Ripples in Red Water

Chapter 1.1: Recollection in Autumn's Leaves

By: Empathic Soul


Disclaimer: Gravitation is not mine.


"Autumn—it has always been a beautiful yet sad season", Shuichi muttered as he observed the leaves fall down in a gracious thump on the ground only to be swept again by a soft gush of the cold autumn breeze.

He tucked in his hands in the pockets of his loose khaki pants and tugged his navy blue jacket to protect him from the cold breeze. He has been walking for a few hours now. His legs are getting weary and he knew that amidst his energetic exterior, he also gets tired. More importantly, he gets tired emotionally.

Yes he knew, he's getting tired of everything, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or even mentally and as of the moment nothing would be better than having a good night's rest. A person might start to ask how could Shindou Shuichi, famous singer of BAD LUCK and at the same time popular for being the lover of famous writer Yuki Eiri, could be tired of his life? Shindou, Shuichi's career is currently on the way to the top, almost comparable to the accomplishments of Sakuma Ryuichi. But Still…

Shuichi is tired of everything.

Tired of everything that has been going on in his life for the past week. Tired of all the work that ahs been placed on his shoulders. And most of all, tired of searching for something, a something that he did not know what, it may have been confusing to some people but its much more confusing for him. What would you do when a person is asking you to search for something you don't even know?

Shuichi gazed at his surroundings as he sat on one of the vacant benches in the park near the apartment. He openly stared at something and frequently zones out to his personal dreamland. He's been doing that a lot lately. Even in practices he would zone out but definitely catches himself before being caught by someone else.

Everyday they would be dismissed early from the practices and then he would act as if nothing was wrong. He would wave each of them good bye like the usual hyperactive way that he would do it, and then he would start to venture in the opposite direction towards his apartment to have his own private time. He would always end up coming home not eating dinner and only sleeping in his own room.

Hiro would sometimes question him if he were alright. Hiro would always say that he was getting thinner every passing moment and that he was really worried about him, like any best friend would be. And the end of every conversation, Hiro would end up cursing Yuki for not being able to take care of Shuichi as he promised he would. Shuichi would just explain that it has nothing to do with Yuki and Hiro would be more worried. Whenever Hiro asks, Shuichi just could not explain, he just shrugs it off and pushes Hiro to believe that it is really nothing. He did not really know how to place his situation into words, so it would be better not to speak about it.

Though he seemed thinner because he resorted to skipping meals when he wants some private time, it was a surprise when people commented him about gaining a few muscles. True he was accompanying Hiro and Suguru in the gym just to get a few rounds of weight lifting and even moments of learning self-defense. It would be a shame if he did not get a little bulkier. Although not as muscular as any of the people, he seemed a bit more filled.

Ryuichi was the one who actually pointed out the physiological change in his demeanor. It was the day when he decided to come to work wearing a fitted black tank top and a denim jacket to cover it up. Ryuichi saw him and immediately pounced on him like he usually does. Shuichi could still hear the voice of Sakuma Ryuichi echoing in his mind.

Shu-chan, you're getting sexier everytime I see you, neh, kumagoro?

Shuichi could feel tremors going up his spine and a blush creep to his cheeks. But as usual, Ryuichi had other ways to show his appreciation on the sudden masculine features of the new singer. He immediately jumped away claiming that it was Kumagoro who wanted to tell Shuichi that. Ryuichi gave the stuffed animal a consistent bopping on the head while exclaiming that stuffed animals should not have such thoughts about a friend, and a friend with a lover at that.

Those were some of the events for the past six days since that incident. One would have thought that his out of character attitude the past few days would have been something that would concern his lover, Yuki. On the contrary, and for the first time, it isn't. Yuki has been acting the same only a little bit crankier because of his nearing deadline for his brand new novel. He understood that. Yuki had always been touchy, or rather more touchy than usual if he's rushing to meet a deadline.


