Summary: Yuki submits a fanfic for one of his own novels and gets way more than he bargained for. Stand alone oneshot.
Disclaimer: I don't own Gravitation, Maki Murakami does.
"Eiri Yuki is a brand name, Yuki-san. Brand names are a recognizable commodity that people grow comfortable with and expect certain things from…"
The voice of Mizuki, his editor, scraped and grated through the smoking fumes, which were all that were left of Yuki's brain.
"Just like Microsoft, Victoria's Secret and Starbucks…"
Yuki wove his Mercedes in and out of afternoon Tokyo traffic like a fiend.
"People expect certain things when they hear those names. People expect Victoria's Secret to sell them overpriced, frilly drawers that they know damn well they can't squeeze their fat McAsses into, hoping to God it'll make them look like Tyra Banks…or at the very least Anna Nicole Smith. People expect Starbucks to serve them over priced, extremely fattening mocha grandes, which, by the way, used to be called hot chocolate. I'm not quite sure what people expect of Microsoft these days, other than to die a flaming, horrible death, but you can bet your last yen, when the name of Microsoft is mentioned, images of overpriced, crappy software and Bill Gates as Satan himself pop into the minds of people the world over. The name Eiri Yuki is no different."
Yuki slammed the brakes to make a red light, then at the last second, floored it and sped through the intersection, setting off a flurry of yelled curses, choice hand gestures and in one case a naked ass jammed against a passenger window. Yuki ignored them all and sped on.
"What do you think would happen if those companies suddenly turned on a dime and changed their product? What would happen if Starbucks started selling overpriced, crappy software instead of a decaf non-fat lattes? I don't even want to think about Microsoft venturing into the underwear business. God help us all—it'd give new meaning to the term reboot…"
Yuki whipped around a turn then came to a screeching, skidding, bucking halt for traffic stopped at a light, scaring the shit out of the elderly lady in the Toyota in front of him.
"The name Eiri Yuki is no different. People expect Eiri Yuki to deliver drama. They expect Eiri Yuki to deliver romance. They expect Eiri Yuki to deliver horrible, tragic and God willing, painful death at the end of each story. That's what they expect. You can't suddenly throw them a warm and fuzzy novel with a nice, happy ending--the universe as we know it would collapse!"
BEEEEP! Yuki laid down on the horn the microsecond the light turned green.
"Eiri Yuki is a commodity, a carefully constructed brand name, Yuki-san. Stick with the formula, it's what works, it's what sells and most of all, it's what people want."
Yuki hit the accelerator.
"It's also what the shareholders want. I'm sorry, Yuki-san, but this is a do-over. Take the notes I wrote into consideration and hand in a re-write by the deadline."
Yuki gripped the wheel and yanked it to the right.
"Don't take it personally, Yuki-san," Mizuki had said as he left in a huff. "For what it's worth, I liked it. But to the market, it's the literary equivalent of the new Coke. Remember the new Coke, Yuki-san?"
Yuki cursed out loud.
"Don't be the new Coke, Yuki-san."
He passed grandma in a blaze of fury, completely ignoring the fingered salute she threw out as he passed.
"Don't be the new Coke…"
Yuki sat staring at his computer. He stomped out the butt of one cigarette, threw a new one in his mouth and lit it. Then he went back to staring at his computer.
He cursed some more.
Finally, he thumbed through the manuscript pages his editor had given him at their meeting that afternoon. He saw line after line of notes and cross outs and all kinds of shit gone wrong with the work he'd submitted.
He shook his head. What was wrong with him? Normally something like this wouldn't have bothered him. He was what he liked to call a mercenary writer—he'd write whatever they wanted as long as they paid him enough. Fuck, for the right price, he'd write the most tantalizing, ass tingling toilet paper blurb ever to grace the back of a pack of TP. Housewives all over Tokyo would get wet just thinking about his toilet paper and double coupon day. But this…this was different. He'd actually tried something a little different this time, something that he'd wanted to do for a long time and for some reason, he'd expected everyone to love it…just like everyone loved practically everything he did. Sure he got his share of bad reviews, but they were from idiots and he got paid regardless. Bad press never bothered him before, but for some reason, though he was loathe to admit it, the words of his editor stung him and he couldn't shake the knot in his stomach they'd caused.
