|Shuichi, Sensei & Me
Author: moon71 PM
Eiri has a strange conversation while watching Shuichi soaking his feet... based on a scene in Track 9 the Deepest Brain!Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Eiri Y. & Shuichi S. - Words: 4,806 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 1 - Published: 09-27-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3806093
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
SHUICHI, SENSEI & ME by MOON71
Rating: K to T? Mention of sex etc
Disclaimer: Not mine, not even the lavender and mint foot soak formula…
Dedication: To Luciver, for introducing me to this world in the first place…
Summary: No, this is nothing to do with Kitazawa! Yuki has a strange conversation while watching Shuichi soaking his feet…
Author's Notes: This story, as will become obvious when you read it, is based on the scene in when Shuichi is soaking his feet after filming the video for "Blind Game Again." (Track 9 The Deepest Brain) It's one of those scenes which lingers in my mind because it helps to mark Yuki's progress towards his eventual crisis, and therefore was one of the scenes which really showed that there was more to his character than his just being a grumpy old git. If you see what I mean…
And... I want to thank everyone who gave such generous reviews of "The One..." I kept promising myself I would reply and did I? No. But I hope those who enjoyed the story will accept this as a token of my deep appreciation...
I feel my gut unclench just a little bit. Not that I was worried or anything, it's just that my stomach has been hurting a bit lately, a low, burning pain. Must be my ulcer playing up again. And my head has been hurting too. It goes on hurting.
Sometimes I think it's gradually getting worse.
Sensei keeps telling me not to worry about it, so I won't.
I won't worry about anything.
Yes, here he is at last. I haven't been worried and I won't be worried now. Look at me. I'm so laid back I don't even turn to look at my own lover when he walks into the room.
"Hey, Yuki…" He leans in and kisses me lovingly. Yes, lovingly - the phrase is justified artistically. It's not as if I don't know he loves me, after all, and besides, there's no other way to describe his kisses. They used to be so childish – I had my work cut out just trying to coax his lips apart. Now he kisses with the familiar confidence of a long-time lover, one who is assured of a warm welcome. But always with love. "What are you doing here…?"
Cheeky little bastard. Whose house is this? He makes it sound strange that he's found me sitting in my own lounge! I give him a long-suffering look.
He blinks at me, then smiles. "No… no, I mean, why are you sitting here, all alone… in silence…? Were you waiting for me…?"
Of course I wasn't. It just so happens that after my session with Sensei I feel too drained to write so I just thought I would sit here in the lounge and rest my brain for a while. I would read a book or listen to some music, but, as I said, my head is hurting again. I would have put the television on, but that's almost as bad at staring at a computer. My eyes have been aching a lot lately. Time I went back to the optician and got my prescription changed.
That probably accounts for the headaches.
I expect him to throw himself into my arms, to kiss me again and again, to burrow in close and tell me how much he's missed me. Of course I don't do cuddling and petting as a general rule; I only put up with it to stop him whining. And today is no different. It's just that if he does happen to start that sort of thing, I'm feeling too tired to get up and push him off.
But he doesn't. He just kisses me once more and caresses my cheek briefly before padding away towards the kitchen. He's got very free with his caresses of late; just like with his kisses, he seems to think he can take any liberties he wants with my person. Oh sure, he was always physical from the start, suffocating me with his childish hugs, completely ignoring any traditional ideas of restraint or personal space. But when we got into the bedroom he was so shy it used to be that if I wanted his hands on me I practically had to put them there myself.
He's limping a little. And he's moving so slowly. I watch him go with a strange sense of desire that seems to have nothing to do with sex. I want to know what he's doing. I want him to come back quickly.
Are you finding that you miss him, now that he's so busy, Uesugi-san?
My head jerks up involuntarily. A shiver races down my spine.
Sensei?! What the hell - have you followed me home…?
Get a grip, Eiri – of course she hasn't!
But that voice – low, female, soothing but authoritative – it rang so clearly in my head just then I could have sworn she was in the room.
I've been spending too much time with her, that's all. She thinks I might be approaching some sort of crisis or something and we're having our sessions two, sometimes three times a week. She insists I can call her whenever I need to. That's what all the girls say, I feel like smirking when she says it, but I don't. I did try flirting, especially when she really started to get under my skin and into my brain and I didn't like it. But when I did she'd just freeze me with this look that made me feel like I was trying to make a pass at Mika, and that was the end of that.
