words faded in and out of Tohma's hearing and he merely said an all encompassing, non-committal, "Good then," in reply.
The music was pretty decent: high-quality enough for a second album, and this was good because Tohma was in a rather grumpy mood. The first song stopped, and Tohma commented on where they could change a word or a note, observing in the back of his mind that Sakano was scribbling down every word with a hassled expression twisting his face.
After about three songs, there was startled discord as the door banged unexpectedly open. Nakano jumped slightly and looked up with bleary eyes. It was Eiri. The blond intrusion stamped forward and grasped Shindo's arm, then dragged the disoriented creature to the door. For a split second, Tohma's eyes gazed into cold but somewhat frightened blue spheres. Jolted and shaken, Tohma rushed after the couple, for some reason feeling an odd, desperate hope. He irrationally convinced himself it was all some horrible mistake. Eiri had slept with him in New York. That meant something, right? Cheating on Shindo was something, right?
"W-wait!" Sakano yelled after them, flustered and distressed, "D-do you have a pass to get in here? Shindo, please come back, we're not done…oh, Mr. President!" The poor man was ignored, Tohma noted. Usual.
Insane hope drove him forward. As he placed a hand on Eiri's shoulders, the taller man whirled around. "Eiri-san! I've…been so worried about you! I've missed you, I—I mean…we…um…"
"Uh…" Eiri stuttered momentarily, eyes flitting nervously from lover one to lover two, "Sorry."
"I tried to call you so many times, Eiri. Did you…turn off your phone?"
"You should know by now that I don't always call back." Eiri was breathing slightly heavily, and his fingers pressed in Shindo's flesh enough to surely cause some pain. Guarded eyes gazed into Tohma's, alien and unknown. Tohma could no longer read them; he could no longer see inside of them. He could no longer feel Eiri there. Just blank eyes: the eyes of a stranger.
"Did you guys have a good time in New York?" Shindo asked as if to break the tension, but slight distrust discolored his voice.
Yes, a very good time. God damn. Tohma couldn't deal with this. He felt a cruel urge to tell Shindo that he had slept with his beloved Yuki. He wanted to see someone else hurt for once, and he wanted to see Shindo hurt with even more agonizing force. Eiri had been his—he still should be his! He opened his mouth and said: "Yes, we enjoyed our trip. We visited some familiar spots and drank tea at a nice restaurant." So he had chickened out. If he would have told, Eiri might have never talked to him again, and that was not worth brief but potent pleasure.
Relief fluttered across Eiri's stony features. "Is that all you wanted? To make sure I was ok? Because we're leaving now."
No. That wasn't all. He wanted to know why. He wanted to know why Eiri didn't care about him anymore. He wanted to know why Eiri thought it was perfectly fine to leave Tohma in the dark, to leave Tohma in suffering. Tohma had always been loyal to Eiri, but Eiri never paid much attention to him anymore. Why? Was it because Tohma couldn't read those eyes anymore? Or were the eyes a consequence of it all? Tohma felt a great desire to grab onto Eiri and shake him, screaming, "Eiri! I'm here! Did you forget about me? Am I invisible now? I'm here!" But he didn't. Tohma stared at Eiri's chest, unable to look any further upwards, and whispered, "Have a nice time…at…whatever you're doing, Eiri-san."
Shuichi stared at Tohma, a suspicious frown on his round face.
"We will." Steering a scowling Shuichi from Tohma's longing gaze, Eiri stomped resolutely away. The door slipped smoothly shut: severing their connected lives into two separate worlds.
Tohma watched them cross the street from the other side of the glass, as if he was seeing unconnected lives through a television screen. They had no intention of stepping across, and all he could do was press desperate hands against the glass with blinded hope that he might fall though.
A quivering hand upon his shoulder sent tremors through his wired body. "Mr. President, are you alright? You look ill!" Sakano stood beside him, magnified eyes radiating concern behind bulky glasses.
"I'm fine." Tohma flashed him what he hoped was a self-confident grin, then headed up to his office.