He took his manuscript in hand. It seemed such a waste to let something that good just sit on a dusty shelf somewhere. For once he really liked his work. For once he really liked the way his story had turned out. He'd put some long hard work and thought into it, but now…
An idea formed. Maybe he'd post it on his website. The story was his, his publisher didn't own it, hell they didn't even want it. The contract he was in didn't permit him to shop it around elsewhere so fuck it. It'd be his gift to the world.
Yuki smiled at his so-called philanthropy. Yes, he'd post it to his website and throw the slobbering masses a bone from their beloved commodity.
Now what was his website address again?
An hour later he was back at square one. As it turned out, he didn't have administrative rights to his website. Not that he'd ever needed them before. Everything on there was a product of his publishing company, even the heartfelt Letters from the Author and the upcoming book details which were supposedly written by none other than Eiri Yuki himself.
Yuki read some of "his" letters to the fans. Jesus, they make me sound like a gay sap! I gotta start paying attention to these things, this is ridiculous!
He looked at his story. Oh well, it was a nice idea, but since he didn't have the rights to post it…
Yuki was about to give up and go to his favorite porn site when a banner at the bottom of the page caught his eye. It was a link to the Eiri Yuki fanfic site.
A brow went up. I have a fanfic site? Such a thing had never occurred to him before. Yuki clicked the banner, then sat back, astonished at the number of fics that'd been posted.
Holy shit! These people do more writing than I do! He scrolled through the numerous postings and noted the titles of the works and the descriptions, some of which made even him blush.
Holy shit! These people are more depraved than I am! What the hell do lemons have to do with anything and do I even want to know what "tent" means?
He clicked on a few stories and noted the style in which they were written, in what format they were posted and the ratings system. He read a few of the reviews.
Ohmigod, I really, really like your work!
This was awesome, please update soon!
This was really, really good, I liked it a lot.
Yuki smiled. If people wet themselves over the fluff he'd seen so far, they were going to lay fucking eggs once they got a hold of the masterpiece he held in his hands.
Yuki quickly registered with the site, got an account and posted his story under the name AlphaYuki. He was after all the original Yuki, the real deal and the genuine article. Besides, Eiri Yuki and almost every other variation had already been taken…
Fifteen minutes later his magnum opus was uploaded and proudly sitting at the top of the page. Now he could just sit back, relax and watch the praise come pouring in. Take that Mizuki!
He hit F5 to refresh the page.
Ha, four hits! Yuki sat back and smiled. His story hadn't been up a good 30 seconds and already the wretched masses were lined up around the corner!
He hit F5 again. Eight! Yuki lit another cigarette and smiled.
A half hour later, he was still sitting there with his finger permanently attached to F5. In the almost hour his story had been posted, he'd had over a hundred hits. His initial brief bout of almost euphoria gave way to routine surliness.
F5. F5. F5. Goddamn this is addictive! F5. F5. F5. Almost two hundred hits and not a single review…
"What are you doing, Yuki?" Yuki started. Shuichi was standing over his shoulder looking down at the screen from behind him. He hadn't even heard the sneaky bastard come in!
"None of your business." He took one last look at his page, then turned the monitor off.
"That looked like a fan fiction page. Don't tell me you read fan fic?" Shuichi laughed out loud at the notion.
"I said it was none of your business!" Yuki got up and started to walk out when a click and a soft hum snatched his attention.
He whirled back around to find Shuichi reading his laptop screen with sheer amusement.
"AlphaYuki?" Shuichi's eyes were wide as he read the summary. "Oh my God! You posted a fan fic for your own story! Oooo… 250 hits, pretty good, huh?"
