Updating formatting, story unchanged

Disclaimer: None of this is mine.

A/N:

-I know Mizuki is an editor rather than a manager, but I changed it for convenience sake.

-This is based on and has spoilers for the whole anime. I'm reading the comic too so some of that is in there.

-Rating is based on a sex scene in chapter 6, graphic enough to be NC-17 if it were a movie but quite a bit less than most romance novels. Mostly light fluffy stuff but brief hard-R. You've been warned.

-'ships Yuki/Shuichi and a little Hiro/Ayaka & Tohma/Mika

-To those who know me from Buffy-fic, give Gravi a try! It's m/m romance and really cute.

Chapter 1

Shuichi--who was sprawled on the couch with the TV remote clasped in one hand and his head resting in Yuki's lap--was rapidly flipping through channels, looking for something--anything--to watch. Yuki was reading and every so often absentmindedly running a his fingers through Shuichi's hair.

Finally giving up on finding anything decent to watch, Shuichi switched off the TV. Flipping over onto his back and looking up at Yuki, Shuichi had to smile at his good fortune.

Last week had been the worst week of Shuichi's life. First, Yuki went away just when Shuichi thought things were going so well. Then, when Shuichi finally found him, Yuki was so very close to killing himself. If Shuichi had been a few minutes later... that was something Shuichi just couldn't bear to contemplate.

This week had been the best week ever! Yuki wasn't working on a book and Bad Luck had been given a couple weeks of vacation before they started their national tour. Shuichi and Yuki had spent the entire week together--sleeping late, going out to eat, taking walks, cuddling on the couch--and Yuki hadn't pushed him away once. Yuki'd told him to shut up and go to sleep or to either get out of the kitchen or at least not touch the food and other typically Yuki things to say, but Yuki didn't once threaten to kick Shuichi out or to leave himself--which was a definite improvement.

The phone rang, interrupting Shuichi's reverie. Starting to get kind of bored anyway, Shuichi welcomed the distraction. Watching Yuki read was only entertaining for so long, no matter how drop dead gorgeous the man happened to be. Shuichi hopped off the couch and ran over to the wall mounted kitchen phone, almost falling over in the process as his socks slipped on the hardwood floor. "I'll get it!" he shouted out, as if that wasn't already completely obvious.

Yuki only grunted in reply, not even looking up from his book.

"Hello," Shuichi answered, slightly out of breath from his dash and stumble across the living room.

"Put my brother on the phone," the woman on the other end ordered.

"Yuki, it's your sister," Shuichi said.

"I'm not here," Yuki said, still reading.

"But, what if it's something important?" Shuichi protested, wishing that Yuki would reconcile with his family. They all seemed to really care about him, and family is important. Shuichi also made a mental note to call Maiko.

"Then take a message," Yuki suggested, clearly unconcerned.

"Fine," Shuichi gave up for the time being. "I'm sorry Mika-san, he's not here right now. Can I take a message?" Shuichi said into the phone.

"I know he's there," Mika said, "I heard your entire conversation very clearly. Tell Eiri that if he doesn't pick up the phone I'm coming over."

"Oh," was Shuichi's only reply, as he suddenly realized that he'd completely forgotten to so much as cover the receiver with his hand when he'd spoken to Yuki.

"And, tell him that I'm less than ten minutes away so he doesn't get any bright ideas about slipping out before I arrive," Mika added.

Holding out the phone to Yuki, Shuichi repeated, "She knows you're here, and says she's coming over if you don't talk to her."

Yuki eyed the front door, obviously contemplating flight.

"She's not that far away," Shuichi added, marveling at Mika's ability to predict her brother's behavior. Shuichi never knew what Yuki was going to do next. "I don't think you can get away before you she gets here."

"Give me the phone," Yuki said sourly. Talking to his family always put Yuki in a bad mood. "What?" he asked his sister rudely.

After listening to what his sister had to say, Yuki told her, "As much as I love dressing up in a penguin suit and letting a bunch of overweight, middle aged, corporate wives fawn all over me for the good of Tohma's company, I'm afraid I'll have to pass." Yuki paused for a second as Mika replied then said, "Because, that would mean leaving Shuichi home alone. Without me here to baby-sit there's no telling what horrors he might inflict on my poor defenseless apartment."

"Yukii!" Shuichi protested. He'd been left alone in the apartment plenty of times without anything bad happening. Yuki merely arched one eyebrow in his standard 'you do know you're a complete idiot' manner. Suddenly getting an inkling of what Yuki might have actually meant by his statement, Shuichi gasped and cuddled up to Yuki's side almost purring Yuki's name.

"No, I'm not coming," Yuki persisted in turning down Mika's invitation. Yuki listened to his sister's arguments for a few more minutes, with a bored expression on his face, periodically telling her "no." Disentangling himself from Shuichi, Yuki started walking toward the kitchen, obviously planning to hang up on his sister. Halfway there, Yuki stopped mid-step, looking rather shocked, and said incredulously, "Seriously?" Yuki stood in the middle of the room, still looking surprised, and listened to Mika. "And Tohma agreed to this?" he asked. Finally, Yuki shrugged and said, "We'll see you Tuesday."

"What did Mika-san say?" Shuichi asked curiously.

"You have a tux, don't you?" Yuki replied. "We're going to a party Tuesday."


Shuichi stood in front of the mirror--tongue sticking out one side of his mouth, and squinting at the rumpled bit of pink silk hanging about his neck. He'd tried three times to tie his bowtie and three times he'd failed.

Yuki was leaning against the dresser, immaculate in a classic black tux, watching his lover fumble his fourth attempt at tying the pink tie. Shuichi was dressed in a black tux with pink cummerbund and bowtie to match his hair--or he would be dressed when he finally got the bowtie on. As Shuichi started his fifth attempt, Yuki pointedly glanced at his watch.

Catching Yuki's gesture in the mirror, Shuichi whirled around and placing his hands on his hips said waspishly, "If you'd help me instead of just standing there smirking and looking at your watch we could have left already."

Yuki simply sauntered over to his irritated lover, turned Shuichi around so that he was facing the mirror again, and tied the tie from behind. "I know you've dressed up for award shows and movie premieres without my help. What did you do then?" Yuki asked as he straightened the newly tied bowtie.

"Hiro usually helps," Shuichi said sulkily, looking down at the floor.

"What's your problem, brat?" Yuki demanded, hands on Shuichi's shoulders holding him in place.

Shuichi's head flew up in surprise and his eyes met Yuki's in the mirror. Yuki had asked about him and had even almost sounded concerned. Yuki never sounded concerned about him. "Uhmm... no problem," Shuichi murmured, embarrassed.

Yuki just stood there, not letting go and looking very skeptical.

"Okay, maybe I'm a little worried," Shuichi admitted.

"About what?" Yuki snorted, obviously not seeing any reason for worry.

"Well... You never told me why Mika invited me. I'm sure she really doesn't want me there and is just letting me come to please you. And, I've never been to a fancy party with a bunch of sophisticated rich people. I won't know how to act. What if I do the wrong thing and embarrass you? And, Seguchi-san--"

"Idiot," Yuki said, cutting Shuichi off before he could work himself into a full-fledged panic attack. "Mika invited you because she thinks you're good for me. She was ecstatic to find out I wasn't coming without you. Those sophisticated rich people you're so intimidated by are just the same as everyone else, only more annoying. As for embarrassing me, you do that all the time. I've gotten used to it."

"What about Seguchi-san?" Shuichi asked somewhat reassured but still gnawing on his lower lip worriedly.

Yuki shrugged and said, "Tohma will adjust. He only has these parties so he can pick a few corporate pockets while the execs are dazzled by celebrities. Having one more celebrity on hand couldn't hurt."

"I'm a celebrity?" Shuichi said, turning around to face Yuki.

"Idiot," Yuki said affectionately, "Your record just went platinum. What do you think that makes you?"

"Oh yeah," Shuichi said scratching the back of his head and with an embarrassed grin on his face. "I forgot. Six months ago no one knew who Bad Luck was. It all happened so fast. Sometimes I forget that we're Japan's #1 music success."

"Number-one. Humble aren't we," Yuki observed dryly as he pulled Shuichi toward the door. They were already running late.


Thanks to Yuki's driving, they managed to arrive at 8 o'clock on the dot. Mika met them at the door, clad in a sequined emerald dress that screamed Paris original and tapping the toe of a stiletto pump impatiently. "You're this close to late," Mika said holding up her thumb and forefinger just a fraction of an inch apart as she pulled Yuki and Shuichi into the cloakroom off one side of the foyer.

"Which would make us right on time," Yuki pointed out, wondering what had gotten Mika's knickers in a twist. She wouldn't normally pounce on him at the door unless he was late enough for her to legitimately claim she thought he might be dead on the side of the road and that she'd been just about to start calling hospitals.

Mika took a deep calming breath then said, "Sorry. Noriko's daughter got the chicken poxes, Ryuichi decided he wanted to go to ice-capades instead come here--which I suppose is actually a blessing since Noriko isn't here to look after him. All the business-types are deeply immersed in conversation about interest rates and free trade agreements--except for Miss Takeda who keeps asking after you with a terribly serious look on her face, and 'do call her Miss Takeda or better yet Trisha because she grew up in America and doesn't understand all this -san nonsense.'"

"Why didn't Tohma draft some of NG's other acts for entertainment when Noriko and Ryuichi cancelled?" Yuki asked, not overly sympathetic--Mika was the one who organized this party after all--but now he at least understood his sister's bad mood.

"That would be gauche. Nittle Grasper, you, and by extension Shuichi are all people we would logically socialize with. Other NG acts would obviously be here only to be put on display," Mika pointed out.

Shuichi watched this interchange silently as he struggled to take off his coat. The lining had somehow caught on one of his cuff links and he was having a time getting it loose.

Yuki removed his coat, hung it up, then unhooked Shuichi's sleeve for him. Shuichi looked at him with a worshipful expression--grateful to finally be free of his coat, just when he thought it'd never come off. Yuki merely rolled his eyes. Unhooking the cuff link wasn't in any way difficult, since he had two hands free to take care of it, but Shuichi was easily impressed.

Once the coats were off and hung up, Mika started to open the door to lead them back to the party proper. Turning back one last time before they left, Mika gave Yuki a hard look and asked, "What are you up to?"

"Up to?" Yuki said, giving his sister his best wide-eyed innocent look--he wasn't very successful at looking innocent, but he tried. "What could I possibly be up to?"

"I don't know, but you're being entirely too nice," Mika pointed out. "You hate these things and usually bitch about being here from the minute you come in right up to the moment you're introduced to the other guests."

Yuki shrugged and, reaching for the coat he just took off, he said, "If you don't want me here, that's fine with me. We'll just get our coats and leave."

"Don't you dare," Mika ordered. "Reverse psychology. Very clever. But it won't work. You're going to go out there, act charming, and keep our guests busy, or..." Mika trailed off threateningly.

"Or what?" Yuki asked.

"Or next time I talk to Dad I'm going to suggest that if you won't visit him, perhaps he should come visit you," Mika finished.

"You wouldn't," Yuki said, sounding appalled.

"Try me," Mika answered in a steely tone as she whirled around and left the cloakroom.

Shuichi, a firm believer in familial reconciliation, asked, "Yuki? Would your father visiting you really be that bad?"

"Yes, it would," Yuki answered without hesitation. "Fortunately, he's not coming. There's nothing Mika could say or do to pry him out of his temple," Yuki said, suddenly sounding completely unconcerned.

"So we're really here to help Mika out? That's so sweet," Shuichi said delightedly.

"Right," Yuki agreed in that way that isn't really agreeing.

"You are up to something," Shuichi accused. "What are you planning to do?"

"Nothing but what Mika invited us here for. We're going to keep her guests entertained," Yuki said in all innocence. Then Yuki dragged a still suspicious Shuichi out to the party proper.

"Eiri, so good of you to come," Mika said walking over to Yuki and kissing his cheek, as if she hadn't been lying in wait for him at the front door and they were seeing each other for the first time that night.

"You look as beautiful as always," Yuki said, smoothly returning his sisters greeting.

Turning back to the short balding man she'd been speaking with, Mika continued, "Matsura-san, I believe you've met my brother?"

"Yes," Matsura agreed, "Yuki-san persuaded me in favor of the Mercedes last Christmas. Meiko has been so happy with hers that I've been considering getting one myself."