You strike me as a man who appreciates the value of money, Uesugi-san, she says when I'm at my most uncooperative. So can you tell me what the point is of you spending money on these sessions if you won't take them seriously?
What indeed. Not that she minds hostility. Hostility towards one's shrink, she assures me, is quite natural. Anger can be a good sign. And maybe she does have a point. Many are the times when I've declared decisively that Sensei is a bitch with a secret agenda to emasculate the Japanese male, but I keep going back. Partly because she's the only person in the world with whom I can be completely honest. And it feels… good to be honest. Once in a while. But mainly it's just because in spite of everything I tell myself, in spite of everything I tell Mika and Seguchi and now Shuichi, though none of them have ever quite believed me, I am not completely happy as I am.
Now Sensei has me so well trained that I can't help but answer, even though she's only a voice in my head. After all, as she has pointed out, there's no point in lying to her, even if I lie to everyone else. She can't help me if I lie.
So. Do I miss him? Yes… no! I don't know! I miss the sex!
That much is true. I feel uptight, constricted. Shuichi has been working his sweet little backside off and I've hardly seen him. How ironic – what I told him as a simple excuse to avoid getting shot by that lunatic manager of his, turns out to be true. We hardly ever see each other. He comes in late at night or early in the morning, bleary eyed and croaky voiced. The other night he actually fell asleep during foreplay! But after a few hours sleep he's up again, performing the voice exercises his new coach has given him. He doesn't have to be chased out of my bed by K and his magnum anymore; he's dressed and waiting when the American arrives.
Oh yes, he's taken to sleeping in my bed every night now, Sensei. Whether we have sex or not. What do you make of that?
What do you make of it, Uesugi-san?
Yes, you're good at that, aren't you, Sensei? Turning questions back on me like that. I don't know what I think. It's just an observation.
You make it sound as though you had no choice in the matter.
I didn't. It just sort of… happened. I don't even know when.
Are you sure you can't remember?
No, I can't. Don't look at me like that, I said I can't! Oh shit, all right, yes I can. It was after we got back from Kyoto. After what Shuichi went through with that fucker from Arse or whatever the hell his crappy happily-now-defunct group was called. You know what I'm talking about, Sensei, don't make me go over it again. He woke up screaming. Scared the crap out of me. I went and got him, took him to bed. No sex. I just wanted to make sure…
I don't want to talk about this.
Shuichi's back. Perfect timing, for once! He's holding a plastic tub and a steaming kettle. He gives a high-pitched sneeze as he settles down on the couch. And once again I relax. I feel better. What's the matter with me?
"You sneeze like a girl," I mutter, reaching for a cigarette.
Is that really the best I can do? Even Shuichi isn't impressed – he just chuckles and sticks his tongue out at me! Saucy little bugger – if I wasn't feeling so queasy I'd put him over my knee. Now there's a thought… though he looks so tired he'd probably nod off while I was spanking him…
See, I told you, Sensei – I'm not insecure, I'm just randy.
"Whatever you've caught, you'd better not pass it on to me, you damn brat…"
There you see? Hardly the words of a lover!
But again Shuichi barely reacts beyond a wry little smile. He's just got too used to me and my grouchy moods. I think he can even tell now when I'm teasing him, and when I'm genuinely dangerous.
So he's learned not to take you quite so seriously…
Well, most of the time. I suppose. Maybe. I could still make him cry if I wanted to.
Why do you think you would want to, Uesugi-san?
Oh go away and stop spoiling my fun!
I watch him pouring water into the tub and adding some sort of herbal foot soak. Lavender and mint by the scent of it. He pulls off his socks. His feet, like his hands, are odd reminders of his age. Sinewy, with long, slender toes. Small, like rest of him, but not childlike. I notice they look swollen and a little blotchy as he lowers them towards the steaming water.
"Put some cold water into that or you'll scald your feet, idiot," I growl at him.
"Huh…?" Shuichi looks up. "Oh! Right… yeah…"
Give me strength! It has to be some sort of miracle that he's survived nineteen years without being electrocuted, incinerated, poisoned, crushed or disembowelled. A thousand blessings upon the man who invented the electric shaver – I don't think my delicate, ulcerated stomach would survive the prospect of Shindou Shuichi wielding a razor.