Yuki stormed back over to his desk, ready yoke Shu up by the throat and toss him into the hallway. He stopped short.
"Two-fifty?" He looked at the screen in disbelief. In just that short time, his hit count had shot up another 75. He looked closer. Still no reviews.
"Hmm… no reviews yet, though." Shuichi turned and was surprised to see Yuki standing there, watching the screen intently. "I'm sure they're coming though," he added hastily. "It just takes people awhile to read it all."
Yuki turned the screen off once more and dragged Shu out of the room.
"Touch my computer again and you won't be able to walk for a week."
Shuichi got giddy with anticipation. "That's a good thing…right?"
Yuki just looked at him.
3:15. Yuki stared at the glowing red numbers from the digital clock on the nightstand, listening to the sounds of Shuichi snoring softly beside him. Carefully, he unwound himself from Shu's arms, got out of bed and padded quietly down the hall to his office. Seating himself at his desk, he found that he was actually a bit nervous as he reached out to turn on his monitor.
"What the hell am I nervous for?" He wondered out loud. "I'm Japan's best selling romance author. My books have been on bestsellers lists since I started writing. My books sell out within hours of their release. Why in the utter hell would I care what a bunch of fan fic writers think?"
Still, he hesitated as he turned on the monitor and hit F5.
The first thing he noticed was that his story was no longer at the top of the screen. In fact, it wasn't even on the first page anymore. He'd been bumped to half way down page two as other fics had been posted or updated.
He scowled. He looked at his hit count—315. His hits were slowing down. He scowled again and crossed his arms. He had two reviews!
"About fucking time!" He clicked the review link.
T-Bone, Lord of Leavenworth 7-15
AlphaYuki, as a big fan of the real Eiri Yuki, I must say that I really enjoyed your story. Unfortunately I'm only up to Chapter 2 so far as free time ended earlier than expected due to a pudding cup riot that broke out, so we all have to go on lockdown now. I hope to read the rest of your story when lockdown ends—either tomorrow or when the pudding cup offender is dead…whichever comes first.
U Suk 7-15
Your characters are way ooc, Rika would never act like that and hello…spell check! Seriously though, U should really get a beta. It'll help U be a better writer and maybe one day, if UR lucky and God has mercy on U, U could even be published.
Yuki's mouth dropped open. A beta? I've got a bonafide editor you shit! He flipped through his story and immediately saw two spelling mistakes. But I did run spell check! Yuki closed his eyes. I oughta get on a plane to Redmond, Washington right now and burn that whole place to the fucking ground! Maybe they should start making panties after all…
Ooc? What the fuck is that? Yuki looked up the acronym. Out of character? Yuki blinked. How can my characters be out of character when I'm the one who wrote them in the first place? He stared at the screen.
"Well that's just great. Out of over 300 hits, it comes down to two reviews--a flamethrower and a convicted felon on lockdown." He turned off the monitor and for the first time in ages, powered down and closed the notebook.
Yuki went back to bed thinking about his story, his reviews and the rewrite he was still facing. He lay there, unable to figure out what it was about the whole stinking situation that was making him so miserable until he fell asleep with a frown still on his face.
Beside him Shuichi watched him sadly for hours.
"So, what is it you want us to do again?" Hiro asked.
"Just read the story and review it. I think it'll make him feel better if he has some good reviews." The three members of Bad Luck were standing in the recording studio going over a new arrangement for their latest cd.
"What if we don't like it?" Suguru asked from his bank of keyboards.
"Then don't leave a review." Shuichi replied. He thought of the misery he'd seen in Yuki's eyes that morning. Misery covered by a veil of uglier than usual nastiness. "He needs someone to show him that he's still a good writer. Even though any other writer would kill for the reviews and sales figures his last novel got, for him they were less than stellar. Add to that the fact that he's going through a tough time with a major rewrite his editor just handed him, Yuki could use a little review love right now."
"Won't he just get pissed off even more when he figures out that you orchestrated this whole thing?" Hiro asked. He looked up from the sheet music he'd been studying. "Yuki-san may be a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them."