"As unpatriotic as it is to say, no one can beat German engineering," Yuki agreed. Then before Mika could pull Shuichi away to introduce him to another group, Yuki placed a possessive hand on the small of Shuichi's back and said to Matsura, "I don't believe you've met Shu-chan, Matsura-san, this is Shindo Shuichi, my lover."

Matsura choked on the sip of champagne he'd just taken, then after coughing and gasping for breath he said, obviously uncomfortable, "Pleasure to meet you Shindo-san, but if you'll excuse me, my mother seems to need me for something."

Shuichi, blushing scarlet and looking at Yuki like he'd just lost his mind, didn't even notice Mr. Matsura's departure. "Yuki! You did that on purpose!" Shuichi hissed as he pulled Yuki to a secluded corner of the room, behind a potted plant.

"Yes, and?" Yuki asked, not in the least apologetic.

"But why?" Shuichi asked, completely puzzled by Yuki's behavior.

"Matsura is a bore. I didn't feel like talking to him."

"Yuki, that's mean. You shocked that poor man on purpose, just to get rid of him. It's like you don't even care if you ruin your sister's party," Shuichi reprimanded his lover.

"If the idea of two men together bothers him so much, that's his problem. Besides, we could strip naked and have sex in the middle of the dinner table and it wouldn't ruin the party," Yuki contradicted. "Actually, that's not a bad idea," Yuki added facetiously. "All the wealthiest people in Japan would line up around the block for an invitation to one of Tohma and Mika's parties for years to come. That's the kind of titillation money just can't buy," Yuki finished, sneering slightly in derision of the plebian tastes of so-called sophisticates.

"Yukiii!" Shuichi whined, blushing brightly at Yuki's teasing--or at least what he hoped was teasing.

"Come on," Yuki said, pleased to have gotten the reaction from Shuichi that he'd been going for. Throwing one arm around Shuichi's shoulders, Yuki pulled his lover out into the middle of the vast living room where the other couples were socializing. "I'll introduce you around."

Shuichi nervously squirmed a little, thinking Yuki wasn't serious about the whole dinner table thing but not really sure. He let Yuki lead him out from behind the potted plant anyway.

As soon as they stepped out of the shadows two blonde women started making a beeline toward Yuki and Shuichi. "Ah, the Takeda women, Crystal and her daughter Trisha. Crystal is Takeda Akira's fourth wife, an ex-stripper from Texas," Yuki commented. At Shuichi's blank look Yuki added, "Texas is a State, in the US. She also likes to pinch so make sure she's not behind you."

"Really?" Shuichi said disbelievingly.

"Some people like to live the stereo-type," Yuki confirmed. "And, if I were to write a novel featuring a Japanese business man with a thing for busty, foreign, blonds the literary community would have me stoned," he added, unusually chatty for once.

"Eiri, it's lovely to see you again," Crystal greeted Yuki in English. "It's been too long. I don't think you've met my daughter, Trish."

Trisha just waved and smiled.

"It's only been two years," Yuki replied in Japanese, in a tone implying that even longer would have been perfectly fine with him.

"Eiri, dear, have you forgotten your English so fast? You used to speak English beautifully and I was so looking forward to having a conversation in my native language. Akira only speaks Japanese, you know," Crystal chided in English. Yuki's subtle hint that he was less than enthused to see her passed directly over the woman's head.

"Shuichi doesn't speak a word of English," Yuki replied, sticking with Japanese and stepping behind Shuichi so that he could easily wrap both arms around his befuddled lover.

"We saw the report on the news about... well... you know. We--that is--Akira thought it was some sort of publicity stunt," Crystal said laughing nervously. "There's your sister, if you'll excuse me, I simply must ask her about her caterer. The canap├ęs are to die for."

Trisha, looking slightly embarrassed, said, "Please forgive my mother, she's awfully old fashioned but she means well."

"Does she?" Yuki said skeptically.

"I'm sure she does," Shuichi contradicted Yuki, always willing to give everyone a chance.

"Actually, I really admire both of you for being willing to make such an unpopular political statement in a country as backwards as Japan is when it comes to sexual liberation," Trisha continued.

"Uhmm... Thanks?" Shuichi said, having no idea what she was talking about.

"Politics are irrelevant," Yuki replied one hand drifting off Shuichi's shoulder across his chest and inside Shuichi's jacket, "I'm just in it for the sex."

Keeping her eyes glued to Yuki's hand as it rubbed Shuichi's nipple through the thin material of his shirt, Trisha licked her lips and went on haltingly, "But you have to admit--admit that it takes a certain amount of courage to, uh, to openly display such an unpopular form of affection."

Shuichi, blushing furiously yet again, clamped his jaw shut to keep any embarrassing squeaks or moan from escaping and grabbed Yuki's hand to stop it's distracting movement.

"Unpopular with whom?" Yuki asked. "Our respective sales shot up after we publicly announced our relationship."

"The fans have been really nice about it," Shuichi contributed to the conversation. "There were a lot of girls wearing t-shirts that said Eiri and Shuichi Forever inside a big heart at my last concert."

"You're so lucky that people have been so supportive of your relationship," Trisha acknowledged, but still not willing to give up her point she pressed on, "It's such a tragedy that all same-sex couples don't receive the same warm reception. Don't you wish society would learn to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles so that couples like yourselves can freely admit their love without worrying if everything is going to be okay?"

"If some prancing little fag has to sneak around because he's afraid people won't like him anymore, that's not my problem," Yuki said baldly, never one to sympathize with human frailty.

"If you'll excuse me," Trisha said in a brittle tone, then wandered off to speak with someone else.

"What did she do?" Shuichi asked pulling out of Yuki's grasp and turning to face him. "She was trying to be nice."

"She was trying to turn us into the spokes couple for her pet political crusade. I'd have preferred if she'd just tried to grab my ass," Yuki explained.

"Are you just going to be mean to people all night?" Shuichi demanded to know.

"Probably," Yuki acknowledged.

"Will you please stop, for me?" Shuichi begged, giving Yuki puppy dog eyes.

Yuki was tempted to give in right then, since Shuichi was asking so nicely, but he had a reputation to maintain. Going all softhearted just because the brat fluttered his eyelashes wasn't going to happen. "Why should I?" Yuki asked coldly.

"Because you're just using me as a tool to upset people!" Shuichi said. "It's not right and I don't like it. You called me Shu-chan, and hugged me in public in front of everyone, and... and other stuff and you don't ever act like that at home! You doing that stuff just to mess with people is just wrong," Shuichi finished, starting to sniffle just a little bit.

For a second Yuki was tempted to apologize, then reminding himself that he never apologizes for anything, especially not when it was just another instance of Shuichi being overly sensitive, he said, as if making some major allowance for Shuichi's sake, "Since it bothers you that much I'll stop, but only on one condition."

"Condition?" Shuichi asked, sounding surprised to get even that much consideration from Yuki.

"If I'm going to give up a perfect opportunity to convince my sister to stop nagging me to come to these things, you're going to have to do something for me. It's at least an hour before dinner, spend it with me in the cloakroom." Yuki said.

"Huh?"

"You... me... large pile of fur coats..." Yuki suggestively whispered next to Shuichi's ear--never thinking Shuichi'd actually go for it but never missing a chance to wind his lover up.

"Uh," Shuichi swallowed hard, blushed yet again, then said, "Okay."

Shocked at Shuichi's ready acceptance of the proposition but quick to take advantage of the unexpected situation, Yuki quickly planned their escape, "One quick lap around the room to establish our presence, then we slip away."

Yuki led Shuichi from group to group, making introductions and saying their hellos then moving on to the next group as swiftly as politely possible. Some of the guests were still a bit uncomfortable around the pair seeing as Yuki kept a firm grip on Shuichi for fear that his petite lover would change his mind and make a run for it. Not to mention the many women who were displeased to see the handsome Yuki Eiri permanently taken off the market. However, Shuichi couldn't complain about Yuki's, now, faultlessly charming behavior.

Fifteen minutes later Yuki was dragging Shuichi into the cloakroom and shutting the door behind them.


Tohma agreed with Aso-san about the deplorable lack of decorum in the younger generation then excused himself to go speak with his wife--who was currently occupied with Matsura-san and Matsura-san's mother, Mutsumi--the classic opinionated old lady type, sort of short and stout with mostly gray hair twisted up in a tidey bun--but with a lively smile and a twinkle in her eyes.