Yuki has been more busy than usual that they do not get to spend much time with each other. Shuichi is also busy with his records and rehearsals and also due to so much persuasion and a gun pointing at his temple, Shuichi had to take self-defense classes. Well it started a year ago upon hearing about the incident concerning Aizawa Tachi of ASK.

It took a lot of time from Shuichi but Yuki actually persuaded him to do it as well. Yuki argued that he wanted Shuichi to learn that because…

"I want you out of the house all the time so that I could have my peace." Yuki argued as he sat on the farthest corner of the sofa in the living room.

But Shuichi knew better. To interpret Yuki's statement, he wanted to say that "I want you to lean self-defense so that you can defend yourself and I won't be too worried about you all the time."

But Yuki would rather be hanged, or even skinned alive rather than to actually admit the fact to his own lover. But Shuichi also wanted to hear that so he pouted and looked at him with begging eyes as he wore his doggy suit. He sat o the other corner of the sofa and looked at his lover.

"You're mean, Yuki!" Shuichi pouted and Yuki merely glanced at the boy knowing that he'll fall prey to that cute eyes of his lover the moment he stares back.

"No. At least that way, I will be able to write more on my novels. Concentration is the key." Yuki took out a cigarette only to be snatched away from him at lightning speed. Yuki stared at his empty fingers and looked at the boy who now stood in front of him with his hands on his hips and showing him the cigarette in his hand while shaking his head.

"Yuki, no." Shuichi shook his head. "I thought we already made a deal that you would stop smoking."

"We did? I don't remember." Yuki shook his head and stood up towering the boy. "Now give that back, brat."

"Try and take it from me then." Shuichi looked at him with a teasing smile that the other man had to smirk back.


Shuichi sighed, something he's been doing since last Wednesday. And imagine, six days, he's still doing it. That man, that one man with red layered hair, that went to NG Studios last Wednesday has been giving him all these trouble. He grumbled to himself pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket crumpled due to overuse.

"That man, he gave me all this…all this stupid freaking problems." Shuichi gritted his teeth in the sudden remembrance of the incident that occurred last Wednesday. "Everything was going well, until he appeared."

He crumpled the paper and placed it in his jacket's pocket once more and stared back at the vacant sky leaning on the bench's backrest. It was perfect reflection of his mood. The sky was empty. There was not a single star shining and not even the moon chose to appear that night. It was a perfect reflection of himself…a reflection of nothingness in his emotions.

But he could not help but remember the events that had occurred at NG studios last Wednesday. It was something that had struck his memory but he did not know why. It was not like he forgot anything in his past, or did he?

Well for one thing, he did not know. What he was sure though that the man back then was so serious about the conversation that he knew it was much more than a silly practical joke that was being done on him. And even if it could have been a practical joke, he was too gullible to actually believe it.

Call him stupid, but that man seemed to have radiated an aura saying that he knows exactly what he told Shuichi the last time. And for his own sake, Shuichi wanted to know the truth…the truth behind the piece of paper, the truth behind the redhead, and the truth about himself.

Shuichi closed his eyes to try and reminisce what had occurred last Wednesday. It was far to vivid to be forgotten. It was the cause of his sudden turn around in his life and also the cause of his problems currently bothering his state of mind.

Images came flashing back as eh slowly drifted to meditation, or to what others may call…sleep.

It was a beautiful Wednesday morning in NG Studios that day. People inside were al enthusiastic about all the events that occurred. No one had a concert to be done in a few weeks. Everything was simply practices and rehearsals for the rest of the month, meaning rest. The concerts would resume in the next coming months. But there are still pending MTV rehearsals, new album releases, and even fan meetings. Both Nittle Grasper and Bad Luck were on the hot track so they still seem to be pretty busy amidst the lack of concerts.

And yet everyone was relaxed although there was still that healthy pressure into doing their best in every rehearsal they did. They also managed to meet their fan clubs in the past days, which actually helped increase record sales, especially for BAD LUCK.