Shuichi grinned. "I've already thought of that. Fellas, we're going incognito."
Suguru stopped the music.
"I should be worried when he starts throwing around big words like that, shouldn't I?"
"Absolutely," answered Hiro.
Yuki sat quietly, dragging heavily on his cigarette. In front of him, his notebook still sat exactly as he'd left it early that morning—powered down and closed.
For the life of him, he couldn't figure out what it was that was bothering him about this. It was fan fic, for Gawd's sake. He wasn't getting paid to write it. The reviewers weren't people he was ever likely to meet. He'd gone through much worse in his life with much less grief, yet this thing was hanging over his head like a black cloud.
He stamped out the butt. "Fuck it. This is stupid and I've got work to do." He opened his laptop and powered up with the serious intention of working on his neglected manuscript. Even as the desktop blinked to life on the screen, he knew that intention was nothing but a sham. He opened his browser and without hesitation, ran a digital beeline back to the fan fic site.
After a few seconds of searching, he found his fic deep in the bowels of the site on page six. He was about to curse and go into his scowling routine again when he noticed that he had….32 reviews!
"Holy shit!" He smiled a little and ignored the warm relief that was flowing over him. That was more like it.
He clicked the review link and read.
His jaw dropped.
Pink Kitten 7-16
I thought this was very good and I enjoyed reading it a lot. I'm reading it at work and it made me laugh and the end made me cry. Just once I wish Eiri Yuki would give me a happy ending, but you did that instead, so I think it's very good.
I'm reading this at work too. I kinda like it, although chick books aren't really my thing. Maybe you should have more action in it, like guns and shit blowing up and stuff and maybe a really hot chick? She should also play the guitar. Chicks that play guitar are hot!
This is pretty good, although it breaks from the traditional formula Eiri Yuki usually uses. I guess it's good to try something different. Doing something different makes you better and stronger so that you can use that strength to surpass those that are standing in your way. And then when you're on top and people finally recognize you for the genius talent that you are, you can be proud and you can stand on your own and nobody will look at you just because you happen to be somebody's cousin.
Pink Kitten 7-16
God, Keybored, I said CONSTRUCTIVE criticism! Your review reads like a soap opera!
Hey, Pink Kitten, I didn't see you in the lounge. Where are you?
No you didn't, Shuichi. You said if I didn't like it, not to leave a review. Well, I do like it. I think it's cool that he's doing something different, but if you're going to rip on my review after you didn't give me clear instructions, then just forget it. We should be in the studio anyway and not wasting our time with this stuff. I can read this stuff at home!
Pink Kitten 7-16
OH MY GOD SUGURU! What did I say about being incognito? I know you know what it means! DON'T use your real name or he'll KNOW!
Pink Kitten 7-16
Oh, uh, G-String, I'm in the fifth floor lounge. K never looks up here!
You're an idiot, PINK KITTEN!
Hey Shuichi—I mean Pink Kitten (wink wink). I didn't know you read fan fic! I'd have never known my Bro wrote fan fic, thanks for telling me. Now I have even more ammunition to use against him! I thought it was pretty good, but gotta agree with G-String. A big booty, gun wielding, guitar playing chick sounds hella good. That would make a manga a man could be proud of. Hear that Eiri? That's what you should be writing instead of this gooey crap!
Uhh, Pink Kitten? I didn't write that last entry. Somebody's using my name!
Larry Loves Yuki 7-16
I thought it was good. Then again, I love everything about Eiri Yuki. He's one sexy mofo u know? Hey AlphaYuki, you look anything like the real Eiri Yuki? Send me pix!
Pink Kitten 7-16
What do you mean somebody's using your ………..asdfsojuoads…….
I don like it. Its two bad and not like Eiri Yuki books.
RYUICHI SAKUMA 7-16
I liked it! It was sparkly!