Shuichi gets up again. I see him wince very slightly as he puts weight on his bare feet and steps gingerly across the hard floor. What the hell have they been doing to him, beating the soles of his feet until he achieves perfect pitch? He looks exhausted and his colour isn't good. And has he lost weight? I hear him sneeze again as he enters the kitchen.
He's working too hard. It takes one to know one. He'll burn himself out before he's even sold a thousand of this damned album he keeps banging on about. Maybe I should have a quiet word with Tohma. Maybe I should have a very loud word with that psycho Claude K Whatever. Maybe I should just tell the poor little sap the truth about the amusement park thing, or offer to take him whether he sells a million copies or not.
Or maybe I should mind my own damned business.
Shit, I sound like a nagging wife! I never see you! You're always working! We never have sex anymore! Do you even remember what I look like? Next I'll be accusing him of having it away with Nakano behind my back!
He's back yet again with a jug of cold water and a refilled kettle of hot. He sinks onto the couch with a blissful sigh. Another, deeper sigh as he dips his feet into the water sends odd little shivers down my spine. "Now that was a day," he declares dreamily, closing his eyes and leaning back, "we were filming the video for Blind Game Again - they're going to release that as our next single, by the way – and we went way out into the countryside, and I had to sing some of it… well, mime some of it really, K told me not to use my voice when I didn't have to… standing on the edge of a cliff, and man but I felt sick… it was really windy up there… and the director kept telling me off for looking nervous…"
And he's off! He barely stops to draw breath. I draw hard on my cigarette, feeling my head beginning to throb harder and harder. Who does he remind me of when he chatters on like this? No, I don't want to think about that. And I mean I don't want to think about that. Just don't go there, Sensei, consider this your first and only warning.
"…anyway, I had to wear these trousers, but they made a mistake about the size, so they were so tight that I couldn't sit down, but K said that was good because they looked…"
I wish he'd shut up. I just wish he'd shut up. I think I'm going to kill him if he doesn't shut up. Yes, I'm going to kill him. Five… four... three… two…
Instead of threatening him, why don't you tell him how you're feeling?
Oh, we're off down that well travelled road again, are we, Sensei? Why don't you confide in Shindou-san, Uesugi-san? What do you think Shindou-san feels? Why don't you ask him? Why don't you trust him? Forget it. He's an idiot. He'll either start whining that I never listen to him, or he'll overreact and call an ambulance.
Perhaps you underestimate him, Uesugi-san.
No. He wouldn't understand.
You're a writer – surely the most articulate, eloquent profession in the world. Couldn't you explain it to him?
No. It's none of his business.
He's your partner.
He's my lover. For now. That's all. That's all it can ever be.
Oh come on Sensei! Even when you're only in my head I can see you fixing me with one of those looks as you keep a meaningful silence. Look – I'm not going to say he's a moron or a brat or a pain, okay? He's a nice boy. Perhaps one of the nicest there is. Unspoilt. Natural. Kind… sweet, if you will. But he's not the sharpest tool in the box, or, to stretch the metaphor, the most useful.
And yet you've acknowledged to me that he does possess considerable talent.
So do autistic savants! That doesn't mean they have enough practical common sense to change a light bulb! Just look at that Sakuma Ryuichi!
If I recall, the last time we discussed Sakuma-san you said you thought he was a fraud. That it was all affectation.
I still think that. Partly. Tohma always said…
Oh to hell with what Seguchi says. Whatever he said, he said it years ago… a lifetime ago… back when I still thought his opinion mattered…
It makes my headache worse just thinking back to it. Anyway, it's not the point. What I'm trying to say is that Shuichi is completely naïve. He still believes in heroes and villains and fairytale endings. He has visions of us wandering off together into the sunset! How would he cope if he knew the truth about me?
You told him, back in Kyoto. He didn't run away then.
But I didn't tell him about Yuki! All he knows is that I killed some people. It's easy to forgive even the most horrible crimes when you can't see the faces of the victims – when you don't know their names… How would he cope if he knew the truth about Yuki? You tell me to trust him, but how can I? You keep saying I'm near a crisis point…
A turning point, Uesugi-san.