Tohma tried not to think about the encounter. He should have known that Eiri would act like he did; he should have guessed that Eiri couldn't care less about Tohma and was just playing him for the pleasure of it all. He should have…he should have… Pressing his hand against his forehead, Tohma gazed only half-comprehending at the large amount of papers in his inbox. How could Eiri not care and how could Tohma care so much? Shaken numbness rattled from him, but the next second burning iron punctured his heart and forced blood down over his stomach and gut. Clenching his fists, Tohma rested his head on the back of his chair and was unable to prevent tears from swelling and clumping upon his eyelashes. Crying for someone on the other side of the glass was supposed to be done with a sort of fake sympathy or regret. But Eiri didn't seem to be on the other side of the glass to Tohma: is this feeling what happens to people who feel too strongly for someone who is on the other side? Can they even sense what's around them? Do their hearts rot away until finally they crumple to the floor and die? Tohma half-wished it were true, and that the process was quick.
And then there were the eyes. Those weren't Eiri's eyes. They just weren't. How could they be? Eiri's eyes were round and friendly; they smiled at Tohma and welcomed him with open affection. Where had Eiri gone? The doppelgangers had come out to play. Tohma felt as if suddenly his eyes had been opened to the horror movie going on around him, but it was too late to salvage anyone or anything. Doppelgangers, doppelgangers everywhere, crawling on his walls.
Tears swarmed at his eyelids before rushing down his face and plunging off his chin like climbers from an unexpected drop. Maybe that was it. He had closed his eyes too long and now he was standing at the bottom of a mountain wondering how it had all happened. Could he climb back up the cliff, or find a new rock to climb? The iron in his chest twisted suddenly. If he found a new rock to climb, then he wouldn't be able to watch Eiri and make sure he didn't do anything stupid or reckless. He needed to do that. He needed to know he was the one making sure that Eiri was happy.
Shoulders slumping, he tried to wipe away the tears with his hands but they just kept coming. He stared blankly at fuzzy, quivering fingers as drops of saltwater dripped from them to the ground. More tears rushed unbidden from his eyes. Eiri caused him too much suffering, but he needed him anyway. Eiri was a drug, but hardly a reliever of pain. Right now, Tohma wished he had some real drugs. Some of those strong pain killers Mika had would do for that well enough—his entire body ached. Occasionally, he slipped one or two from the bottle and guiltily hoped she wouldn't notice her prescription was gone a little too early. Just a little too early, Mika dear. I'm sure they made a mistake. People can make mistakes. Lots of them.
Suddenly and violently, the door was flung open and then shut. A flustered Sakano stood panting at the entrance, an album case clutched in his fingers. "Mr. President, I brought you the rest of the—" The case fell with a soft thud onto the carpeted floor. "Ah—Mr. President!" Sakano stuttered, hands going to his hair in confusion and distress, "Mr. Seguchi, sir, w-what's wrong!"
Tohma stood up abruptly, fingers fumbling needlessly with unread papers. "I'm fine," he lied hurriedly, "I'm fine, don't worry about me. Fine, fine, just thinking about…stuff…fine…" Well aware he was rambling, Tohma hoped that Sakano was not as observant.
Sakano rushed worriedly forward, awkward walk giving him an almost amusing appearance. "No!" he insisted fervently, "No! I've worked for you, Mr. President, for many years. And I have served you so long, and I know you well. You are…so very important to me!" Sakano stopped for breath, his face nearly sagging with distress and adamancy. "But even to the casual observer, who-who knows nothing about you, you are not fine!"
"It's nothing big," Tohma tried a different track, now trying to straighten the papers he had mishandled in his unnerved agitation, "Nothing important. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine."
Eyebrows scrunching towards his eyes in a serious frown, Sakano slammed his hands down on the desk, glasses becoming slightly askew at the impact. "You will not be fine! You always say it's fine and I know it's not fine but I leave you alone. And things don't become fine either! You're never fine, Seguchi-san, you're never fine!" As Sakano stopped to breathe again, Tohma noticed with embarrassed discomfort that there were tears brimming at the corners of his eyes. Sakano wiped his face semi-successfully with a hasty sleeve. "Please, talk to me sir! I-I've been so very worried and sometimes I can't get in touch with you and I—"
An air headed, shaky fear arose in Tohma's swiftly beating heart. By God, he didn't want to think about Sakano trying to phone him when his phone was off. It was too reminiscent of the times that he had sat and stared at his dormant phone for uncountable amounts of time, trying not to cry. But this was definitely different—he wasn't an Eiri. No. Eiri was special—Tohma was not. "—Sakano-san, I order you to leave. I-I order you to leave, right now. I have many important things to attend to. Thank you for the disc; you can put it on my desk." Sitting back into his office chair with a pleasant but busy expression on his face, he proceeded to ignore the man crying a foot away from him.