Larry Loves Ryu! 7-16
I love Ryuichi Sakuma! He's one sexy mofo u know? Hey Ryuichi Sakuma, do you look anything like the real Ryuichi Sakuma?
RYUICHI SAKUMA 7-16
Yes! I do.
Pink Kitten 7-16
Hey G-String. So you like chicks with guns, huh? Where are you again?
RYUICHI SAKUMA 7-16
Ok, I will send you pictures. Ta-kun says I'm really cute!
I'll be damned! Ryu, stop using your real name on here! And Larry, FUCK OFF! He's TAKEN!
Uhh…is that really you, PK? I'm in the lounge on the…….adfasdiofonas….
Larry Loves Ryu! 7-16
You FUCK OFF, BDM! It's a free country and if Ryuichi wants to send me pictures, then he can send me pictures! Ryu, send them to my email address and if you want, I can give you my icq number, my cell phone number and my home address. Let me know if you need a ride…
A RIDE? Ryu are you in the living room?
RYUICHI SAKUMA 7-16
Hi, Ta-kun! I'm in the living room with Kumagoro. We're reading Yuki-san's story and talking with Shuichi and …aadfdsvfad……..
I SAID he was TAKEN! Now he really is…literally.
RYUICHI SAKUMA 7-16
YAYY! NAKED TAG. GOTTA GO. BYE….SPARKLE!
BigDaddyMonk swingusdickusuesugitemple.rel 7-16
Larry Loves Ryu! 7-16
Damn! Well, I liked the story, especially if you look like the real Yuki, Alpha.
2nd Amendment 7-16
Keybored, you have been surrounded. Your band mates ratted you out and told me where you were. Come out peacefully and the bloodshed will be kept to a minimum.
How did they know I was in the basement LAN room?
Yuki didn't even bother to power down. He simply turned off the laptop and left the room.
3:18. Yuki watched the red digital numbers on the alarm clock creep slowly by while he listened to the sounds of Shuichi's soft breathing beside him.
When Shu had gotten home from the studio that evening, things had gotten ugly. Yuki, spitting mad, had hit the wall, yelling at him to mind his own goddamned business and to stay the hell out of his affairs. He'd listened to Shu plead for his forgiveness saying that he was only trying to help and that he hadn't wanted him to feel sad anymore.
It irked Yuki to no end that this thing made him feel as bad as it did. That something so innocuous could have such an effect on him only worsened his already foul mood. And he still had no idea why such a simple thing got to him the way it did. One thing he did know, however, was that posting the fic had been a mistake. His editor was right. What he'd written was the literary equivalent of the new Coke. He hadn't wanted to admit it, but she was right.
Yuki sat up. The only thing left to do now was to correct his mistake.
He got up, went into the office and powered up his computer.
"Why didn't I do this yesterday?" he wondered as he navigated back to the site.
Without even looking for his story, he logged into his account and searched for a way to delete it. Finding it, he set to work deleting the chapters in turn. After he was done, he deleted his account and backed out of the site.
"And that's all she wrote," he said softly. "From now on, I'll stick to being what I'm good at—Eiri Yuki, the commodity."
A chime sounded softly. It was his email alert. Frowning he clicked on the envelope icon wondering who would be emailing him at this hour.
When the program opened, he was surprised to find that the email was sent to a box he hardly ever used. It was his incognito address that he used when signing up for accounts or receiving mail that he'd rather not have come to his regular mailbox. The only things that came to that box were spam and the other usual suspects; "toy" order confirmations, porn site account updates and of course, his super secret Bad Luck fan club newsgroup postings. It was also the address he'd given when opening his fan fic account.
Out of sheer morbid curiosity he opened the mail. Expecting some kind of account deletion notification, he was surprised to find an actual letter instead. A letter from T-Bone, Lord of Leavenworth.