Whatever. What if it all goes wrong? Shuichi's a child in what passes for a man's body. Sometimes I wonder if his professed love for me is any different from Tatsuha's virulent crush on Sakuma. Shuichi had a crush on that idiot too, before I came along. Maybe its just transference! All right, I won't try to use your damnable jargon – the point is how would he cope if I (had another breakdown) got sick?
Sensei goes quiet for a moment. All I can hear is Shuichi talking – something about a helicopter and a waterfall, I've completely lost the plot by now. Just as I think I've silenced Sensei's noise, she resumes, in a soft, almost intimate voice.
Do you remember when you broke down in front of him?
I close my eyes, crushing out my cigarette before it burns my fingers and fumbling to light another. Great. Now I really am a chain smoker.
Yes, I remember.
You cried in his arms.
Yeah, yeah. Been there, done that, haven't we Sensei? You asked me who I cried for and I told you. I don't know. Maybe for him, poor little… shit… poor little mite. More worried about winning me back – me, the selfish bastard who dumped him without so much as an explanation besides "I hate you" - than about facing up to his own brutalisation. Maybe for me, for what I once was, assuming I can ever remember what that was. Maybe just for the inevitable death of all innocence. Who knows? Who gives a flying fuck?
Did he run away when he saw you crying?
Oh. I see. Yes, I see.
No, he didn't run away. He was upset though. He was shaken. I could see that.
But he didn't run away.
No. He… cried with me. Just a little. And he… kissed my hand.
I can still feel his lips tickling my skin. Of all Shuichi-related sensations, why does that particular one linger…?
Shuichi's sneeze awakens me from this muse. He resumes his complaining. "I mean… why does a musician gotta get drenched in a waterfall? And getting frostbite on top of that is just lame…"
Irritation mixes with reluctant concern as he shows me his reddened feet. "Instead of complaining, why not just slow down?" I demand. My tone is milder than I expect it to be.
"I can't do that!" Shuichi protests, "this is all for the sake of selling a million copies, remember…?"
He's off again, talking about sales and publicity and core fans and albums. K-san says this, Sakano-san says that… all very professional, surprisingly so. He's becoming quite the little Seguchi! In spite of everything, I have to admit he has changed since I met him – just when I think he's going to play the whining brat, he shows a growing maturity. Working all these long hours without complaint, giving interview after interview with the same fresh enthusiasm, letting directors and publicists and costume designers and photographers do just about whatever they like with him, whatever the damage to his dignity. The only time I've seen him come home in a storm of tears these last few weeks was when some high-powered image consultant suggested dyeing his hair a "less feminine" colour. I find myself almost looking forward to this accursed trip to Oidaba Amusement Park – anything to have my old, stupid Shuichi back. This one is just a little… creepy.
"What are you, some sort of chain store?" I quip when he starts talking about what sounds like nationwide expansion.
Shuichi gives a weary laugh. "Say what you will, but if we sell one million copies, you know, don't you…?" He gives me a coy little smile, a distinctive blush suffusing his cheeks. "We're going on a date!"
I can't help blinking at him. Is that really all this is about? Even now? All this effort… for one silly day out with me? What's the matter with this kid? What, what does he see in me that's so fucking wonderful? What, Sensei, what?
No answer. Interesting. Not even an infuriating "what do you think he sees in you, Uesugi-san?" Sensei has gone silent on me at last.
Sadly, Shuichi hasn't. My blank look has evidently been interpreted as denial. "You promised!" he shrieks at me, as if daring me to take it back.
I admit his vehemence startles me. Did I really just say he wasn't a brat? Did I really just say I missed the old Shuichi? I cannot stop the smallest grunt of laughter escaping.
He seizes on it at once. "What's with the "hmmph"? I'm serious!"
I really do intend to answer him, but just at that moment the pain in my head increases so sharply it's as if an axe which has been hovering behind it for days now has finally buried itself deeply in my skull. I can't help a small moan. I press a hand over my eyes to try and shut out the flashing lights and keep down the nausea.
"Yuki…?" Shuichi is calling me. "What's the matter?"
Shut up, you rotten little pest! Don't you recognise a migraine when you see one? If that's all it is… it feels more like the early stages of death. "It's… nothing…" I gasp.
"But you don't look good!"
Give the boy a fucking medal! "I said it's nothing!"
