Author's Notes: Erm… the reasons why it took me AGES to get this chapter out are:
A.) I have carpal tunnel
B.) The doctors put me on an anti-inflammatory (a steroid) for said carpal tunnel
C.) The steroids weakened my immune system (they do that sometimes, tis sucky)
D.) I got a sinus infection that lead into a bad cough (and when you have chronic asthma, that's not fun)
E.) Bad cough then led into tracheitis (or however you spell it – inflammation of the trachea) and then that led into croup (which consisted of me coughing up blood for two consecutive weeks)
F.) Because of these ailments, the doctors had to give me MORE steroids to bring down the swelling in my lungs
G.) This did not help as well as the doctors hoped, so they then upped the dosage more and put me on anti-histamines also, which then led to me being knocked unconscious from the overly-high dosage for a week
H.) After finally getting over the croup, the doctors decided to lower my steroid dosage, however this was done too late and I wound up getting sick AGAIN from having too low of an immune system from the steroids (sensing a pattern?)
I.) I got tonsillitis, that lead into linguistic tonsillitis (where the throat and tongue are also infected, along with the tonsils)
J.) The doctors then put me back on the steroids to full dosage and I got some unrecognizable virus (still have it – 20 days and counting)
This now leads me to present day, where my tonsils meet the little dangly thing in the back of my throat (uvula) and I sleep for 20 hours a day and STILL feel achy and tired. And yet, I am still on the steroids, the cause of all of this and, unfortunately, the cure. It's like what Homer Simpson said about alcohol: it's the cause and solution of all of life's problems.
Well said, Homer, well said.
Oh, and as if all of that wasn't bad enough, I HAD written this chapter. And then I wiped my hard drive. Without backing up this chapter. So it was deleted. And I had to start from scratch. And I was pissed. Pissed, I say.
So please, PLEASE, people, don't give me grief or be upset that this took so long. I don't mean to ignore you guys and this story. I promise you, I think about it every damn day.
Now, without any further interruptions… I give you Chapter 11: A Little Sit-Down
Disclaimer: I think we all know that I don't own Gravitation.
Gravitation Revisited: Magnetism
Uesugi Eiri was woken from his half-awake half-asleep trance from the slamming of the front door. He sighed wearily and blinked his tired, dry eyes.
"Welcome home," the teen called groggily from his place on the living room couch.
"Don't you give me 'welcome home', you prick," came the scowled reply.
Eiri blinked tiredly and furrowed his brow. His older sister stormed into the room, her three-inch leopard print pumps still on her dainty feet. She was glowering terrifically.
"Guess where I just got back from," Mika barked.
The blonde craned his neck from side to side, wincing pleasurably when little cracking noises met his ears. He leaned back on the sofa and scratched at the back of his head, disheveling his hair further. "I'unno," he slurred through a yawn.
"Eiri!" Mika growled, her eyes fiery. The younger Uesugi was too tired to be impressed.
"Your heels are still on, onee-san," the singer pointed out, not fully awake yet. "You're gonna make holes in the carpet."
"Eiri!!" the brunette hissed, taking a threatening step forward.
"I dunno, I said!" Eiri replied grumpily, slouching in the couch. The notebook that had been precariously perched on his knee fell to the floor. "Now shut up, I'm tired."
Mika's hands flew out, ready to grab her younger brother around his slim, pale neck. She stopped her self abruptly and froze that way for a minute, her jaw clenched tight. She took a few short, sharp breaths through her gritted teeth and then slowly, every so slowly, relaxed. The whole situation was unnoticed by Eiri, who had already slid shut his eyes and lolled off into a much-needed doze.
When Mika spoke next her voice was low, barely above a whisper. "I just got back from the park." Eiri didn't stir. The brunette's eyes slid to stare at the wall disinterestedly. "I was with Tohma," she continued slowly, voice monotone.
Eiri's ears perked. He kept his eyes closed, feigning sleep, secretly straining to hear his sister's words.
Tohma didn't…say anything to her, did he…?
"He was crying," Mika informed nonchalantly.
The vocalist raised one perfect eyebrow. Mika caught the small motion and grinned triumphantly.
"He told me what you did."
Eiri was sitting up fully, eyes wide. "What?!" the teen sputtered. He fumbled under his older sister's cool, victorious glare. "Uh… I mean…"
Way to blow your cover, Eiri, he mentally reprimanded himself.
"So, little Eiri…" Mika sauntered over to her brother slowly. Her eyes had turned hard and her mouth cruel. She towered over Eiri and placed her hands on the couch, one on either side of his head. "Tell me: who's your new lover?"