When K finally decided to actually give them an early dismissal, most of them hurriedly went home. Hiro was eager to go home saying that he was not able to spend some quality time with his current fiancé and soon to be wife, Ayaka. They had planned to get married by the end of the year, and that's just two months away. Shuichi was glad that his best friend was finally settling down with the right girl for him. Almost everyone greeted Hiro with enthusiasm and sent all their best wishes in his up coming wedding.

K also has plans into going to his apartment saying that his overly protective mother had decided to come and give him a visit. Everyone nearly toppled over at the thought of what K's mom would be like. If K were like this, they don't even want to imagine what his mother would be like. What would you do id you see a middle-aged woman carrying a huge bazooka and pointing it to you threatening to blow up your body into micro pieces, the thought merely gave everyone goose bumps over goose bumps.

Fujisaki, Suguru also hurried home claiming that he still haven't done his homework. Hiro teased him as to what kind of "homework" it was, claiming that he should get a private tutor to help with his problems in school if it were school academics. Suguru plainly gave him a powerful punch on the face earning a few laughs by the rest of the groups and a deadly glare from Hiro who lay on the ground pained.

Sakano immediately excused himself and went to Seguchi Tohma for some unknown reasons that none of them bothered to know. They all thought that the producer would just have to talk about business towards the owner of the company.

And then, Shuichi watched them leave. He was sitting in the recording studios benches for a few minutes to finish the new lyrics that he made. Well he was successful. He managed to finish the last touches in a while and proceeded to get his back and leave the place to go home. Yuki would be surprised to see him home this early though and he did not expect but the harsh words from the writer that he had grown to understand and get used to.

As he stepped out of the studio, he stopped in his pace as a man in a loose black turtleneck top and white slacks came into view by the door. His blood red hair swung with the wind, as he seemed to be looking far away unaware of Shuichi's presence in the room, and perhaps unaware or most other things. Shuichi took it in him to approach the man in case he was looking for someone.

For a while, he watched as the man's layered red hair swayed with the wind. The distant expression in his face made him appear like he was contemplating on things that he was about to do, or possible did. The enigmatic posterior of the person by the door drove Shuichi to think that this man actually resembles Yuki to an extent, although Yuki is too unique to be seen in comparison to others. To Shuichi nothing could out match the power and intensity of Yuki's amber eyes.

"Hey there! Looking for someone? I might be able to help you." Shuichi greeted with his usual welcoming smile and a slight wave.

The man suddenly turned to him with a pair of wide surprised eyes.

"Shuichi…"the man spoke automatically as the pink-haired boy appeared in front of him.

Shuichi would have felt nothing about it, but the moment their eyes met, he felt a strange knock on the door of his mind. His heartbeat started to take an odd rhythm as his violet eyes met emerald green orbs. Shuichi unconsciously took a step back and looked at the man standing in front of him.

Everything was silent though. No one spoke. They only stared at each other until the silence seemed to be painful in the ears causing ringing sounds. Shuichi cleared his throat to clear the tense air and faced the man again with his ever unnerving smile.

"Uh sorry about that." Shuichi placed a hand behind his head as he placed a sheepish smile of embarrassment towards the person who stood before him. "I did not mean to be rude."

"My bad." The man that replied with his own soft smile caught Shuichi's attention as if it was something that he used to see. He started asking himself questions

This seems all too familiar…

Who is this man?

Shuichi knocked himself off trance and looked at the man in front of him once more.

"Okay, we can forget about it. So how can I help you? Is there someone you would meet or are meeting here?" Shuichi asked politely trying to get an answer from the man.

"You." The man answered bluntly for comfort that Shuichi almost felt like he was stoned for a moment there. Well he was indeed stoned for a moment

Shuichi was shocked, relieved, and at the same time confused when he heard the answer. There was so many questions that came to mind in order to ask this man what was happening in that specific situation. Many, many more questions raced through his head making him feel slightly dizzy, clouded by too much curiosity and annoyance.

"Sorry for the shock but I have come to inform you that you should come back to Musica Studios." The man said in an almost rushing tone as he looked at Shuichi looking more confused than ever.

The man realized one thing though, it was not yet time to get him back. He suddenly shook his head and unconsciously formed fists at it started to tremble, to shake caused by annoyance with probably himself.