I was just online when I noticed that you're deleting your story chapters. I hope the lack of positive responses in your reviews wasn't a factor in your deciding to do that. I read your reviews a little while ago and it seems that they were mostly consisting of friends that were trying to cheer you up. I would imagine that a writer of your caliber would find that somewhat insulting. Yes, I do believe you are a professional and as crazy as it sounds, quite possibly the real Eiri Yuki gone incognito. As I said before, I am a serious fan of Eiri Yuki's work. I would recognize his style of writing in my sleep. So it came as a real surprise to see that same style show up on his fan fic site when not even the "Letters From the Author" on his own website are written by him. The real Eiri Yuki would never sound like such a gay sap!
Anyhow, you might be wondering why I'm emailing you about all this in what must be the middle of the night in Japan and in Japanese no less. As you might have guessed from my username, I am writing to you from Leaveworth prison here in America where it's about 1:30 in the afternoon. The Japanese part is a result of my rehabilitation package. Upon entering this fine institution I was given a series of tests to determine what rehabilitation program would best suit my abilities and thus make me a productive citizen once again…assuming parole in about four years.
How they came to the conclusion that a violent street kid with no family and no life, no hope and no future other than the one a local gang gave him would benefit from the study of Japanese is beyond me, but you know what? It worked! I learned to speak, read and write Japanese and then in turn taught others to do the same. In teaching some of the newer kids, I can see in them what I was when I got here. In teaching those same kids, I can now see what I've become since I got here. And while I'm not grateful for having gotten caught doing what I did to get here, I am grateful that I am no longer the kind of person that will do what I did to get here.
I think about what I did to get here and the person to whom I did it every night and will do so for the rest of my life. For the longest time my only refuge from the screams and the blood and the dismal surroundings I am faced with daily was the study of Japanese and your novels, which I used as a learning aid. Your novels are gritty and realistic, yet manage to convey love and hope despite tragedy. I began to look forward to reading the one or two that I managed to have sent to me over and over again. So for me, finding your work on the fan fic site was a blessing as such material as you could imagine, is hard for me to come by.
I am very disappointed therefore to find that you have removed the story before I was able to finish it, due to the pudding cup lockdown and all. Now I'll never know if for once Eiri Yuki will give me a happy ending. I would like to think that just once he/you will. I think it's most excellent that you would deign to break mold and give us something different. Something that you obviously enjoyed writing. Yes, I could tell that. Being as intimately familiar with your work as I am, I could instantly tell that this wasn't the same old Yuki, churning out stuff for the masses. This was a work that he'd sunk his heart and soul into. Something that'd made him happy. It came through loud and clear in the writing and it was a pleasure to read. Now that I'm thinking about it, the reason you were probably on a fan fic site to begin with was because it was so different from what you usually write. Your publishing company probably took one look at it and said no fucking way. Their main concern is the bottom profit line, not your happiness or mine. So I hope you don't get into trouble over your posting the story.
Since I don't get to finish the story, I am going to pretend that you did give me my happy ending. I am going to pretend that Rika ends on a high note and that she finds all the love and happiness she deserves. And I can pretend right along with her that I too will find all the love and happiness I now know I deserve. I sincerely hope that you will also get a happy ending out of all of this. I know that you must be well on your way to one to have so many people going to such lengths to look out for your happiness. Maybe if I'd had such a group of people in my life, I wouldn't be here now.
Oh well, what does a convicted felon like me know? I have to go now as lockdown may be ending soon—we can no longer find the pudding cup offender. Since you've removed the rest of the story, I have to find something else to read to the fellas during story hour. Maybe we'll start "War and Peace" as I've been meaning to introduce them to Tolstoy. Whatever it is, I'd better find something quick. They become terribly unhappy if they don't get their story hour and when they get unhappy, I usually get a few days of solitary confinement along with a sore ass kicking foot to boot! Oh well, solitary ain't so bad and after yesterday's vanilla swirl revolt, I could certainly use the rest.
T-Bone, Lord of Leavenworth
Yuki blinked. Then he read it again. Slowly but surely and without even really understanding why, the knot he'd had in his stomach over this entire fan fic affair began to loosen and fade. And to think, he had a convicted Japanese speaking, Tolstoy reading felon from the other side of the earth to thank for it.