Eiri felt all the color drain away from his face, leaving the area cold and tingling. Then, just as fast as the blood depleted, it rushed back up again, searing his cheeks beyond just a normal blush.
"I-I-I…!" he stammered. The thought of Shindou Yuu being his "lover", as Mika had put it, was just so… "I don't have a new lover!!" he cried desperately.
"Bullshit," the femme fatalespat. "I talked to Tohma! He told me everything!"
"Well, you were obviously misinformed!" Eiri retorted defensively. "I do not have a new lover!"
It's not bullshit, the singer admitted wearily. Yuu isn't my lover. He's just… Eiri growled mentally. Why the hell did I have to fall for a straight guy?!!
Mika pulled back from her position over her brother. She stepped back so she didn't have to look down on him so much. She ran a hand through her hair and sighed. The anger began to melt away into something more depressing.
"He was crying, Eiri," she spoke slowly. "Never, in all the years I've known Tohma, have I seen him cry."
Eiri looked away in disgust with himself. He couldn't look his sister in the eye when she had that far away look on her face.
"And you know what killed me the most, Eiri?" Mika hung her arms limply at her sides. "He smiled through the tears. Tohma smiled through every single one of his tears as he told me everything."
Eiri set his jaw tight and focused his hardened eyes to the forgotten notebook on the floor. "What happened…?" he managed out scratchily.
"Well, I was walking back from the nail salon, and I saw him sitting on a bench in the park." Mika bent at the waist to free her feet from the confinement of her shoes. "He looked kind of sad so I sat down next to him. When I asked him what was wrong he just smiled and said he was fine." She straightened and focused her eyes on Eiri. "And the next thing I knew, he had tears in his eyes.
"He told me it wasn't your fault and that he was making too big of a deal about it. I had no clue what he was talking about, though." Mika padded, now barefooted, into the attached kitchen and began pouring herself a drink. "He realized he was rambling – very unlike him, I must say – and then told me the whole story. He explained to me how in love with you he is and how he gets so happy when you're around." She paused and sipped at her drink, eyeing her brother. "I knew he was in love with you, but it was strange to hear him say it that way. He didn't seem the type to be so heavily effected, you know?
"Anyway, he then told me about what happened last night between the two of you."
Eiri stiffened, but wasn't surprised. How else would Mika assume Eiri had a "new lover"? She obviously misconstrued the story Tohma told her. After all, Tohma himself probably thought Eiri had someone else. Why else would Eiri call out someone else's name in bed?
"Please, Eiri," Mika continued, cutting him off, "just tell me the truth. If you're cheating on Tohma, then please, just say it."
The blonde shook his head slowly and looked to the floor. He busied himself by picking up the notebook. "I… I kissed someone else, but it wasn't returned. If you can call that cheating, then—"
"Is that the truth?" Mika's inquisitive eyes held Eiri's. She was clutching her drink tightly.
"That's the truth," Eiri admitted slowly. He opened the notebook and stared sightlessly at the unfinished lyrics. "I met someone… but nothing happened."
"'Yuu'?" Mika queried. Eiri's confused eyes fell on his sister and she answered his silent question. "That's the name Tohma told me you said last night," she explained, face blank.
Eiri flushed and looked away once more. "Yes, Yuu. Shindou Yuu. He's a novelist."
"A novelist, huh?" Mika scoffed. "Never heard of him."
The lyricist grinned. "That's because his penname is 'Shuu Yuu'." He swelled with oddly placed pride when Mika's face lit up in recognition.
"Shuu Yuu, the mystery-romance author? The renowned mystery-romance author?"
Eiri nodded in response. "That's him. He picked me up on the highway one day when my piece of crap car broke down."
Mika's face fell. "That's how you met the love of your life?" she grumbled in disbelief.
The blonde flushed. "W-well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that! I don't k-know him very well. I-I-It's just a crush!" Eiri's hands were flying about erratically.
"You apparently liked him enough to call out his name in bed and make Tohma cry though, I'll tell you that."
Eiri's shoulders slumped. "I know," he managed feebly. "I… I didn't mean to." He looked to his sister desperately. "Tohma… is Tohma okay?"
The oldest Uesugi nodded slowly. "He's… okay, but not much more than that." Mika finished her drink and walked back into the small living room (which was originally the dinning room, and the real living room was made into a bedroom when Hiro moved in).
"I," Eiri choked, "I'm sorry. I'm so… so sorry…"
Mika watched her fumbling brother blankly. "Who are you apologizing to? Me, or Tohma?"
The vocalist paused and then hung his head. "Both, I guess."