"Confused is what I should say." Shuichi suddenly blurted out looking at the man, a serious expression graced his face.

"I thought you by all this time have gotten your memories back. It has been 7 years, Shindou Shuichi." The man looked at him with a forlorn expression and turned away not meeting the boy's gaze.

How in the world?

What is this man saying?

7 years?

Argh…

This man is…

I can't remember…

Shuichi felt a growing headache and he looked at the man who seemed to have noticed. His previously cold features were now changed into something that resembled concern, worry, and even pureness of heart that made Shuichi realize that this was not joke. He placed a hand over the shoulder of the smaller man and looked at him gently.

"Are you alright? I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come." He muttered weakly although there was a slight slip of his feelings of regret and sadness as he expressed concern towards the pain of the vocalist.

"I guess your memory isn't back yet." The man whispered but Shuichi heard it loud and clear. Shuichi however decided that he would not further ask questions because his head seems to be starting to get really fuzzy. For some reason, this man has given him a headache that could rival any headache a certain novelist he knew ever experienced.

"It's alright." Shuichi took a step back to distance himself from the invader's words, unknowing touch, and to steady himself. "But what are you looking for?"

Obviously, Shuichi could not help but ask anyway. His mind now keeps on wondering. He was like digging up something in his mind, not really knowing what he was digging up in the first place.

This man, physically he looks familiar. At first, he guessed that he was probably in one of the concerts and noticed him there even for just a glimpse. Shuichi did have photographic memory only he did not let others know about that special trait. As usual acting dumb has always been good, ignorance is a bliss. People do not expect that much from you and that is what is great about the life that he leads right now. No pressures. The only disappointment is Yuki's endearing remark of "baka" if it was endearing at all.

Another thing that struck Shuichi was the man's eyes, as he stared at him. It was as if he had encountered the man's eyes before. He even went as to think that it was probably in the afterlife that he saw those eyes and he was just getting the same feeling. But of course that can't be the reason. The weird thing was that there was so much recognition on the man's eyes as if they really knew each other from the beginning, which was extremely weird and freaky all at the same time.

Then again, the most disturbing thing is the way he managed to say his name. He said it as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do. But how could that be possible? How could this man be so familiar with him when all Shuichi could do is merely smile back and actually try to remember…nothing.

Who is this man?

Shuichi wanted to ask that to him but he was cut out of his thoughts when the man took out a small piece of paper. He placed it in Shuichi's hands wordlessly and then suddenly took off without even saying goodbye. That event just left Shuichi gaping there like a fish, trying with all his might to analyze the situation at hand.

Did I offend this man?

Probably he did, since he was too quiet for comfort.

And of course, he was rudely gaping at him.

He looked down at his hand, half expecting it to be a calling card, or some kind of paper with gum, only to find six different areas written there. He knitted his brows in utter annoyance in the incapacity to understand what was going on in the situation and also the growing migraine. The man did not leave a name at all. The man just left a piece of paper with several places written on it, then what?

He carefully looked at the places and read it slowly. These places were like the most normal thing in the entire world. He knew these places so much, like the one that said Tokyo Tower. Who in the world would not know that?

Another one describes a park and he knew that it was the park where he actually met Yuki. Others were small stores in Central Tokyo and that he has been at least once in his life. So what's the big deal about these places anyway? Why would a complete stranger actually hand him such a piece of paper with names of popular places in Japan?

He was about to throw it in the trashcan outside the building when all of a sudden, pain gushed through his head nearly making him lose his balance and fall on the ground. He placed his right hand on the wall to steady himself. His head had never hurt this much ever. As much as he could remember this is the first time.

He placed a weary hand over his forehead to check if ever he just had a fever, but there was none. He merely exerted some pressure to calm the drilling currently occurring in his head, although it does not seem to decrease the pain at all. He moved his hand so that it was covering his face. It was then that he suddenly was remembering some scenes, flashing in front of like it was some kind of flash presentation.