His email alert chimed again. Opening it, he saw an account deletion notification from the fan fic site.
We are sorry to see that you have deleted your account. We hope that you had a good time while you were here and if you would ever like to reactivate your account in the future…
Yuki laughed out loud and deleted it without delay.
Yuki climbed back into bed.
"Are you still mad at me, Yuki?" Shuichi, who was turned on his side with his back to Yuki, spoke softly in a voice that was tinged with sadness.
Yuki sighed. "No."
Seeing an opening, Shuichi went for it. "I'm so sorry, Yuki. I shouldn't have meddled and I shouldn't have gotten the others to go along with it. I didn't realize that once a review was up, you'd be the only person that could delete it! It's just that you were so miserable and I just wanted you to be happy again and to remember that even though I don't like everything you write, I think you're a really good writer and…"
A brow shot up. "You read all my books?"
Shuichi was surprised. "Of course I do. I don't like them all and I certainly don't like the way you portray me sometimes, but, I do read them all and I think you're a great writer."
Yuki snorted. "What makes you think I'd write about you?"
"Are you serious?" Shuichi sighed. "In your last novel, you described Keiko as a hyperactive song writer with ADD and a two box a day Pocky habit. YOU tell ME who that was supposed to be!"
Yuki snorted again.
"I know why this has upset you."
That was surprising. Since the day before, Yuki had been trying to figure that out that very thing and hadn't even come close. "What makes you think I'm upset?"
"You've been walking around miserable since yesterday and you picked a fight with me this evening for no good reason…not that you ever have a good reason. You're upset because you're used to everyone loving Eiri Yuki books instantly. You've never had to deal with real disappointment. But that's just it. Eiri Yuki isn't you. Eiri Yuki is what everyone expects out of you and finally when you decided to do something Eiri Uesugi wanted to do, you didn't get the same results Eiri Yuki gets. I read your story, Yuki, and I really did think it was good. I could also tell that you put a lot of thought and heart into it. It's something that you, Eiri Uesugi, enjoyed writing and it's something you're proud of. When Eiri Yuki gets a bad review it doesn't matter because you're writing what everyone expects, plus if people don't like Eiri Yuki books they don't have to buy them. But the one time Eiri Uesugi wrote something and people didn't like it as well, it hurt your feelings."
"And then you posted your story in a fan fic forum where unlike the publishing world, anyone can criticize you and lots of times they do for whatever reason. It's takes a lot more guts to put yourself out there in front of the world when you know you have to deal with real time flamage than being able to sit back and have the luxury of having your publishing company deal with bad press. You got more than you bargained for when all you really wanted to do was prove to your publishing company and probably to yourself that Eiri Yuki is more than just a brand name and that you're more than Eiri Yuki, but it didn't quite turn out that way."
"It's ok, Yuki. You don't have to admit that it got to you, even though I know it did." Shuichi smiled and yawned. "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone your secret," he said sleepily.
Yuki looked at the back of Shuichi's neck. "Which is?"
"You're human after all."
Shuichi fell silent, drifting off into a quiet sleep.
Yuki thought about what Shuichi had said. Every now and again, Shuichi, the pink haired pain in the ass that he was, surprised him. He never imagined that such eloquent words of encouragement could come from such an un-eloquent source like Shuichi and at the very time he needed it most.
Yuki reached over, dragged Shu to him and wrapped his arms around him.
"You wouldn't happen to know anyone currently on lockdown in Leavenworth would you?" he asked, softly kissing the back of his boy's neck.
"What's Reven…Leeeven…whatever it was you just said?"
Yuki smirked. "Never mind, go back to sleep."
Shu yawned again. "Write about what makes you happy…" Seconds later short snores filled the air.
Yuki pulled Shu closer and fell asleep with his lover's words echoing softly in his mind.
Six months later…
"I must say, Yuki-san, back when I first gave you the re-write, I was a bit worried. I thought you'd hand in a totally inferior product. Instead we got this." Mizuki handed a freshly bound book to Yuki. "It's interesting. Though you stayed within the expected parameters, you managed to give us a fresh voice and dare I say it, an even tender perspective with your characters."
Mizuki smiled wickedly at her client. "You even managed to give us a happy ending without compromising the Eiri Yuki trademark. I'm certain we've got another bestseller on our hands and that should make everyone happy."
"Thanks." Yuki took the book and turned to leave. "Oh, did the shipment get out ok?"
"Yes, it did. We finally found the right name and address and it went out a few days ago." Mizuki replied.
Yuki looked at his editor. "Mizuki, you do a great job, even though I know it's hard. I know I don't tell you that nearly enough, but…just thought I'd let you know. Ok?" Yuki turned again to leave, missing the shocked look on his editor's face.
"Huh?" He kept walking toward the door.
"You're welcome." He opened the door to leave.
"Yuki-san?" He turned.
"Umm… I hope I'm not prying, but I'm dying to know. I know who Pink Kitten is, but who or what on earth is T-Bone?"
Yuki smiled at Mizuki and closed the door behind him.
Late that night…
"Yuki, what are you still doing up?" Shuichi dragged himself into the bedroom, having just gotten home from what he'd thought was going to turn into an all night recording session. He was dead on his feet.
"I…just wanted to make sure you got in ok," Yuki said nonchalantly.
"Aw, Yuki was worried about me!" Shu flopped on the bed.
"And I wanted to give you this." He pulled out the book Mizuki had given him earlier. "These don't hit the stores until next week, but I was able to get a pre-release copy for you." He tossed it onto the bed next to Shu.
"I heard what you said that night we were talking about the fan fic. And for once you were right--I should write about the things that make me happy. Since I don't expect you to ever be right again in your life, I followed your advice just this once--to mark the occasion."
Shuichi looked at the bright pink cover, across which the title was written in pretty violet colored letters: "Your Smile.""Don't let it go to your head or anyth—" Shuichi attacked Yuki with a violent hug, knocking the rest of the sentence away with his tears.
At the same time, a world away…
"Mail!" The mail carrier nodded to the guard standing beside him who pushed a button and opened the cell door.
The two inmates within watched with interest as the mail carrier rolled in a large box and deposited it on the floor. The box, which had already been opened and bore the official "Inspected by Leavenworth" tape across the top was marked by several international postal stamps—stamps that the inmate on the top bunk recognized instantly. The box was from Japan!
He jumped down immediately and ripped it open while his cellmate watched over his shoulder.
"Who do you know in Australia?" he asked curiously.
"It's from Japan, you dumbass!" The man clawed furiously through the mountains of packing peanuts and bubble wrap until he came up with…a book. He looked at it. It was bright pink.
"Your Smile," he read with growing excitement. "BY EIRI YUKI!" He tore open the book and read the dedication page.
"For Pink Kitten and T-Bone. Thanks for the advice. One good turn deserves another, so here's your happy ending. --Alpha"
The man's jaw dropped to the floor. He looked back inside the box to see a copy of every book Eiri Yuki had ever written! And there was something else. He reached inside and pulled out a folder. He opened it to see a printed copy of the fan fic he'd read six months ago, in its entirety.
"I knew it, I knew, I KNEW IT!" Anthony (Tony) Bonetelli drew himself up to his entire heavily muscled 5 foot 5 inch height and with the book clutched in one ham-like hand and the folder in the other, he screamed like a giddy Japanese schoolgirl. He continued to scream like that for the next 20 minutes, filling the whole of Cell Block D with echoes of his high-pitched happiness.
And though it thoroughly annoyed everyone, including the armed guards unfortunate enough to be on duty at that time, not a single solitary person told him to stop.
Leavenworth Maximum security prison in Kansas, US
This story assumes Tatsuha and Ryu live together and Naked Tag is a sex game they play…usually on Wednesdays!
Thanks for reading my story!