The brunette sighed. "Well, you didn't do anything to me, so—"
"I hurt Tohma. And whenever Tohma gets hurt… so do you…" Eiri brought his head up and made uncomfortable eye-contact with his sister. "I hurt both of you."
Mika looked away hastily and scowled. "What are you talking about? Idiot."
"You love him," Eiri stated simply, but continued before Mika could retort. "I used to think we were the same, because we both were in love with Tohma… but I was wrong. It was just puppy love for me. It was… a trial-run until something real came along." His voice began to waver. "But you… your love for Tohma was… is real. It's mature. You care for him more than anything." Eiri looked to his sister carefully then. She stared back at him, wide-eyed and flustered. "You come off as up-tight and self-absorbed, onee-san, but that's not true. That's not the real you. You've never told anyone your feelings because you didn't want it to disrupt our relationship. You cared more for your love and your little brother than you did for yourself." Tears started to fill Eiri's eyes. He was disgusted with himself. "That's why you buy all those material things for yourself. It's the only thing you ever do for yourself. You gave up going to college to take care of your little brothers. You gave up your heart to a man who can't return it. And yet… yet I've never heard you complain, Mika." Eiri lowered his head and stared at the notebook. "You may yell at Tatsuha and me, but you never complain. You're ten times the person I am, Mika-onee-san." The words on the paper began to blur from the tears that fell from Eiri's eyes.
"Eiri," Mika spoke softly. She took a step towards her brother. "That's enough."
"No… I hurt him, didn't I? I hurt him real bad." He placed the notebook on the coffee table before him. His hands were shaking. "I didn't mean to. I didn't want this to happen!" Eiri's head swung up. "You believe me, right? I didn't… but I hurt him… the more I tried not to hurt him the more I did… So then… then I tried - deliberately tried - to hurt him. I thought that maybe he would come to hate me then and he wouldn't be heartbroken when I left. But… you and Tohma… you're better people than that…"
"Eiri, stop, please." Mika sat on the coffee table, eyeing her brother warily. "I won't tell you that what you did was right, Eiri, but you weren't wrong either. Liking someone else… that couldn't be helped. Maybe you could have handled it better, but we all make mistakes. Tohma and I… we're not as great as you think."
"No." Eiri shook his head slowly and rubbed his eyes. "I was wrong. Please, onee-san, take care of him. I know it's selfish of me, but… you're the only one who can do it." He reached out and placed his hand on his sister's knee. He clutched at the fabric of her skirt. "Tohma needs you right now. Please. You can comfort him."
The brunette looked to the hand on her knee and smiled sadly. You want me to take care of Tohma as he sobs over you? You're not even thinking of how that might hurt me. You are selfish, she thought good-naturedly.
"Okay, then. I'll take care of Tohma the best I can. But I'll only do it if you promise me you'll settle things with him."
The singer sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I suppose I have to, huh?" He didn't say anything for a moment and then slowly nodded. "All right, I will."
Mika smiled and leaned forward to kiss her brother on the forehead. Just as she was about to pull back Eiri's arms wrapped around her shoulders, pulling her to him again. She gripped the couch cushions to keep from falling off the coffee table.
"Thank you." He slowly pulled back and smiled warmly. "Thank you, Mikarin."
The oldest Uesugi swallowed hard and then smiled back. "Yeah, you better thank me," she replied only half-jokingly. "Now go take a nap or something. You've had a long day." She stood and walked into the kitchen. "I'll make dinner."
Eiri's grin widened further and he nodded. Suddenly, he felt a lot better.
Uesugi Tatsuha closed the front door behind him and proceeded to toe off his shoes. He jammed his feet into the mottled-gray slippers he kept by the door and padded into the living room.
"I'm home," Tatsuha called out to no-one in particular.
Mika poked her head around the refrigerator door and saw her youngest brother nearby. He opened an empty hand, palm up, in a silent plea. Mika pulled a soda can out of the fridge and gave it to him.
"Thanks." The dark-haired teen smiled widely and popped open the can. "'Chya doing?"
"Making dinner," Mika answered, closing the fridge after pulling out a stick of butter. "Want to go wake Hiro for me?"
Tatsuha's face lit up. He nodded energetically and gulped down more then half his soda. He slammed the can down on the kitchen counter.
"Save that for me for dinner." With that, Tatsuha scampered out of the kitchen and down the hall.
The renegade monk-in-training stopped in front of his old bedroom, which was now occupied by one Nakano Hiroshi. He grinned widely and swung open the door. He couldn't wait to wake his sleeping lov—
"Can't you knock?! Jesus."
Tatsuha blinked. Hiro was sitting on the edge of his bed, still in his pajamas. His electric guitar rested in his lap and the amplifier was between his feet.