No answer to that. Just like Sensei, he goes silent just when I actually want him to speak. He's sitting there, quite still. I can feel it. He doesn't know what to do. He's afraid.
There – what did I tell you, Sensei? He's a sweet boy but he's self-centred and immature. He fell in love with Yuki Eiri the wry, sexy, fiercely independent urban sophisticate, not Uesugi Eiri the Kyoto screw-up with personality issues who sees a shrink three times a week. He fell in love with a carefully manufactured image, an illusion – an impostor, as Mika likes to call him. Him? Me? Whatever.
Shuichi says whatever I've done, I'm still me, as if he knows the true me, as if he sees right through the facade. But how can he? How could he even recognise the real me if he saw him? Exactly. He can't. Besides, he's a nineteen year old boy with the promise of an incredibly exciting life ahead of him – parties, award shows, celebrities, groupies – do you really think he'll burden himself with a miserable, misanthropic, emotionally retarded fuck-up like me when he realises how many pleasanter alternatives are out there for him?
"I'm… sorry…" I choke out. And I am. It's not his fault, after all. He can't help being what he is… a charming little fool.
Sorry Sensei, I win.
It shouldn't matter. It shouldn't disappoint me. But it does.
I hear the slosh of water – Shuichi taking his feet out of the tub. I want to snap at him not to splash oily water all over my beautiful hardwood floor, but I can't find my voice.
All at once the still burning cigarette is softly pulled from my grip. I feel cool, slightly damp fingers on my forehead, lightly scented with oils of lavender and mint which feel refreshing against my skin. Gentle but insistent hands draw my head downwards until it rests upon warm thighs. The fingers begin a rhythmic, circular rubbing on my throbbing brow. "…I'm sorry, Yuki…" a voice comes from a million miles away, "I should have seen your head was hurting you again…"
Again? You mean you've noticed before?
I tense. Ah, here we go. Shuichi has noticed I haven't been well. Next will come the endless flow, the expression of worry, the nagging to go and see a doctor, the advice to take it easy that at this moment I could throw right back at him, the fussing – have I done this, have I taken that? An overprotective Shuichi is as bad as an oblivious one.
But no. The complaints don't come. The fingers just keep rubbing. I hear myself moan softly.
The rubbing stops. "Am I hurting you, Yuki?" Shuichi whispers. "I'm sorry… I was getting headaches too, and K-san hired this… whatchamacalit person for me, this… head person…"
"You know… to give me a bit of relief…"
"Masseur, that's the word! Anyway… he does this special head and neck massage and it feels really cool! But I guess I can't do it like him…"
"Nice…" I manage to say, "it feels… nice…"
His eyes have just brightened. I know it, without having to look up. He's smiling. Shyly but happily. Hell, I can almost feel the pleasure my words have given him. The fingers rub once more. God that feels good. Strong, agile little fingers he's got – probably from playing keyboards for years before Seguchi's clone supplanted him.
I feel a strange pleasure myself. Nothing to do with desire this time either. More akin to the joy of an unsought but pleasant surprise. I feel a swelling of warmth through my body. I feel something that might be like love, if I could remember what what felt like. No – not now, don't go there now, Sensei, don't ruin this. It's enough that it feels good, whatever it means.
Mercifully Sensei keeps quiet, though she's won – this round at least – and we both know it. Shuichi, you never cease to amaze me.
Why don't you tell him how you feel, Uesugi-san?
Damn. Spoke too soon. Well, seeing as she was so gracious in victory…
I stop. Start again. Hesitantly. "Shu-chan…"
It's no use. I have a writer's brain, thinking two steps ahead of my ordinary one. Whatever I say, it will come out as a cliché.
You could try speaking without thinking, Uesugi-san.
Oh just fuck the hell off now, would you, Sensei? Just leave me in peace. Leave us in peace. Words aren't everything – writers know that better than anyone. Let me tell him in a way we both understand.
I stroke my hand slowly, tenderly up his thigh. I hear him sigh softly, but the massage doesn't stop. So he does understand. I shift my head just enough to press my face closer into the warm, dry skin, to breathe in his clean scent and plant a kiss just where I know he likes. Then I lie still.
There. Is that enough for you, Sensei?
Ah. Silence at last.
Silence, as they say, is golden.