"Mika-san, have you seen Eiri-san lately? I saw him a while ago, but he disappeared before I had a chance to speak with him," Tohma asked, giving the mother-son duo a genial smile.

"I haven't seen Eiri since just after he got here," Mika answered.

"I spoke with him and his boyfriend just a few moments ago," Mutsumi said. "He probably stepped outside to smoke. They went into the foyer when they left me." Turning back to Mika, she said, "Mika, I don't mind telling you I had my doubts when I heard that Yuki-san was dating a pop singer. I said to myself, 'He's found himself another one, you know what musicians are--' present company excluded," Mutsumi interrupted herself remembering that Tohma was there. Then continuing her original thought she said, "'except this time she's a boy.' But, I have to say that Shindo Shuichi's a real cutie."

"Mother!" Matsura exclaimed, appalled at his mother's approval of the relationship.

"Don't be so uptight," Mutsumi reprimanded her son. "Shindo-san might not be the brightest person, and it's unfortunate he's not a girl, but at least he's not that wretched French model Eiri brought to the last function, or that horrible German stewardess from Christmas."

"Ah... yes," Tohma kind of agreed. He didn't like the models, actresses, or other miscellaneous women Yuki had dated over the years either, but on the other hand those women didn't worry Tohma like Shuichi did. "If you'll excuse me, there's a matter I need to discuss with my brother-in-law," he politely excused himself from the conversation.

Tohma crossed the foyer and looked out the front door. Yuki was nowhere to be seen on the porch. Tohma figured Yuki must have come back in while Mutsumi-san wasn't looking. Just as he was about to start searching the upstairs, Tohma heard muffled sounds coming from the cloakroom.

He opened the door just enough to see inside, then froze. There they were, the missing couple, lying together in a pile of fur coats and still breathing hard from exertion. Tohma knew about this already. He told himself he didn't mind it, that it was just sex and didn't mean anything. He actually believed it too, right up until that moment. Seeing them together like this, half-naked and satiated on each other, it was different than just thinking it. It hurt.

"Yuki?" Shuichi said, kissing Yuki's temple.

"Hmm..." Yuki answered, still in a post-coital doze.

"Love you," Shuichi said simply.

Hearing this, one part of Tohma winced. Tohma knew Yuki was just barely tolerating Shuichi's constant starry-eyed declarations of love. True sentimentality on Shuichi's part was simply beyond the pale. Although Tohma had already predicted that their affair would only lead to heartache for the both of them, he didn't wish either of them ill and was pained to see the beginning of the end right before his eyes.

The other part of Tohma was doing a happy dance. Yuki was finally going to come to his senses, realize Shuichi wasn't the one he needed, and then he'd turn back to Tohma, the only person who truly understood him.

Yuki stretched, sat up, and looked back at Shuichi who was still lying on the floor. Tohma took a deep breath and held it, waiting for Yuki to dump the petite singer. But, Yuki's only reply to Shuichi's declaration of love was a simple, "I know."

Yuki fished a handkerchief from the inside pocket of his tuxedo jacket, which had been neatly hung on the, now, almost bare coat rack. Handing it to Shuichi, he said, "Here, clean yourself up before you stain one of the coats."

Tohma silently closed the door and stood there in shock, just staring at the swirl of the wood grain. Familiar arms wrapped around his neck from behind. "See something you shouldn't have?" his wife whispered in his ear.

"Eiri-san and Shindo..." Tohma whispered, gesturing toward the cloakroom door.

"Ah..." Mika said understandingly, "And what are you planning to do about it?"

"I'm not sure," Tohma replied meditatively.

"Come back to the party," Mika said pulling away from her husband. "They'll be out soon."

"I will, and Mika-san?" Tohma called to her before she could leave. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. You're a terrible fool Seguchi Tohma, but I love you anyway," Mika said with a sad, knowing smile, then walked back into the living room.

Tohma crossed the foyer, started up the stairs, then sat down half-way up. He took his cell phone out of his jacket pocket and dialed a number from memory. "Takahashi-san, about that soundtrack deal..."