It was a girl in front of him. Her chocolate eyes were teary as he felt her tears falling down his cheeks. The tears came from that woman. He felt like he wanted to wipe her tears away but the only thing was he could not move. He saw her hair glistening and it caught his attention, her hair is…pink.

The woman in his mind had the same shade of hair that he has. How come? All his life his parents told him that he dyed his hair pink. It was impossible that this girl also dyed her hair pink when it looked so natural to her. Come to think of it, his pink hair seemed natural to him too, only he believed that it was probably some strange chemical altering that natural pigment of the hair making it permanent.

His head hurt to say the least, That man, that girl…who are they?

More pain came to being and existence only to be forgotten when a hand rested itself on Shuichi's shoulder. He turned in alarm to look at the person standing beside him Green eyes met his own as Shuichi noticed strands of golden hair framing his gentle face, and at that moment, he knew who it was. Although it was the first time he saw concern on this man's eyes directed towards him.

"Seguchi-san…" Shuichi muttered and saw a hint of worry flash the eyes of the older man who seemed to near him.

"Shindou-kun is there something wrong? You look as if you're in pain." Seguchi Tohma asked carefully not to become too intrusive and the same time getting his worry across. "Do you feel sick or something?"

Shuichi shook his head vigorously and took a step back to assure the man. He quickly thought of a good excuse as he expertly placed the piece of paper in the pocket of his jacket.

"You know it happens all the time, when you're sitting down for a long time or in a cold room then you come out, there are moments when you black out for while, right?" Shuichi babbled and looked at Tohma wishing he believed him.

The older man smiled and nodded. He knew that he was lying but what right does he have to impose.

First sensible thing to say though, coming from Shindou Shuichi. Tohma muttered nodding in approval of the excuse that was given to him. He accepted it and checked at Shuichi one last time.

"Well, since you put it that way. Do you need a ride home? I would be dropping by Eiri-san anyway to give him something from Mika." Tohma asked while pointing towards his car and giving Shuichi a smile.

Shuichi just nodded excitedly to cover the dull aching feeling that is in his heart and the piercing pain that kept on haunting his head. He knew he still had to act as if there was nothing wrong in order not to worry anyone else. He did not want to cause any more trouble than necessary.

He thought that he already caused enough.

He followed the older man to the white Jaguar parked outside NG Studios and smiled to himself.

At least I'm not walking.

And with that, the two headed towards the direction of Yuki and Shuichi's apartment, their current home.


And those were the events last Wednesday.

True enough, the events were actually weird. The moment he got home last Wednesday he immediately went into his room without even greeting Yuki and locked himself up until the night came.

Shuichi knew that Yuki was probably outside his door that time but debated against himself whether or not to come in the room and ask what was wrong. Of course Shuichi would have preferred him to come in and ask, but as usual, the writer did otherwise. He simply left without even saying a word and the night passed without even a word of recognition with each other.

Shuichi closed his eyes and focused on the blank sky once more. It just brought back the same dull sensation, the headache and the feeling of fainting. This actually caused him to cough out blood a couple of days ago in the Studio's comfort room and also fainting in his room a couple of times.

Shuichi also went to the doctor but of course did not say anything to anyone. The doctor assured him that there was no problem in his lungs that would address the coughing of blood. Though the neurologist mentioned something about an injury in the head. Shuichi never knew what the injury was because the doctor did not give him any details. She just told him to come back for the results of the CT scan.

But the doctor also advised Shuichi to eat. His unhealthy eating habits gave him hyperacidity and its actually a cause to him coughing out blood. Shuichi knew that because he barely ate anything for the past few weeks and even less during this week he felt his body almost giving up on him.

But of course he was glad he did not have cancer or tuberculosis. But that head injury was bothersome. The doctor also asked him if he experienced something traumatic before. He could not answer and the doctor merely nodded and gave him the bill.

But then again, why bother yourself with things from the past when there are better things to worry about like the present. So now he's just going to focus on his growing migraine. He decided to grab a few winks and then head home.

TBC

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