"You're awake," Tatsuha pointed out lamely, thoroughly disappointed. He had been looking forward to waking Hiro in some oddly kinky way.
"I just woke up," the auburn-coiffed teen stated matter-of-factly. "What do you want?"
The bassist furrowed his brow. "What do you mean? That's harsh."
Hiro's expression was blank. "A normal person doesn't just barge into someone's room without knocking unless they want something."
Tatsuha huffed and placed his hands on his hips. "I wanted to wake you up to tell you dinner's gonna be ready soon. Jeez, you sure woke up on the wrong side of the bed." His fake-pout slowly twisted into a grin. "But I think I can fix that."
Just as Tatsuha began to advance towards Hiro's bed, the guitarist held up one hand, issuing the other to stop. Tatsuha froze mid-step.
"I want to practice. We have a gig in two days, you know." He turned to his amplifier and flicked the on switch. "Tell Mika-san I'll be out for dinner in fifteen minutes. I want to work on my solos."
Tatsuha felt something in his eye tick. "Why the hell are you being so snotty?"
"I'm not being snotty," Hiro retorted. He fiddled with the dials on the amp.
"Yes, Hiroshi, you are." The dark-haired man crossed his arms. "What the hell kinda pole do you have stuck up your ass?"
"The only thing that's been up my ass," – his eyes fell on Tatsuha, glaring hard – "is you."
Tatsuha nearly reeled back in shock, but managed to hold his ground. "This is about last night?" he queried, absolutely appalled.
The guitarist sighed and turned away. "Forget it."
"No!" Tatsuha stepped forward, hands balled into fists. "No, I won't forget it! What the hell is this about, Hiroshi?!"
Hiro didn't respond. He leaned towards his nightstand and picked up his guitar pick. He put the thin piece of triangular plastic to his lips and held it between his teeth. He looked along the top of his nightstand but couldn't seem to find—
"Have you seen my finger slide?" he asked around the pick in his mouth.
When Hiro received no answer he swung his head around to face Tatsuha again. The pick fell from his lips.
Tatsuha's nearly black eyes were hardened and his brow was creasing dangerously. His jaw was set tight and his top lip was practically curling he was scowling so much. He had never looked at Hiro that way before.
Hiro's eyes widened for a moment. He was shocked to see such contempt radiating from Tatsuha, and directed at him no less.
"Don't look at me like that," the ginger-haired teen demanded once he regained his senses. He glared back. "I'm not the one that did anything wrong, here."
"Didn't do anything wrong?" the bassist spat. "So you're saying I did something wrong? Really? because I wasn't aware. Last time I checked, I was telling you how madly in love wi—"
"That's exactly it!!"
Tatsuha stared in surprise, mouth hanging open. Hiro had jumped up, eyes fiery. His guitar had flown off his lap to crash into the amplifier. Neither man knew if it was broken, for they both stared at one another. Each was equally shocked at Hiro's actions.
They stood that way for a few seconds until a rap at the bedroom door knocked them to their senses.
"Is everything okay in there?" Mika called through the door.
Tatsuha took a deep breath, but didn't dare respond. No, nothing was alright.
"Everything's fine, Mika-san." Hiro looked to the door as if Mika was standing there. "Don't worry about it."
"Okay then." She didn't sound convinced. "Dinner's on the table guys. Come and get it."
The guitarist knelt down to assess the damage to his instrument. The bassist stood still. They were both trembling.
"Listen, Tatsuha…" Hiro's voice was soft, almost inaudible. "We should just forget last night happened. We both had a few drinks and were really upset about what happened with ASK. What was said last night shouldn't have been said, and what happened most definitely should not have happened." Hiro stood, relieved that his guitar was still in one piece. "Let's go to dinner."
Tatsuha extended his arm, blocking Hiro from the door. "You're not going anywhere until we talk about this."
And from the hiss in his voice, Hiro believed him.
Author's Notes: Months later, I finally get out chapter eleven. I know it wasn't very good and nothing really happened… well, I needed to fit this all in somehow, right? Mika's feelings for Tohma needed to be addressed, even in this backwards world, don't you think? And well, I needed some TatsxHiro angst, too. For those of you who were so happy they got together: come on! You didn't think it'd be that easy did you?! XD Anyway, the next chapter should be a bit more promising. We'll see how Tatsuha and Hiro deal with their problems. And then we'll have the concert. Will Yuu be there? Will Tohma see Yuu and freak? Will Eiri and Tohma finally break-up? And if they do, will Yuu want to be with Eiri then? All these questions and more will be answered next time in… Gravitation Revisited: Magnetism!
Dun dun DUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNN