Disclaimer – I do not own or profit from Gravitation. So don't sue me, because it's a waste of your money. (It won't waste mine, because I have none.)

Rated T for slash, and nothing else.

Dedicated to darthelwig, who now owes me her life- er, a fic. ('lol')

Anyway, enjoy. Peace, all.

Too Pretty

by Ghost Helwig

Chapter 2

Ryuichi was very good at pretending.

For instance, he knew what Tatsuha wanted from him. That was pretty much blatantly obvious, even to him. Ryuichi Sakuma was crazy, yes, that was true, but he was no fool.

He pretended that he was ignorant of Tatsuha's true intentions, though, because he had no idea what to do.

It wasn't every day a handsome sixteen-year-old boy got obsessed with him-

...Okay, yes, when Nittle Grasper was in its heyday, that did happen every day, just about, but that was a long time ago, and anyway, that was beside the point. Which was, Tatsuha was different.

It took Ryuichi far longer than he liked to figure out quite how.

Because Tatsuha... after the back-and-the-forth-and-the-back-again that he did where he treated him like Ryuichi Sakuma, Idol Extraordinaire and then didn't (and then did), actually started getting interested in him. In Ryuichi, Boy-Man Wonder, the childlike adult who carried around a stuffed bunny he called Mr. Bear and was trying, in his own screwy, not-quite-helpful ways, to teach a young up-and-coming singer named Shuichi Shindo how to be a 'Rock Star' without losing your soul or your self.

Tatsuha helped him, when asked. Trusted him, without question. (A mistake, actually, any sane person would tell him that, but not a mistake to Ryuichi.) Loved him, without him having to pretend.

But Ryuichi wasn't ready to step out into the real world. He'd tried, once or twice before. Gotten burned, pretty badly. Decided it was better, safer, to stay locked up where no one could reach him.

He envied Shuichi that, actually – the boy-man that was Shuichi wasn't quite as talented a singer, wasn't quite as smooth a performer (though that could easily be learned, with time and confidence), wasn't quite as knowledgeable about 'this business called Show'. But Shuichi lived, had grabbed onto Eiri Yuki and locked down, refused to go back into the dark and had never once been beaten into submission, by Yuki or by anyone else. It was enviable, and frustrating, and a thousand other things besides.

Kinda like Tatsuha and his freakishly adoring stare.

Ryuichi could easily put a stop to it, if he so chose. One word from him, and down would come the punishment of K, and it would be a long, long time before anyone heard from Tatsuha again – if they ever did at all. But Ryuichi couldn't do it. His finger was on the Stop button, but he couldn't press down.

But sometimes, to pacify himself, he pretended to try.

Not that it helped much. Because as good as Ryuichi was at pretending, he never could fool himself.