Tohma glanced up at that, eyes wide. "What?"
"No. No, I'm not leaving you here alone anymore. I'm sorry, I-I guess all of this…everything…was very forward, but I must continue. You always shut the door and push everyone out. When people, people you know well, even, approach you when you're leaving and ask you if you want to do something, you smile and say 'I'm fine, thank you. I was just heading home to my lovely wife.' But you're not fine, are you? You don't care about your wife much at all, do you? You don't—"
Standing abruptly erect, Tohma felt heat rise unbidden to his normally pale cheeks. "I care about Mika very much," he said stiffly, fighting down burning anger. Why…was he getting so angry? It wasn't because it was rude. Was it because it was true? Deep inside him, the answer was yes, but he refused to believe it. "She's my wife and I-I trouble myself over her!"
"But Mr. President, I'm sorry, but-but…this is very presumptuous…but…you trouble yourself a whole lot more over Eiri—Eiri Yuki!"
"Eiri is special!" Tohma said wildly, only semi-successful at keeping his emotions under control. How did Sakano know all this? Was it obvious, or was Sakano watching him? Stalking him! Staring at his desk, he whispered in defense, "Eiri is special."
"You love him." A tinge of regret stained Sakano's voice with sorrow. "You love him and he doesn't care about you. He barely knows you're there."
Tohma's papers shook violently in his grasp, and he quickly dropped them to avoid further embarrassment. "Would you please leave?" he requested desperately, knowing distantly that even while he said it he was hurting Sakano as much as he was hurt by Eiri. But…he couldn't…deal with it. He didn't want someone to talk about it. He didn't want to think anyone knew his personal desires. He wanted to be private, himself, alone. If he wasn't with Eiri, he might as well be alone. Right? No, not secretly. He wanted someone. He did. He wanted someone to love him and he wanted to love them back. That wasn't too much to ask, was it? To have someone to love you and to care about you? To have a person who wanted you to be happy?
"Forgive me, sir, but I think you're scared."
A shiver ran over Tohma's shoulders. "I'm not scared." He then repeated himself for comfort. "I just have things to do."
Sakano's head dropped with embarrassment. "Am I that unimportant? Or—or—" His head rose again, frustration mixing with ragged adoration in his shining pupils. "D-do you think you're not important?" At Tohma's unwilling head jerk, he continued, slightly encouraged. "B-because I think you are wonderful! You-you own this entire company, and, and you have millions of music fans and—and—I like you…" He trailed off there, uncertain and suddenly self-conscious.
"—But Eiri doesn't even like me anymore!" Tohma whispered unexpectedly, slumping in his chair as if in resignation. "And Eiri…is more important then any of those fans…out there anonymous somewhere…And he will hardly even look at me…doesn't even notice me…" Tohma's felt his heart lift slightly as the problems he had locked in his encased heart fled their trappings. His fingers absentmindedly fiddled with the paperweight he had placed on his desk several months before.
Sakano merely stared at Tohma wordlessly at this, fingers pressing uselessly into Tohma's hardwood desk. When neither man said anything for awhile, Sakano whispered with newly gathered strength, "Then, you see, sir, you know how it feels."
Flinching noticeably, Tohma attempted to look into Sakano's eyes but failed. "I'm sorry," he said, "I've…just…never really thought of you…and I…"
"I know," Sakano sighed resignedly, "Nobody does. It's alright."
A wave of guilt-ridden sympathy overwhelmed Tohma. "You're such a good worker," he finally managed lamely, "That everyone just…expects you to do what's required, you know?"
"A-and…it's…it's very…presumptuous…but I really believe that…you too. You too. You work so hard, and everyone thinks you're happy doing it because you smile all the time. But your smiles aren't real smiles. I noticed over a long time. Your eyes are guarded."
"I deal with my problems alone." The two men found themselves with their eyes locked, and Tohma felt fearful that Sakano could see down, down into the abyss that held Tohma's knotted soul. The smile. People were supposed to look at his smile. But right now, he wasn't wearing one. That shocked him.
"They never go away, though," Sakano insisted passionately, self-confidence rising steadily with each passing moment, "they never go away! A-and I wish that they would—and I wish—I wish you were happy, sir!"
Unable to think of any reply, Tohma listened to Sakano's fervent desires for him. He felt as if he had been in a dark cave with Sakano for years and they had just come out into the light, eyes wide with the astonishment and shock of it all. "Why do you care so much?" he whispered finally, "Why?"
"W-well, as I said before, I-I really like you and…oh…" Sakano's hand knitted into his hair in agitation and he bit his lip harder then Tohma was sure he meant too. "Oh! Oh, don't get the wrong idea!" Hands flung out and waved with adamant negation. "I-I don't mean—I mean I do mean but I-I…you…have a wife…and I…" he trailed off, mortification stamped upon his face. "T-that's not what I meant to say at all! Oh…oh dear…!"
Tohma blinked a few times, folding his sweating hands in unnoticed repetition. "Oh—my—" he finally exclaimed, letting loose a killer smile so he didn't laugh with nervousness.
"You're laughing at me!" Sakano gasped in horror, bowing repeatedly with shame, "Oh-oh, sir, Mr. President, sir, I was completely out of line! I was—"
Tohma couldn't keep it in. Laughing without his normal faked hilarity, he finally calmed himself enough to say, "Yes, you were. You were very out of line." Putting out a hand to steady a pre-hysterics, quivering Sakano, he continued, "But that's ok. Don't worry, I didn't mind."
Sniffing away panic-stricken tears, Sakano looked to Tohma with amazed hopefulness. "Y-you…don't?"
"Not at all!" Tohma shot him a real grin. "I wish all my coworkers were so forward."
"O-oh." Sakano's face brightened with a stunned smile. There was something wonderfully honest about that smile.
Standing up, Tohma asked politely, "Could you check the halls and-and shut the door again?" He felt vaguely cheerful as Sakano rushed to obey, and that cheerfulness seemed to grow gradually stronger as he finally registered the seriousness of his decision. "You know, you might be able to make me happy all on your own." He told Sakano, grasping Sakano's shirt with an experienced hand. "Do you want to try it out?"
"I-I—" Sakano stuttered uncertainly at Tohma's bold offer. "What about Eiri?"
Tohma gave Sakano a look of heart-rendering resignation. He wasn't ready to stop loving Eiri; he wasn't ready to even stop crying for him. He needed Eiri…but…he was desperate…for something…else…more real… I just want…someone to care about me too. I want to be in a relationship where the feelings are mutual. Where two people like each other. And care about each other. I want…someone to love me too. "I'll make sure to protect him from whatever is thrown his way, but…I don't think…there is anything else I can hope for him…dream for him…"
"…I'm sorry…oh-I-I wasn't expecting this! I would…I mean…I…"
"Don't worry, I wasn't either." Tohma smiled almost shyly. "I…haven't had a real lover since…a long time…and…I thought maybe that if I tried it out, if you would help me, I might be able to be happy again."
Sakano stared at an uninteresting part of Tohma's floor, biting his lip the entire time. "Y-you think that-that I would be able to make you happy?"
Tohma found himself silent for several minutes, and the two men stood there in the awkward stillness. Would Sakano possibly make him happy? He didn't know, but after years of depression, he felt a desperate urge to try something—anything. Finally, he said in a near whisper, "…You're the only person…who's really cared about me for a long time. And I think that's very important. You know?" Tohma allowed his fingers to brush down Sakano's tie with new, previously alien, interest.
"O-h…ok…sir…er…Seguchi…er…" Sakano stared at Tohma's chest, face glowing with a mixture of disbelief and ecstasy. "I-I mean, yes! Yes! Yes!"
Taking a step forward, Tohma drew his fingers through Sakano's hair and snaked his other hand around Sakano's shoulders. He turned frightened but unprotected eyes towards Sakano's, willing his scared soul into Sakano's fumbling but protective hold. Sakano's pupils widened in timid understanding, and his trembling hands drew Tohma into a gentle embrace.
I sincerly hope you enjoyed this story, as I have spend a long time on it. Now that it is done, I will return to "Just Practice." Hopefully some readers will still want to read it!